He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27, NIV)"OK....let me give it to you one more time, from the top..."
It's been a rough three days for our friends on the Emmaus road. Folks from all over the countryside saw Jesus arrested, tried, nailed to the cross...and watched him die an agonizing, horrific death. Every single follower of Christ is in hiding, hoping not to be riding the next set of crosses. In Luke's telling of the Gospel, the women have encountered the open, empty tomb and the two men who remind them, "Hey, you know better than this! Jesus told you he wouldn't be here in three days, didn't he?" They run back to tell the rest of the 12, who evidently got word to the Emmaus travelers.
But the Emmaus-road folks don't go to the tomb, for whatever reason...they are headed home. So when Jesus encounters them, the only thing they have to offer their strange road-fellow is the bad news - Christ died, even though he said some foolish stuff about coming back, and the women are acting crazy and saying stupid stuff. And that's when Jesus kind of sticks it to these guys - foolish and slow of heart to believe probably aren't any more encouraging words in Aramaic or Hebrew than they are in English. But the fact is, Jesus teaches them...once again. He pours out what was supposed to happen, and what is to happen, to remind them.
That's some of the best news in the Bible - because it's precisely where I spend so much of my time. I know the bad news - kids killing kids, adults killing coaches over high-school athletics, wars and scary diseases and all manner of insanity on every continent. What I so often forget is what the Emmaus boys see as the bread is broken and the wine is passed - the face of the risen Jesus, and the proof that I am acceptable to Jesus - because he came back from the dead for me.
Jesus reveals himself in Scripture, but he is made visible as he shares the bread and wine. That image of the Last Supper makes it all click - and in that instant of recognition, Jesus is gone.
The Emmaus boys are standing in for me - foolish and slow of heart, and oh so stubborn. There are days when I wonder whether I forget to see, or deliberately choose not to see. But then there are times when the bread and wine are shared, and I remember the promise: "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again" - and I see him once again. And I find strength to go on, again.
Thank you, God, for revealing your Son in Scripture, and in the stuff of communion. Remind me of Jesus' presence this day, that I might walk and act as he would have me walk and act. Amen.