The Light Goes On
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 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. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them. Luke 24:-43
It’s happened to me only once that I specifically recall. Perhaps it has happened other times and I was not privileged to have seen it. But on this day, teaching 7th grade confirmation, a student suddenly got wide-eyed with amazement. He said something like, “You mean God forgives sins even before we ask and just because Jesus died for us?” It was a priceless moment because I literally saw the lights go on. He got it.
Maybe you can relate in your own way. As one who can not remember a time when I didn’t believe in Jesus, I don’t think I so much suddenly got it as they say. But there came a time when my faith took on much greater depth and meaning. There came a time when things fell into place for me. It was not so much an eye-opening experience. But it had a significant impact on me nonetheless.
I was raised in a Christian home. We went to church regularly. I attended Sunday school weekly. I studied my Bible. I even memorized certain Bible passages. When I was in college, and due to the influence of my high school friend, Jerry, and the pastor at the Lutheran Campus Center, I began connecting more and more with the Lutheran faith. The pastor asked me at least 4 or 5 times if I would want to take the Adult Information Class to become a Lutheran. Three or four of those times I deferred. “No thank you,” I would say.
Then I decided to take the class. But I told him, “I’ll take the class on two conditions. I don’t want to have to join once I’ve taken the class. And if I do decide to join, I don’t want to have to join right away.” I wanted all my options open!
About a third of the way through the class I was ready to join. Two things struck me through this study. Every time I would ask a question or question a teaching of the church, the pastor would point me to the Bible. And the center of all we talked about was the grace of God in Jesus Christ. It was a powerful combination. Where do I sign up?
Jesus’ presence itself didn’t enlighten the disciples, although surely it did help. It seems, however, that it was as Jesus broke bread with these two disciples the light went on. Maybe it was a flashback to the Upper Room that opened their eyes. Perhaps they hadn’t previously recognized Jesus because his appearance was altered from what it had been before. Could be that their sadness and disappointment had clouded their vision. But something changed in that moment. And new excitement, hope, and purpose shaped their hearts and lives from that time on.
Maybe you’re ready for a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit. God may be ready to open your eyes to some deeper understanding of his grace and truth. There may be a moment in your future when the disappointment, grief, or discouragement will be replaced with a new vision of God’s faithfulness, love, and power. If…or when!…it happens, do what they did: Tell your friends and loved ones. And rejoice in the Good News of God.