Luke tells an interesting story at the end of his gospel.
On the Sunday that Jesus rose, two of his disciples were walking from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus. As they traveled, talking about the events of the weekend and the rumors of the morning, Jesus came up and began walking with them. Yet they don’t recognize him. (Which is really interesting, right? Did God do this? Are they just clueless? Weird.)
In a coy little move, Jesus plays dumb about the whole story. So the guys tell Jesus all about it (Jesus has got to be laughing inside, right?). And then he acts frustrated about how they didn’t see the whole thing coming, even walking them through the Scriptures explaining it to them.
As they neared Emmaus, the disciples beg Jesus to come eat with them, still unaware of his identity. And then it happens.
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! Luke 24:30-31
They had heard the story. There was attestation by eyewitnesses. It had even been explained to them through the ancient Scriptures.
But resurrection finally became real when they shared a meal with Jesus.
There is so much lead up to Easter. We make our way through Lent so that we can more fully understand the joy of that celebration. We make Easter Sunday a special day through our church services and family lunches. We focus on the story and talk about resurrection.
But how do we experience resurrection?
I believe this amazing story of a man literally defeating death. I have a deep trust that Scripture, with all of its humanity mixed with its divine nature, shows us truth in such powerful ways. I believe that there are compelling reasons to trust the eyewitness accounts and first century evidence that support this story.
Some will heartily agree. Others will doubt and question. Still others will be fascinated that a grown man could trust such an outrageous tale. But in the end, all it means is whether I believe in a story passed down through generations.
Resurrection is made real when I sit down and share a meal with Jesus.
As Christians – people who believe in the resurrection of Christ – we can expend lots of energy defending the voracity of the Jesus’ rise from the grave. We can attest to truth found in the story and its reliability. It can become an intellectual exercise whereby we try to convince others of something that happened thousands of years ago.
We can show others that there is a place set for them — that they belong. We can realize that all of us have so much more in common than we recognize. We can see that we all live in the shadow of death, that we’re all in the same boat.
We can see that Jesus has broken down all the walls that we try to build.
We can take out a cup and some bread and put it in the middle of a table. We can sit down together and realize that there is a new creation bursting forth among us. And as we break the bread together we can see that there is
and sinners saved by grace who can all find meaning together.
It is in those moments that the word becomes flesh. It is then that life is breathed into resurrection.
Resurrection is made real.