Imagine the disappointment. However long you’ve been walking with Jesus, learning from Him and learning of His ways – it’s all over.
When it comes to the two disciples of Jesus traveling to the village of Emmaus, we don’t know much. (We don’t even know which Emmaus they were traveling to, as there are two villages named Emmaus about that far from Jerusalem.) The only thing we do know is one of them was named Cleopas.
The other thing we know is they were disappointed, and they had a lot to be disappointed about. Whatever they had thought about what Jesus had come to do, His death had brought all of that to an end. Their lives which had soared emotionally and spiritually and legally and logically in His presence were now ship-wrecked. Back to square one…
Jesus joined them in their disappointment, drawing them out and drawing them along. One thing we can say for Jesus: He always desired people to come to Him out of thinking for themselves about Who He was, and coming to their own conviction and conclusion.
For this reason, Jesus did not physically reveal Himself to these disappointed disciples. His physical presence was veiled in a way we cannot understand. Their eyes were hindered from recognizing the One they had followed and seen many times. In fact, I think we can be fairly certain when in Jesus’ presence, His disciples could not take their eyes off of Him. Now their eyes failed them because Jesus would not allow recognition by sight. Not yet.
Jesus spoke to them of their sadness; and the source of it – as if He didn’t know. The obvious nature of their disappointment was being borne by all of Jesus’ disciples in these days, and is revealed by the incredulous response of Cleopas. Basically – “Have you been living under a rock? How could you not know what has been happening in Jerusalem in these days?”
But Jesus was not rebuffed by his response, because He was on a rescue mission. Jesus will never leave His followers alone, and this is one lesson we certainly learn here. He would end their quandary – but not before completely informing them why these things had to be.