This blog is supposed to be, as much as I can, my daily journey through life as a Christian. I hope it to be my thoughts and feelings on life but be as grounded in the Christian message as it can. My intention is not to create a daily readings or bible study guide but to look at my life in terms of a Christian trying to find and follow God's mission using his Life User's Manuel AKA the Bible.

Matthew 10 19-20

And don't you worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words. - Matthew 10 19-20

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The road to Emmaus

I was talking to a friend last night about how we often read through the Bible and the stories in there a little underwhelmed. We have been studying and reading them in different ways for years, for most of us since our childhood days in Sunday school. We have read and re read the stories that many times that we fail to have our minds blown by them any more.

This came up because earlier in the evening someone had mentioned the road to Emmaus and we had been discussing about faith and the power of Christ I don't how much other people know about this story or about the context of this story, but bear with me while I talk through it.

This story centres on two disciples of Jesus, they are not major characters in the group following Christ as the Apostles were, but nevertheless these two men were disciples of Jesus. These men as disciples can be validly thought of as Rabbinical apprentices, and as such would have followed Jesus very, very closely if not for His entire three year ministry then for a large portion of it. Without putting too fine a point on it, these men knew Jesus very well, they would have spent huge amounts of time with Him and known very well what He looked like.

So these two men are walking along, understandably they don't want to be in Jerusalem just then, who would, and they meet a stranger on the road. You can imagine how it would happen, you are out walking with a friend talking, probably not in the best of moods and you come across a stranger. Not only this but the stranger decides to tag along after them trying to join in the conversation, even worse the stranger appears not to have a clue about recent events. Picture yourself in this situation, how would you feel and react towards this person? would it be in a polite, kind Christian way or might you possibly be a bit irritable and dismissive.

If all this was not bad enough the stranger who has already ingratiated himself so well begins to teach the two men about the prophecies regarding the Messiah. But remember these men are not your run of the mill citizens, they are Rabbinical apprentices, theology students, they know in their heads all that this stranger is trying to teach them. We are told that these disciples thought Jesus was the Christ but now because He has been dead three days and His body appears to be stolen they think they have lost everything. And here is this no one, this random stranger telling them about what the Messiah must do, I don't think annoyed is quite the word to express their feelings.

So after what is likely to have been many hours walking, and with this stranger tagging alone possibly some quite tense and uncomfortable hours, possibly some pleasant, we don't know. Obviously they were not that bad that they would let this stranger carry on into the night wandering to the next village and they invite him in to the house in which they are bedding down for the night to eat with them.

At this point Jesus takes the bread, blesses and breaks it and hands it to the disciples, at this moment their eyes begin to see. In the Bible it says that their eyes were opened, for me personally this links to the times in the Bible where it says things like, those who have ears listen, those who have eyes see. These phrases do not discount the blind and deaf, they signify that those people who have been exposed to Christ need to recognise Him and that it is right to do so. I think another equally valid way of saying the same thing would be that the disciples had their hearts opened, for me I think that in this sense it means the same thing.

Take a moment here with me, for a large part of the day these men had been walking with this man the thought a complete stranger. I have already mentioned about the way these men may have felt, a totally understandable way I would have guessed, a perfectly human one at any rate. And then in a blink of an eye they realise this stranger is no stranger, he is the man they have been following for maybe three years, day in, day out. How much of a kick yourself moment is that, how much does that mess with your head. Is your mind blown? I am sure theirs was, I know mine is. If yours is not please take some time, read through the story again, think about it, put yourself in their place. It is a mind blowing moment, if you do not see that or picture it please take the time to consider it again, I assure you at some point your eyes will be opened and your mind will be blown.

There are many other stories just as mind blowing as this one that we just seem to accept because we have known them since childhood. I mean this one time there were a lot of people following Jesus, and He fed them all, 5000 men we are told, using 5 little bread rolls and 2 fish. Mind blown? Think about it, 5 bread rolls, 2 fish, 5000+ people! Not enough for you? Ok, a different time Jesus' friends were out fishing in a boat and there blew up a storm, it wasn't a little but of wind or a little rain, these guys were career fishermen, they knew storms and this storm scared them a lot. We are talking heavy, driving rain, thunder, lightning, waves bigger than the boat and clouds that probably didn't let all that much light through. Jesus who had been sleeping gets up and turns to the wind and waves and says shut it, stop making a fuss. He calmed a storm so big that a boat full of seasoned fishermen were scared! Is your mind blown yet?

We are small people, we have small minds, the only way to understand and deal with the world is to take mind blowing things we have heard and seen before and lump them in with "the norm". But when we do this with these stories we miss out on so much, we begin to think of these stories and Jesus as just normal. The thing is it wasn't normal, it isn't normal. These things have happened often just once, and certainly by only one man, they really should blow your mind. The power of God and Jesus is so far beyond our knowledge and comprehension that blown mind is a good way to approach it. We stand there before God admitting our ignorance, our failings and our inabilities, we stand before God realising we will never appreciate the fullness of His awesome glory in this life. This is a good place to be, in awe with our minds blown. Next time you are reading these stories of Jesus read them for the first time, read them without the barriers and preconceptions we have built up in our lives, read them and allow your mind to be blown away by the power and glory of God through His son Jesus. Blown mind is in no way a destination, but it is both a good starting point and way point on what I hope is a long walk with Christ for us all, why not stop at Emmaus today and see what Jesus has to teach you.

1 comment:

  1. I was interested by what you had to say about the disciples' emotions, I had never looked at it that way before, but it does make sense: here was this stranger, seemingly intruding into their grief, telling them they were wrong to think as they did, that there was some bigger plan, might have sounded trite, as so often attempts at consolation or explanation can seem to those who are grieving for a loss. Yet I think that as the conversation progressed, there was also a feeling of curiosity, a longing, even some kind of subconscious and indescribable sense of recognition (did not our hearts burn within us?) And then for Jesus to appear later to all the disciples, telling them then who He was, that He wasn't a ghost. I love the way He just appears, very subtly, but manages, as you say, to blow their minds.