He is Alive!
Mary wrapped barley bread, dried olives, dates, and figs in a cloth and placed them in her husband’s pouch. Cleopas extended his arms, allowing her to tighten his girdle with a clasp. Her nervous hands tucked coins in the left side of his girdle, then she fastened his pouch on his right side. When Cleopas lowered his arms, Mary beckoned him to raise his left arm again so she could slip a water-filled goatskin over his shoulder. Mary tugged at his sword attached to his girdle. Satisfied it was tight enough, she stepped back and looked him over. Her sad penetrating eyes pleaded with him to stay.
“I wish you would stay with us,” Mary whispered. “There is danger.”
Cleopas kissed her on the forehead then held her tight. “I will return before nightfall tomorrow. Do not worry.”
Mary gazed over her shoulder at the disciples. “Everyone wonders what the Romans will do next. I am afraid for you.”
“Meydad is with me and we will protect one another if anything goes wrong. There is no need for concern. If Ha’Adon is willing, I will return.”
“Be safe,” Mary said.
“Meydad, come,” Cleopas said as he laid a firm hand on Meydad’s shoulder. “We must go.”
Cleopas took one last look at the disciples, each one standing or sitting in various areas of the room, their faces perplexed from the stories the women had told them. Peter seemed to be the one most disturbed. He couldn’t keep still. Earlier this morning they discovered Yeshua’s tomb was empty. Peter fled the house with John (whom Yeshua loved). Cleopas and several others followed Peter, all rushing to the tomb. It was as the women had said. The tomb was empty. Yeshua was gone. Distraught and weakened by what he had seen, Cleopas returned to the house, wondering what all of this meant.
The disciple hugged his wife again then he and Meydad set out for Emmaus on foot. They took time to labor through memories of the last three days, how they had gone from joy to sadness in such a short span of time. Cleopas couldn’t believe he had witnessed Yeshua riding into the city on a donkey, everyone rejoicing and praising the Messiah. Then the next day, Yeshua was carrying his cross on that long walk to Golgotha.
Cleopas couldn’t reconcile the live Messiah with the dead Messiah who had succumbed to a torturous beating and crucifixion. To complicate matters, Mary Magdalene claimed to have seen him. Cleopas didn’t know what to make of this.
“I am the resurrection and the life . . .”
Those words burned his soul even now, but he no more understood them today than he did yesterday.
“What are you thinking, Cleopas? You have not said a word since we left Jerusalem,” Meydad said.
“I am searching for understanding.”
“I am too. Do you still believe Yeshua was the Messiah?”
“I do, but there is so much that does not make sense to me.”
“Now that he is dead, the answers may have been buried with him,” Meydad said.
“I do not get it, Meydad. One day he is preaching ‘I am the way,’ and the next day he is gone. And we do not have a body to prove he died. I know he died. I saw him. Bloody linen in the tomb attests to the fact that he was there.”
“You think the Romans took him?”
“Perhaps.” After a slight pause, he said, emphatically, “No! But if Mary Magdalene saw him, where is he?” A long silence wedged between Cleopas and Meydad as the two men pondered the question. “You should have seen him in the temple, Meydad. I have never heard words spoken with such authority. He spoke as though he’d spent his whole life above the heavens.” Cleopas stopped and stared at the clouds. “He spoke of love and unity . . . of G-d the Father. He spoke of a new heaven . . . a new earth. His words brought so much peace … so much hope.”
“That may be, but we are still under Roman rule,” Meydad said, stating the obvious. “There is no new heaven or earth here. He failed to rescue us from the hands of these butchers. I am afraid all he may have done was make things worse for us. Our people are nervous . . . scared. They have no idea what will happen next. It seems to me that we are far worse than we were at the beginning.”
“I do not believe it,” Cleopas said, trying his best to hold on to hope.
“You mean you choose not to believe it.”
“Here is what I know, Meydad. Yeshua was crucified for a debt he did not owe. He died in place of Barabbas. It is Barabbas who should have died on that cross. Not Yeshua.”
“Why do you think Yeshua let it happen?”
“What makes you think he allowed it?”
“For one thing, he never defended himself. Do you not find that odd? If it had been me, I would fight with my last breath to prove my innocence.”
“Meydad, that is so troubling to me.”
“For another thing, the miracles he performed are widely known. Are you forgetting about Lazarus, how he raised him from the dead? With that kind of power, I would have struck them down. Why do you suppose he did not prevent his own death? Why not use his power? Why die on a wretched cross?”
