Whatever you do . . .
Last weekend was Easter (Resurrection) Sunday; and I know with crazy schedules and the busyness of life, most everyone celebrated the day and the event, and we have already moved on to the next big thing.
However, if you don’t mind, I’d like to linger just a little longer in the Easter season, and review a passage of scripture recorded in the Gospel of Luke. In the way of a backdrop, what we’re about to read took place on the very first Easter—maybe in the middle of the day. Two of Jesus’ disciples (not the original twelve) had just heard that the stone at the entrance of the tomb had been rolled away, and the dead body of Jesus was missing. Feeling totally defeated and utterly disillusioned with the latest news, they decided to pack their bags and leave Jerusalem once and for all.
Let’s pick up the story in Luke 24:13-21a (ESV):
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. And He said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad (downcast).
Then 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 Jesus 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 delivered Him up to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel.
After reviewing this portion of the Easter account, can you envision yourself being in the company of the resurrected Jesus and not even know it? Is it possible for a follower of Christ to not recognize His presence?
I mean, imagine you’re cruising along the road of life, desperately trying to make sense of all the events taking place in the world… You decide to have lunch with a few friends, and of course the subject of the pandemic comes up. Immediately you find yourself discouraged and at a loss because according to news reports, the number of COVID cases are spiking again, then there is huge push to get everyone vaccinated, and finally the ongoing mask debate continues to be a very divisive hot button issue.
After lunch you decide to go for a walk to obtain a little clarity. As you contemplate all the disturbing, breaking news headlines from your earlier conversation, you are desperate to try and make sense of it all and find some peace… All of a sudden, Jesus is right there, looking over your shoulder. He engages you in conversation, wanting to know why you’re so frustrated and maybe even a little fearful; you fire back, defending your cause. The discussion continues as you walk together for several miles; and even though it’s Jesus talking to you, you don’t recognize or realize it’s Him.
Talk about feeling foolish and out of spiritual touch. Thank the Lord that could never happen to us, right? Or could it? Is it possible that we could be so wrapped up in our own opinion and viewpoint, that we ignore the recognizable voice of the Holy Spirit speaking directly to us? I'll let you think about that for a moment…
Every time I read this account in Luke 24, I ask myself the simple question: How could these two disciples fail to identify this Man as Jesus? How could they not know it was Him? They had followed Jesus for several years; they listened to Him preach; they witnessed His miracles; and one week earlier, on Palm Sunday, they spent the whole day together.
What happened? Why were these two disciples so blind? It was their own opinionated perspective that betrayed them. They thought they had their facts straight, but they were wrong, dead wrong. (Sorry for the pun—couldn’t resist.) They were convinced Jesus was as dead as a doornail when in fact He was not dead; Jesus was alive.
Matthew 28:6 says, “He is not here, He is RISEN…”
A couple more verses for your review:
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Let your conversation (speech, writing, and video) be always full of grace, seasoned with salt…
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.