The stranger asked them what they were talking about and they replied: “About Jesus of Nazareth …. He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel ...” (vv. 19-21).
The stranger joined the conversation, and the three individuals talked until they came to Emmaus. Once there the two disciples urged the stranger to stay the evening with them and join their meal. So, Luke tells us the stranger accepted and: “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight” (vv. 31-32).
Reading the story from our perspective, with hindsight, we realize immediately that the stranger was, of course, Jesus, but something that we often neglect to think much about in this story is the fact that the two disciples were unaware that the One of whom they spoke was in fact the person with whom they spoke. The two disciples had actually been talking about the person who was with them. If that had happened to us, that we discovered someone we talked about had been the person involved – would we have wondered afterwards what we had said, wondered about any negative or critical things that might have been part of our conversation?
If we believe the simple Christian truth that Christ lives his life in each called and committed individual, does the principle not apply that whenever we talk to a fellow believer – or about a fellow believer – we are talking with Christ whether we realize it or not? It is the principle behind the related situation Jesus described in saying “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). It is something to remember. In that small way, we are all walking the road to Emmaus.