This is my favorite story within the Easter story. It is the very heart of the Gospel. It highlights the living hope found only in the Resurrection of the Jesus Christ. It is the moment that their eyes were open!
Most of us can relate to this story. Have you ever had a dream, hope or an expectation of the way your life, career or marriage was going to go and turn out? The disciples also had a dream, hope and an expectation about how life in Jesus Christ was going to turn out. It was a hope that their Master was a deliverer from the tyranny of the Roman occupation. They had an expectation that they would be great people in this new government. But like the two disciples on the Emmaus Road we are left despaired, disillusioned, disappointed, and defeated. Our dreams, hope and expectations meet a cruel death. You feel shameful, you been exposed to ridicule, you have been a public spectacle and you have even wanted to die. The two hopeless disciples summed it up this way, “but we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” Today we would say, “I didn’t see that coming.”
Human hope is a fragile thing and when it goes away it is difficult to revive. Hopelessness in one’s spirit is hard to cure. There are times when it is almost impossible to hope for a better outcome. We become afraid to hope because we can’t cope with being let down again. We erect a wall of hopelessness around us and we become trapped in our own misery.
We are told in the story that the two disciples were kept from recognizing Jesus. This is true with us today, we walk with Jesus and we do not recognize Him. For us visual appearances of Jesus ceased at his ascension. We have to make due with other people’s testimony that Jesus is raised from the dead. We have to make up our minds as to what to believe. Do you always recognize when Jesus is walking beside you. Life has many distractions which can grind us down that we can’t see through the dust of the road we travel. Life has a way of losing its meaning and it leaves us washed out.
But, this story gives us hope. Jesus is still here. He’s the unseen stranger walking with us, and listening to us. If have to be willing to hear his voice as he reveals himself to us. As the two disciples spoke of the despair and sorrow Jesus gave them a refresher course on God’s plan. Jesus showed them that the cross itself was the creative act of God. Jesus would come into the house of the two disciple’s house, “When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” We all need a conversion experience with Jesus Christ to make us realize that we need Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Do you remember the day your eyes were open?
Christ has risen from the grave! Christ is the hope of the world! The two disciples lost no time in retracing their steps to Jerusalem to share the Good News. May that be our experience this Easter and for the rest of our life.