That We Should Know Him

“But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.” (Luke 24:16)

Two of the disciples after the crucifixion of our Lord were walking on the road to Emmaus. They were discussing the events that had taken place. They had just spent three years with Jesus in daily activity of learning and testifying on behave of their Master. They were working for the kingdom that they believed Jesus was going to establish in Jerusalem and now they may have been confused by the events of the previous days. So the two were discussing and trying to find understanding of what this all meant. This is a good thing for us to do as well as we go about our lives, seeking the truths of God and applying them as we walk. Another man joined them in their journey and walked with them joining in with their conversation. The stranger then began to explain to them from the time of Moses and the prophets that the Scriptures told of the Christ that would suffer and then enter into His glory. I imagine they were fascinated by His knowledge of the Scriptures as He explained them the truths. Yet they did not recognize him, until they sat to break bread and He blessed it.

Isn’t it a question as to why they had not recognized their Lord and Master? They had many times heard His voice and looked upon His face. They had walked many miles with Him in the journey of the past three years. They had been disciples and were in intense learning all of this time together. Yet now on the road to Emmaus they did not know Him. True Jesus was in His resurrected body, but so where Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Peter recognized them and the rest offered to build a tabernacle for them. (Matthew 17:1-13) People in their resurrected bodies are able to be recognized by us mortals yet the two did not recognize Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Neither did Mary Magdalene in the Garden but thought Him to be the gardener. (John 20:15) The fishing disciples did not recognize Jesus on the lake when they were returning to the shore. (John 21:43) Why the question that I ask in my mind is did these people who knew Jesus intimately not know Him.

Dr. Westcott give us a possible explanation. “To give any simply natural explanation of the failure of the disciples to recognize Christ. After the Resurrection he was known as he pleased, and not necessarily at once till they who gazed on him were placed in something of spiritual harmony with the Lord, they could not recognize him.” I think Dr. Westcott has a very valid point that in order to see and know Jesus we have to be in spiritual tune with Him. Jesus said Himself in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) John the Baptist told the Jew in the countryside to “Make His paths straight.” (Luke 3:4) We cannot let our activity block the path to Jesus in our life.

Mary Magdalene was preoccupied with sorrow in the garden and therefore failed to recognize Jesus because her grief blinded spiritual vision of Him. The disciples on the lake were preoccupied with the work of their fishing and did not have their mind set upon Jesus. The two disciples in the road to Emmaus were blinded by their lack of understanding. Then when Jesus blessed the meal as He and the two broke bread together they realized in whose presence they were in, Jesus. When Mary Magdalene looked into the eyes of Jesus then she knew it was her Lord. John recognized Jesus when the nets were filled by His blessing. When all of them cleared the path and focused on Jesus, as Peter did when he stepped out of the boat, they knew the presence of Jesus. When their hearts became in harmony with the Master they knew from where comes their help. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I know this is true with many, I know that it is true with me at times, and I wonder if it is not also true with you that at times we just do not feel the power of Jesus’ presence. There are times that we feel the light burning bright within and bursting out from us and then there are times that all seems dark. God is a rock as the Prophet Samuel tells us, “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:3) God does not move, so have we? Have we let our lives preoccupy us from our focus and devotion to Jesus? Have we left our first love? Do we cry as Job, “Oh that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat!” (Job 23:3) If we have then we need to go back to where we left our first love. The Apostle John writes in Revelation, “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.” (Revelation 2:5) In those distant moments we need to go back to the basics and find the excitement we had when we first met Jesus.

We must repent and humble ourselves down to where we were naked in the Garden as Adam and Eve. Not be caught up in the turmoil as Peter in the storm of the Sea of Galilee and once again set our eye upon Jesus and Him only. Be in prayer with Him and learn His voice that we may always know His call. Return to our Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth because we can find the reflection of His image there. Jesus still walks in the Garden to commune with His people just as the Father did in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve.

Unbelief is a silent destroyer of a relationship with God and with men and women. We easily say we believe but our testimony of faith proves our belief. The disciples on the road to Emmaus believed Jesus was coming back but they didn’t act on their belief by faith and therefore did not recognize Him. Faith alone can make us see Jesus. God will give us this faith. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrew 12:2)

If you feel distant and apart go back to where you left Him and seek with the faith that He can be found. Pray to Him, study His Word, and see the glory of His creation and act in faith upon what He reveals with all your heart, as He is seeking the lost and He will find you. “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

The Bridges, November 2014

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