Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?
On the third day after the crucifixion, on the first day of the week, women came to the tomb to embalm the Master. To their great surprise Yeshua's body had disappeared. Though incredulous, upon hearing the women’s accounts Peter and John ran to the tomb only to be faced with the same conclusions.
Did he really disappear? Coming to them on several occasions, Yeshua soon comforted the disciple’s worries. He had resurrected and was now returning to give them his instructions for the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. While all this transpired, two disciples who had come to Judea for the pilgrimage festival of Passover left Jerusalem for the village of Emmaus (Luke 24).
As Cleopas and his travelling companion still grieve the death of their Master, a stranger joins them on their journey. As their new travelling companion wonders about their conversation, they ask, "Don’t you know what happened three days ago in Jerusalem? We thought that the famous Galilean prophet, Yeshua Hanotzri הנוצרי ישוע was the Messiah. We thought he would be the one gathering back the Children of Israel from the four corners of the earth and re-establish us as a sovereign country but alas, the Temple's authorities did not approve of him; they turned him in to the Romans to be crucified as a traitor and a criminal. To top it all, some our friends went to the tomb this morning and found it empty. We are still shocked at the whole thing; and also confused."
Upon hearing this account, starting with Moses and the prophets, the stranger demonstrated to the disciples that all had happened according to Scripture and that they should not worry. Upon hearing the words of the old prophecies in their messianic perspective, the two discouraged disciples were filled with hope again. As they sat at the table, the stranger initiated the meal with a blessing; the disciples then realized that their travelling companion was the resurrected Master. Right away they decided to return to Jerusalem.
This story is everyone’s story. In confusion and discouragement, we often leave Jerusalem to return to the same old ways. As with the other disciples, no empty tomb and no amount of convincing preaching could have changed the mind of these Jewish disciples. They needed to see the resurrected Master and he is the one who needed to open their eyes. As a matter of fact, It is also the only way that Israel as a nation can and will eventually see and recognize it’s Messiah, not through smart preaching or exposés of circumstantial evidence, but when he comes in the clouds at the end of this age (Zech.12:10; Acts 1:11). As soon as they recognized their beloved Master, they repented, and returned to Jerusalem.
Weather Jew or Gentile, meeting the resurrected Master should create in us a spirit of Teshuvah תשובה, of repentance that brings us back to the origins of our faith, to the place where we belong, to Jerusalem. After three days of Yeshua's absence, the disciples were already straying from the faith, but the Master ran after them. He met them at the tomb, and in their house where he spoke with Thomas (John 20:27). He even met them on the road to Emmaus, just in order to bring them back to Jerusalem where they were to remain until the next pilgrimage festival of Shavuot שבעות on Pentecost (Acts 1:4).
In these days of preparation leading to the awesome Day of Yom Hakippurim הכיפורים יום and the fall festivals, may our meditations grant us the presence of the Master that causes us to repent and return; to repent from our straying, and return to the Jerusalem where we belong.
May we also be found doing his will on the Day of his coming.