How Many Times ….
Have we needed Him, and we could not even behold him as he stands among us. Our needs, wants, wishes, even all the brokenness of life – spoken and yearned for, yet the very answer to all we clamor for is not even recognized. The one who has the power, is not even seen in our midst.
What does today represent to most Christians everywhere?
Today represents the morning of Resurrection. The Sabbath ended with the setting of the sun on our Saturday night. The dawn is rising on the First Day of the new week, and those followers of Jesus spent the darkest hours of the new day just waiting for that blush of dawn.
Why? So they can attend to the body of Jesus and complete the burial ritual that began Friday afternoon just before the start of Sabbath.
How did they spend their hours? I cannot imagine their rest was complete.
Are we in danger of the same fate? Our hope has been murdered. Our teacher is gone. Did we misunderstand? What’s missing? All needs to be re-thought. What do we do now?
I’m sure these were common threads of fear, dismay and doubt.
But as the women got to the tomb this morning to finish their ministering, they do not even think about the stone rolled in front of the tomb. No thought about who will move it. No, theirs was an act of necessity to complete an unfinished task.
But, the miracle had occurred with the rising of the sun. The Son rose from the darkness of death! Mary runs back to the disciples. He’s gone. Peter and John hastened to the tomb. He is surely gone!
But look. The burial clothes. Wrapped neatly. Almost staged. If they took his body as the women have supposed surely those burial clothes would not have been so neatly handled.
Then the two on the road of Emmaus, a village not known today. Followers for sure. One unnamed. The other was Cleophas. A Greek name. Most likely a Gentile follower. Who was this unnamed one? It has been supposed that this easily could be the writer of the Gospel of Luke. Who truly knows…
Even during those 3.5 years of ministry, Jesus was reaching for everyone, not just the House of Israel! His ministry is to Seek and Save the Lost! (Luke 19:10)
The agony of the two is felt as a stranger draws near, asking about their conversation. Have you been here so shortly that even you do not know about the death of our prophet? The rulers and sinners killed him. Tell me, says the stranger.
And they unload all they know about the history and death of Jesus. Never once realizing they were talking to the author and finisher of life and faith! (Hebrews 12:2)
But then the stranger speaks up:
…”O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25-26 NKJV)
The stranger affirms their story, but unwraps the very one they are talking about.
The Christ! The Anointed One!
And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, the stranger teaches them the Scripture that spoke of the Christ. How did he do this? Think about it. These were possibly men from Greek heritage. Most likely they did not know Hebrew. Aramaic and Greek was the common language of the day. The stranger expounds, or translates, from an unknown tongue to a known language! He interprets the scripture for them. This Greek word is mostly used to define the act of interpretation (Acts 9:36, 1 Cor. 12:30, 1 Cor. 14:5, 13, 27)
As the day comes to a close, the two weary travelers invite the stranger to their table for the evening meal and rest. Scripture says they “constrained” him, or compelled him to stay with them.
Can you imagine for just a moment their position. Hospitality is a requirement from their culture and from their experience. No Hotels. No Restaurants. The place they are staying is not named, but it was surely a known place.
Yes. Yes… There will be plenty of room. Plenty of food. Stay. Please.
The stranger not only abides with them, but quickly took over the role of the host. This is the job that would have been done by whoever is providing the respite. It is not said that he washed their feet, but just like Jesus did before that famous Last Supper, it is very possible that he would have washed away the travelers dirt, just as the host would have done. There is no way they would have sat down to a meal without first cleaning up.
Again, the stranger takes on the role of host:
Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:30-31 NKJV)
With this simple illustration of service, their eyes are opened. All of a sudden the knew Him. Jesus! He here’s! Now!
I hear this a lot, and I know it to be true. If you love, show me. Be the host to a complete stranger. Who knows? It may just be an angel (Hebrews 13:2)… It could even be the one you are looking for!
Early this morning I purposed to awake before they sun blushed the dawn. A night of stormy weather will probably keep the sun from physically appearing, but the light of the morning is there. In fact, the time is here just about now. It is what we will call the start of our daytime hours.
Many Sunday mornings I arise early to polish my devotion before preparing to leave for Church. This is not new. What is new, perhaps, is that I’ve spent the entire morning timing my routine for this moment of sunrise. It brings song from my heart to my mouth. He is no longer a stranger. My eyes are opened as He shows how much He loves and cares for me. Right now. In my position and condition.
Jesus is here right now, reach out and touch Him.
Jesus is here right now, yours to receive.
Jesus is standing near, ready your heart to cheer,
Jesus is here right now, only believe.
Is he there for you? All your fears and frailties – He’s right beside you. Doubt and confusion will melt away as he opens up your heart to His word. That very hidden need? Reveal it to the one who knows how to take care of your every concern. Right now. He’s here. Go ahead. Reach out. Touch him.