This week in our worship we had two scriptures. One from Luke and one from 1 Peter and I love the message of both so I struggled with which one to use for our weekly devotional. Ultimately, I chose Luke because, well, it has Jesus speaking and it’s always good to hear his voice.
On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. They were prevented from recognizing him.
He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” They stopped, their faces downcast.
The one named Cleopas replied, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who is unaware of the things that have taken place there over the last few days?”
He said to them, “What things?”
They said to him, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth. Because of his powerful deeds and words, he was recognized by God and all the people as a prophet. But our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the one who would redeem Israel. All these things happened three days ago. But there’s more: Some women from our group have left us stunned. They went to the tomb early this morning and didn’t find his body. They came to us saying that they had even seen a vision of angels who told them he is alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women said. They didn’t see him.”
Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets talked about. Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then he interpreted for them the things written about himself in all the scriptures, starting with Moses and going through all the Prophets.
When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?”
They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying to each other, “The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!” Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread. – Luke 24:13-35
It’s easy for us to think, “Wow, really? You don’t recognize Jesus! Your teacher, your friend?” First, I actually don’t think they were supposed to recognize him yet, but let’s think about this realistically. If you knew your friend to be dead, like you REALLY knew it and three days later they appeared on the road, do you think you would recognize them? Maybe we’d think there was something familiar about them but… our brains KNOW this person to be dead so I think it would be a struggle to see what was is there.
The thing I love about this scripture though comes next. It’s when they sit down to eat with him that they can really see who has been with them all along. It’s as he breaks the bread that their eyes are opened to him.
Just days before they had sat a table with him and he had asked them to remember him whenever they eat and drink, so how very appropriate that this is when it happens, when they recognize him.
This is just another reminder of the important ministry of the table. We often see Jesus sitting down to the table. It was a part of his ministry. He was often criticized for it because he dined with the outcast, with those others deemed unworthy. Maybe that’s why he asks us to remember him at the table… perhaps as we look around our table and see who we share it with. How we are continuing with Jesus’ table ministry? I think it’s more than just the monthly communion service with and Elder presiding, with only those who enter the doors of our churches. I think it has more to do with who we invite to the table and how we do that.
Think about that this week as you sit down at meal times. Think about how we might share the table with all God’s children. How can we invite them? How do we invite them? At home and at church?
Thank you for your many blessings. Help us to share those blessings with all your children. Help us to find ways to reach out them in love. Amen.