Discover His heart: He is the Bread of Life for those who follow Him, and they will never hunger again
We consider an acquaintance as someone we know only slightly, someone we greet but not necessarily engage in a personal conversation. But, we also have friends, individuals with whom we share our personal and often intimate thoughts. It’s a special treat when we have the opportunity to reconnect with a friend from long ago, where 20 or 30 years have passed without communication. Sometimes we feel a little apprehensive about an upcoming visit, wondering if we will even recognize our friend from the past, but uneasiness melts away when we sit down to fellowship with one another. We feel like the relationship picks up right where it left off, not missing a beat, and that is true friendship. Our travelers on the road to Emmaus experienced a similar reconnection with a friend; it just took them a while to realize it.
Luke is the only New Testament writer that goes into detail about this encounter on the road to Emmaus. Scripture is not clear as to their identity, but we do know they are followers of Jesus and one is called Cleopas. Many believe him to be the brother of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, and the other traveler to be his wife who was at Calvary (John 19:25), and they were returning home from Passover and the events of that weekend. Regardless of their identity, they were blessed beyond measure by an intimate encounter with the risen Lord.
When Jesus came alongside them on the road and inquired as to what they were discussing so intently with such sadness, they did not recognize Him. 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…We had hoped He was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel.” (18-21)
To the travelers, Jesus was a man, a prophet, a teacher, but not the Messiah. He had died without doing what they had expected the Messiah to do by overthrowing the government and setting up His throne. When I read their response that He was just a man, I envision the nails and cross all over again for Jesus. But loving His followers like He does, He decided to give them a little history lesson.
Over the next couple of hours, Jesus recounted to them the 120 plus prophecies from the Old Testament regarding Himself. I can only imagine the anointing that burned up that road as they walked that day, with Jesus, the King of Glory, reciting all the Scriptures about His suffering, rejection, death and resurrection. They felt it, we know, when they said, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (32) But wasn’t He just an acquaintance that they met on the way to Emmaus? It wasn’t until they had fellowship with Him later when He broke bread and blessed it that they realized He was Jesus, their friend, the resurrected Lord.
When they received from Him the broken bread, something happened. It wasn’t the Lord’s Supper or like the feeding of 5,000 – it was just dinner. Scripture doesn’t explain their sudden awareness; but for me, it was symbolic that their eyes were opened when they had fellowship, ate bread with Jesus the Bread of Life. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.” (John 6:35)
In most of the world’s religions today, Jesus is accepted as a man, as a prophet and as a teacher, one who went about doing good. They can know all about Him and even read His words, but sadly, until they fellowship with Him, sup with Him, and receive Him as the Bread of Life, they will not understand that He is the Messiah, the King of Glory, the Prince of Peace, the only Son of God.
Moving Forward: Who can I tell about the Bread of Life today? Whose eyes can be opened to knowing Him as more than a man, more than a prophet or teacher, but as the Savior?
Tomorrow @ I Thessalonians 4-5