I wasn’t planning on writing a part two to this post, but as I continue to write on Luke 24, it continues to flip me out. I love the way Jesus deals with His disciples post-resurrection.
So we left off last time with Cleopas and the unnamed disciple booking it back to Jerusalem to report that they had actually eaten dinner with Jesus. They arrive back to find the eleven apostles all abuzz with the news, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon [probably Simon Peter, see 1Cor 15:5]”! So Peter had seen Him, and the apostles were convinced that Jesus was really alive.
This must have been tremendously exciting news to the two from Emmaus. “No kidding! Peter saw Him, too? You’ll never believe the road trip we just had…”
Luke 24:36 reads, “Now as they said these things…” so while they were still telling the apostles all about their journey, “…Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them.”
Genius, I tell you. The timing could not be more perfect. No announcement, no fanfare, no entrance. Literally, no entrance — He didn’t use the door. He just showed up.
And again, we see how profoundly human these disciples were, and how prone to doing goofy things they were. It’s comforting to see. The first words out of Jesus’ mouth were, “Peace to you.” The first reaction of the disciples was that “they were terrified and frightened.” So essentially, Jesus shows up and says, “Don’t freak out,” and the disciples all freak out anyway.
Not only did they freak out, but they did so because they thought they were seeing a ghost. Remember, this is mere moments after they testified how Jesus was risen indeed. Peter had seen Him, alive. The two from Emmaus had seen Him, alive. And now the assumption was that He was a spook. It actually really encourages me to see how thick the disciples could be sometimes — it gives me hope for myself! If they ultimately made it in spite of themselves, by golly, so can I.
The best part is seeing how completely gentle Jesus is with them, even in their senseless doubt. He offered them His hands and feet to examine, so they could assure themselves that He was real flesh and bones. The disciples’ response? “…they still did not believe for joy, and marveled…” (24:41). They were moving in the right direction, but still needed a little push. So Jesus asked them for a snack.
Once He had their attention and they’d calmed down, He opened up their understanding, gently leading them down that same journey as the disciples on the road. I love to see how He consistently demonstrates compassion and love to these guys — and definitely, yes, a sense of humor.