Do we recognize Jesus in our day to day walk through life? I know that I usually don’t. I’ve really been reflecting on that thought for the past week in reading about Jesus’ resurrection and those he encountered after he arose. He met the men on the road to Emmaus and asked them what they were talking about. They couldn’t believe that he hadn’t heard what happened to Jesus. They suspected that he was new in town. I think Jesus enjoyed being a little rascally in this situation. He asks them what things happened. They tell about Jesus being a prophet and being crucified three days ago. They tell him the rumors they heard about the tomb being empty. Jesus shares with them the scriptures and what the prophets had said in the Old Testament. They listen to Jesus share and begin to approach the village. Jesus continues on ahead like he’s going past the village and the men immediately invite him to stay with them because it’s getting late. Jesus accepts their invitation. When it was time to eat, Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks the bread and hands it to the men. The men suddenly have an aha moment and then Jesus disappears. Can you imagine, not recognizing Jesus for that length of time and then when you finally do, He’s gone? But, they can’t keep this discovery to themselves. They return back to Jerusalem immediately to find the eleven disciples that were gathered together to tell who they saw.
The disciples are discussing the possibility of Jesus being alive when suddenly he shows up. They are startled, but Jesus tries to calm them down and says, “I’m real, touch my scars. Does a ghost have flesh and bones as I do?” After they see that he is real, he asks them for food. They give him some fish and he ate it in front of them. He then explains to them how He fulfilled the scriptures through his death and resurrection. Their minds are opened and they begin to understand. He tells them that they are his witnesses and they will spread the good news when the time arrives. He speaks of a helper that would give them power and that they would have to wait on that before they could spread the gospel.
The last passage I looked at was when the disciples are fishing in John 21. They aren’t catching anything; their day isn’t going so well. Someone from the shore gives them advice to cast their net on the other side, they follow his advice and they caught more than they could haul. Suddenly, one of the disciples realizes who it is and tells Peter, “It’s our Lord!” Peter gets excited and jumps off the boat, swims toward the shore and to Jesus. The other disciples bring the boat to shore and go to Jesus. Jesus is cooking fish and bread for them. He tells them to bring some of the fresh meat they just caught to add to the breakfast. After they eat, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him more than the others. Peter says, “Yes, you know that I do.” Jesus says, “Feed my sheep.” And then asks again, “Do you really love me?” Peter says, “Yes, I do, you know I do.” Jesus replies “Take care of my sheep.” Jesus asks a third time, “Do you love me?” Peter’s feelings are a little hurt from the repetitive questioning, he says “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!” Jesus tells him again to feed his sheep and to follow him.
So, the few things that I noticed that were constant in each of these passages are that Jesus wasn’t recognized immediately. The men traveling alongside him didn’t realize who he was until he broke bread with them. It was in that intimate setting where they wound down after a day of traveling that they realized who he was. I find myself realizing that I’ve had instances in my life where Jesus has walked alongside me on some long roads where I didn’t recognize Him until after that journey was over. The disciples that were gathered together didn’t understand how it could be Jesus there with them. They saw him crucified, they saw him die and yet he appeared to them. They were afraid, but Jesus explained to them why it happened and they had their aha moment with scripture coming alive to them. There are times in my life when I don’t recognize Jesus. I question him and doubt, but then I find him revealed once again to me in scripture. Lastly the disciples were working; they were busy and didn’t recognize Jesus at the shoreline. They were frustrated with the way their day was going, not catching any fish. They heard advice from the shore and listened to it, not realizing who was saying it until they obeyed. Suddenly their bad day changed and they caught a ton of fish and they recognized the source…..Jesus. I can absolutely attest to this happening a lot in my life. I have days where I’m frustrated at work because nothing is coming in, I’m grumpy, I’m worried, but then I’ll hear a voice that either instructs or reminds me that He’s there with me. The tide changes, something comes in and I’m reminded that Jesus will supply my need.
The next thing that ties all three of these passages together is food. With the travelers, Jesus is invited for dinner. When he shows up to the disciples, he asks for food and when he’s on the shore, he cooks and serves food to the disciples. I love to eat and I’m glad Jesus does too! We need food to live, to sustain us, to fill us up. Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6: 32-35. I need Jesus to truly life to the fullest, he sustains me and he fills me up, he satisfies me better than a snickers bar! And, I love snickers! But, Jesus is truly the only one who can satisfy this hunger within me.
The last theme in these passages is to share who Jesus is with others. The travelers immediately went to tell the other disciples when they figured out they had spent the day with Jesus. The disciples were told that they were Jesus witnesses and that they were to tell others about Him once the Holy Spirit gave them power to do so. The disciples, especially Peter were asked to feed His sheep. We are supposed to share Jesus with others. I honestly don’t do it enough. So, that makes me question myself….do I really love him? Am I more concerned with what others think, whether I will offend them, instead of being concerned about where they are spiritually? Yes, often times I am. Other times, I know that I allow myself to be so busy with life that others I pass are just a blur to me. I have recognized that I miss Jesus a lot and so I am reminded to look for Him, to spend time with Him, to be directed by him and to share him with others around me.