April 14, 2009

On the Road to Emmaus

Lent has come and gone, Easter is passed and now what?!? It started with the mountaintop experience of the Triumphant Entry Jesus had coming into Jerusalem and was followed by the ups and downs of clearing the temple courts, public teachings and miracles, only to be plunged into the valley of despair as Jesus is taken away and eventually nailed to a tree. The ride doesn't stop there because 3 days later the disciples find an empty tomb but no Jesus in sight. Try to imagine their confusion along with trying to contain themselves and their imaginations as to what might have happened or be happening. What a rollercoaster ride of emotion that week must have been.

I can't help but think about the two disciples that were walking on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) talking about the events of the past week trying to make sense of it all when along comes a stranger that seems utterly clueless. You can almost hear them asking him if he lives under a rock because that might have been the only way not to have heard about the events that had taken place in the city just days earlier. They went on to explain to him what had taken place concerning the guy named Jesus and still couldn't figure out that it was Jesus himself they were talking to. It wasn't until later, as they were having dinner together, that they realized it was him that had been with them on the road the whole time.

Two things I find really interesting about this story:

1. Initally we are told that the two disciples "were kept from recognizing him" (vs. 16). I started thinking about this and wondered if it wasn't so much that God was keeping them from seeing Jesus but rather that they had gotten so caught-up in everything else they failed to recognize Jesus walking right beside them. I wonder how often we do the same thing; our heads down focusing on something that has happened to us or something we did and fail to see Jesus in our situation or circumstance? It's not Christ that keeps us from recognizing him but rather ourselves.

2. The two disciples didn't actually realize it was Jesus until they witnessed him do something they had seen him do before, break bread with them (vs. 30-31). I started thinking about all of the times when I have failed to recognize Jesus because he was doing something I would have never expected him to do. It almost seems like these two disciples had pigeon holed Jesus into certain words or actions and because they would have never expected him to show up on the road with them, they never even gave it a second thought that maybe it was him all along. It wasn't until later that they realized what had happened. Seriously, isn't that you and me almost on a daily basis? We would never expect Jesus to show up at work, school, home...and don't realize that he had been there the whole time until after the fact. I hope that we haven't come to expect to see Jesus on Sunday mornings (or whenever you go to church) and nowhere else. Just think about how different the conversation, attitudes and emotions could have been had those two disciples realized it was Jesus much sooner in their journey.


laceface said...

a little inspiration from our boy pastor paul?

Matt Lipan said...

laceface: thanks for the read and comment. actually...no. i didn't listen to his Easter sermon until this afternoon. i laughed when i heard which passage he was using.

great minds think alike??