During these challenging days I realise that I have good days and not so good ones and on the not so good days I have to be intentional about realigning my perspective. Consider your perspective and the difference it can make in how you feel about things that happen in your life. Perspective can be a powerful thing isn’t it. The power of one’s perspective changes how we feel, think, see things and as a consequence how we behave.
Luke 24:13-35 is one such story where the perspective of two people was drastically changed.
The story happens on resurrection Sunday. Two men, one of them named Cleopas and his friend were walking on the road to Emmaus. They were discussing all that had transpired in the last few days. Jesus joins them but they were kept from recognising Him. Jesus asks them about what they are discussing and they elaborate and share what is on their heart of how their hopes were dimmed as they thought that Jesus would be the one who would redeem Israel. Jesus then goes on to open up scripture and explain it to them and when they later share a meal, Jesus opens their eyes so that they recognise Him.
What are some of the things we can learn from this passage of scripture:
- His care and concern – Jesus was on earth for 40 days after he was risen and He spends a decent amount of a day ministering to these two men. We see His concern and care for people to know Him. He draws near to them and addresses their loss of hope, their lack of understanding and nudges them to a deeper and stronger faith. May we draw near to Him because He cares how we feel. And may we also reflect that concern and care for those who don’t know Him.
- Perspective Shift – When Jesus joins them, he asks them what they were discussing and further asks them to specify “what things”, which makes them pour out what was in their heart – It was not like Jesus did not know why they were downcast. But He wants us to pour our hearts out to Him. It gives us clarity as to what lies in our hearts. We see that in verse 19, they refer to Jesus as a prophet. We see the deep respect for the person of Jesus as a man of God but after His death they seem reluctant to call Him the Messiah. Only later in verse 34 after Jesus opens their eyes do we see them referring to Jesus as Lord. What a paradigm shift in perspective for them.
- Walk by faith and not by sight – Their Hope was weak at this stage, because even after their heard that the tomb was empty, they were downcast because they did not see HIM – We are reminded that we walk by faith and not by sight (2Cor 5:7). Just because we do not understand what is happening and if it does not make sense to our human reasoning, should that quench our hope and weaken our faith, No. May we trust Him for all things.
- Value of the foundation of scripture – what must we do when doubts and uncertainty raises its hackles – Jesus tells us what to do – take up the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. In verse 25 Jesus gives the two men a rebuke in response and says they are foolish and slow of heart to believe. Jesus goes on to open up scripture to them and expound on all what was said would happen. We are reminded that when doubts and uncertainty assail us we are to open His word, ground ourselves in its truth and remind ourselves of His promises. (Psalm119 :105 “ Thy word is a lamp into my feet and a light unto my path.”)
- Want to want more of Him -As they approach the village, Jesus pretends to go on farther and only when they urge HIM to stay with them that He goes on and shares a meal with them – Jesus may draw near to you but He will never force Himself on you. You have to want to want more of HIM in your life. There is a need in all of us for Jesus, but is there a want? And if there is a want, what are we doing about it – are we following that up with some intended action that allows for more of HIM in our life.
- Create space for Jesus – Are we so caught in the things of life that we do not hear Him knocking on our heart’s door. May we pursue Him just as he pursues us. Make time, make room, make space for Jesus.
- He leads and we follow – Jesus was invited as a guest to join them but we read in verse 30 that Jesus broke the bread and gives it to them. He seems more like the host here doesn’t it. When we create space for Jesus in our lives and invite Him in, may He take the lead and we follow and not the other way around. Sometimes we invite Jesus in to our lives or lay our problem at His feet and struggle to let go of the reins and hand them over to Him. But Jesus’ place in our lives is not one of a guest but that of our Lord who leads us down a path that He intended for us.
- Spiritual Understanding – Their eyes were then opened in verse 31 and they recognise who Jesus is. And they talk about how their hearts were burning while they spoke to Him. From slow of heart to believe they went to burning hearts. If there was anything in our life that we were slow of heart to believe God with, may we invite Him into that situation, hand Him the reins and may that trust and hope in Him burn in our hearts too.
- Surface faith to deeper faith – They knew of Jesus but now they knew Jesus – May we never be satisfied with only knowing of Jesus but pursue that personal relationship with Him. It is that deeper faith that holds us firm when storms of trouble try to blow us over.
- Jesus is more relational than religious – He wants us to know Him personally. He desires to walk with you, spend time with you, talk with you because He loves you and care for you.
- Seeing Jesus for who He is and not only as what we want Him to be – We can miss out on who He is because we are so focused on who we want Him to be. Their outward inability to recognise Jesus mirrored their inward unbelief of what the scripture revealed about Him. Jesus intended for them to recognise Him but He wanted for them to recognise and believe with their heart and only then with their eyes. Jesus knew He was not going to be bodily present from then on with them and He wanted people to put their faith in Him with their hearts rather than relying on only what they see. May we Trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.
During this unprecedented and unchartered times when there are days we can feel like the two people on the road when our hope doesn’t seem to shine bright but feels a little dimmed and we just feel a little glum, let us draw near to Jesus, create space for Him to pour into our souls, plant our feet firmly in His word and allow Jesus to shift our perspective so that we can see the presence of HIM right there on this road with us. And remember that He is our Hope and our salvation and nothing can ever separate us from His love.