Two weary-hearted friends trudged slowly home.
Just days before, they anticipated the Passover festival and wondered what they would see the young rabbi do. Would His friend Lazarus of Bethany attend the festivities, the one He had brought back to life from the dead? Would there be more healings? More disturbances to the settled religious system?
The religious leaders feared the popularity of the man from Nazareth. Rumors of death threats had been whispered. But Cleopas and his companion thought they saw in Him reason for hope. They’d even dared to think He might be the long-awaited One. The One who would set all things right.
But now darkness had ripped through hope. Confusing thoughts tumbled one after another with painful flashbacks. The sudden turn of events, and the horror of seeing the One they hoped would be their redeemer hanging like a wretched criminal, sent them home with aching sadness. The seven-mile journey back to Emmaus provided time for them to vent their pain but words were hard to come by.
Their hearts were held captive by despair when they were joined by another. The truth speaker came alongside to share their burden and to ask a question.
Just as He does with me, He walked with them and listened as they poured it all out to Him. And in the way only He can do, He tenderly rebuked doubt with a question meant to turn their hearts toward truth:
“Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26)
In order to set all things right, to reverse the curse, to obtain our redemption . . . the cross was necessary.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more pain.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more tears of sorrow.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more aching loneliness.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no more flesh-corrupting cancer.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no such thing as suffering.
The cross was necessary . . . so that one day there will be no such thing as sin.
The cross was necessary . . . so that the Father’s will could be accomplished.
The cross was necessary . . . so that we could know and glorify Him.
When Cleopas and his friend first left Jerusalem, all they could see was the loss of a dream, the end of hope. They couldn’t see beyond their own sorrow. They didn’t realize the cross was part of the plan. The cross was really the answer to all their questions and to every question that has ever been uttered by fallen flesh.
As the Life-giver explained Himself and took them through the Scriptures so their eyes could be opened to recognize Jesus . . . a burning began. Their hearts were on fire. The knowledge of who He was blazed within, and they couldn’t contain what they now understood. The gospel had set them on fire and they had to tell everyone.
Jesus rose from the dead and is alive! As you celebrate His resurrection this week, may your heart be set on fire. May you share with others why the cross was necessary . . . for you!
How has the cross and His resurrection changed your life?