40 Days with Jesus – November 24th – Luke 24:13-35
I have always been intrigued by optical illusions, especially the ones that look like a random rectangle of small images that almost magically turn into a 3-D portrait if you focus your eyes in a certain way. For the longest time, I could never focus in the right way to see the main picture. The back of cereal boxes became a perpetual annoyance. Admittedly, there were even times when I told those around me that I could see the image when in fact, I did not have a clue what was supposed to be popping out at me. But once I learned how to focus my eyes correctly, almost with my eyes crossed, it became easier and easier to see the real picture.
The two people walking on the road to Emmaus in today’s passage were perplexed and frustrated. Unbeknownst to them, Jesus joins in their conversation, which happens to be about the recent crucifixion death of this great prophet named Jesus, whom they had hoped would be the Savior of Israel. They also talked about how several people had been to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid to rest only to find that his grave was empty!
These two people seemed to know a lot about Jesus, but they did not recognize him.
They may have been caught up in the moment, distracted by the buzz of Jesus’ missing body. They may have been disappointed that the one they had hoped would be the God-appointed leader that would free the Israelites from Roman occupation had been executed by the religious leaders of Israel. We don’t know why, but it is clear that these two people did not identify Jesus.
The two walkers on the road to Emmaus had their eyes fixated on the wrong things. They could not grasp the faith to believe that Jesus had actually risen from the dead… this was too improbable and did not logically make sense. They could not see the underlying 3-D picture of Jesus within the promises of God through the prophets of the Old Testament that pointed the way to distinguishing the true Messiah from any other person.
At least, they didn’t recognize Jesus until he ate lunch with them. Everything changed when he was at the table with them. Jesus “took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to serve it to them” (verse 30). Something clicked at this point, and the whole picture began to come alive.
The Bible says, “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight” (v.31).
It all made sense. They could see the clear image. They could grab hold of the faith to believe. Though Jesus disappeared when they distinguished it was really him, they now knew how to fix their eyes on him… “cross-eyed.” They understood the reason that Jesus had to die on the cross was so that he could conquer death… so that he could pave the way for a personal and intimate relationship with the Savior.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving today, may I ask the question, “Do you recognize Jesus in all that you are celebrating?” Do you know a lot about him, or do you really know him?
Would you pray today that God would open your eyes to see how Jesus is working all around and in you? Ask God to show you what a genuine relationship with Jesus really looks like.
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