Roman gladiators could kill their opponents in the arena, but die from wounds suffered in the fight. They nevertheless received the title of Invictus—the unconquered—a dubious distinction. That’s like the title of “World’s Oldest Human”. You won’t hold it long. For victory to be worthwhile, the victor must LIVE on to enjoy it.
Believers faced that problem by sunrise—11 hours or so into the First Resurrection Sunday. Rumors flew that Jesus had risen from the dead—but no one had seen HIM Alive. Women had seen angels in the tomb who said he lived. Disciples had raced there to see grave clothes wrapped carefully, but didn’t see Jesus. Every fragment of information in those early hours suggested his resurrection. No scattered fragment contradicted the rumors. Nevertheless, Jesus himself remained UNAVAILABLE. That discrepancy posed an insoluble dilemma for disciples. That’s the way the day passed among disciples all day long, Sunday, Number ONE as hours later two disciples walked to Emmaus. A stranger approached and engaged them in conversation.
Consider two couplets that summarize the encounter.
WALK – TALK
The men had a clear understanding of the facts: they considered Jesus God’s prophet; they knew that hardened religious leaders had caused his death; the testimony of women affirmed his resurrection, exciting without convincing them.
Note: whatever faith the disciples had in Jesus crashed at the Cross. However positive rumors were that he had conquered death, they couldn’t forget: they watched as he died, as loving arms carried him to the tomb; as they placed him in the tomb, as the stone shut him in!
That they all KNEW. Everything since burdened, alarmed, then encouraged and heartened them, but NO Jesus appeared. End Part I