Read: Luke 24: 13-35
“Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him,” Luke 24:31 (NIV)
The account of the two disciples meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus and failing to recognize Him often presents a puzzle for the present-day reader. After all, why didn’t these followers recognize Him? After all, this was a man they knew personally; they had lived with Him, walked with Him, and no doubt shared numerous meals with Him during the three years of His ministry. Granted the shock of witnessing His death and burial probably blinded them to expecting His appearance as Luke states, “They stood still, their faces downcast” (24: 17). Or maybe, they were so caught up in disappointment as they had so much counted on Jesus redeeming Israel—that is, to rescue the nation from its enemies. Wasn’t this the Messianic message of Old Testament prophecies?
Perhaps it was the time of the day. Scripture states, “…it is nearly evening; the day is almost over” (24:29); maybe the light was so poor they weren’t able to see Him clearly!
Is there any parallel between the experience of the followers on the road to Emmaus and our own lives? Are there times when each of us fails to recognize the presence of Christ or the Holy Spirit? I would suggest that there are moments in our lives when His presence is very real and other times He seems distant. Could it be that as Annie Johnson suggests in the opening verse of her poem that He is there but we fail to recognize Him?
“He’s helping now-this moment,
though I may not see it or hear.
Perhaps by a friend far distant,
perhaps by a stranger near.
Perhaps by a spoken message
perhaps by the printed word.
In ways that I know and know not
I have the help of the Lord.”