My Emmaus Journey...or Why Don't I Recognize Jesus When He is Staring Me in the Face
There are so many times in my life that I want to kick myself after a chance encounter with a stranger - whether it is on my way to work, at the train station, after church, waiting in line at the grocery store or any other number of places where I look back and say to myself "Damn, I just met Jesus." Sounds strange on a couple of levels, right?
- This guy is nuts, claiming to meet Jesus at the train station.
- This guy is nuts, being in the presence of the Almighty and not even recognizing him.
I'll admit it, no I am not nuts (regardless of what you may think), but it does sound strange. I'm in good company though. There were these two guys who spent time with Jesus during his 'ministry' days. They were in the inner circle. They broke bread with Jesus, ate with him, were taught to pray by him. You would think that if Jesus was walking with them, they would be able to figure out who he was. Well, they didn't. They walked like 7 miles with him (11km), talked with him. He did a full fledged Bible study with them Nothing. They were blind. I'll give them that they were having a bad weekend - they had just seen Jesus put to death.
I've read this story at least a dozen times, heard it preached about, spoken about it, written about it but today when I read it, it felt brand new. My eyes were open. I finally was able to put myself in the place of Cleopas or the other dude who goes unnamed. How many times have I said, "are you the only one who doesn't have a clue?" How many times have I refused to acknowledge what's right in front of me? "Some of our women amazed us. They found the tomb empty." But I didn't believe them. And here you are in front of me and I still don't see.
Not until Jesus did something simple but has been the tangible way we commune with him - he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to share it with them. "Then their eyes were opened." What's it take to open my eyes?
Tonight was one of those rare times that my eyes were open and I was able to see, maybe not perfectly but at least I was able to see and recognize. I saw the homeless man eating a slice of pizza at the table next to me in Penn Station. I saw him giving thanks and I recognized him.
I saw him on the train tonight, a weary traveler on her way home. I sat with him at lunch today and broke bread. I saw him when I walked in the door at home sitting on the couch watching TV.
I am thankful. I hope I can continue to be aware and continue to recognize Jesus when I meet him - everywhere I meet him. It's good to hope, right? So, where have you recognized Jesus?
Bits & Pieces
- Submitting the process schedule tomorrow. One more step completed.
- Hot Sauce 4 Good t-shirts are still available. Don't you want to be cool like me?
- Pray for the homeless today. You think it's cold where you are?
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, What are you discussing together as you walk along? They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days? What things? he asked. About Jesus of Nazareth, they replied. 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. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus. He said to them, How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over. So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 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 and has appeared to Simon. Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Luke 24:13-35 (NIV)