Cleopas to Emmaus

Reference: Luke 24:13-35

Heart of the Story:  The resurrected Jesus appeared to two of disciples (not apostles) as they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus.

Back Story:  On the first day of the week (a Sunday in the western calendar), Jesus’ followers realized that Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb where he was buried. Yet, some of his followers could not believe that he rose from the dead. Two of Jesus’ followers, Cleopas and an un-named follower, left Jerusalem for the village of Emmaus, seven miles west of Jerusalem.

Some Christian scholars and churches believe that this Cleopas was Jesus’ uncle; he was the brother of Joseph. There is no clear evidence to support this assertion.

Story Line: As Cleopas and his friend walked along the road they talked about Jesus’ crucifixion, that he was not in the tomb where he was buried, and that some women claimed they saw Jesus. The two men were joined by a third man who was Jesus, but both men were prevented from recognizing the risen Jesus.

As they walked along, Jesus explained to them all that was said about him in the Holy Scriptures. As they approached Emmaus, the two men urged Jesus to stay and eat with them. He agreed to do so. As Jesus broke the bread and gave it to Cleopas and his companion, both realized that the man who joined them on the road was Jesus. Immediately, Jesus disappeared from their presence.

Cleopas and his colleague got up and hurried the seven miles back to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, they found the 11 apostles and others who believed in Jesus. They told their story of seeing Jesus. The assembled apostles and disciples (including women) believed Cleopas and his friend because Jesus had appeared to Simon Peter as well as the women.

Pondering Relationships:  I wonder why Cleopas and his friend left Jerusalem and were on their way to the small village of Emmaus? Was Emmaus their home and they needed to return home for work or to be with families? Alternatively, were they so traumatized by events surrounding Jesus’ death that they had to get away from all the grief and even some of the hope that Jesus lived? They just needed to go home.

I believe Cleopas doubt that Jesus was resurrection; thus, he returned to his home village so-to-speak to get on with his life. Verses 25-27 indicate that Jesus had to explain the Holy Scriptures to the two men; scriptures that showed that the Messiah had to suffer and then enter his glory. During the meal, when Cleopas recognized Jesus, he became so excited that he immediately wanted to tell other about the good news. Cleopas and his friend, hurried—probably ran—most of the seven miles from Emmaus to Jerusalem to tell the other believers that they saw Jesus.

To my knowledge the Bible contains no additional information on a man named Cleopas; however, this experience with the resurrected Jesus changed his life.

Reflection: Seeing and recognizing Jesus causes individuals to want to share the “good news” with others.

Copyright May 2, 2017; Carolyn A. Roth

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