APR 26, 2017: “Hey…..I know that guy…!”

How many of you have had moments where you’ve looked at someone, maybe across the room or sitting in a restaurant, and said to yourself….”Man, I know that person…but I just can’t put my finger on it…”.  Sometimes, the not knowing the name of someone will bug us for days!

Take my next door neighbor, Robby, who had just such an event happen the other day.  Last Friday, we added three new baby chicks to our backyard flock of egg-laying hens.  The new chicks were just a day-old when we picked them up at Renfroe Hardware store over in Matthews, NC.  The babies were born in Texas on Thursday, April 20th, and were immediately shipped via overnight truck transport to Renfroe.  Incredible, when you think about it!

Anyway, back to my story about my neighbor.  The new chicks have been quite the draw to our backyard or, more specifically, the storage room behind our garage where we have the new chicks set up in a chicken brooder of sorts.  Robby noticed one friend of ours standing in the middle of the yard while his wife and daughter visited with the babies.  The friend didn’t notice that Robby and his wife were wondering who the strange man was standing in our backyard, but were less alarmed when they saw me appearing from the “tour” of our baby chickens nursery.

But Robby knew he knew my friend from somewhere but couldn’t put a finger on it.  Last night, he confronted me in the driveway saying, “Who was that guy in your yard the other day.  I know I know him from somewhere.”  When I finally revealed my friend’s name, you could immediately see the sigh of relief on Robby’s face.

We’ve just finished up the Resurrection story in the Bible, but Jesus is not wrapping up his earthly “visit” just yet.  Along the road to Emmaus, Jesus picks up the pace with two of his disciples, but they don’t recognize him at all.  Maybe it was early morning or evening, and the ambient light was not readily visible.  Back in those days, the streets were not lined with beautiful lamp posts like we see today.  So maybe the lack of visibility made it hard to SEE the risen Christ.

Or perhaps something was preventing the two men from realizing it was Jesus walking along with them because they couldn’t hear Him or recognize his voice.  Have you ever walked through a forest and all you can hear are the loud noises of the crickets or other insects.  You can hardly hear yourself think!  Maybe the disciples couldn’t HEAR the risen Christ because it was just too noisy.

Then again, maybe it’s more likely that the two disciples didn’t recognize Jesus because they were still very distraught over the death of their friend, mentor and teacher.  Remember too, that there was pretty much a bounty on the heads of the remaining disciples so most of them were constantly looking over their shoulders.  Have you ever had so much pressure going on in your mind that you can’t even concentrate?  Sure….and maybe that’s why the disciples couldn’t THINK about Jesus walking along side them.

There are so many things going on around us in our daily lives that perhaps prevents us from SEEING, or HEARING or THINKING about Jesus Christ.  It you have the Lego toy version of Him, where you only take out Jesus when you need him….then you’ll surely never be able to see, hear, or think about Him.  And that just doesn’t seem right, don’t you agree?

Well, friends, here’s some good news.  It usually doesn’t take much for us to break the trance we’re under in order to remove those distractions.  It might be a television commercial, or a good book, or even something that somebody says, that will remind us of our risen Lord.

At what point did the disciples finally recognize Jesus…do you recall?  It was in the breaking of the bread when their eyes were opened.  Scripture says in Luke’s gospel:

“Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.  LUKE 24: 28-31

Poof….He disappeared says the final words in Luke…or did He really vanish?  Or was He ever really there to begin with?

Whatever you believe, the lesson for us today is that when we remove the distractions we can see Jesus more clearly.  What’s lingering in your lives that doesn’t allow you to SEE, HEAR or THINK straight when it comes to Him.  My challenge today is to look for ways to unclutter your minds, open your ears and eyes, and welcome the risen Lord who’s always around to remind us who He is.