Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week 3 - Stay with Us

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.
He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”  
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
“What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
“Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”
Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus unfolded to them the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!
 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, 34 who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.”
Luke 24:13-34

After all that had happened on this day and all that they had discussed along the road, the travelers begged the Stranger – who seemed ready to move on elsewhere – to stay the night with them. Their togetherness was moving beyond polite conversation into a genuine connection. This Stranger understood them, their grief, their questions, and their faith. He was a good companion and they wanted to enjoy his company awhile longer.

It wasn’t until the Stranger offered thanks and broke the bread that everything clicked. They had seen this picture before: the table, the bread the wine, the thanks, the breaking, that amazing sense of hope in their hearts. It was just like…the last supper they shared with Jesus just days ago!

Scripture says that suddenly everything changed: their eyes were opened and they recognized that the Stranger at their table was Jesus, raised from the dead. How different their evening – and their lives – may have been had they not asked the Lord to stay with them.

Jesus longs to be more than a stranger to us as well. We may have known a lot about God for a long time and maybe we even pray, but He invites us to move beyond acquaintance and conversation to real connection. All we need to do is to invite Him to stay with us. When He comes in, everything changes in us: our eyes become open and we suddenly see that God has been with us, loving us, all along.

The Real Question: Is there a place in my heart where I have not invited Jesus to stay with me? Do I desire His company there?

Family Talk: What does it mean to say “Jesus is my Lord”?

ONE in Prayer: Jesus, I want you to make Yourself at home in me. I welcome you into my heart and life, even into the places that I am ashamed of. I know that Your loving presence will change everything, and that is what I want. Amen.

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