By Barrett Vanlandingham
Just when you thought you knew all of the names in the Bible, someone like Cleopas comes along. And even though you may not have heard of Cleopas, you may have heard the story of what happened on the road to Emmaus. Luke tells the story in Luke 24:13-35, and it is of great importance to all Christians. I will explain why, later.
The story takes place on the Sunday after the crucifixion of Jesus. Cleopas and another follower of Jesus were walking from Jerusalem to a town called Emmaus which was about seven miles away. The men were very sad that such a great teacher had been put to death.
The events of the weekend were so horrific that some of Jesus’ followers, including Cleopas, either forgot or didn’t understand the prophecies that Jesus would not only die on a cross, but that he would rise again (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Psalm 16:9-10). The Lord himself had also prophesied his own resurrection when he told the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days (John 2:19).”
Women who visited the site where Jesus’ body was laid and guarded told Cleopas and several other disciples about the empty tomb, but most did not believe the news (Luke 24:11). It was only on the road to Emmaus when Cleopas unknowingly shared his doubts and uncertainties with the resurrected Jesus that things became clearer.
“As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him (Luke 24:15-16).”
When Jesus asked them what they were discussing, they presumed he was a visitor to the area. So they sadly told him about the crucifixion and how they had hoped that Jesus would bring Israel back into power (instead of the Romans), and about the reports that Jesus’ body was missing.
Jesus took this opportunity to remind them of the things spoken by the prophets long before, and that the Christ would suffer and ascend back to his father. Jesus had supper with them and allowed them to recognize who he was for a brief moment after he gave thanks for the bread and handed it to them, and then he disappeared. The men quickly began to tell others about their experience.
Three quick lessons we can learn from Cleopas:
• It is a good thing to discuss your struggles and doubts with other Christians, and to go to God in prayer (James 5:16).
• It is good to seek information from God’s word that will shed light on your questions. Romans 1:20 says that we can even learn some things about God from examining what He has created.
• It is good to share information with others about matters of faith you have discovered. This will be an encouragement to you and to those you share Jesus with.
Have a blessed week and remember, whether in times of peace or stress, to allow Jesus to share his word, the bread of life, with you.
Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.