Friday, July 31, 2015

Re-examining Jesus’s appearance on the road to Emmaus


When Jesus visited two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, they were talking of the events of Jesus’s crucifixion and the news of the resurrection and were sad.  The main cause of their sadness seems to have been a sense of betrayal—they had trusted Jesus to be the one who would redeem Israel militarily, but contrary to their expectations He had been crucified.  They seemed to not know now where to look for redemption, and the stories of Christ’s resurrection only confused them.

When Jesus meets them, He asks them about their concerns and he listens to them, and when they’ve gotten it all out in the open, His answer is instructive: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26)   I suspect that the term “fools” was not just an epithet meaning “unwise,” but also one expressing they were in a spiritual state bordering on apostasy.  For them to forsake Christ because He had not militarily redeemed Israel would be apostasy. 

Quick sidenote: What do you suppose was Christ’s tone and manner as he said this to them?  Was he loud and harsh?  Or was he gentle?  What would have better conveyed his concern for them?

Anyway, thinking about these things, it seems to me that Jesus’s visit was meant to pull back into the faith two disciples who were wandering because the prophesied events had not gone according to their expectations.  Through the rest of His visit with them, He shored up their knowledge through the scriptures, and when they finally recognized Him through spiritual manifestations, they had gained the foundational knowledge upon which to base their testimony.  Then, His actual presence, when they recognized Him, had much more power.

I think this has a good lesson for us.  We or others around us may struggle with testimony when prophesied events happen differently than expected.  Christ (and by extension Heavenly Father) still cares for these and desires they obtain personal witness as well.  The witness needs to be built upon a better understanding of the scriptures, spiritual witness, and also personal experience.