The 40-day period after Jesus’ resurrection, which we are presently in, has become historically known as the lost 40 days. Biblically, the Apostles acknowledge only six sightings of Jesus but, within the New Testament, there are 11. During that 40-day period, thousands saw him and testified to it; most were immediately put to death.
Of the 11 “The Road to Emmaus” sightings, Luke 24:16 grants the greatest clarity about the challenges in seeing the Son. John 20:24-31 also gives great insight about Christ’s desire for us to see Him. Together, both sightings show what blinds us to the truth about Christ’s resurrection.
This message is ironic and perhaps inappropriate because “They (the travelers) were kept from recognizing him,” meaning they were intentionally blinded. Therefore, the question becomes, “What does it take to see the Son?”
The travelers were religious spectators, not disciples, returning home from the crucifixion and they almost missed the historical moment because, as Luke 24:13-28 tells us, they were facing the wrong direction by traveling away from the fellowship. And they were too focused on their disappointments and problems to know Christ was walking with them.
The travelers walked and talked about the women’s witness, Jesus’ teachings and the Old Testament prophecies, yet they couldn’t see Him. He had been raised up on the cross, raised up from the dead and about to be raised up into glory and they were about to miss it. They were looking for a military and political messiah to free them from political and military slavery.
They didn’t realize Christ came to free them from the slavery of sin.
Today, in the wake of a successful mission against Osama Bin Laden, many are caught up in admiration of our political power and military might and economic wealth. They are totally unprepared for the coming reversal of values which is transpiring right before our eyes as God takes back His kingdom. We’re unprepared for the reality that the last will be first and life itself grows out of death.
On the Emmaus road, Jesus says to the travelers, “How foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe.” Jesus responds to their blindness by turning them toward the Scriptures. As they arrive in Emmaus, according to Luke 24:29, “Jesus acted as if he were going farther.” They still did not know who He was but, intrigued by His presence, they begged Him to stay and He does. Unless Jesus is invited in, He moves on. But it’s on the inside, while sitting at the table as He breaks the bread, that their eyes are opened.
In the “Upper Room” third sighting, Jesus enters through locked doors. His body was not a restored body like Lazarus’ body. His is an immortal body, able to appear and disappear. He could walk through walls, he could eat and Thomas touched His hands and side. Luke 24:45 tells us it is “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
So, how can we too see the Son? We can see Him through studying Scriptures, which enhances our power of prayer and positions us where God wants us to receive the Holy Spirit and the Spirit gives us sight. Our spiritual eyes become open, we become more and more spiritually sighted. It is then that we can see the Son and it is then that others can see Him in us.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org.