Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Supper at Emmaus (1601), National Gallery, London
“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…'”
~ Luke 24:31-34
In Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus, Jesus blesses and breaks the bread, and finally Cleopas and his traveling companion recognize who He is. Notice the details of the painting. While the innkeeper stands by Jesus, one disciple has arms outstretched in animated astonishment and the other is about to push himself to a standing position. The Risen Lord elicits a response…astonishment and action. For these two disciples, Jesus put all the broken pieces of their story back together, so much so that they declared hearts burning within. But it didn’t stop there. “They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem.” A resurrected Savior offering resurrected hopes moved them to action.
In Matthew’s Gospel, the account of the resurrection is immediately followed by the Great Commission (28:18-20). Other than the experiences of the women who discovered the empty tomb, the narrative doesn’t give great detail about the disciples’ response. It’s as if Jesus says, “I have upended sin and death. Now go tell the world about it.” Resurrection moves us to many things, among the most important the mission of Jesus, sharing with the world around us the new hope, new identity, and new purpose the Risen Lord offers.
This Easter, how will you respond to the resurrection?