On the road to Emmaus this morning - a good place to be. We were definitely joined by Jesus who came to walk with us and share in our conversation as he did on that first Easter afternoon.
I was struck again by how gentle and unassuming Jesus was. I'd have bounced up behind Cleopas and his companion (almost certainly, I reckon, Mary his wife) and said 'ta! da! it's me!!' but Jesus didn't. He quietly joined them and listened in to their conversation.
Have you noticed the glorious irony in Luke 24:24 where they tell Jesus that though people have heard stories, no one has seen him alive!
I love the way Jesus handles this. He listens, allowing Cleopas and Mary to tell him how they feel and what they think the events of the past months and especially the past few days might mean. He doesn't leap in to correct but gives them space to tell him what they think is going on.
I wonder how we often we do this with people we're chatting to about faith. We evangelicals are so quick to get to the answers, we ride roughshod over the questions. People might 'get the gospel', but often they don't hear it because the people telling them obviously don't care enough about to listen to their concerns and struggles before leaping in with a spiritual band aid.
When he'd heard, he shared his view of events. We know that his interpretation is the accurate one - but Cleopas and Mary would have had to weigh it up. Yes, some of it would have felt familiar; Jesus had indeed talked about death and resurrection - but they didn't really get what he was on about (we are all slow learners - patience is the key fruit evangelists need to manifest!).
Clearly, they wanted to hear more because they urged him to stay with them. It was at the meal table - so often in Luke the place of revelation - that Jesus completes his showing them the truth of what he's been sharing by showing them that it is Jesus - alive and eating - who is offering the explanations. Then he vanishes, leaving them to work out the implications and enormity of what's just happened.
That's why I love this story.
But I love it too because we're often on the Emmaus road, feeling unsure, battered, baffled by life, searching for the scraps of our hopes in the debris of our sins and failures. And Jesus joins us gently offering a listening ear and sharp observations about life, the world and everything. And our hearts begin to burn and we want him to stay. As he speaks, we know it's him - not just a vague presence, but the risen saviour and lord, come to our aid, come to show us his hands and side, come to point the way to the renewal of all things and invite us to be his partners in the adventure.