30 April 2017

Luke 24:13-35

“What are you discussing … ?” (v. 17)

[In the Bible readings of the next seven days, in a variety of contexts, a number of people find it difficult to recognise Jesus. So an underlying question this week is how all of us, living in our own unique personal and public contexts, both recognise and respond to Jesus in our everyday lives.]

Psalm: Psalm 116


For many Christians, this is one of the loveliest post-resurrection passages; indeed, one of the most meaningful of all the stories of Jesus. At so many levels, the reader is able to engage with what happened on that road to Emmaus.

Perhaps you are going through a bad patch, or a time when God seems either remote or not interested. How can God, a loving God, allow such things to happen? Well, those two disciples on the road, going west into the growing darkness towards Emmaus certainly felt downhearted and rudderless with the recent events. Until of course the 'stranger' arrives and asks a question: "What are you discussing…?" As if he didn't know!

Most of the rest of the conversation is Jesus listening to their narrative of the events surrounding his own trial, death and subsequent disappearance. Importantly, before Jesus offers the godly perspective, he listens to their own honest understanding. For us too, this honesty needs to be an important part of our prayer life. God wants us to tell God as it is, warts and all: our anxieties as well as joys, our disappointments as well as successes, our sheer bewilderment at international, national or personal events. Then, emptied and having let go of the weight, may we be willing to hear God speaking, reminding us of divine love, and reassuring us that God will always be with us both in this earthly chapter of eternity and for ever.

Recognising God seems to be easier for some than others. These two disciples offered the stranger hospitality and in that act of grace received so much more; in the breaking of the bread they recognised Jesus - "their eyes were opened" (v. 31). Jesus does not force himself on any of us. Seeing Jesus in daily life is up to us. An act of kindness, a loving response in any situation, truth lovingly spoken to power, neighbourly living, gracious responses in times of difficulty, etc can all be interpreted as seeing God, recognising Jesus, in action. For many, receiving the bread and wine of Communion is also one of those occasions.

Whenever we do recognise God in daily living, may our initial response be, like those disciples at Emmaus, to move into the light of dawning reality and to share such good news.

To Ponder

  • If you were to give an example of recognising God in the world around you, what might it be?
  • The disciples on the road to Emmaus immediately talked with each other about what was revealed to them. Concerning the things of God, such fellowship is precious. If you have someone with whom you can share, take time today to give thanks for their company and faithfulness. 

Bible notes author

Michael King

Michael King is a Methodist local preacher. From 2000-2011, he was leader of the Methodist Church's World Church Relationships team, and was the vice-president of the Methodist Conference in 2012/2013.