Will You Know Him?

Most everyone is familiar with the story of the two disciples who meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

We are told the trip is some seven miles, so we may assume the trip took a good two hours, and probably a bit more. Moreover, Jesus stayed and had dinner with the two.

It was in the “breaking of the bread” that the eyes of the disciples was opened, and they realized it had been Jesus who had been with them.

Always a strange story. Yet, the post resurrection stories seem to reflect this kind of mystery again and again. We are forced to conclude that Jesus in his risen state is somehow different. Even Mary does not recognize him at first, thinking him the gardener.

We ask ourselves why is the glorified Jesus so very different from the earthly one? And I am forced to conclude that this is really not the case. What is going on here, in my opinion, is the author’s attempt to present the Christ as something quite different from what was imagined or thought of as Jesus the Nazarene.

What do I mean by this?

No more than what Jesus preached again and again–those who were caught up in old ways of thinking cannot “see” what he is talking about. They were limited by their “world view” in deciphering his message.

We see this in the rather amusing aside of the disciples telling Jesus what happened to Him in Jerusalem. At one point they say: “Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free.”

These two saw Jesus as the traditional Messiah, predicted to one day come and defeat the powers of Rome.

And we have seen, that to some degree, all the disciples for some period of time, minutes or hours, also did not “see” the risen Christ.

They were looking for Jesus, and were blind to the Christ before them.

We too can fail to “see”.

We too have our own worldview. Our own conceptions of who this man Jesus was and is. We have expectations of how and when he will “return”, as if he is somehow not yet here.

Some of us spend altogether too much time reading and studying, attempting to define Him, attempting to discover the definitive Jesus, the definitive sayings of Jesus. We seek to “know” Him perfectly.

More and more, I am convinced that we never will by this method. Not that it is not a laudable thing to do, for it certainly is. But it will only take us so far.

The Jesus who lives today is not discernible through a book or even through scripture. He is known only within us and in others. He lives forever in our hearts and souls and awaits us there. If we are to know him, we must become silent and then we must wait.

We must wait, even when nothing at all seems to be happening. We must trust that it is happening. We must let the healing and the teaching go on within, in a mind quieted of all the noise of everyday affairs.

We most assuredly must seek him in the depths of every being we encounter, for he is there, perhaps buried deep, but still there.

We must seek him in events, awful and wondrous.

We must seek him in the birds of the sky, and the chipmunk on the stump.

We must seek him in the storm and in the clouds.

In the oceans, streams and vast sands of the desert.

In the rocks and canyons, in vistas breathtaking.

In the dandelion and in the ditch lily.

Will you know Him?


**Luke 24:13-35


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tim
    May 08, 2011 @ 17:56:43

    Ah, dear Sherry, once again you and I open the same text and discern the same thing! I believe the disciples don’t immediately recognize the Risen Christ because they haven’t yet absorbed the Resurrection’s implications. Its completion of Jesus’s earthly mission has forever altered the paradigm from conformist religion to personal faith–a thing that can’t be explained with logical certainty, it can only be attained in defiance of misgivings.

    The whole back-from-the-dead thing is just too weird to get their heads around. They have no experience with how it works and no idea what it means. (On Easter, our pastor wondered if the disciples don’t also respond to the Resurrection with a degree of dread; will they have to witness a second crucifixion?) Then there are the huge changes in Christ’s manner and methods–the sudden appearances and disappearances, abrupt conversations, and aloof demeanor. It makes sense for them to question what they see. And of course, that’s the point: in the new paradigm, faith redefines sight by preempting the doubts sight generates.

    Maybe the best way to summarize it is the glorified Christ has definitively opened and already entered this new frontier of living by faith and we’re given the disciples’ eye-opening experiences as examples of crossing into it as well. They’ve fallen behind and it takes a leap of faith to catch up.

    Like you, I love the Emmaus story for its strangeness. It’s almost a metaphor unto itself; so much happens right before our eyes, yet without faith we can’t see what’s really going on!

    Another dazzling reflection here, Sherry. Thank you!



    • Sherry
      May 09, 2011 @ 11:51:44

      If you and I are thinking on the same wavelength, then I am truly blessed indeed….I agree that this was a new way of thinking for the disciples and one that was difficult for them to absorb. I think it is interesting to think that they may have thought of the resurrection as fearful, something that would entail going through the same experiences of crucifixion again….hadnt thought of that …blessings!


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