Jesus Plays Hide-and-Seek
This morning I woke up at dark-thirty and tiptoed to my kitchen. I filled my cup with beckoning java and stumbled my way back to our office. I love my office, my sanctuary. I have an oversized chair that I bought from a friend; it’s perfectly positioned next to a shelf so I can rest my coffee cup within arm’s reach. I climb in my spot almost every morning, usually wearing my repulsive bathrobe that I also adore.
And I pray.
I thank God for waking me with new mercies. I praise Him for who He is. I ask Him to help me to hear His voice as I study His Word. I tell Him that I love Him and want to apply what I read. And I invite the Holy Spirit to fill me and to help me focus as I am half-asleep.
Today I finished the New Testament book of Luke, which saddened me as I flipped the page and realized I had read 24 chapters. I didn’t want the “story” to end. Before Jesus’ ascension as Luke ends, I focused in on 2 random guys.
2 guys (one named Cleopas) are talking about Jesus and what a bummer it was that Jesus was killed and didn’t redeem Israel. Rumor had it Jesus’ tomb was empty. It was the buzz of the town.
So picture 2 random guys walking down the street (well, the dirt road) discussing the confusion. Interesting enough, they are walking away from where all the action had happened days before.
And up walks Jesus.
Let’s just think about the King of Kings just showing up at your house right now, out of nowhere, unexpectedly. Except, they don’t realize it’s Him. They don’t know they’re talking to the guy they’ve been talking about. They do not recognize Jesus; I wonder how often I am like Cleopas. How often am I blind to Him?
And Jesus is like, “Hey guys, what’s up?” (loose translation) And they look at this strange guy and ask, “Uh, are you freaking kidding me? Are you new here?” (again, paraphrasing) Jesus answers that His internet has been down and His cable is out; “fill me in,” He says. You gotta love His smooth charm. He had to have been smiling inside as He winked up at God.
So they fill in this clueless guy about Jesus who was supposed to redeem, but He was killed 3 days ago and no redemption was happening. Their hopes were gone, just like His body from the tomb.
Jesus kindly calls them morons in modern-day lingo (“foolish” and “slow to believe” are His words). With an eyebrow raised, He’s saying, “Are you kidding? Don’t you get it? Don’t you know this was the plan all along?” And he schooled Cleo and his pal, basically teaching the entire Old Testament to these guys, and how death meant hope. I cannot fully grasp the idea of Jesus personally explaining His Word to me.
The 2 guys are still blind to who is actually speaking with them. Otherwise they’d have already died of embarrassment.
So the 3 men get near town and Jesus keeps walking “as if” he was going farther. He’s so cool, just walking on like a wanderer or a guy with an appointment to keep. Instead of shaking hands, the 2 guys ask Jesus to hang out longer.
The next scene of the story, Jesus prays for dinner and hands them the bread. If they’d been in a bar, the music would’ve stopped right then. Hold the phone, wait a minute. THAT IS JESUS!
They do a double-take I bet. “Wait, we’ve been hanging out with the Redeemer for the past few hours?!” Jesus is having dinner with us right now?!
Jesus waited until the right time to open their eyes so they could recognize Him. Why did He wait? Why didn’t He tell them when they first met? Why didn’t He use the word “I” when explaining the Old Testament to these slow fools?
God is never in a hurry.
God always has a plan.
God is perfect in all His ways.
Maybe He didn’t want them too star-struck to learn. Maybe he knew they needed time to shift their focus from frustration to the Father. I bet He’ll tell us one day in heaven. Remind me to ask Him.
What happens next is just as unexpected. Like a magician, Jesus disappears. Right at the moment these guys pick their jaws up off the floor and get ready to ask a million questions a minute, poof, He’s gone.
Eyes opened. Savior recognized. Jesus vanished.
Picture them looking under the dinner table as if this was a hide-and-seek game. Their eyes wide and their minds baffled. But he was just here!
The Lord has no need to follow our rules or even make sense.
That’s part of His wonder, His mystery. He magically had appeared, and then later magically disappeared.
As the 2 guys take a second to process what’s unfolded for the past few hours, they “at once” go back to town to tell Jesus’ disciples that the Good News is true: Jesus has risen from the dead. They even included that the bread-breaking was the moment of revelation for them. They were refocused on Jesus with the right understanding and they headed back to the fellowship of believers.
Lord, thank You for meeting us where we are in life. Thank You for being tender. May we stay in constant communion with You, always learning from You and enjoying Your presence. Help our hearts to burn within us so that we stay passionate about You so that we may tell others about You. We love You. Amen.