Their eyes were opened…

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hands-in-need

Scripture: Luke 24:28 As (the two travelers) came near the village to which they were going, (Jesus) walked ahead of them as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.

Observation: Jesus joined two disciples as they left Jerusalem following Jesus’ crucifixion. We don’t know why they didn’t recognize Jesus, but this kind of thing happened a lot in the bible. What got my attention today was verse 30-31, “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him…” His actions were reminiscent of Jesus feeding 5,000 with a few fish and loaves of bread, as well as Jesus at the last supper with his disciples.

Application: Years ago I was with a group from the church I was leading at the time, going to a place in San Antonio where many homeless people hung out. The first time we went was in the month of January and it was cold outside. We took hot chocolate to the people, who received it gratefully. In following trips we decided we should invite people to receive holy communion in addition to food and drink we had to share. It was completely optional and, If I’m honest, I didn’t think there would be many takers.

I was wrong.

In fact, just about everyone who received our food/drink offering also came to receive communion. And as I spoke the words “the body of Christ broken for you”, “the blood of Christ shed for you” I could see tears well up in the eyes of several of the people. In fact, a few were outright weeping as they extended their hands to receive the body and blood of Christ through bread and wine (well, juice in this case). One came to hug me later that morning, thanking me profusely for this unexpected gift. She told me how the simple act of communion connected her to a happier time – before addiction and abuse and prostitution and homelessness. She said there’d been many times over the prior 20 years she’d thought of going into a church, but her rough appearance and personal shame prevented her.

Yet under a busy freeway in downtown San Antonio, a place reeking of urine and strewn with the flotsam and jetsam of desperation, Jesus had come to visit her. As she put it through tears of joy, “My Lord hasn’t forgotten me!”. No he hasn’t. Nor has he forgotten you, dear reader.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to us in the simple act of breaking bread. Give us grace to remember you until you come again. Amen.

 

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