“I don’t get it, Meydad. He could raise Lazarus, but he couldn’t save himself. How can that be?”
“Maybe he didn’t have any power. Maybe it was all a trick. Sorcery.”
“Of course he had power. No one could do what he did if he wasn’t from G-d. He fed five thousand people with three fish and two loaves of bread, Meydad! He made the blind see and he healed the sick. Of course he had power.” Cleopas stopped for a moment and dragged his hand on his face. “That is the very part of all this I cannot comprehend. He did not need to suffer.” Cleopas walked ahead, his feet pounding the dusty road in anger. “There he was standing in the midst of all Roman and Jewish authority, in a perfect position to destroy them and declare his kingdom. He had the power to end Roman rule with a mere word from his mouth, but he did not do it. He said nothing. Nothing! Why? Why?” Out of frustration, Cleopas picked up a rock and threw it as far as he could.
“Maybe it was his time to go,” Meydad concluded.
“But there is so much more work to be done,” Cleopas said. He wasn’t quite sure who he was trying to convince, Meydad or himself.
“Do you believe the women? Do you believe Peter? You think he is alive?”
“If so, where is he?”
“What is it that you are discussing?” a traveler asked as he joined in their walk.
Cleopas and Meydad stood still and looked at the traveler in dismay. The traveler had sandals on his feet, a scarf covered his head and draped around his neck, but he had no provisions. No food. No water.
“Are you the only one in Jerusalem who has not heard what happened there?” Cleopas asked as he tried to keep his emotions under control.
“What things?” the traveler asked.
“The things about Yeshua of Nazareth, a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of G-d and all his people . . . how our chief priests and rulers ridiculed him, falsely accused him, then delivered him to Pilate to be crucified. We hoped he was the one who would redeem Israel. Now, he is dead. He has been gone away from us for three days. Our hearts ache for him.” Cleopas choked up, tears welled in his eyes.
“We are lost. We don’t know what to do. We have been huddled in one of the disciple’s home for three days in fear of the Romans. Then something strange happened this morning,” Cleopas continued. “Our women went to his tomb with spices to prepare for his burial, but they returned to the house claiming he is alive . . . that his tomb is empty . . . that they had seen him. I followed Peter to the tomb and we found it indeed empty. How can all this be? How is it that he is now alive? What does it mean? And where is he?”
“Oh, foolish men who are slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for Yeshua to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moshe (מׄשֶׁה) and all the prophets, the traveler explained to them all things found in scriptures.
By the time they reached Emmaus, it was nightfall and they pleaded with the traveler to stay with them.
Women and children helped prepare the evening meal, lit candles, and set wine on the table before their guests. There was something different in the air—an unusual warmth, a welcomed peace that neither Cleopas or Meydad understood. They enjoyed the traveler and admired his knowledge of the scriptures. In fact, Cleopas hadn’t heard such teachings since . . .
Cleopas furrowed his brow as memories of the Messiah flowed through him like warm honey. He paced back and forth as the Lord’s words came back to him. “. . . have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” Cleopas also remembered, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.”
He almost fell to his knees when he recalled how Yeshua sat on the mountain, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth . . . .”
The disciple wiped away tears and forced himself to rejoin the others at the table. When everyone was poised and ready to eat, the traveler gave thanks and broke bread, passing a portion to each of them.
At once, fear and elation rushed through Cleopas, then Meydad, for they recognized the traveler as Yeshua!
“Yeshua . . . Ha’Adon!” Cleopas and Meydad shouted in unison.
Then Yeshua disappeared.
Cleopas and Meydad stared at one another, their breathing ceased, their mouths agape. Joy filled their souls. They were so excited both tried to talk at the same time, but it was Cleopas who was the most outspoken.
“Did our hearts not burn within us while he talked to us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?” Cleopas asked. “Hurry! Hurry!! We must go to Jerusalem and tell the others.”
Once Cleopas and Meydad returned to Jerusalem, they pounded the locked doors of the house where the apostles were gathered. John (the one whom Yeshua loved) opened the door and Cleopas rushed inside and declared, “It is true! The Lord has risen and he appeared to Simon just as he said. And now he has appeared to us!” Cleopas grabbed Nathaniel by the arms and shook him. “It is true, Nathaniel. Thomas, James, Philip, do you hear us. It is true! We have seen him! We have seen the Lord! We have seen Ha’Adon! He is alive. I tell you, he is alive!”
written by Donna B. Comeaux
in memory of our Risen Savior
Donna, you are so talented. This is beautiful. Keep writing!