Two weary-hearted friends trudged slowly home. Days before they were anticipating the Passover festival and wondering what they would witness as they followed the steps of the young rabbi. Would His friend Lazarus of Bethany attend the festivities, the one He brought back to life from the dead?
Would there be more healings?
More disturbances to the settled religious system?
The religious leaders feared the popularity of the Man from Nazareth. Rumors of death threats had been whispered. But Cleopas and his companion thought they saw in Him reason for hope. They’d even dared to think He might be the long awaited One.
But now darkness had ripped through hope. Confusion-filled thoughts tumbled one after another over painful flashbacks. The sudden turn of events, and the horror of seeing the One they hoped would be their redeemer hanging like a wretched criminal, sent them home with doubt’s aching sadness. The seven mile journey back to Emmaus provided room to vent their pain but words were hard to come by.
Their hearts were held captive by despair when they were joined by another. The Truth speaker came alongside to share the burden of road with them and to ask a question. He’s good at that.
I’m not sure why they didn’t recognize Jesus. I imagine a resurrected Christ must appear somewhat visibly different than a suffering Savior. But I also know that when I’m in the grave of despair—I often miss seeing Him. He can be working right in front of my face and I’m blind to it.
And just as He does with me, He walked with them and listened as they poured it all out to Him. And in the way only He can do, He tenderly rebuked doubt with a question meant to turn hearts toward truth.
“Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26
Was it not necessary? Necessary?
And with that one word He provides the key to all suffering, the answer to the confusion over every painful event. In order to set all things right, to reverse the curse, to obtain our redemption . . . the cross was necessary.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more pain.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more tears of sorrow.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more aching loneliness.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more flesh-corrupting cancer.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no such thing as suffering.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no such thing as sin.
The cross was necessary.
When they first left Jerusalem all they could see was the loss of a dream, the ending of hope. They couldn’t see beyond their own sorrow. They didn’t realize the cross was part of the plan. The cross was really the answer to all their questions and to every question that has ever been uttered by fallen flesh.
As the Life-giver explained Himself and took them through the Scriptures that their eyes might be opened to recognize Him . . . a burning began. Their hearts were on fire! The knowledge of who He was blazed within and they couldn’t contain what they now understood. The gospel had set them on fire and they had to tell everyone!
Has your heart been set on fire by Him?
Tell me about it.