11 July 2012Luke 24:13-35
"Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him; and he vanished from their sight." (v. 31)
God's ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8), and it can be hard to see how the ways of God are working in our life experiences, particularly when we are focused on our ways, our plans and our strategies, and when these doesn't work out as we intend.
The two disciples are leaving Jerusalem, going away from the place of disaster, the place of Jesus' crucifixion. As with all the other disciples they would have had such high hopes of Jesus, and were convinced they were part of some special venture of God to empower and free the Jewish people (which no doubt also would have brought them some glory). But the crucifixion of their leader was not part of the plan. Their lives, their plans and their understanding of who Jesus is, are in tatters and they are grief stricken. How do they make sense of it all?
Jesus meets the two disciples, in the midst of their confusion and walks a distance with them. He listened to their grief stricken account and their fears. Unrecognised, he helps them to see their experience, their understanding of Scripture, and their understanding of himself, in a different way - God's way. At the sacramental moment of breaking bread together with Jesus, their eyes were opened, and they recognised who he is, the one with whom they had so often shared bread (verses 30-31). And part of recognising it was really Jesus, was the spiritual experience of their hearts burning within them, rekindling faith and hope. The two disciples recognised that God's ways had not been thwarted by the apparent disaster. The women who brought the 'astounding' news (v. 22) of the resurrection were right, and by the power of God, Jesus was still with them. Beyond all rationality rekindled hope, faith and love burned within them.
They returned to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples the amazing news of their belief in the resurrection. Disaster had been worked through. Hope had come again.
- When have you had the sense of being part of an exciting adventure with God which has not worked out at all as you expected? What happened?
- Who walked beside you for a while, to help you reframe the experience and recognise how God was working in it? And how did they do it?
- When things have not worked out as you hoped, how has your faith deepened? And in what ways have you been enabled to see the promises of Scripture and the ways of God differently, and become renewed in hope?