Stories of the Resurrection
Luke 24: 28-35:
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (ESV)
There are so many post Resurrection stories in the gospels (and in other New Testament books as well) that I think it’s very appropriate to be intentional about reading and meditating on these Scriptures. In some traditions, this Sunday (April 23, 2023) is known as Meal Sunday, and it focuses on the passage in Luke where two of the disciples left Jerusalem and were walking to Emmaus. I would encourage you to read the whole account (Luke 24:13-35). For this devotional I want us to reflect on the latter part of this account, verses 28-35. The context, of course, shows these disciples who are discouraged about what has just happened (the Crucifixion). They set out for their journey when someone joins them. He notices their despair and exhorts them to understand what has just happened in light of the Scriptures. They don’t recognize him but are amazed at what he disclosed to him about these recent events by opening the Word to them.
They arrive at their destination and beg him to stay, sharing their meal with him. As soon as he blesses the bread and breaks it, their eyes are opened, and they know who has been with them this whole journey. Jesus leaves and they turn to each other and marvel at what has just happened. “Were not our hearts burning within us, in the reading of the Scriptures?”
This story brings together both the preaching of the Word and the fellowship of the Table. I’m sure they were remembering the last meal they shared with him, on the night he was betrayed. Jesus did this, not merely for them, but for all the saints since then, and even for us. He comes to us in the preaching of the Word, but also in the breaking of bread. To leave one behind is to miss the incredible importance of integrating head and heart in seeking Christ. Meals that are prayed over and blessed are shared meals. Jesus is revealed in the “communion of saints” which really only means that revelation has always been a shared experience, not a solitary experience. While I think this meal at Emmaus was intended as a reminder of the great feast to come, it also establishes the way Jesus comes to us at the Communion Table. And even from that, we can say Christ reveals himself in a special way through all meals shared around him. The potlucks, the celebrations, the bringing of meals to those who are in need are all places where we have the opportunity to “recognize” Christ.
“Did not our hearts burn within us?”
This week as you meditate on this passage from Luke, consider having a feast with others! At the table, whether family or friends or even strangers are present, take a moment and acknowledge that Christ is with you – and that he wants to reveal himself to you in new and incredible ways. And the next time you take communion, stop, and reflect and ask that Christ reveal himself to you in the breaking of bread and the pouring of the cup.
Prayer- "Lord, we ask to see you more clearly in all the ways you show yourself to us. May each meal we share with another be an opportunity to see you. Holy Spirit, reveal Christ to us at the Table where we take our place in Christ’s dying and in his rising. Make our hearts burn at the revelation of Christ, both in Word and in Table. For your sake, and for ours as well. Amen."