The Emmaus Story
The Emmaus story in the Bible is quite remarkable.
Two of Jesus’ disciples were walking along the road to a town called Emmaus (our namesake). As they were going along, they were talking about Jesus entering Jerusalem a little over a week before. Continuing, they talked about Jesus’ trial in the middle of the night, his abuse at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans. They talked about his crucifixion and death, and shared their amazement at the rumors that Christ was still alive and had risen from the dead. They had questions. The more they talked, the more questions they had. Then, Jesus came near and walked with them.
We at Emmaus Counseling Center see our role in this same way. We are called to “come near”. People often have questions about life, relationships, and emotional well-being. Often, coming near to a person who has had his or her world turned upside down is healing. Since The Center is a place of healing in the Christian sense, we invite Christ and His Holy Spirit to be a part of the healing experience as well. What an awesome privilege and responsibility to “come near” to those in a time of great need.
Jesus also “walked along with them”. The road is a metaphor of a life journey.
At Emmaus Counseling Center, we join others for a leg of a person’s journey until we get to their Emmaus.
Something else important happened on that road. Jesus explained and interpreted Scripture.
Often in this life’s journey, confronted with the deepest longings of the human condition, we can describe what is happening to us, to those we care about, to the world around us. But, we find ourselves woefully inadequate in being able to understand why these things are happening, and perhaps more importantly, how we ought to respond to the circumstances. At The Center, we cannot claim to know all things. But, we can walk with others as they reach some level of understanding and acceptance. We can encourage and train them to take those next steps in putting their life back together. Sometimes that journey is brief –only one or two encounters. Sometimes, when the hurt is deeper, that road lasts one or two years. Sometimes, after time has passed, we have the privilege to rejoin them as they enter another difficult stretch in their life.
I also like that this part of the journey was not about Jesus, the person walking with them, but about the need the disciples had to be renewed in faith and hope. In the same way our desire and our aim is restored hope for those we work with.
BJ Olson, Executive Director
Luke 24:13-35 (NIV) On the Road to Emmaus
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 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.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.