On the Road from Emmaus

On the Road from Emmaus and Man Alive! were written on different occasions and are two possible presentations related to the same scripture passage. The former imagines Matthias (later appointed as a witness of the resurrection in Judas' place in Acts 1.26) as Cleopas' companion. The latter gives this role to Zebedee, father of James and John. These different characters inject different possibilities into the conversation and I present them as two distinct dramas without attempts to merge the stories or reconcile the details. The second makes use of my own fairly free translation of the text.

Reader:Luke 24:13­31.
Cleopas and his friend Matthias looked at one another in amazement. The eleven kilometres from Jerusalem to Emmaus had seemed a long journey. But their minds were soon made up - they must hurry back to Jerusalem.
MATTHIAS: It's true, Cleopas! Jesus is alive!
CLEOPAS:The women were right! The body of Jesus wasn't there in the tomb...
MATTHIAS:... because Jesus is alive!
CLEOPAS: Why didn't we recognise Jesus when he began walking alongside us on the road?
MATTHIAS:We weren't expecting him!
CLEOPAS:His death was so real, so agonising, so horrible! There was no question that Jesus was dead. Everyone in Jerusalem knows for sure that Jesus died. Many of them came to watch. Friends or enemies, they saw it happen.
MATTHIAS:And the Jewish authorities made doubly sure of it too. A spear was thrust into his side before his body was removed from the cross.
CLEOPAS:Graphic! Vivid! Horrible!
MATTHIAS:I don't know about you, Cleopas, but I just didn't know what to think when the women came back from the tomb this morning.
CLEOPAS:It looked obvious. The body had gone - probably stolen.
MATTHIAS:But what about the vision?
CLEOPAS:We know "what about the vision" now! But then - it just left me puzzled and confused.
MATTHIAS:Peter confirmed that the body had gone.
CLEOPAS:But he saw no signs of Jesus!
MATTHIAS:Just wait till we tell them in Jerusalem. There's just no doubt about it - Jesus is alive!
CLEOPAS:Wasn't it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?
MATTHIAS:You could feel the sadness and discouragement lifting. "It was necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and to enter his glory", he said.
CLEOPAS:I feel as if we've suddenly learnt a great deal about Jesus -who he really is - the promised Messiah, the Son of God.
MATTHIAS:And about why he came!
CLEOPAS:We've all appreciated his teaching and been amazed at his miracles.
MATTHIAS:That Isaiah passage struck me - "wounded for our transgressions", "bruised for our iniquities".
CLEOPAS:We must have heard that a hundred times and not understood what it really meant!
MATTHIAS:So now we know why he died - he died for our sins!
CLEOPAS:And not just because of our sins!
MATTHIAS:We've made good time - we're almost there!
CLEOPAS:And coming back's uphill!
MATTHIAS:I can't wait to tell them!
CLEOPAS:It's such exciting news! Jesus is alive!
Arriving at the house where the eleven disciples were gathered, they discovered that they were not the only ones to have seen their risen Lord. They were told, "The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon Peter!"
Reader:Luke 24.35.

From Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship by Peter J. Blackburn published by Testimonium Fellowship 1992, © Peter J. Blackburn.
Permission is given for copying of this document for local use with this copyright notice intact. For any other proposed use the specific permission of Peter J. Blackburn must be sought.

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