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Summary: We do not always realize the roles or recognize the activity of Christ in our lives... unless we are looking.

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Title: The Faces of Jesus

Text: Luke 24:13-35

Thesis: We do not always realize the roles or recognize the activity of Christ in our lives.

Significance: It is the Road to Emmaus text wherein we see Jesus as a stranger, as a guest and as a host.

Introduction

It seems like a long time ago but the haunting lyrics of Joan Osbourne’s “What If God Was One of Us” remain fresh in my mind and mostly so because it is a thought provoking question.

If God had a name, what would it be

And would you call it to his face

If you were faced with him in all his glory

What would you ask if you had just one question

What if God was one of us

Just a slob like one of us

Just a stranger on the bus

Trying to make his way home

If God had a face what would it look like

And would you want to see

If seeing meant that you would have to believe

In things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets

What if God was one of us

Just a slob like one of us

Just a stranger on the bus

Trying to make his way home

He's trying to make his way home

Back up to heaven all alone

Nobody calling on the phone

Except for the pope maybe in Rome

More recently, in the television series Joan of Arcadia, a teenager Joan Girardi, sees and speaks with God and performs tasks she is given. The title song for the series is Joan Osbourne’s “What if God Was One of Us.”

In the Joan of Arcadia pilot episode, God appears to Joan and reminds her that she promised to do anything he wanted if he would let her brother survive a car crash that left him a paraplegic. God appears in the form of various people including small children, teenage boys, elderly ladies, transients, or passersby. Joan is asked by God to perform tasks that often may seem strange but are for the greater good.

In addition to working through my understanding of the God-head… the Holy Trinity, Three-in-One, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I have often wondered if God might show up in the face of a Compassion child or a homeless person or an emergency room nurse or school teacher or a kindly stranger who stops to help change your tire. All of that kind of thinking is purely speculative but in our post-resurrection text today we see the face of Jesus in three different characters.

As our text begins Jesus is the stranger.

I. Loving the Stranger

As they walked along… Jesus suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. Luke 24:13-27

A stranger is someone you have not met before or do not know. By extension a stranger may be thought of as a foreigner or an intruder… one who does not belong.

Two of Jesus followers were walking on a road leading from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus when suddenly Jesus pops into the picture as they were walking and asks them what they are talking about. The one named Cleopas was shocked, “You must be the only stranger in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about what happened a couple of days ago.”

Part of me thinks this is kind of a preposterous situation… how is it that two followers of Jesus did not recognize him? Was Jesus so changed by his death that he was unrecognizable? I confess I’ve not always recognized the deceased. Or were they just so grief stricken and preoccupied that they did not notice? Sometimes I make an appointment to meet someone I walk into Starbucks or a restaurant and look around as if I might recognize someone I’ve never met. I usually tell whomever I’m meeting that I am easy to spot because I’ll be the handsomest man in the room. But these guys knew Jesus. However the Scripture says God kept them from recognizing Jesus.


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