Herald Journal Columns
May 30, 2005, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Open your eyes to the presence of Jesus

By Pastor Elizabeth Hadler, Montrose United Methodist, Church

“That same day (the day of Jesus’ resurrection) two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who He was.” Luke 24:13ff:  The Message

This portion of scripture, referred to as the “walk to Emmaus,” is believed to have taken place the very day that Jesus rose from the grave. Two people, Cleopas and a companion, are walking along, trying to figure out what had just happened. Jesus joins them, asks them what they’re talking about, and acts like he hasn’t heard about what has happened, much to the disbelief of the two.

 But a very interesting point of this reading from Luke 24:13-35 is that the two people were not able to recognize him, or some Bible translations say they were  “kept” from recognizing him. That brings up a good question for us: How often are we walking, talking, working, studying, or running along, and we don’t recognize Jesus with us?

I love to jog and walk. Both of these activities are ways for me to really clear my mind and draw closer to God – but that doesn’t always happen, I must admit.  

When our third child, Joshua, was about three months old, my husband, Gary, and I found ourselves pretty exhausted. No, it wasn’t Joshua’s fault, or his older sisters Danielle or Nicole’s, for that matter, but our own schedules that we were caught up in. I was trying to finish up an independent study class for seminary over the summer and filling in at a church, while Gary was having to work 12 hour nights, seven nights a week.  

Yes, I said seven nights a week, meaning no days off. Now, I’m not asking for sympathy, just giving you some background information. When Gary would get up in the afternoon from his sleep, I would then usually go on my hour-long walk.

We had been in this routine for awhile, when one day, as I left for my walk, Gary said to me very honestly, something along the lines of, “I never look forward to you getting back from your walk – you always come back angry.”  

I didn’t have time to argue, but I didn’t agree, until I started on the walk. As I walked, I walked faster and faster, and I realized Gary was right – I was getting angry.

 I was angry at Gary, angry about our schedules, angry at God. All I could think of was how frustrated and tired I was/we were – how out of control our situation felt.

I believe Jesus walks with us everywhere we go, but we don’t always realize it or recognize Him. I’d been missing His presence with me on these walks for quite some time (too long), and needed to allow God to take my hand.  

I remember first asking God to help lift and carry the burdens we were experiencing. Now, change didn’t take place overnight, it took work – spiritually, emotionally, and physically – but the first step was definitely recognizing the presence of Christ with us in all walks of life, and allowing Christ to walk with me, as He always does.  

Oh, there were still times in the days to come that I allowed negative thoughts to enter. I’m human, like it or not. But I would then seek, again, to turn to God and allow God to take my hand.  

I didn’t like what Gary had graciously, gently, and honestly told me, but he was right. It was one of those nudges in life that allowed me to continue on my Christian journey at a time that seemed pretty hopeless.  

I needed to have my eyes opened to see where to go next, and God worked through Gary in order to do just that. And I worked very hard never to come home angry after a walk again!

The two disciples were journeying on the road to Emmaus. They were confused and did not know what was going on. Sound familiar sometimes?  

Yet, if you look at the rest of the story as it continues from Luke 24:13, you find that Jesus was revealed to them in the breaking of the bread – the last supper is re-created, and their eyes are opened.  It was Jesus walking alongside them!

How often do we lose sight or forget that Jesus is always walking alongside us, sometimes even carrying us?  May our eyes be opened to the presence of Jesus Christ, and may we not be ashamed to share the Good News that Christ is alive!

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