Were Not Our Hearts Burning Within Us?

God’s mysterious work of consolation and concealment

One thing I love about the Bible is its tendency to simultaneously shed light and to obscure, to comfort and confound. We find this unique dynamic at play on the very day that Jesus rises from the dead, when the Gospel of Luke points our attention toward the road to Emmaus. Catching two of Jesus’ unnamed disciples in the middle of a conversation, Luke describes them as being in a state of bewilderment, as they have started to hear rumors of Jesus’ resurrection. As they walk along the road, the two process the heavy events of the last three days and the strange possibilities these new reports contain. Though they were not part of the original Twelve, they seemed to have been close enough to the inner circle to catch wind of the impossible news that Jesus was alive.

Then, things get interesting: “While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them” (Luke 24:15, ESV throughout). The resurrected Jesus interrupts their discussion—but they don’t recognize him. Luke attributes their blindness to a divine intention; Jesus doesn’t reveal himself. He simply walks with them on their long journey, incognito, discussing what’s on their minds.

It would have been a long conversation over the span of the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. On average, people walk at a pace of three miles per hour, which means Jesus traveled with them for about two and a half hours. He ends up guiding the dialogue into a long, thorough Bible lesson. He makes a case from Scripture for why they were not mistaken about who they hoped Jesus would be. At some point on the journey, a light began to crack in the hearts of this somber pair.

Suddenly, Jesus’ revelation occurs …

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