“When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” (Luke 24.30-31, ESV)
There are elements that make it a very intriguing story! Luke begins by simply telling his readers that “two of them” were headed back home to Emmaus. We are informed later in the story that Cleopas was one of the two. However, it is as if their identity is not that important. The focus is that, like many others, they had travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover.
And they were talking. Talking about all that had happened. In fact, by means of repetition, Luke tells us they were “talking and discussing.” This was not a normal Passover for anyone. The disciples had experienced the full range of emotions. There was the shock surrounding the arrest and the despair of the beatings/crucifixion. Finally the bewildering confusion of the empty tomb. So unique was this Passover that even non-Christian historians, such as Josephus and Tacitus, write about the events that took place (http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/jesus/nonchristianaccounts.html).
While they are walking along the path they are joined by Jesus who enquires what they are discussing. Then the question! Jesus was the only one who truly knew all that had happened. He was the one who knew the depth of meaning behind the events, yet Cleopas asks Jesus, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
Remember, these were “two of them.” They not only knew Jesus, but believed he was a prophet. His words would never be forgotten. Who could forget the many deeds? They even knew about the post-resurrection appearance to the women and the message of the angel. But they did not recognize Jesus. Not even after Jesus took the time to teach them all “things concerning himself” from the writings of Moses through the Prophets.
Their renewal came when Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. Yes, it was the evening meal. Yet it included an element of communion. Were they present at the feeding of the 5,000 when he “said a blessing and broke the loaves” (Mark 6.41)? Or the feeding of the 4,000 when he took the loaves “and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them…” (Mark 8.6)? Or maybe even at the “Last Supper” (Luke 22.19)? Regardless, whether they were present or were just told the stories, they recognized Jesus in his communing with them.
How do you know Jesus? Do you know about Him? Or, do you have a relationship that involves daily communion? It time for our eyes to be opened. Seek renewal this week by coming to the table and sharing with one another, inviting Jesus to be present, and bearing one another’s burdens!