Today’s gospel reading is from Luke 24. It is the account of the disciples on their way to Emmaus after Christ’s crucifixion.
As they walk, they are talking with one another, no doubt grieving and consoling one another regarding the events of the past few days. The Word says that as they were walking and debating, that Jesus drew near and walked with them…but their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.
And as they don’t recognize Him, they begin witnessing to the crucified Christ Himself:
…about His words and his deeds
…about His betrayal and death sentence
…about His suffering, and death on a cross
…about His missing body, and rumor of his resurrection
And Jesus engages them
And rebukes them
And teaches them, starting with Moses and the prophets, he explains how all those events in Scripture were fulfilled in Him.
And still, they did not recognize Him.
I love the next part of this passage. As they near their destination, they urge Him to stay and have supper with them, and He accepts. Then a really cool thing happens…Jesus says a blessing, takes the bread, breaks it, and gives it to His disciples.
THERE HE IS! In the breaking of the bread is where He made Himself known to them.
There, they finally recognize Him, and just as soon as they do, He is gone.
Can you imagine the excitement? It was not their imagination, they both spoke with Him, listened to Him, and recognized Him. They leave at once for Jerusalem to testify, and recount to the eleven who are gathered there all that had taken place on the way, and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
Because He is the same yesterday, today and forever…today, He still makes Himself known the same way. When we eat His body and drink His blood as we are instructed to do (John 6), He comes to us. He indwells us. He makes known to us His will…and when He does, we recognize Him, and testify of Him, and we are strengthened by Him.
I am slightly encouraged that I am not the only one who struggles to see Jesus when I’m focused on my own sorrows. I don’t see Him, even when he draws near to my brokenhearted self. I struggle to hear Him speak to my heart, and even though I have His words memorized, I cannot hear the truth in them for the clanging cacophony of my own sorrow, self pity, and despair. Yet He continues to walk with me, and chide me, and teach me, and He waits for me in the Holy Eucharist.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!