I’m on a vacation this week from work. We are not going away to the beach or going camping or anything like that. We’re just hanging out around home and going about life as normal for the most part. Oh, we’ll take little day trips here and there, take the kids to the zoo, maybe go to the lake for a while to fish….things like that, but no big, headed out of state, vacation. We’re going to take life as it comes this week.
We live and work in such a high-paced society that even when we are to “relax” on vacation, the pace is still hectic. We never get a chance to just unwind. This week I want to unwind and walk with Jesus as he walked with the two men to Emmaus.
At church we’ve been going through a teaching series of “Where have we met Christ in our lives?”, and this week we talked about Luke 24:13-34. I won’t repeat it all here, go read it, but let me lay out some background for you. It’s the day of the Resurrection and two of Jesus’ followers are walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. Jesus appears to them (though they did not recognize him yet as they were so focused on their own problems and disappointments) and begins to walk and talk with them. These men failed to realize that Christ’s suffering was his path to glory. So Jesus spends the rest of the time on the walk to teach them Scripture and how it all leads to Jesus.
So let’s step back from this a moment and think about it. Here are these two guys, one who is not named (the other we find out is named Cleopas) and their only supposed mention in all of the Bible is in the parallel story in Mark 16. We know nothing about their background, other than they were followers of Jesus before his crucifixion. They are walking to a small village 7 miles away from where they start. Jesus appears and they begin to talk with and eventually be taught by Jesus. How long does it take to walk 7 miles? Probably a couple hours if walking at a normal speed, but let’s slow that down a bit since they were having a deep conversation, so let’s suppose it takes them 4 hours.
So there was Jesus, on the biggest day of his ministry…..the day he defeated death and he is spending 4 hours talking with two seemingly random people. Jesus, could have just appeared to them and said “I am Jesus, the son of the living God, resurrected from death to wash away your sins” and the effect would have been the same and taken a lot less time. He could have been on appearing to more people and those two travelers could have ran back to Jerusalem to spread the good news that much quicker…..but no, Jesus took the time to just talk with them, to walk with them, to teach them. I think Jesus like’s the relationship.
I’ve often prayed for a quick answer from God, only to have it take a long time. I’ve often wished that God would just pump all kinds of wisdom into my head and then I’d have all the answers, but it doesn’t work like that does it. God takes us on a journey, because he likes the relationship we develop with him. He likes those long conversations we have with him. He likes being by our side on those slow long walks to Emmaus.
With our hectic and fast-paced lives we lead, we don’t take the time to have long talks or long walks. We don’t have time to build relationships with people. We don’t take the time spend long quiet evenings sitting on the porch just taking in all of God’s creation. If we’re lucky we try to squeeze a few minutes in the morning for a quick prayer or maybe one before bed at night. We may have a few minutes to read a few verses of the Bible, if we’re lucky and can squeeze it in somewhere. We don’t have time for those long walks to Emmaus.
Jesus wants a relationship with you. He’s not about increasing his number of followers just to look at the total headcount. He wants to look at us when we meet him in heaven and say “Jason, my old friend, you’re home at last.” or “Denise, our long journey together is finished, we’ve reached our destination.”
I plan this week off from work to take a slow long walk to my Emmaus with Jesus.