I’ve been reading through the book of Luke since late April or early May. It’s been a little sporadic, but I finally finished today. To be completely honest, the last three chapters I had really been putting off – the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus.
This morning, I asked God to help me finish the last two chapters of Luke. It would be more scripture than normally covered, but I wanted to finish. As I prayed, it occurred to me that this part is the greatest part of God’s love letter to us. It’s the greatest part of His love story. If my husband sacrificed his own life for that of someone else, it would be the talk of the town. A sacrificial love like no other. Why would I not want to read the greatest love story ever told?
With a fresh desire I made it through, and to the final chapter. I love the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. Cleopas and Simon are walking to Emmaus and come across a stranger who joins them. They tell this stranger about what has just taken place in Jerusalem – the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (Good News travels fast). Then the stranger begins to interpret to them all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:27) They are wowed by the stranger’s understanding and urge him to stay with them, come for supper.
But as they sit to eat, the stranger breaks the bread and blesses it. Immediately, the two men’s eyes are opened and they realize that this “stranger” is the resurrected Jesus himself. (Talk about a good story!) As their eyes are opened to who they had spent so much time with that day, Jesus vanishes. I’m sure their opened eyes got a little wider.
“When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” (Luke 24:30-31, ESV)
That verse reminded me of when I first saw Jesus. It was in the telling of the story of his crucifixion and resurrection. It was his body – blessed, broken and given to each one of us – just like the bread with Cleopas and Simon. It was an August night in 1994 at Windy Gap, a Young Life camp. The story of Jesus was graphically told that night, just like I read in Luke 23 this morning. It was the realization of how much the Lord our God loves us, has forgiven us, desires relationship with us, and prepared a way for eternal life for us, with Him.
Whatever road you are on right now, I want to encourage you to take 20-30 minutes, and read the gospel of Luke 23-24. I promise you, time spent in God’s Word is not wasted time. Allow Him to meet you, right where you are. Its about relationship, not perfection. I’m asking that God would open our eyes, just like Cleopas and Simon, to see Jesus. I’m asking for a fresh reminder of what first brought us to believe God and Jesus’ sacrifice. And I’m asking that God’s love would wash over us, afresh. Amen.