Our gospel reading today is from the Road to Emmaus (I cut it down to the key verses). The basic story is Jesus uncle (his mother's brother) and one of his disciples are fleeing Jerusalem on the Sunday after the Crucifixion. Why did they wait so long? Jesus died at 3pm at sunset, Sabbath would begin, in fact 2 Sabbath's in a row, the High Holy Day of Passover, which is considered a Sabbath and then the weekly Sabbath which was also the 1st Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The main prayer during the Sabbath Service for the Feast of Unleavened Bread that took place on the Saturday while Jesus was in the Tomb is:
Blessed are You, O Lord our God,
King of the universe,
Who brings forth bread from the earth.
During this time, who was buried in the earth? Jesus. Jesus who was born in Bethlehem (which means “House of Bread”!) Jesus who called himself, 'the Bread of Life!' Whether they knew it or not, those people praying for God to bring forth bread out of the earth, in a form of thanking him for the harvest had their prayers answered in the most spectacular way ever. I don't believe this is a coincidence, this is a God incidence!
No good Jew travels on a Sabbath, it is not allowed. If they had fled after 3pm they would not have reached the next town before sunset and would have had to spend 2 days camping by the road. It would have looked very suspicious to anyone seeking Jesus followers. So thay waited till Sunday, and before they left heard Jesus body was missing, that he had Risen, but they didn't really believe it.
Jesus met and walked with them on the road to the small village of Emmaus, which is about 7 miles from Jerusalem, and his own Uncle didn't recognize him. Think about that for a minute – the conversation they have is often taken as the important part but I think this is just as important. They didn't see the wounds, they saw a stranger, which means Jesus could look like ANYONE.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ . . . . .Matthew 25:35,36
He was a stranger and they invited him in to stay for the night with them in Emmaus. They finally recognise him – WHEN HE BREAKS THE BREAD, and he disappears.
This all happened during the Sunday, it was still the Feast of Unleavened Bread which lasts 7 days. The Bread Jesus broke would have been Unleavened Bread – a representation of his body.