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Recognizing Jesus

    Summary: A retelling of the “Road to Emmaus” story. 

    Cast: Cleopas, Simon, Jesus

    Stage Directions: Prop buildings, trees and signs should slowly travel in opposite direction behind the walking puppet characters to simulate traveling.


    Cleopas: Simon, if we don’t get started soon, we’ll never make it to Emmaus before dark…. Simon…. I’m going to have to leave without you if you don’t hurry.

    Simon: (Offstage) Hey, wait, Cleopas! It’s hard to get ready when my head hurts. And it’s hard to see what I’m doing when my eyes won’t stop crying.

    Cleopas: I’m sorry, Simon. I know what you mean. I feel like crying too. It’s hard to stop. It’s hard to believe that our friend and master is gone.

    Simon: He said he wouldn’t leave us. He said that he’d always be with us, didn’t he?

    Cleopas: Yes, he did.

    Simon: And then he went and got himself killed! Why did Jesus let them nail him to a cross? Why didn’t God send down his angels to save Jesus?

    Cleopas: I don’t understand it either, Simon. Maybe we’ll never understand, but if we don’t get going soon, we won’t reach Emmaus tonight and I don’t want to have to camp out by the side of the road.

    Simon: Okay; let’s go. Sure wish he had a horse, like those wretched Roman soldiers who gallop about bossing everybody around. We have to walk everywhere.

    Cleopas: Now, Simon; walking’s not that bad. When you’re walking places, you often meet people and have interesting conversations. If you’re on a horse, you’d just gallop right past them without even saying, “Hello.”

    Simon: Yeah, I guess you’re right. Some day, maybe everyone will get around on horseback or closed up in some kind of chariot. And then nobody will be able to meet each other and talk while they’re on the road.

    Cleopas: May God bless our journey to Emmaus and guide our footsteps.

    Simon: Amen. Let’s go.

    (Both puppets walk off and reappear on opposite side of the stage, still heading the same direction, however. The effect of travel can be heightened by having signboards and buildings move slowly along in the background as the puppets “walk” along.)

    Simon: My feet are tired. I’m sure that God is still guiding our footsteps, but don’t you think he could send us some help… like a horse or even a donkey to carry us the rest of the way?

    Cleopas: Remember how Jerusalem sang and rejoiced when Jesus arrived, riding on a donkey? What a wonderful day that was!

    Simon: I remember all the palm branches waving along the streets, like a conquering hero had returned victorious from the battlefield. How could we have known then that Jesus was heading straight towards his death?

    Cleopas: If I had known that was were he was headed, I would have turned that donkey right around and made him run for the hills and carry Jesus far away to safety.

    Jesus: (Appears from behind and begins to walk with the two.)

    Simon: It happened so fast. In just a few days, it went from the happiest day of my life to the saddest.

    Cleopas: It doesn’t make any sense. “Why did he have to die?”

    Jesus: What are you two talking about as you walk along so sadly? You look like you just lost your best friend.

    Simon and Cleopas: We did!

    Cleopas: Are you the only traveller around here who has not heard what happened?

    Jesus: What do you mean?

    Simon: Our friend, Jesus, the mighty prophet…. the one that we all hoped would save the people of Israel…. the chief priests and rulers gave him over to Pontius Pilate and he was condemned to death and crucified.

    Cleopas: They nailed our friend to a cross and he died. Three days ago this all happened! And since then, strange things have been happening.

    Jesus: Strange things?

    Simon: Some women friends of ours claim that they saw Jesus, alive! They were at his tomb to cover his body with spices and his body was not there. They say that he spoke to them.

    Cleopas: We’re afraid that they have gone crazy with grief. Poor crazy ladies; thinking they have seen a dead man walking and talking.

    Jesus: It’s not the women who are crazy or foolish; it’s you!

    Cleopas: What? What do you mean? How can you say that we’re foolish? Just because we know when a man has died and is not coming back. We may be sad, but we’re not crazy like those women.

    Jesus: Have you read the scriptures? Don’t you remember what the Bible said? That the Messiah will come and will go through suffering. That the Christ would be killed and that three days later, God would raise up the Son of Man to life again? Have you been paying attention in church at all?

    Simon: We pay attention in church! We listen to the Bible readings!

    Cleopas: Well, sometimes we’re not listening very closely. Right Simon?

    Simon: Yeah. I guess that’s true. Sometimes we doodle on our bulletins.

    Jesus: Everything that has happened in Jerusalem in the last few days was predicted to happen just the way that it did. The triumphal entry, the King, riding on the young donkey, the suffering and the death on the cross… and yes, even the resurrection!

    Cleopas: What! You also believe that Jesus has risen from the dead?!

    Jesus: I know that Jesus has risen from the dead.

    Simon: How can you know this for sure?

    Jesus: I can feel it inside. I am quite positive. Wouldn’t you know, yourself, if you were dead or alive?

    Simon: Well of course I would know if I was dead or alive. I’m living in me.

    Jesus: I, too, am living within myself. And I know that I am alive. I am hoping that my friends will know this to be true as well.

    Cleopas: Well, I’m sure that your friends know that you are alive. But that doesn’t help us. We are sad because our best friend has died… and for all we know, he is not coming back. Dead people just don’t do that, you know.

    Jesus: All things are possible with God.

    Simon: Most things are possible with God.

    Jesus: That’s not what the Bible says. It says, “All things are possible with God, for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

    Cleopas: I never read that in the scriptures.

    Jesus: It’s in the New Testament.

    Simon: What’s the New Testament?

    Jesus: You’ll find out in a few hundred years.

    Simon(Looking at Cleopas…) Huh?

    Cleopas: We’re stopping for the night here at this inn. Do you want to join us for supper?

    Jesus: Thank you for the invitation. I would love to break bread with you. I already feel like I’ve known you for a long time.

    Cleopas: Yeah, we have that same feeling too…. like you’re an old friend.

    Simon: Let’s sit down and eat. I’m starved. I know that man does not live by bread alone…

    Jesus: … but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord…

    Simon: Right. That’s the Bible verse… but sometimes I really need the bread.

    Jesus: May I break the bread?

    Cleopas: Sure. Come and be our guest… and let these gifts to us be blest.

    Jesus: Simon and Cleopas, my dear friends. Sometimes, we think we just need bread…. when what we really need is the Bread of Life, the Word of God. We need to see what is really important. We need to see that Jesus is alive and standing right in front of us.

    Simon: Lord?! Is that really you?

    Cleopas: Master! Lord Jesus! You are alive!

    The End

    By Ruth Gilmore; copyright 2009.


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