Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Meeting Up with Cleopus, another disciple and Peter, Luke 24

"It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
 "And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
 "Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

"And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs....
"And  [after their encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus] they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon."

Two things I notice.  

First is that one of the disciples on the road is named in the text: "Cleopas".  The other is not.  Cleopas' name appears once more in the book of John in chapter 19:  “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.”

The commas make the distinction of individuals not perfectly clear but it is likely 4 women that are referred to here:
Mary the mother of Jesus
Her sister
a woman named Mary who is designated by her relationship (wife) to Cleopas
Mary Magdalene

If not it could be five:
Mary the mother of Jesus
her sister
another Mary 
the unnamed wife of Cleopas
Mary Magdalene

These four (or five) women are mentioned as having been present for the crucifixion.

On the third day after the crucifixion we find Cleopas heading to Emmaus.  Some scholars think it may well have been his wife with whom he was traveling home on that journey and who hurried back with him to Jerusalem to deliver the good news.  If so, add her to the women who loved him and mourned him and to whom He showed himself and conversed after his resurrection.

Second, the disciples greet the two disciples with the news that yes, they've heard.  Simon [Peter] has seen him too.

That's one interaction that we don't have recorded.  We have records of Jesus interaction with Mary Magdalene, and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and, later, with 10 of the apostles, and still later, with Thomas, but not this one with Simon Peter.

His interaction with Simon Peter, if added chronologically to this list, would probably be number 2 or number 3.  

This Simon Peter, who was, most likely, still wracked with guilt about and deeply repentant of his three-time denial of affiliation with Jesus and who had made the trip back to the empty tomb (with John in John 20) desperately hoping against hope that the story the women told might be true.

Jesus decision to spend time with Simon Peter so soon after His return says much. I believe, about His compassionate, forgiving, helpful, connected response to an individual who feels deeply the remorse for his temporary abandonment of his connection with the Savior and who loves Him and deeply wishes there were some way to be with Him again.

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