Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
The command “Wake Up!” indicates that perhaps someone is not awake yet, is troubled and/or perplexed, or perhaps their mind is not really on what is before them.
Cleopas and a traveling companion, another disciple perhaps his wife, were traveling and a stranger suddenly began to walk with them and talk to them. Of course, we know the story. The stranger to them was none other than Jesus who had risen from the grave.
In the context of this story and similar stores in other Scriptures we can readily see that these two traveling the road were not the only ones that did not recognize Jesus after His resurrection.
John 20:14 – Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
John 21:4 – But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
The answer is right in front of you
Was Jesus’ appearance or countenance different as He appeared to the disciples, to Mary or to Cleopas and his traveling companion? Why did they not recognize Him? What was their problem? How could it be that those who had been around him, some almost daily for three years, knowing His movements, His speech, His mannerisms not comprehend who He was?
Luke 24:36-38 – Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Luke 24:25 – Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
When Thomas actually saw Jesus with his own eyes, then he believed
John 20:24-29 – Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
When Mary heard Jesus call her name, she believed
John 20:14-16 – Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
Wake up! The answer is right in front of you!
How is it in times of extreme frustration, sorrow, pain, sickness, loneliness, joy, trouble…Jesus is there, working His way and will in our lives, yet we do not see or recognize who He is?
- Is our faith weak?
- Are we failing to trust Him?
- Are we simply ignoring the tug on our heart, the knock on our door?
- Are we so preoccupied with the cares of this life and the situation at hand that we cannot see Him in our situation?
- Is our life so hopeless or full of despair that we cannot see Jesus at all?
- In the sadness and despair of lives, hopes for family, our profession, school, acceptance, meaning and purpose of life, we must remember that Jesus does care.
Even though we have feelings of hopelessness and despair, Jesus is there. He said He would not leave us nor forsake us. He said to not be troubled or afraid. Wake up! He is there!