148: Peace be with you!
The two men in Emmaus were too excited to eat the supper before them. Jesus had been with them!
After their holy adventure, all feelings of hunger and weariness left them. They let their meal stand and set off immediately for Jerusalem, following the same long road they had just taken to Emmaus. They had to go straight to the disciples to bring them the good news they had just received!
It was dark when they arrived at the house where the disciples were gathered, but there was still a light burning inside. They had to knock on the door, for the door was barred against the Jews. When they said their names, they were let in at once.
As they stood on the threshhold, before they had a chance to say a word, they were given some joyful news themselves: "The Lord is truly risen and has appeared to Peter!"
Then they told with great joy how Jesus came up to them when they were on the road to Emmaus and how they finally recognized Him when He broke bread with them. They were all as happy as lost children who had found their father at last.
Even while they were talking about these glorious things, they suddenly found someone standing in their midst. A calm voice said, "Peace be with you!"
The disciples shrank back in fear. Was it Jesus who stood before them? That was impossible. The doors were all closed and barred! Or could it be a ghost, a spirit from the realm of the dead?
But the voice they loved, the voice they could have picked out of thousands, spoke up and said, "Why are you dismayed, and why do you think such strange things? Look at My hands and My feet, and you will see that it really is Jesus who stands before you. Touch Me and see for yourselves. A spirit does not have flesh and bones, as I have."
He extended His hands to them and showed them His feet. They could clearly see the marks left by the nails. Then He rebuked them gently because they had so little faith.
They were still so happy that they could not quite believe it but continued to stare at Him in silent amazement. He said, "Do you have anything to eat here?"
They handed Him a piece of baked fish. Jesus ate some, to banish the idea that the heavenly body in which He now appeared to them did not need food. Then they finally believed and surrounded Him, full of joy, with adoration in their hearts.
It was a rare, glorious evening for the disciples. They sat at their Master's feet just as they used to do and listened to His kind, friendly voice. They could not keep their eyes from Him. But they no longer interrupted Him and did not contradict Him the way they used to do. They listened in silent reverence and adoration.
When Jesus explained the Scriptures to them, just as He had done for the two men on the road to Emmaus, they bowed their heads in deep shame. Now they finally saw how little trust they had placed in their Master and how little faith they had. They had hardly remembered His words at all.
Even so, Jesus still wanted them as His disciples. And that wasn't all: He wanted them to become His apostles. They were to go into the world as His emissaries and bring people everywhere the good news that Jesus had died for the sins of others and had arisen from the dead. To all who believed in Him, the disciples were permitted to say, "Your sins are forgiven. Heaven now stands open before you."