by Rev. Mona Chicks, CFDM alum and Board Member
During Lent, I found myself unintentionally meditating on the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. One in particular was rehearsed in a few contexts and situations, and led me to wonder what God was trying to tell me. I finally clued in that maybe I should intentionally meditate on this story. It was the story of the road to Emmaus, from Luke 24.13ff.
I can identify with Cleopas, one of the disciples on the road to Emmaus who journeyed with a stranger, only to find it was the risen Jesus. Cleopas is one of the first evangelists, though he didn’t yet know the end of the story. He walked and talked with this stranger, telling him all that had happened to Jesus. He spoke of his hopes and dreams about this man he had followed, dreams that had been dashed when the hope for insurrection turned to non-violent arrest, trial, and execution. He spoke of bewilderment, when the body of this man was missing from the tomb. He listened, as the stranger explained it all to him. But he did not yet know. He did not yet recognize the risen Jesus.
You would expect that Cleopas and the other disciple would recognize Jesus as soon as he began teaching. They had heard him teach frequently. But they didn’t. You would think that, having spent three years or so with this man, they would recognize his face, his form, his mannerisms. But they didn’t.
They didn’t recognize him until they ate with him. Perhaps they needed the journey to prepare them for the shock of seeing him resurrected. Maybe Jesus waited to reveal himself until they had shown hospitality and friendship to the stranger. How like Jesus to reveal himself in an unconventional, unexpected way. He’s spent his ministry doing the unexpected.
But it makes me wonder, in what ways am I missing what Jesus is doing because I’m looking for something else? How could I be losing out on a walk with my Savior, because it isn’t what I expected? As I spend time with Him each day, I ask for my eyes to be opened, so I can see Jesus as he is revealing himself in everything I experience that day. The disciples’ “hearts burned within them,” and that gives me hope for myself, that as I pay attention to the people and circumstances around me, I will come to recognize Jesus, even in unexpected places.
Amen, may it be so.