That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.
“What things?” Jesus asked.
The friends who walked the road to Emmaus knew a lot about God. They had studied Scripture probably all of their lives, growing up in a highly religious culture. They believed that God would send a Messiah and that the Messiah would fix everything. When they encountered Jesus, they recognized Him as the promised Messiah and followed Him.
But then Jesus was crucified, and this new experience didn’t match their expectations for what a messiah would do and be. Their messiah was a two-dimensional rescuer from political oppression, not a three-dimensional Savior. Their messiah brought in a new nationalism, but Jesus ushered in a way of inclusive love for all people. Their messiah would correct and restore right religious fervor; but all Jesus spoke about was relationship with His Father in heaven.
As they walked along the road in this moment of deep change in their lives, Jesus “unfolded” the truth to them. He guided his friends into a transformed faith. Instead of a list of expectations for God to fulfill, Jesus brought to them a new expectancy that God can and will show up anywhere at any time. He demonstrated that it is His presence that changes everything, beginning with changing us.
Their faith and their lives were forever changed by this significant encounter. Suddenly, God was not just on the hook to rescue them; He was on the loose in the world. Not only did Jesus unfold their understanding that day; He unfolded their hearts to a new experience of God as well. And He desires to do the same in us.
The Real Question: What expectations tend to govern my faith? Where does God desire to unfold my heart to a new expectancy of His presence with me?
Family Talk: What is one thing you have learned lately about God or following Jesus?
ONE in Prayer: God, I confess that so often, I make you so much smaller than You are with my definitions of who You are and what You do. I open myself to simply expecting Your presence in my life, beyond definition. Amen.