“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…And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself…But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us”…Then their eyes were opened…They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem” (Luke 24: 15-35, NIV 1984).
Absent-minded professor. Today I was sitting in Bible study class next to my lovely wife of many years. Trying to show my tech savvy, I was following the Scripture on my iPhone, ESV version. Periodically, I would set my phone down on the chair next to me and listen to our teacher. Then the moment came that I could not focus the verses. I closed one eye, then the other, but no clarity resulted. I was frustrated because I knew that I had been reading the phone perfectly well a moment before. My wife saw me moving the phone up and back in my struggle to see and immediately identified the problem.
“Your glasses are in the chair.”
The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is a beautiful story of vision, vision forever changed by the Resurrection. Before the Resurrection, the disciples could see and follow a Jesus limited by biology, trapped in time and place. How glorious for them that must have been. Then Jesus was gone. And then, on the Emmaus road, He was there but they could not see Him for who He was. And then they saw Him clearly and knew.
The Christ the disciples had once seen clearly was a Christ who could die. With the death of the One who was visible and limited, a danger existed that His followers might focus on the creed He had left behind, a creed with great but limited value.
But God did not die for us to follow a creed.
Instead, the disciples on the road to Emmaus discovered a new reality where Christ could not die, but would often be difficult to see. When Jesus walked the Emmaus road as a fellow traveler, He was a stranger; then they asked Him to stay and were allowed to see Him for who He was. And then in that Emmaus room, He made all things clear.
We do not live in a world where the Christ is easy to see. But neither do we follow a creed; we follow an ever-present, and often hard to recognize, living Christ. As we focus on our own complicated daily lives, Jesus fades and blends into the world around us. But then there are moments, with the Spirit’s prompting, when we feel a strong desire to see Him, and His presence is made clear. Thank God for those moments. These are the times when we can pick up the glasses we had left in our chairs back home and see that all things are safe and purposeful within His care. These are the times we can run back to Jerusalem with the news that this world is different from that we can see.
Let me recognize you more within the busy days of life.