When Jesus Breaks Bread - Luke 24:13-35 NIV
Today we come to an unusual post-resurrection story. Two followers of Jesus - Cleopas and another unnamed follower - were walking on the road to Emmaus on Resurrection Day, when a third person starts walking with them. Luke lets us in on it - the 3rd walker is Jesus, but they don’t recognize him. In fact, they were kept from recognizing Jesus!
“As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.” Luke 24:15-16 NIV
#1: Jesus is often with us even _________________ .
If this was the case then, why could it not also be the case with us today? I believe there could come a time in Heaven - after this life is over - when we will discover times that Jesus was with us and we didn’t even know it. In fact, Scripture tells us that when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those imprisoned we are actually doing those things to Jesus. Indeed that is how he knows us! (Read Matthew 25!)
There also are other times Jesus is with us and we might not know it. But again, the Bible teaches us that one of Jesus’ names - Immanuel - …
“‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).” Matthew 1:23 ESV
Jesus himself promised us that if even 2 or 3 gather in His name…
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20 ESV
This is one of those cases where there is fact and faith. I can point out all the Scriptures that tell us that God is always with us and will never forsake us, I can show you were Jesus Himself said the same thing, and you can even agree with me. We would say that this is fact. We would even say we believe it.
BUT we don’t believe IN IT! There is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. In the first case we believe it but we don’t trust it.
#2: We can know all the _______ but still not know the _______ .
“Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Luke 24:18 NIV
The two walkers to Emmaus had all the facts. They told the story of everything that happened, but it didn’t meant they believed it. Jesus…
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:27 NIV
Let’s break this down a little bit. “Moses and all the Prophets” - what’s that code for? When you read this you should translate this in your minds - the Old Testament. Moses would be the first five books. The Prophets would be prophetical books. It was not unusual in the 1st century for Rabbis to have this entire thing completely memorized!
Jesus took it a step further. He not only knew it. He knew what it meant. And he could explain what it meant to others (teach). THAT was a rare gift and something that would be an incredible thing to hear. And in this case, specifically, Jesus is saying the entire Old Testament points to him! This leads us to another important truth for us today. It’s not enough just to read Bible. We must have the Holy Spirit explain it to us!
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Ephesians 1:18 NIV
Paul prays for the believers in Ephesus that God the Father would give them God the Holy Spirit for both wisdom and revelation. Wisdom to know the facts and revelation to believe how it applies to us now!
Let’s suppose that Jesus has been close to you this week, but you haven’t recognized him. Is there a way - something you can do - that will lead your eyes to be open to His presence in your life?
#3: Jesus is most clearly ___________ when we break bread.
“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Luke 24:30-31a NIV
Certainly we want to be careful about holding out the communion time as a magical way of enchanting the Presence of Jesus. (Did you know that is where the original meaning of Hocus Pocus came from?) However, it is true that these Emmaus Christ-followers eyes were opened at that exact moment. AND SINCE it appears that “they were kept from recognizing Jesus” at the beginning, then something or Someone beyond them opened their eyes at that moment.
Certainly the early Christians knew the importance of breaking bread:
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42 ESV
All 4 were ways in which they could corporately meet with one another AND with Jesus Himself. That same devotion works for us today. This is why we include communion as a regular part of our worship.
One more important take-away for today:
#4: When we encounter Jesus we should ____________ .
I don’t just mean this in an evangelistic sense, but with one another!
“They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem.” Luke 24:32-33a NIV
Did you catch that “returned at once?” They didn’t wait around. They didn’t say to themselves - “Wait until Sunday.” They returned at once. There was an urgency to it. Why? Because the others had to know too!
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
This is such an important part of our Christian journey and sadly too many of us are missing out. Did you know there are 94 verses in the NT with “one another” in them? Love one another. Accept one another. Forgive one another. Bear with one another. Greet one another. Christianity is a “one another” kind of group. There is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian. And really there shouldn’t be even such a thing as a Sunday only Christian either! We should have relationships with “one another” so that when on those occasions in our lives when Jesus is revealed to us, we can “at once” tell others about the experience.
There are two really good reasons for this. #1 - It’s good for others. You have a responsibility to build others up with your encouragement. And your “Jesus sighting” should be a positive, encouraging story to share with someone else. Who knows? Maybe they are struggling with their own faith and God is counting on you to be the one to provide the encouragement. In those cases you literally become Jesus to them!
#2 - It’s good for you! You also need the affirmation of your experience. Each time you tell your story it becomes just a little bit more real to you. Have you noticed how much doubt can settle in when you keep the good news to yourself! Get in the habit of sharing with others… and listening to others when they tell you their good news. Win-win!