They got up at once and returned to Jerusalem.
— Luke 24:33
On the Appalachian Trail, I hiked more than 10 hours one day to Elk Pond Mountain. Buoyed by spectacular views of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, I clipped along in the morning. But by late afternoon I was dragging.
That’s not how it was for two followers of Jesus, though, as they retraced the seven-mile journey back to Jerusalem from the village of Emmaus.
Luke doesn’t tell us much about them, but earlier that day they were deeply engaged in discussing Jesus’ death and their surprise about his empty tomb. They didn’t even notice when Jesus himself quietly joined them on the road. Hearing their bewilderment, Jesus challenged their understanding about him, clarifying that the Messiah came to suffer and die before rising again to enter his glory. When they reached Emmaus, they invited Jesus in to eat. And in the breaking of the bread “their eyes were opened and they recognized him” as the risen Lord! Then Jesus suddenly vanished. Forgetting all fatigue, they jumped up and raced back to Jerusalem.
Following his resurrection, Jesus was full of surprises, and they advanced his purposes in fulfilling God’s plan of salvation. Even today, though we know some things about the final outcome of God’s plan, we can’t be sure of all the details. So let’s be sure to keep worshiping and serving him as he leads us by his Spirit.
Lord Jesus, you are risen, indeed! Help us to be on the lookout for your ongoing work in our lives and in our world. Amen.