And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. … "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" … that same hour and returned to Jerusalem.
On the third day after the crucifixion, on the first day of the week, women came to the tomb to embalm the Master. To their great surprise Yeshua's body had ‘disappeared’. Though incredulous, upon hearing the women’s accounts Peter and John ran to the tomb only to be faced with the same conclusions. Yeshua soon comforted the disciple’s worries appearing to them on several occasions. While all this transpired in Jerusalem, two disciples who had come to Judea for the pilgrimage festival of Passover left for Emmaus (Luke 24).
As Cleopas and his travelling companion still grieved the death of their Master, a ‘stranger’ joined them on their journey. As their new co-journeyer wondered at the disciples’ conversation, they asked, ‘Don’t you know what happened three days ago in Jerusalem? We thought that the famous Galilean prophet, Yeshua of Nazareth, was the Messiah. We thought He would be the one gathering back the Children of Israel from the four corners of the earth and re-establish us as a sovereign country but alas, the religious authorities did not approve of Him; they turned Him in to the Romans to be crucified as traitor and a criminal. To top it all, some our friends went to the tomb this morning and found it empty. We are still shocked at the whole thing, and also confused.”
Upon hearing this account, starting with Moses and the prophets, the ‘stranger’ demonstrated to the disciples that all had happened according to Scripture and that they should not worry. Hearing the Scriptures in their Messianic perspective filled the discouraged disciples with hope again. As they arrived in Emmaus, they invited the ‘stranger to dine with them. As they sat at the table, the ‘stranger’ opened the meal with a blessing and it is at that time that He opened their eyes. They then realized that their travelling companion was the resurrected Master. Right away they decided to return to Jerusalem.
This story is everyone’s story. In confusion and discouragement, we often leave ‘Jerusalem’ to return to the same old ways. As with the other disciples, no empty tomb or amount of convincing preaching could have changed these Jewish disciples mind. They needed to see the resurrected Master and He needed to open their eyes. It is also the only way that Israel as a nation will eventually see and recognize it’s Messiah: not by preaching, but when He comes in the cloud in the end of time (Zechariah12:10; Acts 1:11). When they recognized their beloved Master, they repented and returned to Jerusalem.
Meeting the resurrected Master should create in us a spirit of repentance bringing us back to the origins of our faith, to the place where we belong, to 'Jerusalem'. After three days of Yeshua being absent, the disciples were already straying from the faith, but the Master ran after them. He met them at the tomb, and in their house where He spoke with Thomas (John 20:27). He even met them on the road to Emmaus, just in order to bring them back to ‘Jerusalem’ where they were to remain until the next pilgrimage festival: Shavuot/Pentecost (Acts 1:4).
In these days of preparation for the awesome day of Yom Kippur, may our meditations grant us the presence of the Master that causes us to repent and return, repent from our straying and back to the ‘Jerusalem’ where we belong. May we be found doing His will on the Day of His coming.