BREAKING BREAD, BURNING HEARTS
Wednesday in Easter Week - 19 April 2017
“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (Luke 24:30-35)
In the resurrection appearances of Jesus - as he appears to his friends and disciples here and there over a 40-day period - there is a rather common theme of the others not recognizing him at first. Perhaps his resurrection body was somewhat different from his pre-crucifixion body. He died as Jesus; he was raised as the Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 15:35-49.) In any event, the courageous women and the disciples often recognized Jesus when he said their name... when he asked them to throw the net out on the other side of the boat, and it was suddenly filled with fish... or, as in this case with the two disciples that he joined as they were walking to Emmaus, when he took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them.
There was something about the way he took the bread... something about the blessing he said... something about the way that he broke it... something about the way that he gave it to them. And - voila! - their eyes were opened! “Hey! This is Jesus with us once again! It’s him!” And Luke writes that as soon as they recognized him, he vanished from their sight.
The other thing they point to - after Jesus vanished - was the way their hearts were “burning” when he was opening the scriptures to them. Imagine being in a 3-person Bible study, and your teacher is Jesus! That would certainly make my heart burn! I would be asking so many questions. Knowing me, I would be writing down notes as quickly as I could. (Some of you would be recording video on your iPhone.) A 1:2 Bible study with Jesus, but not knowing it was Jesus!
This is still how the life of faith works. We often don’t recognize that God is present - in what we are reading, in a meal we are sharing, in a check that unexpectedly arrives in the mail, in words that are being said to us by a family member, a friend, or a stranger. And then... something happens, and we suddenly realize that our hearts are burning, and that God is with us!
How has God shown up in your life recently - perhaps uninvited and unannounced? What made your heart burn? When was the moment that you realized it was God? What happened? What was it that made you suddenly recognize that it was God with you? And... who did you tell?
Be on the lookout during these 50 days of Easter. You never know when the Creator/the Christ/the Spirit will show up - with a message just for you.