|"Supper at Emmaus" - Rubens|
TO CHEW ON: "But their eyes were restrained …. Then their eyes were opened…" Luke 24:16,31
This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible, perhaps because it's been my experience.
It's the third day after the crucifixion. Two disciples are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, deep in discussion about what has lately happened with their rabbi, Jesus. At one point they're joined by a stranger. He asks them the subject of their sad conversation. They explain it all—what Jesus was like, their hopes for and in Him, His very recent death by crucifixion, followed by the mysterious disappearance of his body, and the hearsay sightings of Him, alive.
He listens and then He speaks. I love how Henri Nouwen tells this next part in his little book With Burning Hearts—A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life.
"He speaks of things they already knew: their long past with all that happened during the centuries before they were born…. It was an all-too-familiar story. Still it sounded as if they were hearing it for the first time.
The difference lay in the storyteller! … The loss, the grief, the guilt, the fear, the glimpses of hope, and the many unanswered questions that battled for attention in their restless minds, all of these were lifted up by this stranger and placed in the context of a story much larger than their own. What had seemed so confusing began to offer new horizons; what had seemed so oppressive began to feel liberating; what had seemed so extremely sad began to take on the quality of joy! As he talked to them, they gradually came to know that their little lives weren't as little as they had thought, but part of a great mystery that not only embraced many generations, but stretched itself out from eternity to eternity" - p. 45,46 (emphasis added).
And isn't that what we discover too when we meet Jesus? After we've dumped on Him our whole sad situation, He opens our eyes to our place in a story much bigger than our own. And we begin to understand that there is a reason for the hardest parts of our lives, while other aspects, those that we've nurtured perhaps to make us feel good about ourselves or look good in the eyes of the world, don't really fit and should be heaved overboard.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please open my eyes. Help me to see Your story and my place in it as it relates to my circumstances and the everyday situations that I face. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.