Sept 25th - Cleopas
When we read the Scriptures we sometimes forget that the people we read about are real people, even if they are not given a name. They lived, they died. They meet others and had families and friends. They worshiped and they sinned. They prayed and they had the same daily desires and needs as each of us.
But often, we just see them in that moment captured in the Scriptures. We do not wonder what happened before in their lives or after their encounter with God, as if an old snapshot that we find in a drawer were everything those in the picture ever were.
But also, like an old photo, in is a glimpse into their lives at that moment. We are given the chance to learn from them, that is why they are in the story.
Cleopas is one such person. He is one of the two disciples of the Way to Emmaus, the other being named - oh wait, we are not told. Was he any less important than Cleopas? Did he go on to just a simple witness and not rise to the level of Cleopas in the community such that his name is not remembered?
Who knows. But I do know that without him Cleopas would have had no one to talk to.
But we do know Cleopas, because Luke mentions him by name. Who was he before? We do not know. We can know that Jesus thought enough of him to appear and walk and talk with him. As to afterwards, we can only guess the influence and Faith that he had and practiced that got him remembered in such a way, immortalized in Scripture and instrumental in witnessing to the Resurrection of Christ.
Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
-- Luke 24:13-35
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