Emmaus was a small village about seven miles from Jerusalem. The passage doesn’t explain the purpose of the followers trip so we don’t know if it was business related or if they were looking to get out of Jerusalem in light of the recent events. But the passage does tell us that these followers were aware that Jesus’ body was gone and that an angel had told the women from their group that He was alive.
God prevented the two followers from recognizing Jesus and as they walked and talked, they filled the “stranger” in on the events of the past few days. After all the time they had spent with Jesus, they still had doubts about who He was. Verse 21 says “We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.” Even though they knew that the angel had reported to the women that Jesus was alive, they still doubted.
I would love to know the exact words that Jesus shared with them as He explained all of the scriptures about Himself. He was taking them on a journey, opening the eyes of their hearts to who He was. He wanted them to know Him not by sight, but by heart.
I sometimes struggle with reading these stories and wonder how the disciples could have doubted. They lived with Jesus, ate with Jesus, laughed with Jesus and no doubt cried with Jesus as well. How could they have doubted? But faith is a matter of the heart, not of physical sight. It is the evidence of things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). The follower’s eyes were opened after their heart was. Isn’t that the way that Jesus works? It always starts with the heart.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach