Based on the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24
[This version doesn’t require actors.]
My name is Cleopas, and my wife’s name is Mary. Two days before this story begins, our friend Jesus had been killed, on a Friday. Mary and I had been followers of Jesus for some time, and we were in Jerusalem, where he died, at the time. But now, with Jesus dead, we thought we might as well go home. Our home town, Emmaus, is about 10 km from Jerusalem. There were no trains or buses or cars in those days, and we didn’t have a donkey, so we started to walk. It was a nice evening, and we had lots to think about.
“Isn’t it sad that Jesus died?” said Mary. “It’s terrible,” I replied. “I had begun to think he really was the Son of God.” “I miss him already,” said Mary. “He was so kind and gentle and wise.”
Just then, a stranger came up alongside us and began to walk with us. We didn’t look at him closely and had no idea who it was.
He said, “What are you talking about? You seem to be very upset about something.” Well, we stopped and I said, “How can you not know? Our friend Jesus was killed here just a couple of days ago. I thought everybody knew.” “Yes,” said Mary. “We thought he was going to be the saviour of the world, but now he’s dead, and it’s all over.” And I said, “But now some of his friends are saying he’s alive again. That would be wonderful, but of course it couldn’t possibly be true.”
The stranger said, “Why shouldn’t it be true? Haven’t you read the Bible? This is the way it was always meant to be—that the Son of God would be killed and then he would come back to life.” And as we walked along, he explained more and more.
Just then, a butterfly fluttered by and settled on the stranger’s shoulder. “Look at this,” he said. “A little while ago, this butterfly was inside a chrysalis, and if you’d seen it then, you might have said it was just a dead leaf and put it in the garbage. But you would have been so wrong! It’s not really dead. There is actually a heartbeat in a chrysalis, though it’s very hard to see. And before long, this beautiful butterfly came out.
“Now, this Jesus you’re talking about didn’t just look dead, he really was dead: there was no heartbeat. So it’s not exactly the same. But the same God who made the chrysalis and the butterfly also made Jesus come back from death to life, so they are a bit the same.”
As he talked, Mary and I found that we had a strange warm feeling growing inside, but we didn’t know why, and we didn’t know what it meant.
Eventually, we came to our town of Emmaus, and we arrived at our house. The stranger seemed to be going further, so Mary said, “Don’t go yet. Why don’t you stay at our place tonight, and we can have a meal together and talk some more?” And he said, “That’s great. I would like that. Thank you.”
So we went in, and sat down, and Mary and I bustled around and got the meal ready. And then we said to the stranger, “Would you like to say a prayer and thank God for the food?” And the stranger said, “Sure.” And he lifted his hands to pray . . . and suddenly we knew who it was: it was Jesus and he really was alive! And then . . . he was gone. He just disappeared into thin air.
Well, you can imagine, Mary and I were so excited that we ran all the way back to Jerusalem, even though it was quite late by now, so we could tell Jesus’ other friends what had happened. And when we got to the place they were staying, we said, “The Lord is risen!”—and they said “The Lord is risen indeed!”—because they had seen him too.
And Jesus is still alive today even though we can’t see him. And he is at work doing good things in our world. And he wants us to work with him and be his friends and his disciples too.
Messy Church, April 20 2017