Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” (Luke 24:13-24)

 

In this famous scene from Luke’s gospel, two disciples walk in the company of the resurrected Christ on the road to Emmaus but, crucially, do not know that they do so. What follows is a delicious case of dramatic irony, or a moment when the reader knows something that the characters themselves don’t. We have the benefit of knowing that the disciples are talking with Jesus, which makes the whole exchange pretty funny, as Cleopas (a follower of Jesus about whom we know very little) explains to Jesus what had happened to Jesus. Jesus actually eggs Cleopas on—“What things?”—as if he wants to hear Cleopas’s side of it. Cleopas and his unnamed companion don’t recognize Jesus, even though they consort with him in the flesh. When do we do the same?

 

Let us pray: Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Go: Have you ever had a spiritual experience that you recognized only in retrospect, only when looking back on it in your memory? If so, where? Return to the place—or make plans to do so sometime in the future.

The Second Big Bang is a daily meditation for Eastertide curated by Fr. Justin Crisp, our Associate Rector and Theologian-in-Residence. Meditations follow the schedule of readings for our Eastertide adult forums, feature prayers for the season of Easter according to the Book of Common Prayer and Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and are patterned on the seven practices of The Way of Love, a rule of life for the Episcopal Church.