Thursday, April 09, 2009

Encounter on the way to Emmaus

This journey with Jesus during Holy Week has been a tremendous blessing to me, and I pray it has been for you, too. Today I want to look at another one of the encounters Jesus had with a couple of His followers after His resurrection.
According to Luke, (Lk. 24:13-35) two of Jesus' followers were leaving Jerusalem and walking to Emmaus. And as they walked they were talking about everything which had just transpired over the past three days.
They were confused about Jesus. They thought He was supposed to be the Messiah, but then why did He die? And what of these reports from the women and even some of the Disciples that Jesus had risen? They just didn't understand. They didn't believe.
But then came Jesus.
He approached the men and asked what they were discussing. (Of course, He knew!) The men looked at Jesus, talked with Him, and walked with Him, but they didn't know it WAS Him. They shared their confusion and questions with Jesus, and He opened the Scriptures up to them and explained everything, but they still did not recognize Him.

They did not recognize Jesus until...and this is the part I love the most...they ate together. Luke 24:30-31 says, 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.

I don't think these two characters were part of the Twelve Disciples, so they didn't see Jesus break the bread at the Last Supper. But I wonder if they may have been present at the feeding of the 5,000, or the 4,000. I wonder how many times they had seen Jesus give thanks and break bread.
Regardless of how many times they'd seen it before, it was in seeing it now that their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. And it is this act of Jesus revealing Himself that draws me to Him even more. His love, His grace, His patience and forgiveness make me love Him even more.
Can you see how gentle He was with these men? They were followers of His, yet they didn't understand, didn't believe, didn't get it. Wouldn't it be reasonable for Jesus to throw His holy hands up in the air and declare, I give up! I was with you for so long. I told you exactly what I was going to endure. I died on that cross for you and here I am in front of you - even explaining the Scriptures to you again - and you STILL don't believe? What else can I do???

But that isn't Jesus' way.

He knew what they needed to believe. He knew what they needed to see. So He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them. And when the men recognized Jesus, He disappeared from their sight. Jesus didn't stay around to condemn them, Finally you believe. It's about time! He knew the men had what they needed, so He left.
And at once, the men returned to Jerusalem so they, too, could declare that Jesus is risen!

I don't know why God is laying it on my heart to do these posts about people who struggled to believe, but I trust Him. If you are struggling to believe - for salvation, or for anything else - I pray you are finding encouragement here. I pray you are seeing Jesus. I pray you know He loves you and does not condemn you for doubting. God knows your heart and He knows what you need.
Go ahead and simply ask Him to open your eyes, that you may see.

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luvmy4sons said...

A precious, precious post! Your heart is closer to Jesus' heart than you know!

Amanda said...

Well, I have never doubted God (which I have full confidence is not because of my own superior strength, but because God knows that I have *other* issues and this one He lets me claim in full)
but I loved this post Karen!! I love the perspective and insight and reminders...

You don't have to be doubting God to appreciate His gentle guidance!!

Great job!

God bless-

Anonymous said...

It's easy for me to doubt. I question my believe all the time. Even when I'm sharing the Good News with people I question myself... Do I really believe this? I need to bring myself back to passages like this or to a child-like faith. Thanks Karen.

Tami said...

I reflected on a similar thought recently as I was struck by this verse: "Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It's the Master!' " John 21:7 (MSG)

In this story the disciples have been fishing without success, when the resurrected Christ calls out to them from the shore to try the other side. They don't recognize Christ at first, but do what he suggests. When the nets fill to overflowing, they immediately respond with 'It's the Master'.

I blogged that this struck me as a God glorifying reflex that I desire to have, but as I read your thoughts Karen, I also realize that learning to recognize the work of God is also connected to a belief in the power of God that is refined as we walk with Him through hard times and good.

If we are honest with ourselves, we all struggle at some point with some aspect of our belief. I love that God uses our doubting moments to build and increase our belief in Him by providing for us, caring for us and responding to us, even when we are doubting.

Thanks for this week of great thoughts!

Sarah said...

thank you for your posts. They so accurately depict the doubt that I have been feeling lately. In fact I thought to myself I should have been named Thomas earlier this week. I'm slowly working my way to trust, and your thoughts are helping me with that thought process. I know in my head, but sometimes it's so hard to get your heart and head on the same page.

Jerralea said...

I've always loved the story of the walk to Emmaus. To be honest, I bet I would be just like those two -- all wrapped up in the events of the week and not even noticing who was walking by my side!

Karen, you always do such a good job with your posts! I always enjoy reading them.

God's girl said...

I love the fact that God is sooooo patient with us, and that He goes out of His way often to prove that yes, it is Him. He knows that sometimes we just need to feel, touch, smell, and see, and He also knows that sometimes we need Jesus with skin on, with arms to hug us and bodies to walk beside us. It's so easy to doubt, sometimes even when we've come off of a "high" with God. Praise God that He doesn't "rub it" in our faces for needing that reassurance. Awesome post Karen, and it speaks volumes!