Image of rye bread on white table.

Are We Looking for Jesus? Do We Recognize Him?

On Sunday we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The miracle and truth that all Christianity hinges upon. But today, several days later are we still living in that truth? Are we looking for Jesus, everywhere, always? And when Jesus shows up, do we recognize Him?

In Luke’s Gospel, following the women finding the tomb empty and telling the apostles of the angels who declared Jesus’ resurrection, Luke shares the story of two of Jesus’ disciples who encountered Him as they were traveling along the road to Emmaus from Jerusalem.

Only, these disciples didn’t recognize Jesus. He showed up in an unexpected place at an unexpected time and “their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” (Luke 24:16). They were sad. Things had not turned out how they had expected. Not at all.

“While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”

Luke 24:15-16, ESV

He spent time with these men, walking along the road with them and talking about what had taken place – talking about Him! About His death, about His body not being in them tomb.

But they couldn’t see Him. They didn’t recognize Him.

It wasn’t until He sat with them and broke bread for a meal that their eyes were opened and saw Jesus for who He was, right there 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.”

Luke 24:30-31, ESV

As soon as their eyes were opened and they recognized him, he disappeared.

Are We Looking for Jesus?

The Bible tells us that as believers we are the “temple” of the Holy Spirit. We are the place that God’s Holy Spirit resides here on earth. He dwells within us – and we should act accordingly.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV

But are we looking for Him?

Theologically we might know, understand and accept that Jesus uses unexpected people in unexpected ways at unexpected times. But are we looking for it? Are we actually open to the idea that Jesus can use someone that doesn’t fit our definition of “usable?” Are we looking for Jesus to show up in the ways and places we think need Him the most or do we immediately cross our arms, close our eyes and decide “that situation, person, place or thing is hopeless.”

Are we really looking for Jesus and will we recognize Him when He does show up?

Be Discerning. Learn to Rightly Divide the Word of God.

This idea of looking for Jesus in unexpected places, people and times is not to say that we shouldn’t be discerning. We should be discerning. Always. We should know what is true and be able to spot a counterfeit. We should be reading our Bibles and as 2 Timothy 2:15 reads,

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

And we should also keep our eyes open. We should be watching for Him. This can be especially hard when we are in a season of struggle. Like the disciples walking the road to Emmaus, when our hearts are burdened and our spirits grieved, we often find that our eyes (and hearts) can become blind. We don’t look up to see what is around us. We don’t pay attention the same way we do when our hearts are bursting with joy. We focus our eyes on our troubles. Sometimes we just look at the ground, willing one foot in front of the other.

In the Difficult Seasons, Jesus Walks With Us Then Too

If today you are walking through one of life’s difficult seasons, don’t forget, Jesus walks with you then too.

Just as Jesus walked with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He walks with each of His believers. And if you haven’t given your life to The Lord yet, take heart, for He wants to walk with you too. When you make the choice to submit you life to Christ, you will never walk alone. Ever.

Look for Jesus, Everywhere. Always.

Keep looking for Him. Recognize His Holy Spirit in believers. Recognize that every human is an image bearer of God, part of His glorious creation. Whether or not they like this fact, honor this fact or reflect well this truth.

May we be a people who looks for and recognizes The Lord, believing that He can and does show up in the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times to use the most unexpected people.

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"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits."

Matthew 7:15-20 ESV