Face2Face Devotional Series
By Sean Elliot Russell
Let’s take time out to read Luke’s account which happens on the third day following the crucifixion of Yeshua from Nazareth.
Let’s center in on Luke 24:13-32 MSG:
That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened.
In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was. He asked, “What’s this you’re discussing so intently as you walk along?” They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened during the last few days?” He said, “What has happened?” They said, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”
Then he said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.
They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” So he went in with them.
And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them.
At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared. Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”
Let’s now unpack this passage.
For me, this account of the Resurrection in Luke 24 is my favorite of all Scripture. I can identify with all the various parts–the crushed heart and doubt, the fire in chest, the thick-headedness, and the desire for friendship/fellowship with the One.
The disciples are stunned at the preceding events that had caught everyone in Jerusalem with surprise. But at the nadir of their lives, in a depression that must’ve been as thick as fog, Jesus fulfills His word and returns to life! Though unrecognized (probably because He wore a head covering as they walked under the heat of the sun and also because they didn’t expect a dead man to walk beside them!), He walks alongside the downtrodden disciples. As the journey took place, the stranger unpacks the Scriptural reality of a Suffering Servant Who must come and of necessity suffer before entering His glory. Then Jesus makes another powerful statement: all of the Scriptures point to Me!
As the journey neared its end, Jesus acts to continue walking. But these disciples had felt the burning within them as they listened to this mysterious friend change their perspective and lift their hearts. They did not know Him. But He knew them! Something akin to hope arose in them. They wouldn’t let Him go so quickly. They pleaded with Him to stay and share a meal with them.
So around the table they sat. Jesus hosted the meal. Perhaps it was as He lifted the bread to bless it that the scars of love were seen. And suddenly, their eyes were opened to Who He was. He vanishes but leaves within the two disciples a wild fire to go back to the core disciples and report what they had just experienced–that the Messiah had risen!
There may be areas of your life now that seem to be open wounds, with sadness and depression? If Jesus walked alongside you for several hours, what words would He speak to you that would perhaps change your perspective about what you’re facing?
“But He’s not walking alongside me,* you say. Ah, but He is–through the Person of the Holy Spirit. Whether the Scriptures or a still, small voice, the Lord surely wishes to change your perspective on the situation that seems so bleak.
You want something so bad that it takes away your joy? Your peace? You’re unable to sleep at night? How about handing that whole situation to the One and just trust Him? Release that thing or person into His hands.
How about going to Him and sinking into such depths of worship–of loving Him–of deciding that even if you cannot have that person or situation unfold the way you so desperately desire, that Jesus will be absolutely enough for you?
Just like the whole of the Scriptures, our lives should also point to Jesus. And no one thing should ever be allowed to step between us and Him so that He’s blocked from us, or where we don’t feel His joy or presence.
We need to get our focus right.
We’re angry at people? How about we see those people as people He loves and died for? That’ll change our anger to something else quickly. We might even love and be willing to sacrifice for them.
We feel like people disappoint us? Then serve and interact with people as though they were Jesus Himself. And learn to treasure people. Invest in their lives. It doesn’t require that much effort, time, or money. Just a willingness and an openness to care for people, to be less self-focused, and more outward.
Speaking of being outward, consider removing the headphones and listening to people around you. Tear your eyes away from that screen to actually see people around you, to perhaps interact, and do a little “pay it forward” action. Make your journey to and from work more about His business, not just your own business.
We need His perspective on our life journey as it’s now unfolding. Let Him speak to you by the Holy Spirit today, even now–as well as through the Scriptures (Bible). And watch for the uplift that always arrives when we hear Him and obey Him!
Selah — pause and think about this! Reflect and ponder. Thanks for taking time to read this.
Sean Elliot Russell
Sean Elliot Russell is the author of “The Jesus Boy”, “Shiloh’s Rising”, and “Should the Oaks Fall: Short Stories to Enliven the Heart.” In addition, he’s written two devotionals, “The Journey Home” and the just-released devotional, “30 Selah Moments with the Holy Spirit: Acts 1-12”. He also maintains an online presence and aims to make Him known to as many as possible.