Did you ever find yourself talking to someone who is looking for someone that you soon realize is you? Maybe it’s not “you” particularly by name, rather it’s you the manager, or the supervisor, or the person who does the hiring, or handles the advertising. You’ve been trying to get the message across to them that you, in fact, are that person they’re looking for, but for some unknown reason, they’re not hearing it. I’m not sure why, but Christians tend to be that way with Jesus quite often.
In these days approaching Easter, certain passages of scripture comes to mind whereby different ones were in the presence of Jesus and yet, “did not realize” it to be Him. In John 20:13-15, Mary Magdalene is outside the tomb crying. As she looks inside the tomb, she encounters two angels. 14At this, she turns around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
Again, in John 21:4 Jesus appears on the shore of the Sea of Galilee as His disciples are fishing not far off shore. 4Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
In Matthew 28:17 the eleven disciples went, as they were told, to Galilee where Jesus had told the women to instruct them to meet Him. 17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
And in Luke 24:15-16, two disciples, or followers of Jesus, traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus and talking as they went. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing Him.
In addition to the fact that in each case the people didn’t recognize Jesus, the common denominator is that they all certainly should have. They were all disciples; followers, worshipers of Jesus. They had heard His voice so often, gazed into His eyes. It was akin to running into your recently deceased friend or relative you had been close to and not recognizing them? Yet, don’t we so often have the same problem with seeing Jesus ourselves? We get in these places in life where we’re just so sure we’re all alone. Jesus has abandoned us! He’s nowhere to be found! We can’t see Him anywhere! At least…it seems that way.
I mean, we know Jesus. We’re Christians! We know what it’s like to see Him answer prayer, to comfort us in time of trouble, and though we know intellectually, “He’s always with us. He hears our pleas”, none the less we find ourselves praying, ‘O how I wish I knew where to find Him!’ We have at our fingertips, access to the very word of God, that never changes. It verifies and confirms truths that remain truths whether they “seem” to be truth or not. Jesus can always be found there, always be heard there.
Jesus is accustomed to walk through the glades of Scripture, and to commune with His people, as the Father did with Adam in the cool of the day, and yet you are in the garden of Scripture, but cannot see him, though He is always there. And why do we not see Him? It must be ascribed in our case, as in the disciples’, to unbelief. They evidently did not expect to see Jesus, and therefore they did not know Him. To a great extent in spiritual things we get what we expect of the Lord. Faith alone can bring us to see Jesus.
Charles H. Spurgeon
And when the two men invited Jesus to stay with them for the evening He agreed and they broke bread together. 30When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.
The direct influence of the Holy Spirit through God’s word makes everything clear and recognizable for us what was formerly dark and confusing. Jesus is always there for us, whether we see or feel Him or not.
Open my eyes that I may see, Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!