Scriptures

42. Cleopas, Quite A Character

Introduction

By John Massey

The name Cleopas appears in Scripture only one time. So, you may consider him to be an insignificant character and, I guess, to some degree you’d be correct.

But think about this, Cleopas and his companion walked and talked with our risen Saviour, Jesus the Christ, on the day He arose from the grave! And further, Christ stayed briefly and ate with him. So, I think we can consider him to be quite a character.

Questions for Discussion

‘Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognising him.’ Luke 24:13-16

One of the two is Cleopas, Luke 24:18, but the other is not identified.

Who could the second person be and why had they been to Jerusalem?

‘They were talking with each other.’ Could they be questioning the events described in Luke 24:2-3?

As they walked and talked, Jesus appeared to them but they did not recognise Him.

Why would His identity be withheld?

This is the one of the first Resurrection appearances.

How many other times did Jesus appear and what were the circumstances?

‘He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.’ Luke 24:17-24

Why were their faces sad or downcast?

Why did Jesus ask the rhetorical question in verse 17, ‘What are you discussing…?’

Why did Jesus ask a second rhetorical question in verse 19?

Since He already knows the answers, what is the purpose of these questions?

Are the two men disciples of Jesus? (verses 21-22)

Cleopas described the events surrounding Jesus. But he thought Jesus was a ‘prophet’, a correct but inadequate title.

Why is this so?

‘He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So, he went in to stay with them.’ Luke 24:25-29

Jesus began to teach the two of them. ‘Did not the Christ have to suffer these things (verse 46) and then enter his glory?’

‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.’ Hebrews 1:3

They apparently were captivated by Jesus since they urged Him to stay the night with them.

Were they being hospitable or did they simply want to hear more from Jesus?

‘When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.’ Luke 24:30-35

They finally recognized Him, verse 31. They said He opened the Scriptures to them while on the road.

What were they feeling at this point?

What were their emotions?

Why did they feel compelled to make the seven mile walk back to Jerusalem (to speak to the eleven) after their encounter with Jesus?

‘While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’ Luke 24:36-49

Jesus showed up again, and told them all, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’

How did they ultimately respond to this?

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

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