On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. They were prevented from recognizing him. – Luke 24:13-16 (CEB)
Youngest and I took advantage of a beautiful fall day to worship outside on Sunday. Equipped with winter coats (a beautiful fall day in Wisconsin often requires a warm coat), hot chocolate, and a Bible, we headed out to the labyrinth. We talked for a bit about our day so far and how pretty the trees were. I opened with a song. Youngest requested a post-resurrection text for our reflections.
I opened the Bible to the passage of the two disciples walking to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). After reading it, we discussed why Jesus asked the disciples what they were talking about. Was he wondering how they would describe the events? We talked about how Jesus asked the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, “Who do people say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13). Is he asking these two disciples the same thing here? What does their answer of Jesus of Nazareth and a prophet mean? They did not confess Jesus to be the Christ as Peter did when asked (Matthew 16:16). Is this why they were downcast and unable to understand what the women had heard and seen at the tomb that very morning?
When they came to Emmaus, Jesus acted as if he was going on ahead. But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. – Luke 24:28-31 (CEB)
But then we talked about how Jesus kept himself from being recognized by the disciples. Why didn’t Jesus let himself be recognized? Was it a test, possible like these questions? But even after the questions were done and Jesus was teaching them about the Scriptures, he still didn’t reveal himself to them. It was only after Jesus revealed himself not just as the Jesus of Nazareth, not just a prophet – but the Christ – were they ready to see who Jesus was.
This passage ends with two acts of hospitality. The first, is the disciples invitation for Jesus to eat and stay with them. The verb “to stay” (μενω) is translated elsewhere as “abide.” They asked Jesus to abide with them – which leads to the second act of hospitality: the Eucharist. It’s in the act of breaking the bread amidst the blessing of God that Jesus reveals himself. It’s in this second act of hospitality that we abide in Christ. Jesus’ incarnation and resurrection create a mutual invitation of hospitality and abiding. In what ways are you inviting Jesus to abide with you today? How is Jesus inviting you to abide in him?