On the day of the resurrection, according to Luke, two people went for a walk to the town of Emmaus. One named Cleopas, one unnamed. And we don’t know more than that. They were disciples of Jesus. Not the twelve, but disciples. People who had paid attention to Jesus.
Nancy and I walk often, sometimes every day. We try to walk two miles. It takes about half an hour. So this seven-mile walk gave these two people who walked all the time everywhere a couple of hours to talk.
Nancy and I walk for the health of it. Partly our physical health. Two miles is about 4,000 steps of the 10,000 or so steps that health people encourage us to get.
But even more important than the physical health is the relational health, the mental health. When you walk, it’s easier to have silence because you are doing something. When you walk, it’s easier to talk about hard things because you don’t have to look at each other. When you walk, the distance gives you a time commitment that thoughtful words can fill.
Nancy and I have walked our way through a couple of kids’ weddings, several job changes, the deaths of two parents. Walking can be a great place for trying to make sense of experience.
And that day on the road to Emmaus, two people were trying to make sense of their experience.
Beyond the one name, which was a male name, we don’t know anything about the two people. It is entirely possible that they were like Nancy and me; a married couple, on their way back home after a week-long trip to the big city.
They may have been part of the group that went to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, cheering for Jesus, listening to him teach for the week, in the holy city for the Passover.
They certainly were followers of Jesus and probably had been for a long time. They had heard about Jesus teaching. They had heard Jesus teach. They knew the other disciples (well enough to go find them at the end of this story). They had watched him die. They had heard rumors of his resurrection. And they were processing it.
On a walk to Emmaus.
Photo thanks to Megin.