Now on the same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened....Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" Luke 24:13 & 18 NRSV
Have you ever wondered why we don't know the name of the second follower or what it might be? Not long ago, I discovered that some scholars think that second person in the walk to Emmaus story was a woman, possibly Cleopas' wife, and that is why she was never named. This makes me think of the story of the woman who broke the expensive perfume on Jesus' feet, wiping them with her hair, causing Jesus to say that she would be remembered but we don't even know her name. Another faceless, nameless witness to the risen Christ.
What is it like to be a nameless witness to Christ? I am one of those people who resists having my name in lights or promoting myself in front of others. When congratulated or lifted up, I tend to try and turn attention elsewhere. Usually this involves admitting a weakness or not accepting the affirmation with grace. Yet, I discovered recently that part of my personality or make-up needs recognition. I crave being affirmed and noticed. And when my work is either ignored or hijacked by others, I am deeply hurt and depressed. I think being nameless is not a strong point of mine.
Yet it is not I but Christ who needs to receive the glory. The emphasis here is not really the followers meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus but their recognizing him in the breaking of the bread and their giddy recklessness in running back to Jerusalem to share this Good News. It isn't about us. It is about sharing the love of Christ and the joy of his resurrection.
God, sometimes you call us to be nameless witnesses. Help us to let your love and grace shine through us so that you alone receive the glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims