When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. Luke 24:30-31
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I am all about cloak and dagger mystery stories. If I am going to read fiction, it is going to be a mystery.
Some people refer to the story in Luke about the two disciples and the road to Emmaus as the greatest mystery revealed.
Let me set the scene for you: These two disciples, friends of Jesus, are starting on their journey home. They have just witnessed the horrible and painful death, no, not death, crucifixion – of their Lord and their friend. Then they find out that his tomb is empty after three days. What has happened? Where is the body of Jesus’s? Was it stolen? Had he really been raised from the dead?
I am guessing that their mood is somber, and they are still grieving. Suddenly, a stranger joins them on their journey. A man who does not seem to be aware of the events of the past weekend. As they explain the situation and express their grief to this stranger, it is him, the stranger, who begins to fill them in.
Now this man starts sharing scripture with them that explained why it was necessary for Jesus to come to earth and for Him to die. He showed them that everything they had just lived through had been prophesied long ago. He was solving the mystery for them.
At the end of the journey, the stranger was going to go on, but the two disciples invite him to stay for dinner, and he does. Guess who’s coming to dinner?
Then, when He sat with them at dinner and broke the bread, “their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.” (Luke 24:31a). They had just gotten a deep insightful and lesson from the best-selling Author of Scripture!
Have you had a time in your life when Jesus was walking right beside you and you didn’t recognize Him? Maybe you only saw Him after the fact.
It happened to me once. I was driving home from a trip and during that drive I was negotiating with God about giving up a bad habit. I was a smoker and I desperately wanted to quit smoking. So, I decided that I would get off at the next exit, throw away my cigarettes and get something to drink (Diet Coke).
As I am coming off the exit and approaching the stop sign, I see an older gentleman, wearing a timeworn expression upon a grey stubble face. He had a cloak of a once green army jacket loosely resting on his stooped shoulders and a bright red hat snuggled on his unkempt, oily hair. I could not see his eyes thru the broken pop bottle glasses that rested timidly on his straight nose. The sign he carried simply read “Need money for new glasses”.
For whatever reason, I felt compelled to help this man out. I rolled down my window and reached into my purse, past the pack of cigarettes and grabbed my wallet. Hmmm….all I have is a twenty dollar bill. Still feeling compelled to help, I stick my hand out the window, holding onto my last bit of money and hand him the bill. He simply says thanks with a nod of his head. I reply, “God be with you.” He then looks at me directly in the eyes, and I can now see his eyes clearly through the broken glasses and looking right into my soul, says to me “God is closer than you think.”
I knew in that moment that I had met Jesus, on the side of the road, on my way to throw away my reliance on a deadly god that, until that moment, had a death grip upon my heart. I felt His presence in every cell of my body and can still remember the feeling today.
God stayed close to me in my desire to quit smoking, I did quit smoking and my eyes were opened to the grace of God thru the most beautifully broken man on the side of the road that I have ever met!
There are two Bible verses that I want to share with you now:
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2
‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then the King will answer, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’ Matthew 25:44-45
Like I said, I like a good mystery and God never fails to continue to appear, whether cloaked as a bum or a kind stranger that helps at just the right moment. My appetite for having all of God’s mysteries revealed is anxious to see what He does next!
Heavenly Father, your love for us amazes me! Your humbleness blesses me! Your genuineness is unparalleled to any! I pray I never stop finding you at every stop sign and on every road in our journey together. Amen