Bible Insights

Two to Emmaus

…and the Mysterious Stranger

Today’s passage: Mark 16:12–13 and Luke 24:13–18

Focus verse: As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them. (Luke 24:15)

John doesn’t mention that two of Jesus’s followers make a trip to Emmaus.

While Mark mentions this briefly, Luke gives us the full story. And a most delightful story it is. It’s so packed with interesting details that we’ll take the next several days to cover it.

Luke tells us that the same day of Jesus’s resurrection, two of his followers head for the town of Emmaus. This is the only passage in the Bible to mention Emmaus.

All we know about it is that it’s seven miles (10 kilometers) from Jerusalem. It would take about three hours to walk.

One of the two men is Cleopas. The Bible doesn’t tell us any more about him either. But at least we know his name, which is more than we can say for his traveling companion.

As they walk along, they talk about what’s on their mind. Jesus, the man they followed as the expected Messiah, died. This single predominant thought preoccupies them.

Like Mary Magdalene, they wonder what to do next. This may even be why they’re headed to Emmaus. It might be where they’re from. At the very least, they have friends or family there.

How dejected they must feel as they plod along on their journey.

And as they walk, Jesus comes up alongside them and joins them on their trip. But they don’t recognize him.

It may be they don’t see him because they don’t expect to. In their mind he is dead. Or perhaps his appearance in resurrected form is different enough to confuse them. Or maybe Jesus blocks them from seeing who he really is.

Regardless, he asks what they’re discussing.

They stop walking, their faces downcast. Incredulous, Cleopas asks the man if he’s the only one visiting Jerusalem who doesn’t know what happened.

By design, a Roman crucifixion was a public event. They wanted everyone to know what happens to dissidents and troublemakers. This knowledge would serve as a most effective deterrent for anyone who wanted to oppose Roman rule.

In addition, Jesus was a public figure. Surely everyone in the area knew of his crucifixion—everyone, that is, except for this mysterious stranger.


  • How do we respond to someone we meet who doesn’t know about Jesus?
  • How do we react when our life takes an unexpected turn, as it did for Cleopas and his friend?

Prayer: Jesus, when we don’t know what to do, may we always turn to you.

Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his return to heaven in The Victory of Jesus. The Victory of Jesus is another book in Peter DeHaan’s beloved Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series. Get your copy today.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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