What a remarkable story from Luke 24:13-35! Two followers of Jesus (Cleopas and another unnamed) are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, talking about what had just happened to Jesus. They meet a stranger on the road who asks them what they are discussing. The stranger is Jesus, but the men don’t recognize him. The two are speechless until Cleopas says, “Are you the only person who doesn’t know?” Jesus then asks him to explain, and Cleopas says that they are talking about Jesus of Nazareth, “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.” Then he adds that some women went to the tomb and couldn’t find his body and came back with stories of seeing angels who told them that he was alive.
The stranger calls them foolish and slow and says, “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things before entering his glory?” He explains what was said by Moses and the prophets about Jesus in all the scriptures. Then, as they near the village, the men ask the stranger (Jesus) to stay with them. As they settle down to eat together, Jesus takes the bread, says the blessing, breaks the bread and hands it to them, and suddenly they recognize who he is. At that moment, Jesus disappears from their sight. They say to each other, “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?” Of course they rush back to Jerusalem to tell the 11 disciples.
How moving! The children are sure to be amazed with this scripture.
Be sure to check out the wording with which the Godly Play script shares these verses. It’s beautiful.
So, how do we help the children process this story?
If you are in a classroom where all the materials are near available to the children, I hope you’ll consider going along with the Godly Play script and letting the children gather items that help tell the story. It will be interesting to see the connections they make.Here are some wondering questions for this lesson:
1. I wonder what your favorite part of today’s story is.
2. I wonder what the most important part of today’s story is.
3. I wonder what God is trying to teach us with this story.
4. The stranger talked to them about how the Jewish people had been trapped in so many ways and that prophets said a little child would lead the people out of being trapped. I wonder how Jesus helped the people from being trapped.
Some Thoughts on Our Gift to God Time:
How can we help the children to re-live this story? Here are a few ideas:
1. This one is my favorite… Why not literally walk
through the story with the children? If the weather is
good, I think it would be great to take a walk around the church, and as you walk, ask the children what the men must have said to each other, being so confused and scared and disappointed with what had happened. Help them imagine encountering a stranger. (You could even have one of the teachers play that role!) You don’t have to talk about the story the entire walk, but physically walking and talking about it to some degree helps the children imagine it and remember it.When you return to the classroom, why not have bread and juice waiting and sit down and share what it must have been like to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread–and then have him vanish! I bet if the children walk through this experience, they won’t forget it!
2. Act out the story in the classroom. Take photos!
3. Illustrate the segments of the different parts of the story:
a)the two men walking, scared and confused,
b)the encounter with the stranger
c)what the stranger said, that a little child would come to lead the people and that someone would suffer and die so that we could really be alive
d) the meal at the inn
e) Jesus vanishing
f) the two followers rushing back to tell the disciples
4. Need other ideas? There’s a whole bunch here
, if you’re a member of this organization. And my Pinterest site is here
Thank you for all you do!