No man saw Christ rise; but many saw the risen Christ. He appeared to Mary and to Peter and to James and to "the eleven" and to more than five hundred disciples at one time; but of the appearances on the day of his resurrection none is recorded with more dramatic vividness and more definiteness of detail than that related by Luke when Jesus walked with two disciples toward Emmaus.
This village was probably situated some seven miles northwest of Jerusalem. Thither these two men were moving with sad and discouraged hearts when Jesus joined them and drew from them expressions of their disappointment and despair. The One on whom they had set their hopes of redemption for Israel had been put to death, and although he had spoken mysteriously of a resurrection on the third day, the day was passing, and he had not been seen, although it was true that reports had reached them of a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Such in substance seem to have been their words, in no small measure a confession of obstinate unbelief. They had little expectation that the Lord would fulfill his own promises; the third day of which he had spoken was not ended and yet they were hopelessly turning their backs upon Jerusalem; heavenly messengers had sent them an announcement of cheer which they refused to receive.
It was not strange, therefore, that Jesus rebuked them: "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Behooved it not the Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into his glory?" It is noticeable that Jesus did not chide them for refusing to accept his own words, or those of their friends, or those of angels; they were rebuked for not believing the Old Testament. They had accepted it in part; as men often accept just so much as suits their prejudices and tastes and notions; but they failed to believe in all that the prophets had spoken, and particularly the predictions of Jesus' atoning death, and of his return to the heavenly glory which he would share when he ascended. They listened in wonder to his explanation of the Scriptures, and finally as they were sitting at meat with him they discovered that they were in the actual presence of their living Lord. As he disappeared from sight, they hastened back to the disciples in Jerusalem and found them already wondering at the news that earlier in the day Jesus had appeared to Peter.
No story tells us more impressively the truth that a divine Saviour walks beside us all the way of our earthly journey. It is pathetic that our eyes are so often dimmed by unbelief that we fail to realize his presence. We walk and are sad while we might be rejoicing in his companionship. It may be as the Scriptures are opened to us, or as we meet to break bread in his name, that our blindness will be removed; and surely when the journey ends and we enter the home toward which we are moving, we shall see him face to face, and the vision will not fade in deepening twilight, but grow more glorious through the eternal day.