So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
There is a striking similarity between this account, the last supper in the upper room and the feeding of the 5,000. The two disciples were not exactly expecting what happened – they were confused and perplexed, their earlier expectations (somewhat worldly in interpretation) had been shattered, and the news they had received earlier left them with many questions.
Several things transformed this encounter into a life changing event rather than just an added twist to the perplexing tale.
Firstly the risen Lord directed them to the Word of God. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (verse 27) God’s purposes and plan of salvation are there for us to see. I recall very early in my Christian pilgrimage being given a book entitled “Christ in All the Scripture” – buy one if you can and discover the depth and breadth of Biblical reference to the Saviour.
Secondly I note that the Lord readily responded to their invitation to stay with them. The response to their growing awareness of the promises of God in Scripture was to seek for something more. I suspect the invitation was initiated by more than a concern for the traveller during the hours of darkness. Searching the Word of God with open hearts and minds and deepen our hunger for more.
Thirdly Jesus revealed himself to them as he broke the bread. Perhaps in part it was because he took the place of the host; perhaps because it reminded them dramatically of earlier experiences in his company; or perhaps something deeper as “he opened their eyes”.
Personally one of the more significant challenges of our current situation is our inability to gather together around the Lord’s Table, to see the bread broken and the wine poured out; to meet together with our Saviour and to appreciate that special provision as spiritually we are fed.
Perhaps when once again we meet in this way we will appreciate afresh how wonderful it is that Jesus makes himself known to us in the breaking of bread. (RS)
“I come with joy to meet my Lord, forgiven, loved and free;
in awe and wonder to recall his life laid down for me.
I come with Christians far and near to find, as all are fed,
the new community of love in Christ’s communion bread.”