(Dear reader, It may seem a little strange to post something about Easter as we head down the homestretch toward Advent, but it’s simply where my personal Bible reading is at the moment. I pray that it blesses you anyway.)
“… He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.”
Two disciples walked home accompanied by a stranger. Since it was approaching evening they invited him in for an evening meal.
There was no recognition of this physical Jesus. Odd. To them He was a stranger, but as travelers along the way often do, they expressed their grief and disappointments over the events of the last few days concerning their now crushed expectations of the one they regarded as Messiah, who had been put to death on a cross. It was simply more than they could handle.
The stranger’s input into this conversation was to connect the dots for them from ancient events and prophecies pointing to the very events over which they grieved. Still they did not understand how such a thing could happen.
It may have made some sense. Maybe it even provided a little spiritual balm and relief that made some sense to them. Yet their hearts felt ripped apart by the experiences and perceptions of the last three days.
Even so, in the throes of this very high strangeness, being hospitable Jews, they invited the stranger in for the evening meal without recognizing his identity.
The passage does not say that Jesus ate with them, but that He reclined at the table with them. Consider how relaxed and in the moment this was! No rush, no fear, no thought of “we need to hurry this up; the authorities are looking for me, as my body came up missing.”
No, He simply broke the bread and distributed it to them. When that happened, a paradoxical thing happened – when they could “see” Him, He vanished from their sight. They knew who He was, but once that came about His physical form disappeared!
Let’s go over that again:
*They do not recognize who He is while with them in physical form.
*He breaks bread and distributes it to them.
*Their eyes of recognition and understanding are opened in that act.
*When their spiritual and mental understanding and recognition are opened, His physical manifestation removes itself from their physical presence.
I would offer that this is what takes place in the Christian mystical experience. The breaking of bread points to the fragmentation of physical and sense oriented perceptions concerning who Jesus is and what he provides. Their perceptions, for example, of Messiah were largely that of throwing off the current oppressors – at the time consisting of the Roman occupation. Complicit with the corrupted religious leaders of the Jews, these forces had just put the Chosen One to death – along with all their hopes as to the establishment of a permanent physical kingdom to be administered by the awaited Messiah.
It was all shattered like broken bread. This man in the gesture of breaking bread depicted in that act the bread of their shattered hopes built on a finite idea about what God was doing among His people. They sought an earthly kingdom. They partook of that misconception in symbolic form. In so doing it pointed to the fact that they did not recognize the Son of God and that His kingdom is that within a man, within the heart.
It wasn’t until His physical manifestation was removed, and all they were left with was the broken bread of their broken dreams, that their “eyes” were opened to see Him for who He is.
What is this saying? All of our finite, physical “religious” constructs, making up a false reality based on false notions and lack of insight must be broken, concerning Jesus Christ and our expectations of Him, before we can see Him for Who He really is and His claims on us. Regarding Jesus what needs to be shattered are our agendas – the agendas of both personal or political or even religious ego. Until this breaking apart happens, there will be no clear sight of Jesus – seeing Him for who he truly is according to the Mind of God. Up until that event, it’s all conjecture!
The physical Jesus of many religious, political, worldly, or personal ideas must vanish from sight. When man’s fantasies are broken, it is in that moment that we can “see” Jesus – the greater spiritual Jesus as Who He really is! And in so seeing, we connect with our own reality available in His redemption of us!
Apocalyptic times are all about that. They shatter all false notions. Whatever is emerges – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Truth about many things is revealed, for the word itself means a revealing. We live in such times, and this is its upshot: naked truth. Of Jesus Christ it is proclaimed, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the Earth shall mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
Everyone these days has a piece of Jesus, according to their own agendas, but when cloudy views disappear, the Son is seen in His true brightness! The shattering of the many lesser views of the tribes of the earth will be a source of mourning. However, He will reveal Himself to any who truly desire to know Him as He is, on His own terms, in a way entirely comprehensible to the one who receives His revelation of Himself.
Originally posted on my website: