What Blinds You to Jesus?

“We had hoped…” (Luke 24:21a NLT)

Have circumstances in your life been so chaotic or your heartache so severe that you’ve missed God’s presence when He showed up?

Luke records the story of two of Jesus’ followers who were walking home, to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked, they were discussing the things that had happened in Jerusalem over the course of the previous three days. How Jesus had been betrayed, then murdered because of the Jewish priests and religious leaders, then rose from the dead.

As they discussed these things, the Bible says that Jesus suddenly began to walk with them. Jesus asked them what they were talking about, and with a very sad countenance, one of them whose name was Cleopas, began to tell Jesus all the things that had happened regarding Jesus’ death. It was in that context that he said: “We had hoped He was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel.”

Here they were, in the presence of God, but they didn’t recognize Him. Why? Was it because of their sadness? Perhaps, but as they recounted what had happened over the previous three days, they ended with these words: “Then some women from our group of His followers were at His tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said His body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, His body was gone, just as the women had said.”

Whoa! Wait a minute. Then why are you so sad? It’s not sadness that’s blinding you, it’s lack of faith! It’s unbelief! It was at that point Jesus began to tell them what the Scriptures had predicted hundreds of years before the actual event, finally bringing them to a point of recognizing who He was.

“Used by permission, © Ray Majoran, GlimpseOfInfinity.com

While I’m troubled by those who professed allegiance to Jesus, yet due to their unbelief were unable to recognize Him two thousand years ago, what bothers me more is when I see those same things in myself and others in the Body of Christ today. There are times in my life and yours when the weight of the circumstances of our lives crushes our spirit and blinds us to the presence of our Savior. And the irony is, the reason behind our failure to see Jesus is the same as the two men on the road to Emmaus – unbelief! What do I mean?

The opening words of Luke 24:21 tell the story of lack of faith or unbelief in the hearts of the two men: “We had hoped!” Might they have been able to recognize Jesus if their heart’s cry had been: “But we’re still hopeful!” or “Even though we have unanswered questions, our belief He’s alive is still strong!”

Sometimes the reality is, the trials of life don’t destroy our faith, they reveal our lack of faith. You can’t draw on that which you don’t possess. Our trust in God must extend beyond the borders of our own achievements. We may read the Bible regularly, pray with the fervor of Elijah, attend every meeting the church offers, teach classes, and even share our faith with others, yet not have faith to recognize Jesus when He shows up in a crisis. Or worse, Jesus won’t recognize us when we show up at the entrance to heaven.

“How can that be?” you may ask. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who calls out to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! Will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter.” Obviously, the issue isn’t only what we do, it’s why we do it.

Could it be the two on the road to Emmaus were more “fans,” than followers? Perhaps they, like many today, got so caught up in the work of the Lord, they forgot the Lord of the work. We can get so focused on what we’re doing, we lose focus on why we’re doing it. Until, over time, it becomes more about us and less and less about Jesus.

In 1 Corinthians 11, in the context of The Lord’s Supper, Paul urges us to examine ourselves. Lack of faith can easily blur our vision of Jesus, so much so, we may miss Him when we most need Him.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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