Serving the Lord and the local church through puppets, ventriloquism, chalk art, vocal and instrumental music and old fashioned Bible preaching. The Maid Of Emmaus
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The Maid Of Emmaus

It was Passover week, and it had been a long, hard day at the inn in Emmaus. From early morning Martha had run here and there, hurrying faster and faster under the sharp commands from old Sarah, and the quick blows from Jonas, Sarah's husband.

But this week, in spite if the hard days and the blows that seemed somehow to grow more numerous as business increased, Martha had moved as in a happy dream. She had scarcely seen the faces of the strangers as they sat about the table or passed by on the street, for she, too, was planning a pilgrimage.

This evening, when her work was finished, she slipped out to the garden to live over again the wonderful hour that had changed her life. Only a week ago it had happened while on her first trip to Jerusalem she had met the Master, her Master now.

It was the same rocky road; with the same harsh Jonas and Sarah at the end of it. It was the same inn with its hard duties from daylight till dark. But she was not the same Martha. He, the wonderful Master, had called her a disciple; His hands had been laid tenderly on her head in blessing.

One thought had gradually risen above all others. She longed to make Him a gift -- something to show Him how much she loved Him. At first the idea brought only a sense of helplessness and despair. What had she, Martha of the inn, that she might give Him?

Then as she sat beside the mill one morning, grinding the wheat and barley, the idea came to her. She could make Him some little loaves -- perfect loaves of the finest of the wheat. He had looked hungry and tired. And she would go again to Jerusalem as soon as the Passover week was over, to lay them in his hands.

The next days, strangely enough, went as Martha had hoped they would. At last everything was done, even to selecting a fresh napkin in which to wrap each of the loaves, and deciding on the basket in which to carry them.

Martha awoke early, as she prayed she might, and slipped away. When Emmaus was left well behind, and she had started up the first long hill, she stopped running, and drew a long, shuddering breath of relief. She was safely on her way to the Master. Jonas and Sarah could not stop her now. And here in the basket were her gifts of love.

Her plan had been quite simple. She would find the Master, doubtless near the Temple where He had been before. She would wait with the crowd and listen as long as He taught. Then, when the others were all gone, she would go to Him, and give Him her gift.

When she came at last in sight of the Temple, there were several groups of people in the street. She approached each, and scanned it carefully before going on to the next. After a second patient searching, the fearful certainty came that He was not there. Two soldiers passed.

"Do you know where the Rabbi Jesus is?", she asked, "They call Him the Christ."

"Do you hear that? She asks us if we know anything of Jesus -- We who helped crucify Him."

"That is the truth, child. He was crucified three days ago on Golgotha Hill. Devils they were who ordered it, but so it happened. That is the truth."

They passed on. Martha leaned, sick and fainting, against the wall. Crucified! Dead! And in her basket were the little loaves for Him, and He would never know.

At last she roused herself, and went wearily toward the Joppa gate. A woman was sitting sadly in a doorway. Martha halted for one more inquiry; the soldiers might have been mistaken.

"Did you know Jesus?"

"Yes," the woman replied, "and I had hoped that He was the redeemer of Israel. Some say that today He is risen and alive again, but it is only an idle tale. I saw Him die."

Martha moved slowly on. The way back to the inn seemed endless for now there was no hope. There would never be such happiness for her as she had known before.

When she reached the inn, it was late afternoon. She was about to enter the main door, when she stopped. No, she could not surrender the basket to Jonas and Sarah. She set the basket down beside the back door. Sarah rarely went out that way. Then she went to the front of the inn. With a shout they were both upon her.

"We'll teach you not to run away! We'll teach you, you lazy foolish girl!" Then the blows came, as she knew they would.

She lay where she had fallen. Night drew near.

All at once there were footsteps along the street. Voices were calling earnestly. She recognized one of them. It was Cleopas, the rich vineyard owner. He always stopped at the inn on his trips to and from Jerusalem. The door of the inn opened.

"Abide with us, for the day is far spent," she heard Cloepas say. Then they entered, Cleopas and his brother, Simon, and another man, a stranger, whose face was hidden in the shadows.

Martha had risen with great pain, and now set about placing food upon the table. She brought the barley cakes and oil and raisins, and the meal was ready. Then she stopped. Just outside the door was the basket with the loaves, the gift of love for the Master that could not be given. Here were three hungry men, weary from their journey and hungry. The struggle in her heart was bitter, but it was brief. She opened the door and lifted the basket. From their napkins she took the four loaves and placed them before the stranger, who sat in the shadows at the head of the table. She raised her eyes to the stranger's face. (Gasp!) She saw the face, but it was not the face of a stranger.

He was gazing intently at the little loaves. He touched them, broke them, extended them, and raised His eyes to Heaven as he prepared to bless them.

Cleopas and Simon were leaning forward, breathless, transfixed. Martha crept closer and knelt within the circle of radiant light.

"Master! Master!"

He turned and looked upon her, and smiled. It was a smile filled with love and approval, a smile able to heal all the earth's wounds.

Then, softly as the sunset had gone, the celestial light died away. The Master's chair was empty.

On the table lay the little white loaves, uneaten, but received and blessed.