Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. (Luke 24:13-27)
Later in the day that Jesus was resurrected, he approaches these two disciples as they walk to Emmaus. His first question, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” seems like a logical and innocent one. They are surprised, but they reply, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”
I love his second question: “What things?” Can’t you just imagine him inwardly grinning? Jesus obviously knows what all has happened- but he wants to hear the disciples tell the story. He wants to hear their version of all that has transpired. Perhaps he wants to know the things they understand clearly, and what yet remains to be clarified. He can fill in their gaps of confusion or doubt with assurance, peace, and hope.
What do we talk about as we “walk along”? How often in our daily conversations do we say words of encouragement or hope? Words of love and joy? Do we speak of life-giving ideas or are we the discouraged and disgruntled ones? Are we talking of trivial things- or perhaps even not talking? We have such a good story in Jesus, a story of hope and joy and love, to share in this world that desperately needs to hear it.
I see a deeper significance in Jesus’ question for the disciples, too:
He wants to begin revealing who he is by entering into their present story.
What things? becomes an invitation for us. Jesus knows our story as well. But maybe in our telling of it, he can help us clarify exactly what he was doing at different times in our lives. Let’s keep bringing our stories to Jesus and allow him to edit and hone them into ones filled with examples of his boundless grace and love. Let’s give Jesus a chance to increasingly reveal himself by inviting him into our version of our present story. He can craft our stories into ones of hope and joy. Stories that include what things Jesus has done for us!
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “What things?”
What would you tell Jesus about your life? Are there moments that need clarifying? Are there moments of joy, grace, mercy for which you would like to thank him? Is there one moment of significance that you might lift to Jesus for better understanding today? In what area of your life would you like Jesus to reveal himself more? What do you need in order to share his story more readily? To share yours? What things do you need to know?