Jesus made 13 appearances after his resurrection and before his ascension to heaven. During these weeks the disciples were badly in need of being with him. The bottom had fallen out, and they were very confused. One of the most compelling stories is recorded for us in Luke 24. This account speaks to our human weakness and our discouragement, but also to Christ’ willingness to encourage us.
On that first Easter Sunday these two disciples were walking to their home in Emmaus about seven miles away. They were disillusioned and felt completely hopeless. The one reason they had found for living was gone. The one person who had been so different than anyone they had ever known was dead.
There were so many emotions churning inside their hearts that day. They felt disappointment, confusion, loss and helplessness and most likely anger and resentment for those who had murdered Jesus. They probably experienced shame that they had not defended him. Their world had been turned wrong side up.
It had been so different when Jesus was there. He stood up to the chief priests and Pharisees because he spoke with such authority. He showed kindness and compassion to those in need and loved the hurting. If only he had not died, then things would have worked out so differently.
Try as they might there were pieces of the puzzle that were missing, and they simply couldn’t put it together. They had been so close to their dreams, and now they seemed so far way. In fact, their dreams had been buried with Jesus. Their minds seemed inadequate to figure out the mess, and to complicate it more, they were missing valuable pieces-- “but him they did not see” (Luke 24:24). Their disappointment had robbed them of hope. They now talked in if’s: “We had hoped Jesus would be our redeemer, but he is dead. Some of our companions went to the tomb, but no one has seen him.” What these disciples once believed to be true is now suspect. What they held as sacred is now nothing but ashes. They only see the problems with no solutions. They are men without hope.
Then Jesus came along side and began to talk to them though they didn’t know it was him. He explained to the two disciples the meaning of his suffering, death and resurrection. Can you imagine the excitement of hearing Jesus interpret the sacrifice of Isaac as having taken place on the very place of the cross? Their mouths dropped as he explained the book of Isaiah where Jesus is shown as the suffering servant. He must have pointed to Psalm 22 where the very words Jesus spoke from the cross were recorded.
The story reaches a climax as the three arrive in Emmaus and the stranger was invited to share a meal. During the meal as the invited guest broke the bread, they suddenly recognized that it was Jesus. Then he suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. Luke then writes what they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:38). When Jesus touches your heart, he also opens your eyes. Life make sense when you know the one who can explain the unexplainable.