Luke 24:31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
The him they recognized was the risen Jesus on the first Easter evening. They were a couple of Jesus’ disciples, not part of the 12 but a second tier. Jesus had joined them as they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus about seven miles distant. During the walk they didn’t realize who he was. Why not? Was it a case of only seeing what they expected to see and since they knew Jesus had died they didn’t expect to see him? Is it a matter of God not giving them the ability to comprehend Jesus among them until they had the scriptures explained and experienced Jesus breaking bread with them? Luke doesn’t explain. What he does explain is that after they have this moment of insight, this experience of Jesus in their midst, just like that he is gone. And isn’t that the way faith is for most of us. Hopefully many people literally had a religious experience in churches and worship public and private on Easter Sunday. In our congregation we pull out all the stops (really- our organist wails) with lots of flowers, the bell choir, extra anthems, and a rendition of the Hallelujah chorus to end the service. Attendance is about double what it will be this coming Sunday. There are moments when it feels like Jesus is in our midst. And then it is over. Things return to normal, whatever that is, and what remains of Easter is mostly leftover ham. Kids often get what we call a growth spurt, shooting up a few inches in a few months, and then they settle back into their normal rate of maturing. Our spiritual growth can be like that too. Something happens and we see God in it- maybe a service or a scripture that hits us or an encounter with another person or a circumstance of life. We are assured of God’s presence and then…. For some, when the glow recedes they assume it was all just an illusion, just a passing moment. For others it is something to continue to reflect upon and talk about and carry into the routine of the coming week. What was your experience of Jesus this Easter? How will it affect your life this week?