When we lift the limits
A grocery store manager spoke into the future about the best practices his store will do once we are clear to slowly and safely move past the pandemic. In mid-sentence, he said something we all understand: “lift the limits.”
Interestingly, the lectionary scripture from this past Sunday does exactly that for the two travelers—it lifts the limits.
The two travelers are on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus following the events of Passover. As they are walking, Jesus suddenly appears and begins journeying with them (Luke 24:13f). An interesting verse follows. “But God kept [the two] from recognizing him (15).”
Why would God keep this duo from immediately recognizing Jesus? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a great surprise—a grand reveal—right there on the spot where the two could embrace Jesus wholeheartedly?
Instead, the two share with this ‘stranger’ what they know. Inadvertently, they open a hole in their faith in that neither traveler names Jesus as the Messiah. Instead, they each speak with their new companion that Jesus was a prophet who did powerful miracles. They disclose that He was also a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all people, yet nowhere in the text do the two mention the one crucified and buried is the Son of God.
The travelers were limited in how—and where—they could see Jesus. We can be limited, too. In this COVID-19 season, limits are on us, but maybe, like these two sojourners, we are limiting how and where Jesus is in our lives.
Maybe this text is telling us that we need to lift the limits we intentionally (and, more than likely, unintentionally) put on Jesus. Can we admit that when it comes to Jesus walking beside us that there is more to learn, consider, and appreciate than we may realize at this time of limits in our lives? Is it possible that, like those whose footfalls matched Jesus’, we are missing what our Messiah is doing or can do? With a tunnel vision we may not even be aware we are experiencing for any number of reasons, we may be missing the miracles Jesus wants to do today because we just do not see, do not want to see, or cannot see him doing as he walks beside us.
Look at the metaphor of the road. We are on this new path, this new way of getting by day by day. On this journey, we can experience Jesus in a way we may have not considered before.
Consider this, too. It is possible God is keeping us from something for a time so that when we do experience Jesus in his fullness (just as the two do later in the text), our connection, appreciation and love for Jesus will be even more insightful, meaningful and beautiful.
God keeping Jesus from us is not what we want to hear. We want Jesus. Specifically, we want Jesus the way we want to see Jesus. We want to hold the answers. No surprises. No uncertainty. No waiting. However, our still creating Creator is up to something, even though we cannot see it. That something is good.
Live into this text. Journey with Jesus. Start with this text in Luke 24. Realize at this time of limits that God is revealing a Savior without limits.
Trust the steps. Appreciate the time with our Messiah beside us. Enjoy the surprises.