I’ve never really liked the story from the Bible about the two guys on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24) Something about it just didn’t seem right. These guys were disciples, Jesus comes along and walks with them, and they don’t even recognize him. It makes them sound clueless. Dumb. Like not sincere followers. If you read the story carefully though, you will notice it really wasn’t their fault. The Bible says that their eyes were kept from recognizing him. So was Jesus playing a joke on them? That doesn’t sound right either. These are the reasons I never liked this story, until this morning.
This morning, it was different. As I read through the story again, I gained a new perspective on the blessing Jesus shared with these guys. He wasn’t playing a joke on them. He was blessing them. They were kept from seeing him as Jesus. But why?
Imagine two walks, the one they had, and the one they would have had if they had recognized Jesus from the start. If they had recognized Jesus when they met him on the road, they would have been in awe. They would have worshipped him. They would have feared his power and praised his greatness. It would have been wonderful for sure, but it would not have been at all like the walk they had. What if Jesus wanted something different?
Imagine the walk they had. Three guys met on the road and walked along together talking about their experiences. The new guy taught them about the scripture in a new way. They listened, they discussed, they questioned and contemplated together. No one felt on edge, on their guard, off balance or unworthy. They were just three guys walking and talking together as friends, discussing the recent events and the history of their faith. Perhaps that is exactly what Jesus wanted.
After all the events he had just been through, a quiet walk and talk without all the hype was the way Jesus chose to relate those events to his disciples. He was Lord and Master choosing to relate to them as equals. As friends. And because he kept their eyes from seeing him in all his lordly glory, they experienced him as friend and confidant.
I wonder, could it be this very story that provides a hint as to why God doesn’t make himself more visible? Why does God not powerfully show himself to the world and prove he exists? Maybe, possibly, could it be that the unapproachable blinding holy light of his glory would keep us from seeing the close companionship of a loving friend and father?