What do you expect?
“As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them….[Jesus] asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
—Luke 24:15,17 NLT
There are big, incredible things that happen in scripture. The Earth floods. The Red Sea parts. Jericho’s walls come tumbling down. Equally, there are little incredible things that happen in scripture. This not recognizing Jesus when He suddenly appears to the two on the road to Emmaus? This is a little incredible thing. The two are busy talking over all that had happened during Passover in Jerusalem the week before—how the leading priests and other religious leaders handed Jesus over to be condemned to death, and crucified (Luke 24:20). The two do not recognize Jesus who suddenly joins them.
Scripture tells us the two are too sad to recognize Jesus, and this is true—to an extent. I suggest there’s more to this. Verse 21 of this passage says the two had hoped Jesus was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. In other words, the two were looking for a one-time champion to wipe out their big problems—the Romans. That didn’t happen. The Jesus they had wanted (or had wanted to see) was essentially a ‘no show,’ so why would they recognize Jesus, this stranger among them?
Notice Jesus doesn’t help them. He doesn’t ID himself during the walk.
Here’s a thought. Maybe Jesus appears to those who look for Him, or, more specifically, Jesus appears to those who know what to look for IN Him. By no means is Jesus a stranger or a trickster with hidden disguises (although at the empty tomb Mary did think He was a gardener), but maybe Jesus is hidden from us when we aren’t looking for Him. In other words, if we never expect to see Jesus, we will never find Him.
There’s an idiom, “What you see is what you get.” Remember this on whatever road you find yourself on, especially if you are as troubled or as heartbroken as the two in this passage. See what needs to be seen: Jesus walking right beside you.
Our scripture Sunday is Luke 24:13-34.
“Lord, open my eyes that I may see the glimpses of truth that You have for me.” Amen.