What the Bible Says about the Cross
By Magrey R. deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park UMC, Tampa, FL
BE OPEN TO IT…
The Road to Emmaus (Luke24:13-35) is the familiar story of two disciples walking away from Jerusalem – away from the place where they witnessed the horror of the crucifixion of the One they were sure was going to redeem Israel. Their hopes and dreams had been crushed and the future was looking hopeless.
But soon they were joined by a stranger they did not recognize. In their despair and pain they could have ignored him, but they didn’t. When he asked them what they were talking about, they responded: “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” So, they told him what had happened. But the stranger doesn’t just listen; he talks with them about the meaning of scriptures. Somewhat harshly he says to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
In the midst of their pain and anger, it would have been easy for the disciples to reject him. But, they did not turn away. They stayed open. They let his words speak to them. They even invited him to stay with them. And Luke tells us it was at the table when the stranger took the bread, blessed it and broke it that the disciples “experienced” the presence of Jesus the Christ.
Most of us can remember a time when we have felt like the disciples on the road to Emmaus – dejected – lost – overwhelmed by grief – a time when our hopes and dreams have been erased by failure, disappointments, or bad decisions – a time when we felt we could no longer live up to the expectations of others. And then something happens! The Spirit of the risen Lord meets us right where we are when we least expect it – in the words of a complete stranger – in the comforting presence of a good friend – in a sunset – in a blooming flower – in the embrace of a child – in a moment of prayer.
As Christians, we worship and we journey with a “living” Christ. This is why we call ourselves “Easter People,” as we know and experience a living Christ in our lives and in the life of the world. Just like Jesus the Christ did with the disciples long ago, the risen, living Christ meets us where we are – in our pain – in our grief – in our joy – in the ordinary happenings of our everyday lives and opens us to the life-giving power of the resurrecting God. All we have to do is BE OPEN TO IT!!
If you would like to explore further your experiences or your challenges with being “open” to the presence of Christ in your life, I would be glad to talk with you.