Theme: The Emmaus Travelers as Eyewitnesses
From these lessons we see that the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ were necessary in order for us to have the one true Redeemer who would deliver His people from their sins.
Scripture: Luke 24:26
Yesterday we ended by talking about the identification of Cleopas and his wife, the couple from Emmaus who had thought Jesus was going to be Israel’s redeemer, but now after seeing his crucifixion were returning home with no hope at all.
Is it significant that Luke mentions these two? I think it is. For one thing, our Lord showed concern for a couple. We tend to think of the disciples being the important ones. We think, “Oh, he spoke and revealed himself to Peter.” And he certainly did that to Peter, James, John, and the to all of the others. But in point of fact, our Lord simply revealed Himself to those of his disciples in Jerusalem at the time, and He didn’t forget this couple who were on their way home.
You have a very natural situation, not the kind that you would expect to be invented by a biblical writer who was setting out to prove the deity of Jesus Christ, but rather one who’s simply reflecting from the vantage point of an eyewitness and a hearer of the things that took place in those days. That’s the context of the story.
Now, we’re told some interesting things about them. We might ask why it was that things fell out this way and probably the reason why they did is that Cleopas and Mary were among the very few of Christ’s disciples who actually knew about the crucifixion at this early hour. As I begin to place the events of this week together, it strikes me that what happened was probably something like the following.
Jesus had been spending each night of that final week of his life with His disciples back in Bethany, on the other side of the Mount of Olives. It was a place of relative safely from which He could enter Jerusalem and leave Jerusalem as he chose. He was headed back in that direction on the night of His arrest, tarried in the Garden of Gethsemane, obviously waiting until Judas, who he had set off to do his work of betrayal, came back with the arresting party to secure Him and take Him to the high priest. They were headed that way and the disciples probably didn’t understand why it was that our Lord was spending all that time in the Mount of Olives.
The arresting party came, and Christ was taken. The disciples scattered, and I guarantee they did not scatter in the direction of Jerusalem. They went the other way, up over the Mount of Olives, toward Bethany, where they were headed in the first place and where they thought they were safe. Jesus was taken, arrested, tried, and crucified. The Sabbath came and because nobody traveled on the Sabbath, I presume that the disciples, who had scattered to Bethany, remained in Bethany and were there during all of the crucial days that involved our Lord’s death and His imprisonment in the tomb.
There were exceptions. Peter, we know, was in the city, and also John; but nobody else is mentioned of the disciples of having been there during those days. What you have is Peter and John and the women who always followed Christ, and Cleopas and Mary, who were not of the twelve and were probably just staying in Jerusalem in a friend’s house or some such thing. The disciples probably didn’t find out about the crucifixion, at least, they didn’t get to Jerusalem to find out about it firsthand until Sunday, the day of the resurrection.
Why is it significant that these two people from Emmaus are mentioned?
What accounts for why the two from Emmaus were in Jerusalem, but most of the disciples were not? Review the timeline of how this final week of Jesus unfolded.