“That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus,.. talking with each other about all these things that had happened… Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. He said to them, ‘What is this conversation..?’ One of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ And he said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers… crucified him… It is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company… were at the tomb early in the morning, and… came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive… He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
“So they drew near to the village to which they were going… They urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us…’ When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’” Luke 24:13-23,25-32
It is a mystery why and how these did not recognize Jesus- we can assume that they certainly did not expect to see Him, and that His resurrected appearance was changed. But as they walked and talked and listened to His teaching and shared fellowship with Him, their eyes were opened. The embers that had begun to warm their hearts during initial conversation on the road fanned into full flame through ongoing communion, and they remembered. Over the moments and hours, He became once again familiar. (Luke 24:37-39; John 20:14)
We may face troubles and responsibilities that block us from recognizing Jesus. The hurt is so grave, the weight so heavy, the confusion so disconcerting, the time so jam-filled, that we scarcely take a thought for how He might be present. But He graciously pursues His own. In the midst of the fury of emotion, consternation, and suffering, He makes Himself known in small yet significant ways. Would we heed the prod of His heat and welcome Him? (Daniel 3:19-27)
What am I investing in prayer, study, and attention to recognize the voice of Jesus? Are my ears attuned to His peace, direction, warning? Are my eyes opened to His presence in the breaking of bread, the working of daily miracles that He puts on display? Would we commit to respond to His gifts of conviction and inspiration so we don’t miss out on all He has for us? (Psalm 34:8; 119:18; Matthew 14:16-21; 26:26)
Lord, keep my heart burning for You, that I fully recognize and receive the fire You give and are, to the outworking of your plans and praise of your glory. (Zechariah 2:5)