How far would you travel to visit a dying friend? I’ll bet you’d be willing to travel to the other side of the globe, so long as you could hop on an airplane to get there. But would you be willing to walk 21 miles? Keep reading to learn about two men who travelled 21 miles for a dying friend. And the secrets they discovered on their journey were mind blowing and still elude people to this day.
The Preceding Events
All Jerusalem was buzzing. Christ, the promised Messiah had been crucified. He had shown Himself to be powerful with mighty deeds of healing the sick, forgiving sins, and correcting false ideas about the Law of God. Yet the religious leaders of the day had sentenced Him to the barbarous Roman-style death of crucifixion.
The Sabbath was drawing near and it was necessary to bury Jesus quickly so as to not break the Law. A rich man provided a burial grave, and His closest friends and family laid the lifeless Messiah to rest. Though Jesus had warned His friends that these things were to happen and that He would rise again — it was too difficult for them to believe.
The First Seven Miles: from Emmaus
One friend of Jesus, Cleopas, had travelled seven miles to witness the events that would turn the world upside down. But it was the Sabbath and the journey home was too far to be lawful. So he stayed in Jerusalem with his companion until the first day of the week — when they would begin the seven mile journey home. By then news had spread that Jesus’ body was no longer in the grave, and some of the women had reported that they had actually seen Him alive.
The Second Seven Miles: to Emmaus
Cleopas and his friend didn’t believe Jesus could be alive and were traveling home to Emmaus with downcast faces, when suddenly a man joined them on the road.
The stranger asked Cleopas and his companion what topic they were discussing. Cleopas answered incredulously, “Do you not know what has transpired?” and went on to explain the events of the crucifixion and the reports that Jesus had been seen alive in a vision by women, but that the men did not see Jesus alive.
The unknown traveling companion chided Cleopas and his friend, calling them “slow of heart” and “foolish” for not believing everything that was written in the Scriptures. And for the remaining journey, he walked with them explaining from the Old Testament everything that had been prophesied concerning the life and death of the Messiah who had been crucified.
When the three men arrived in Emmaus, the stranger began to walk on, but the two invited him to stay with them for it was getting late. The man agreed, and they sat down to have a meal together. The stranger picked up a loaf of bread, broke it apart, blessed it, and handed it to Cleopas to eat. Immediately, Cleopas and his friend recognized that it was Jesus Himself who had been walking with them for the seven mile journey, explaining the Scriptures.
The Third Seven Miles: Back Again
As soon as they realized that the man was Jesus, He disappeared from their sight. Now they knew that the reports were true. Jesus had raised from the dead; they had seen Him themselves. They were so excited, that even though it was evening, they immediately went back to Jerusalem (another seven miles) to tell the other friends of Jesus that they too had seen Him alive. Over the three day period, they had walked a total of 21 miles. Walking was the primary mode of transportation during Bible times — and those were the most important 21 miles of their life.
They had seen Jesus crucified and buried. They had heard reports that He was alive. And those reports were confirmed by Jesus Himself — who explained from the Scriptures what it all meant. And with great excitement, they rushed back to share the good news with others.
What a joyous journey! Can you imagine having Jesus Himself explain the Scriptures to you? Starting from Genesis?
Before Jesus died, He had already told His friends that the Old Testament was all about Him. The Bible scholars of Jesus’ day missed it — and so do many modern day scholars. But once you know He’s there — you’ll find Him everywhere. And you will never read the Bible the same way again.
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© 2017 Mischelle Sandowich
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