My eyes were cast on the rocks that lined the path. The obstacles that might turn an ankle and make an already bad day, worse. My head spins at what has been told to me by my friends.
I walk with another friend on this road, we talk about everything that has happened. With downcast eyes we try to make sense of madness. Perhaps we are going mad.
We’ve been so focused on our conversation, the road, the rocks, that we didn’t notice the stranger walking with us. No point in formalities, I didn’t feel like being mannerly, anyway. Out of the corner of my eye, I nod, and acknowledge his presence. This stranger interrupts our conversation with questions: What is this discussion that we are so enthralled in? Can’t be good because we look so forlorn. What is the matter?
My friend says with a tone of sarcasm, laughing, Are you the only person around here who doesn’t know the things that have happened? The stranger asks, What things? My friend and I keep our heads down and tell him all about Jesus, who was a mighty prophet, he did miraculous things! He was a good man. He said miraculous things. He was miraculous. But the chief priests and rulers handed him over to be crucified. He’s dead now. We were hoping that he was the one who would save us. That was three days ago. Our world has been turned upside down. He wasn’t who we thought he was.
Those last words hung in the air.
We continued with our story: And now some friends in our group have nearly driven us out of our minds. They went to his tomb early this morning, and they returned shaken, saying his body was gone, and that they saw a vision of angels….Oh, and by the way, they say he’s alive. Others said his tomb certainly IS empty.
If the stranger hasn’t turned to walk the other way yet, sure he will now. Yes, we are quite mad. My eyes shifted to see if he was still walking with us. Still there.
The stranger laughed a little as he said that we had belief issues. He said, Don’t you think it was necessary that all this happened? Quite fitting, really, if you think about it. Suffering before He enters into His glory. Right?
This stranger is different. What is it about him? We both invite him to stay with us for the evening. It’s almost supper time, anyway.
We sit down for supper. And the stranger, what was his name, again? He takes the bread, breaks it, and thanks God. It takes me back to another time. He breaks the bread, and gives thanks… All at once, our eyes meet.
Then He vanishes. Gone. The torn bread on the table…the body. The wine in the cup…the blood. As if I’m hit by a torrent of flood waters, I understand what He meant. What it was all for.
How did we not know it was Him the whole time? How could I have been so focused on what I thought was true to not see the Lord right beside me? This whole time?
In my deepest despair, Jesus has been in my midst. This risen Lord has been alongside me on this road.
He is true. He is alive. He has saved us.
We must go tell others.