GSFA Devotional: Bread for Our Journey
3 May 2023
Jesus walks with us
“On the same day, two of Jesus’ followers were walking to a village called Emmaus, about 60 stadia from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about all these things that had taken place. While they were discussing and analyzing what had happened, Jesus himself approached and began to walk with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing with each other as you’re walking along?” They stood still and looked gloomy. The one whose name was Cleopas answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who doesn’t know what happened there in the past few days?” He asked them, “What things?” They answered him, “The events involving Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in what he said and did before God and all the people, and how our high priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and had him crucified. But we kept hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel. What is more, this is now the third day since these things occurred. Even some of our women have startled us by what they told us. They were at the tomb early this morning and didn’t find his body there, so they came back and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who were saying that he was alive. Then some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. However, they didn’t see him.” Then Jesus told them, “O, how foolish you are! How slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! The Messiah had to suffer these things and then enter his glory, didn’t he?” Then, beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them all the passages of Scripture about himself. As they came near the village where the two men were headed, Jesus acted as though he were going farther. But they strongly urged him, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the daylight is nearly gone.” So he went in to stay with them. While he was at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed it, broke it in pieces, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they knew who he was. And he vanished from them” Luke.24.13-31
When Jesus was buried, two of his disciples decided to leave Jerusalem and go back to their village. They felt that there is no point of staying in Jerusalem with the other disciples. All their hopes and dreams are now buried with Jesus. They expected Jesus, to be the Messiah, who will rescue them from the Roman colonization and restore the glorious kingdom of David. But sadly, this did not happen.
With sadness and heavy hearts, the two disciples were walking back to their village, Emmaus. It is clear that they lost their spiritual direction and forgot what Jesus told them several times that “in the third day He will rise from the dead”. In spite of this, Jesus came along and joined them in their journey.
Notice here my friends, how our Lord, because of His abundant grace, searched for these two disciples, and walked with them. In the same way Jesus meets us when we go the wrong way, even when we don’t recognize His presence.
In order to heal their despair, Jesus explained from scriptures about himself, His death and His resurrection. Their hearts were burning within them as they heard Jesus clarifications.
In the same way, the Holy Spirit touches our hearts when we read the word of God. We also receive hope and joy when we understand the divine plan for our salvation.
Because it was evening and dangerous to walk in the dark, the two disciples urged Jesus to stay the night with them. He agreed and “While he was at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed it, broke it in pieces, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they knew who he was”. Jesus then disappeared.
Why their eyes were open at the breaking of the bread? Isn’t that what Paul wrote: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1Cor.10.16.
My dear brothers and sisters, we experience the spiritual presence of our Lord and become in communion with Him as we participate in the Lord’s Table.
The two disciples, after meeting the risen Lord, they couldn’t wait to go back to Jerusalem to witness to the other disciples about their great encounter with Jesus. They quickly started the journey back to Jerusalem, in spite of the dangerous dark road.
Doesn’t this remind you of what we hear at the end of the Holy Communion service: “Go in peace to serve the Lord”. We then respond “In the Name of Christ, Amen”.
Brothers and sisters, we do meet the Risen Lord as we read His Word and at the Holy Communion. We then need to move forward outside our churches and into the world to fulfill Christ’s mission:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Mathew 28:19-20
The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Anis
Episcopal / Anglican Province of Alexandria