Luke's story of the risen Christ meeting the two travelers on the road to Emmaus is a many-layered work of wonder and beauty. It is a dramatic tale that invites reflection on the mysterious presence and absence of the risen Christ. It offers a glimpse of the essential pattern of what Christians do when they gather on the first day of the week, meeting the risen One in the opening of the word and the sharing of the meal.
The travelers also represent a sort of Christian Everyman and Everywoman. Their story pictures so well important elements of the experience of faith. In their journey, the risen Christ meets them when they are feeling dispirited and confused, opens their minds through word and meal, and gives insight and renews courage, so that they are strengthened to be witnesses to the risen Lord. –– Aaron J. Couch
GOSPEL READING: Luke 24:13-35
Here were two of Jesus' followers returning home after the disheartening events in Jerusalem at the Passover. They left pondering questions as they journeyed along the way. In the midst of their doubts, questions and fears, comes Jesus. The plan that they had envisioned, of this Jesus who was the Messiah and would liberate Israel from Roman rule, was step by step replaced by Jesus as he explained the plan of God that had escaped them: that the Messiah should suffer before entering into glory. Their eyes were opened as they once again had table fellowship with their rabbi, and they saw through the eyes of God's plan and not the eyes of their own plan.
As the Easter season progresses, and with it the risk of taking the good news of resurrection for granted, the texts this Sunday call us back to the mystery of God's plan of salvation and its call on our lives. It further invites us to celebrate the deliverance and release of God's salvation in the breaking of bread, our ongoing table fellowship with the risen Christ. –– Todd E. Johnson
FIRST READING: Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Peter's sermon in Acts is directed at [those] . . . whose plan was to eliminate the heresy and distortion of the law. They rejected Jesus, who was the one God sent to save. While they rejected Christ, God validated him, raising him from the dead. The promises made to David were fulfilled in Jesus in ways the people of Jerusalem at Passover could never imagine. Their plans and devices were at odds with God's plans, and now was their opportunity to repent. –– Todd E. Johnson
EPISTLE READING: 1 Peter 1:17-23
The themes of God's saving plan are repeated in Peter's epistle, where Christ is named the one who has liberated us from sin and injustice and redeemed us with his blood. Jesus has become the object of our faith and hope through the resurrection and has validated God's plan. We are invited to abandon God's futile ways and embrace God's plan, which was established before the foundation of the world. –– Todd E. Johnson
Aaron Couch is a co-pastor of First Immanuel Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon.
Todd E. Johnson is associate professor of worship, theology, and the arts at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.
Homily Service 41, no. 2 (2007): 129-136.