Summary: We Believe in the risen Christ, how can we recognize his presence?

Recognizing Jesus in the Road to Emmaus Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008

Luke 24:13-33

33 year olds? – tell the story of my first funeral at Humber – people would not leave the grave

Jesus was 33 – not just a young mother, but “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel”

Tell the story – the shock, the fear, the disillusionment of the two disciples…

Have you ever been living in a tragedy, and you meet a friend who has no idea what you are going through and they need to be brought into your pain – our friend showing up at the door when we almost lost Hayley “On second thought, my day is just fine.”

The two disciples on the road experience the same thing.

Read Luke 24:13-33

The difficulty of recognizing Jesus in pain

Not just the Emmaus disciples – Mary Magdalene thinks Jesus is the Gardener at first, until He says her name,

The 11 Disciples, think he is a ghost until he invites them to touch him

In John’s telling, Thomas says he won’t believe until he sees the wounds.

When Jesus meets Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus, Saul has to ask who he is – not described as a vision, but as the risen Jesus

And us – do you see Jesus?

For many, the old hymn doesn’t ring true…

He Lives

Alfred H. Ackley

I serve a risen Saviour; He’s in the world today.

I know that He is living, whatever men may say.

I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,

And just the time I need Him He’s always near.

He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!

He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.

He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

Nicholas – “I don’t see him so well”

Recognizing Jesus

Jesus promises us that he will be with us to the very end of the age.

I believe the hymn – but I don’t always experience it

I also believe that “special appearances” happen more often that we might think – Doe’s conversion experience


After Jesus opens their eyes, it was in hindsight that they realized that it was Jesus who had been with them all along.

Particularly when we are in pain, it is hard to recognize Jesus’ presence – we are likely to quote the psalms as he did himself, crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But as we reflect on our experiences, this is often where we recognize that Jesus has been with us.

This was one of the good things about the D.R. trip – the evenings were slow enough that we could spend some time and reflect on the day – both as a group and individually. I had the added bonus of a retreat after the team left to be able to reflect. It is often hard to find the time to reflect in Toronto – we are usually too exhausted at the end of the day, or the TV is too enticing to sit in quiet and recollect where we saw the risen Christ today. But the reality is that you don’t ever “find” time – you only make time to do what is important.

You may have given something up for Lent, so in the Easter season I’m going to invite you to add something. Take a few minutes at the end of each day for hindsight – ask yourself, “where did I see the Risen Christ today?” Ask Jesus in prayer, “where were you today?”

Burning Hearts

After Jesus disappears from their sight, they ask each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Our experience of Jesus is not always something that we recognize with our brains.

On the wall of a little alcove at Crossroads, Janna had written “It is the heart that experiences God, not the reason.” I’m not sure that that is always true, but it is true that our heads can get in the way of what our hearts are telling us. It is true that we often feel Jesus’ presence before we recognize it with our reason.

We need to pray that song “open the eyes of my heart…I want to see you.

This doesn’t mean that we turn our brains off to experience the risen Christ, but we let our hearts take the lead. When your heart is burning within you, experience the burn before you analyze it. …

The Meal

In retrospect, they recognize that their hearts were burning, but where they actually recognize Jesus is when he breaks the bread. You can imagine them telling the other Disciples: “you know the way that he always does it – well he did it that way! and when he did it that way it was like we were cured from blindness and we saw what we should have seen all along – it was Jesus!”

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