“…are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”
Imagine the two disciples walking to Emmaus. The Rabbi they had followed, believing him to be the hoped-for redeemer, had been ignominously crucified. As Herod’s palace, Pilate’s barracks, the Temple, and Golgotha receded into the distance, a man joined them asking questions. But this man responded to their exhausted incredulity with an unexpected Biblical history, explaining how Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah, Nehemiah and all Israel’s threads of promise and expectation had been pointing to Jesus’ suffering on the cross.
Imagine living your whole life waiting for a moment of glorious triumph, as part of a people who had been waiting for centuries, to discover that you didn’t recognise it in the public execution in front of you. Imagine discovering that God occasionally walks the road to Emmaus to talk with his friends.
Others discovered God on roads in different directions – Damascus, Caesarea, Ethiopia, Rome – they too asked “who are you Lord?”
Easter Monday is an extra day of rest in our calendar. It is the day after we mark the most important event in history – the resurrection of God; the resurrection of humanity.
It is a day when we do well to ask, “who is Jesus to us?” Is He the Jesus who emerges from the story of the Bible – the longed-for answer to the questions of prophets, judges, exiles, widows, kings and orphans? Is He the one whose story surprises and subverts our expectations – redefining everything we had hoped for?
Luke 24 redefines what leaving Jerusalem means. No longer an Exile of disappointment, despair or delayed promise, but now a call to take the story of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
At a time where fear and human fragility are everpresent in our public imagination, we need disciples who respond to the Lord they recognise and know within Scripture’s story. Disciples who rush back to Jerusalem to pick up and bear their crosses they left behind.
Dr Roshan Allpress, National Principal