by Dianne Eckermann
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They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’ (Luke 24:32)
Read Luke 24:13–35
Luke’s Gospel mentions several occasions when Jesus meets people on the road. Today’s reading focuses on his encounter with two of his followers on the road to Emmaus. The meeting itself is important, but it is also symbolic of a bigger journey as the two disciples are on a journey of discovery about Jesus.
Cleopas and his companion unwittingly become witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. On their travels, they discuss the distressing events that had just occurred in Jerusalem, namely the crucifixion of Jesus. They are slightly incredulous that the stranger they meet on the road does not seem to know what has been happening, and they ironically explain to Jesus what they know of his death and the disappearance of his body.
However, this stranger was able to open Scripture for them. They listen with such interest to what he has to say that their hearts burn within them. Finally, when realisation dawns that this unknown stranger is the risen Christ, they journey straight back to Jerusalem to tell what they now know of the much bigger journey Jesus is travelling.
If Cleopas and the other unnamed disciple were on a road trip in modern times, their journey would have been entirely different. Instead of walking along the road to Emmaus, they would be driving in air-conditioned comfort, missing tiny details of the landscape, such as wildflowers, insects or small animals. In addition to missing the natural world, it is likely they would miss their encounter with the risen Christ.
Our busy modern lives can leave little room for time with Jesus. The world presents us with so many other priorities that seem pressing. The two disciples, left in awe after their encounter on the road to Emmaus, are a reminder for us all to slow down, journey with Jesus and allow his words to burn in our hearts too.
Dear Jesus, we ask you to open our eyes so we can see you and open our ears so we can hear your words and recognise you in all we do in our busy world. Amen.
Dianne has served in Lutheran education as a teacher, school leader and system leader at Lutheran Education Australia. Now retired from full-time work, she continues to volunteer on several committees and as a school board member. She lives in the Adelaide Hills with her husband, Robert, and is in strong demand as a babysitter for her three grandchildren.