The “Fourth Week”: Week Twenty-Eight/Session Two.
Theme: The Risen Life.
Our reading for today: Luke 24: 13-26.
That same day two of them (the disciples) were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who He was. (Luke 24: 13-16 MsgB)
Incognito. The invisible man.
How many times when I was a kid, I wanted to be the invisible man?
Or how about James Bond in the 007 movies? Or Artemus Gordon on the classic TV show, The Wild, Wild West? How I longed to be the hero who could walk through a crowd of people and not be identified. The handsome, dashing spy who is the master of 1,000 disguises.
Apparently the resurrected Jesus has this very same capability to disguise His person! So much so that those who had spent up to three years with the Master didn’t recognize His voice, His speech patterns, His facial features, His physical measurements, or even His slightest mannerisms in this Sunday afternoon encounter on the Road to Emmaus.
Now that may sound like a pretty creepy thing for Jesus to do, but quite honestly, I believe He still has the ability to come and go under the auspices of a disguise. As a matter of fact, the New Testament warns us that there will be times when you and I might even be entertaining angels when we throw a party for others!
Apparently, if we read between the lines here, the Kingdom of God, the ruling and reigning dominion of God in heaven, has dimensional abilities that makes it undeniably possible for living beings from God’s heaven to step back and forth between this world and heaven, interacting with us; many times without us even knowing it! Jesus does it here and as we’ll see later in this story (next time), this invisible man syndrome continues until such a time that Jesus, Himself, decides to lift the veil, showing His true self to these two men.
Now I know this sounds like a science fiction movie you once saw at the late show, but honestly folks, the physical interaction between God’s heaven and this present earth, in biblical terms, is much more feasible than we twenty-first century westerners may want to imagine.
I had a pastor friend once who was from Israel, and since he grew up in more of an eastern worldview than I did, he often chided me for being so ‘westernized’ when I read my Bible. We often laughed together as I finally had to admit that biblical Christianity, as presented in the New Testament, is truly more of an ‘eastern’ religion than we westerners would ever be comfortable admitting. I remember my friend telling me how wafer-thin he believed the veil between heaven and earth to actually be!
John Wimber used to remind us, as well, that if you don’t believe in angels, demons, dreams, visions, or other unique interactions between spirit and flesh, you might as well close your Bible. In Luke’s gospel alone, we find angels visiting God’s people from the very beginning (Zachariah and Mary) to the very end (Mary Magdalene, and the other women at the grave)!
So, in truth, this idea of Jesus being ‘the invisible man’ after His resurrection would not be all that strange to a contemporary reader of Luke’s gospel. And yet most of us living in the western portion of the globe, will by-pass this fact so quickly as we read God’s Word.
I wonder if we westerners just might see many more such ‘miracles’ if we’d adopt an improved radar-screen awareness and a stronger level of expectancy for such supernatural God-activity? As I see it, we Christians shouldn’t let Hollywood have all the fun. I’m guessing Jesus of Nazareth, the omniscient, omni-present Son of God, can still out-perform any cheap movie stunt that Harry Potter and his gang can do on the silver screen. Don’t you?
Wait, who is that man standing right next to you right now? He looks vaguely familiar!
My prayer: Lord, I have no interest in being consumed with smoke and mirrors. The church too often uses this hunt for the supernatural as a distraction to the real deal. But Holy Spirit, in this age where we see witchcraft and the occult getting most of the attention in our culture, may the power and presence of God’s in-breaking Kingdom release any and all supernatural phenomena that gives glory and honor to Jesus and His Lordship over all. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Am I open to the supernatural aurora of God that is found throughout the biblical texts? Am I open to dreams, angelic visitations, holy moments, and other supernatural spiritual activity that are unexplainable to our rational mind, yet glorifying to the Kingdom of God? How can I adjust my willingness to embrace God’s supernatural power without falling into cultish and, quite honestly, childish behavior?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.