Cleopas on the Emmaus Road is astonished that anyone coming from the direction of Jerusalem should be in ignorance of the trial and death of Jesus, with the defeat of His cause. Almost petulantly he answers the inquiry about the cause of his sadness. “Don’t you know the things that have happened?”
The question is like the despairing gesture of a defeated, disillusioned and hopeless man. All was lost. Their leader was fallen. Their hopes had gone with him into the grave. How can anyone come from the scene of such tragic events and yet know so little of their grief and disappointment? But the third traveler who had joined them did nothing to allay the incredulity of the other two, when He quietly countered, “What things?” (Luke 24:19).
Yet He was in fact the principal sufferer, the cause and the center of “the things which had come to pass.” He was Himself the pain-racked sufferer at the heart of “these things.” Yet, with the empty grave behind Him, the agony past, and a vision that put time and eternity in true proportion, He quietly put the sufferings in the light of His victory, with the wonderful words, “What things?”
Was there ever a more astonishing and glorious question? With simple dignity, and yet supreme authority, He takes hold of the dictates of evil and thrusts them into the background. The leers and jeers, the barbaric cruelties, the scorching lashes, the mockery, the crimson robe, the ridiculous reed, the spiteful crown, the heavy cross, the shrieking maledictions, the stripping and the shame, the death walk of the condemned, the nailing and the railing, as He went down into death! “What things?” Yes, indeed, who knows the answer but He who suffered “these things.”
All too often, we who are His disciples permit ourselves to be dominated by the things that happen. These little words tyrannize us and make our lives a journey along heartbreak road.
As we journey along the road, running away from the world of our broken dreams, One draws near and walks with us. We tell Him the things that are troubling us. Quietly, strongly, with the tones of boundless love and limitless power, our Lord replies, “What things?” and just that direct and simple question dispels our fears, restores our peace.
On your Emmaus Road, you will find Him walking by your side. As He speaks, instead of being obsessed by “these things” you will, as those of old, go forth with a living word of witness, “We have seen the Lord!” (John 20:25).
Albert Orsborn, The War Cry