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Encountering Jesus on the Road

Luke 24:13-35 NIV

This Scriptural story begins three days after Jesus’ crucifixion. Two of Jesus’ disciples were walking to Emmaus, a town near Jerusalem. As they walked, they talked about the terrible events that had happened over the weekend.

The most important detail of these verses is that Jesus joined His followers on their journey. Jesus faithfully came to them even as they struggled to process what had happened. They didn’t recognize Jesus, but they invited Him to join them, and He did. As the three walked together, the two shared their astonishment and discouragement about their Messiah and His crucifixion. Jesus listened as they expressed their hopelessness and sadness – very normal reactions that anyone might experience after witnessing a crisis or a very traumatic moment.

As we look at this scene today, it is obvious to us that the disciples were stuck inside their own limited viewpoint. So stuck that they didn’t recognize that Jesus Himself was right there! We also see Jesus being faithful and patient. He points His followers to the Scriptures: the Messiah had to suffer and then enter into His glory. They still didn’t get it. So, Jesus faithfully stayed with them until they did. Later, as He broke the bread and shared it, their eyes were opened. They finally recognized Him, and He disappeared! We know that the disciples’ faith in Jesus was restored because they immediately ran back to Jerusalem and shared the good news that Jesus had risen from the dead and that they had seen Him!

We are all on a journey ourselves during this pandemic, and our own emotions up and down. Maybe you feel that sometimes your faith is fading. I am here to tell you today that Jesus is with you. He is faithful and will reveal Himself to you on your journey no matter where it takes you.

Lately, I have found that driving has been an adventurous journey. Several days ago, I dropped off my son at the front door of where he works, and the person behind me honked his horn at me. On my way back home, I saw another driver cut off the person in front of me. Since then, I try to leave home a few minutes earlier to not rush and drive safely myself. People are going about their journeys and the way they drive shows that they are anxious, fearful, and frustrated.

But, there are also signs that Jesus is near to us, even on the roads. Last Sunday, I was taking my son to work, and there was not a lot of traffic. Three vehicles were ahead of me, and the first car was going very slowly, and the people behind him were becoming a little impatient. Up ahead, I saw a Sheriff’s patrol car with its lights on the opposite side of the road. The officer then made a sharp U-turn and made us all stop in our lane. The deputy left his car, and I watched him pick up a turtle walking on the road and take it safely to the sidewalk. I did not expect this act of love and it was very meaningful. Before this, I had a limited perspective about the traffic, but when I saw the police officer performing a loving act of God for one of His creatures, I felt God’s touch and this brought me happiness.

Remember that on Easter Sunday I asked you to share on our Facebook page how you have experienced the presence of our Risen Christ? I tell you that I encountered Jesus in my journey on that road. I saw Him in that deputy who was taking care of one of God’s creatures.       

I wonder how many of us would have missed Jesus’ presence in the deputy, just as Cleopas and his partner missed the significance of the stranger on the road to Emmaus. It is so easy for us to be unaware of Jesus even when He is right here. Jesus will persevere until we see Him. He does so with all those who follow Him because He is always faithful.

So, on the road to Emmaus and in our own journeys, we can expectantly watch for God’s Presence in His Word, in nature, and in our neighbors. When we see Him, it fills our hearts and we can sing, (you sing) “Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand has provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

And the people of the Lord say, Amen!