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Would You Recognize Christ on the Road to Emmaus?

In Luke 24, we learn of the resurrection of the Messiah. The same chapter tells the story of two disciples headed to the town of Emmaus after the resurrection. As they walk, they run into the now-risen Jesus, who joins them and engages them in a conversation about the recent happenings in Jerusalem.

What is strangest about the encounter is that they, Jesus’s disciples and closest friends, do not recognize Him. As they talk, the disciples are almost shocked by the man’s apparent lack of knowledge about recent events.

A Chance Encounter

I was at the mall once and happened to be in the same checkout line as a famous celebrity. I remember feeling like I knew them but simply could not place them. I said hi without using their name so as not to come off as insensitive if I happened to get it wrong.

After the encounter and all the way home, I was bugged, trying to figure out why they were familiar. It wasn’t until days later that I recalled having seen them on a well-known TV commercial.

Much like the disciples, I did not immediately recognize the celebrity, despite having their face pop up on my screen every day before the prime-time news. Unlike the disciples, however, I knew in my gut that I knew who they were, and I tried to find them in my memory.

Having Eyes, Lacking Sight

How many of us as Christians are divinely blinded? 

The disciples have spent the past three years walking with Jesus. They have seen Him heal lepers and have multiplied bread and fish with Him. They have shared meals and conversations with Him. When faced with the resurrected Christ, it would almost seem illogical that they just cannot tell it is Him.

Sometimes God allows us not to see Him so He can make clear what we truly know about Him. Jesus asks the disciples about the recent happenings and their knowledge of who they think the crucified Jesus was. He listens to their perspectives along the two-hour journey in order to best understand them. Perhaps, as they retell the story, it is clarified for them as well.

As they travel, He answers their questions by referring them to the scripture. We can also appreciate this lesson today. The answers regarding who Jesus is—and what His purpose is for us—can only be found in Him and in scripture. As He reminds the disciples, everything that has happened is already written there.

There is some other good news from this passage: the disciples ask Jesus to stay with them where they are lodging, and He is more than willing to do just that. He eats a meal with them, breaking bread as He had done at the Last Supper. Finally, their eyes are opened.

How joyful must they be when they finally see who He really is?

Christ with Us

This story is just as relevant for us today as it was for Jesus’s early followers. We may sometimes feel like we are not experiencing God as we would like. But let us not lose heart. Remember that Jesus came to them. The Book of Matthew says,

“Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:20

Let us be encouraged by that. Whenever we meet in His name, He is in our midst. When we ask Christ to dwell with us, He is more than happy to do just that.

Let us, therefore, draw near to the Father and ask that He may open our eyes to experience and acknowledge the presence of Jesus today. 

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