The Road to Emmaus
by: Tom Bast
“We had hoped . . .” Are there any sadder, more poignant words recorded in all Scripture? Jesus’ death had scattered the disciples and shattered their hopes and dreams. The disciples were downcast. Everything they believed in had ended in gloom and defeat. They did not remember that Jesus had predicted his own suffering and death and beyond that, his resurrection. Nor his promise, “You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20). And yet this is exactly what happened.
To believe in the resurrection in the secular, cynical age in which we live may be hard for us. Yet it’s important to remember, as C. S. Lewis says, that when asking whether or not miracles are possible, we ask not what can happen (for no one is able to answer that), but what did happen. The disciples on the road to Emmaus were themselves skeptical about reports of the empty tomb and what that meant. They didn’t recognize Jesus because they knew that dead people, once dead, do not rise again.
The Italian mathematician, physicist, and philosopher Galileo was forced to recant his conviction that the earth moves around the sun rather than the sun around the earth. After he did, Galileo was heard to say, “And yet, it moves.” Similarly, with death all around us seeming to have the last word, we can say, “And yet he rose!”