Thought for the Day by Nigel Greenwood from St Chad’s:
Like so many passages from scripture, the encounter on the road to Emmaus is familiar – yet whenever we read and reflect upon it, new insights emerge as we are drawn into the parallels relating to our own lives and times. We have followed the route before and know the landscape well, but this can make us oblivious to what is going on. How often do we become engrossed in our own thoughts or conversations as we greet passers-by?
Just as the two companions, we are likely to be preoccupied with current events and may only give a brief acknowledgement rather than engaging in conversation. But then as now, Jesus had other ideas as he asked: “What are you discussing together as you walk along ?” Taken aback, the reply came: “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days ?” – it must have been rather like someone saying to us “have you not heard about Brexit or Covid-19 !”
After one of them explained about the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus chastised them by referring to the Scriptures and Prophets. Still the disciples did not recognise him, and it was only when they offered hospitality to the stranger, who took the bread and gave thanks before giving it to them that they saw him for who he was as the Risen Lord. Energised by the experience they rushed to Jerusalem to find the disciples, telling them “It is true – the Lord has risen”.
So, who were the travellers on the road to Emmaus ? One was named as Cleopas, but speculation remains over the identity of the unnamed disciple. Maybe this is symbolic for us when we feel alone, and ourselves need a companion – but of course we are all known and loved by Jesus, with his unconditional presence and overarching care for us.
As each one of us makes our journey through life, there must surely have been moments when we became acutely aware of the presence of Jesus alongside us – supporting, guiding, challenging – or simply being there for us at times of need. Perhaps on other occasions Jesus was with us but we did not recognise him at the time – we can all surely recall our own road to Emmaus experiences ….. and hopefully learn from them.
The following video brings the story to life: