They did not recognize Jesus...would you? Check it out.
Not another like him, number 27.
Without doubt, the body of the resurrected Lord was different that it had been before - he was flesh and blood, ate and drank and yet was able to pass through walls, too. Sometimes he was recognized by his loved ones, other times not. Check out this long Sunday afternoon walk he had with two men - how I wish I could have heard what he said to them!
But first we know the tomb was empty that early morning. The women have rushed to tell the disciples only the linen cloths were there.
And then Luke records an afternoon encounter with Jesus - the substance of which might be called The Greatest Sermon ever Preached - though only two heard it. Or maybe it would be called Dead Man Walking or 'And You Thought You Should Give Up All Hope? With Jesus, hope is alive!
So . . .two men were going to a village called Emmaeus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened when suddenly Jesus himself came up and walked along with them. Luke indicates that the men were kept from recognizing him. Though I am not sure why God made it so, the men did not know it was Jesus. Peculiar.
He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" All locals would have known. "What things?" he asked.
"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."
He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. How blessed the travelers were! Can you imagine hearing Jesus recount all of this?!
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
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. They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" from Luke 24
So, somehow, they knew within themselves while Jesus had been telling them of Moses and the prophets - all that led up to his coming to earth, and yet they didn't believe it was the Resurrected One talking and walking with them. . .it wasn't until Jesus prayed that the familiar was unmistakable. It was then that they recognized him.
There is a lot we do not know here - what did Jesus look like? Just three days since his torture and crucifixion, pierced hands and feet, bloodied brow...lacerated back - was that healed? What about his face - how in the world did they not recognize him?
Hmmm...I wonder how many times Jesus has come to me - just that obvious - and I did not recognize him. Do I always hear and recognize his voice in the various ways he speaks to me and tries to get my attention? I fear not.
How about you? Did you recognize Him trying to get your attention when you needed a touch of the Divine, and you even prayed for it, vowing that you would follow Him, if he would just grant you this one request? Did you then - or did you reduce things down to coincidence, or worse, karma?
Did you recognize His attempt to get you to look His way, when you bumped up against someone who was just too kind, too good to be true, too sure and reflective of a loving God and dang, you wanted some of that, but you soon put it out of your mind - seemed less real, less important to pursue God than other things.
How about when your baby daughter was born, and there you were, at the miracle of new birth, with the basest, purest of feelings coursing through you, and then life went on, you got busy again. . . and the miracle God had wrought was forgotten? Do you realize that Jesus visited you that day? You might as well have been on the road to Emmaeus, because you did not recognize Him.
This is a new day. This is the day the Lord has made and you have a choice to "rejoice and be glad in it"as the psalmist purposed to do each day. You can choose to ask God to lead and guide you, and then... will you look for Him to do so? Will you hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way, walk in it" as Isaiah did? O, I want that to be true of me.
Your road may take you back and forth to the consulate in South Africa as you await papers to bring home your new adopted daughter... your road make take you from a blue highway to a red highway, your road may take you through bumper-to-bumper traffic or painful personal hurdles, but your Savior walks beside you, if you will just look for Him, recognize Him.
Look for him,