In the past year, I have thought often about the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, approximately seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking about all the events that had recently occurred – Jesus’ trial, conviction, sentence, death and resurrection.
After a while, another man joined them in their walk, asking what it was they were talking about. Cleopas, one of the men, was amazed. “Do you not know what has happened?”
The man replied, “What things?” Then Cleopas and his companion explained to this stranger all that had happened with Jesus.
Have you ever been the only one who did not know? I often am, it seems. I try very hard not to listen to gossip, and if I hear it, I refuse to repeat it. I’m not into other people's “bidness,” nor am I inquisitive about a person’s life unless I know the person well and feel there is an openness between us that invites intimate sharing. I know what it means to be the only person that does not know.
There is much about God that I feel I am the last to know. Call it slow learning, stubbornness or pride, but often in my false confidence, I fail to learn spiritual truths that I need to know. When I do open my heart to God’s spirit and wisdom, I find myself making new discoveries and transitions to a deeper relationship with him.
When you’re young, naïve and think you own the world, you have absolutely no idea how your life will change. Both desired and unwanted transitions will change your life in ways you could never imagine. Single people committed to a life without marriage suddenly confront a relationship that challenges that commitment. Don’t believe me? Ask my husband – confirmed bachelor, married almost 38 years.
Married people will approach transitions in their individual ways, yet it is absolutely necessary that they learn to face them together. Marriage counseling should spend some focus on the impact of transitions and the confrontations that life uses to impede your plans. You both want children? What if you can’t get pregnant? You’ll face a transition and decisions about what your relationship means if your every wish cannot be fulfilled. Too many walk away.
The stranger walking with Cleopas and his friend asked them, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?” Then he began to explain all that had prepared the world for God’s son to enter the human world. Were they the last to know? That’s what Jesus seems to be asking them, and it seems to be the way they felt. Who was this stranger?
After arriving in Emmaus, the stranger appeared to want to continue on, but the two men invited him to stay with them. He agreed, staying with them and breaking bread with them. That’s when it happened.
The transition. These two men, who had been walking with this stranger for some distance, recognized the man as Jesus, the very one they had been discussing. Their transition was miraculous, and they hurried back to Jerusalem to report that the Lord had really risen and that he had been walking with them.
In our home, we are going through an unwanted transition, but the two men on the road to Emmaus continually remind me that the Lord himself is walking with us, even when we don’t recognize him. Jesus, above all others, understands transitions. He begged his father for his own transition to be taken away. Despite our begging, ours won’t either.
In the meantime, we take comfort in knowing that Jesus is walking with us, even when we do not recognize him.