“That same day two of Jesus followers were walking to the village of Emmaus. seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things. Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. ….
Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?’ Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets. explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on. but they begged him, “Stay the night with us. since it is getting late.’ So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat he took the bread and blessed it Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly. their eyes were opened. and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!” Luke 24:13-16,25-31
This passage comes just after the Resurrection in Luke’s account of Jesus’ life. The two followers walking to Emmaus hadn’t heard at this stage that Jesus had been risen from the dead. For them, all hope was gone. They had thought their Messiah had come, but now he was buried in a grave. They thought freedom was coming, but the Romans had crucified their saviour.
They had spent a significant amount of time with Jesus up to this point. For up to three years they had followed him around, watching as miracles were performed, listening as he shared messages of hope, their jaws dropping as blind men saw again and the lame rolled up their mats and walked home. They could have been there as five loaves and two fish fed a crowd of 5000. They were his followers and they would have known him well. And yet they as they walk for several hours chatting with Jesus they don’t even realise who it is.
And I guess that is something we can relate to. Yes we may be followers of Jesus, but there are stages we go through when it seems we are walking along that road with no sign of Jesus. But here is the good news. He hasn’t left us alone. He hasn’t abandoned us. Perhaps we simply don’t recognise him right now.
Chances are there will come a day when you near the end of a certain journey (be it an outreach team you haven’t felt has been making an impact, be it a job you feel isn’t right for you, be it any number of other things) and suddenly your eyes will be opened and you will see that Jesus has been with you through it all, teaching you, revealing things to you without you even noticing it, strengthening and supporting you, moulding you into the person he wants you to be.
So don’t give up. Don’t get disheartened. Today you may not see him, but maybe he is right there amid all the struggle and strife, and one day suddenly you will see.