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Jesus Shows Up As a Stranger

Weekly Devotionals

Jesus Shows Up As a Stranger

Luke 24:13-35

13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

This story is important for many reasons. It tells us an emphasis on the Old Testament prophecies related to Jesus, evidence regarding an additional appearance of Jesus, and a connection regarding the many eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus. But not only these important evidence of who Jesus is but also it shows the kind heart of Jesus for is in our time or suffering and turmoil. The disciples just lost their dear teacher who they followed for years. They witnessed Jesus being killed in a very painful death right in front of their eyes and now He’s gone. Knowing that witnessing a sudden death of a stranger can cause a deep trauma, it’s hard to even imagine how the disciples were after the death of Jesus. Now we have a term for the state of mind in that situation. We call it trauma. As we can see in this passage, when Jesus asked them about what happened, their first response was to react in frustration. They asked, “How can you not know what’s been going on in town? You must be a stranger!” Yes. He showed up as a stranger and kept asking questions about what has happened. And we see Jesus giving them an opportunity to process what happened. I can easily picture them explaining about who Jesus was, how He meant to them and how devastated they were. As they bring those thoughts and emotions out in conversation, Jesus remained as a stranger and was with them to listen. At the end of the road, Jesus was going to leave them but the disciples were demanding Jesus to come and stay the night with them. They must have been so open and connected with this stranger as they talked about deep sorrows of their hearts. And of course, I have no doubt that Jesus was the best listener. When He was with them in the house, the disciples’ eyes were opened and able to recognize Him. And He was gone again.

I wonder if Jesus ever showed up in our lives like that. When we were in such deep pain and sorrow, if he’s ever shown up in a stranger’s form and was there to listen to us. In my life, I personally had experiences that God ministered to me through various relationships, friends and strangers. Reading this scripture makes me question if that was ever Jesus Himself.

The beauty of this story that I see is that Jesus works through our relationships. He is God that lives in His people and He not only ministers to us directly in our prayers and worship but also He meets us through relationships in a way that we can’t fully comprehend. Jesus didn’t come to them to listen as a spirit but came as a person so that they can have a conversation in order to process and let out all the negative emotions that might have been stirred in their hearts. How thoughtful and compassionate our Counselor is! He created human so He knows how we work so well!

At the end of the story, the two disciples shared with others about their encounter with Jesus and said to each other that their hearts were burning when He opened the scriptures. Here Jesus is showing us the ultimate healing path. The truth. When they heard truth, they felt the Holy Spirit to work within them. I cannot imagine how amazed they must have been when they realized the perfect ministry that was done for them in such a beautiful way.

Jesus may show up in a stranger’s form like He did with the disciples or He may not do that with us. Regardless, we know that He is with us always to listen and to bring truth for our hearts to be healed and to be comforted. God bless!