One of my favorite resurrection story is when Jesus walked with with two disciples (not two of the core twelve though) on the road to Emmaus. This scripture passage takes up the story when the two disciples returned to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples of their encounter.
“While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.” (Luke 24:26b – 40)
In the two thousand some years since Jesus walked among his disciples there are many who have felt his (or the Holy Spirit’s) transcendent with them – both individuals and groups. It is, I think though, a special blessing and experience to have experienced it in the flesh. That is why the Emmaus story is so special to me. Jesus’ sudden appearances and disappearances in the time after his resurrection are riveting. But to actually be companion-ed and accompanied on a journey is a special blessing.
“While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.” (Verses 41 – 43)
In the Emmaus story Jesus did not actually eat, but he broke the bread and blessed it. It was the blessing part that revealed his identity. Again, a special time and one worthy of reporting.
“Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Verses 44 – 48)
Both on the road to Emmaus and here, Jesus is teaching and equipping his disciples for what they will need to know and do next. Now, you may think that is the portion that I am the envious of – but it is not. Read the verse carefully – he opened their minds. Not hours and hours of lectures and exegesis but equipping them with understanding. And, beloved reader, is something that can happen without Jesus being physically present. It is, essentially, Spirit-work.
Each of my professors in seminary essentially taught us what the Divine had revealed to them and at times told us stories of how that teaching unfolded. Again, Spirit-work. We can experience that! We may not be able to witness Jesus eating a meal we prepared or blessing it with his own voice. But we can know the experience of having the Spirit open and expand our thinking and understanding. The Divine may call us to that through schooling or simply through bible study. It is my prayer, beloved reader, that the Divine would call you to that experience and that you would accept that gift and blessing. Or even more so, that you would not wait for the call but would determine for yourself that you want to study the bible and learn more. It may seem that is one and the same – and perhaps for some it is. The allowance for human free will sometimes means that we must see the need/desire in ourselves for the Divine. My exhortation is that you not wait for a large sign or “fleece” (if you will) but assume that the Divine wants to have communion with you and you initiate the relationship. For it is true. And you may find that Jesus suddenly “appears” where there had been empty space! Shalom & Selah!