Jesus Sightings: Surprised by God’s touch!
May 12, 2019 (click here for PDF version)
Overarching theme: Living a year in God’s presence through the practice of following Jesus.
Core Point: At times, God surprises us with a unique touch of grace. What do we do with that touch? Tell someone!
Start point: Gospel overview: The Gospel of Luke was written sometime after 60 A.D. and before 70 A.D. The Gospel narratives were probably written to help people remember the story from actual witnesses. Most likely, decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the stories about Jesus had morphed into half-truths. Each Gospel had many similar stories but with a unique perspective from the eye witness. The author, Luke, was most likely a physician and worked with Paul on a missionary journey. Luke wrote a companion letter, which is called Acts, after the Gospel of Luke was written. Both letters, Luke wrote to Theophilus which means “God’s Friend.” There is speculation that Theophilus was a wealthy influential believer, or a name for a group of people receiving the letter. We really do not know for sure. The purpose for Luke writing the Gospel letter is explained in chapter 1 verses 1-4. Luke wrote to give an orderly and researched account of what was fulfilled in the eyewitness account of Christ Jesus. The people that received the Gospel of Luke were most likely gentile Christians struggling to journey as a Christian and understand the fullness of Jesus.
Reflect on this Scripture:
Luke 24:13-35 (NRSV)
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Questions to Ponder:
What jumps out at you in the text?
What where the things that happened that the disciples were discussing?
How are you like the disciples in response to what happened to Jesus?
What did Jesus do for the disciples in this encounter?
How did the disciples respond to the encounter?
Interesting Question —- What kept them from seeing Jesus? What was it about breaking bread that caused them to realize it was Jesus, when the week before, Mary recognized Jesus when he spoke her name?
I have wondered why these two disciples, one being called Cleopas, were on their way to Emmaus. We know that many of the disciples, after the death of Jesus, went back to fishing. In the times of bewilderment and anxiety, we tend to go back to a place of comfort to work through the struggle. The actual village of Emmaus is no longer in existence and the location is unclear, but the possibility is that Emmaus was a town about 19 miles out of West Jerusalem where Nicopolis is now located and would take about 6 to 7 hours to walk. This encounter with Jesus was a good distance from where he was crucified and buried. From the dialogue, the disciples in this passage were talking about what happened to Jesus. Jesus recited scripture to them and led them in the same type of meal as at the last supper. It was upon the breaking of bread that their eyes were open and they recognized Jesus. Once again, Jesus showing up in the lives of people after his death is news worthy and encourages the believers to keep up with the ministry. I think that this passage illustrates that we can see the evidence of Jesus anywhere and when we least expect it.
Questions to Ponder:
What is it that you get out of this Jesus sighting?
How have you seen Jesus this week?
How did you exhibit Jesus in your life this week?
Activity of for the life of a disciple:
1. This week, look for times in which you see Jesus in others.
2. Choose one person with who you can testify how you saw Jesus