13 They asked her, “Woman,[a] why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” John 20:10-16 (TNIV)
On Sunday, testimonies were given. One woman shared that like Mary Magdalene, her Jesus had been dead. She said, she had grown up in a religion which left Jesus on the cross and that eventually, she realized that she no longer believed. Until she heard Jesus speak her name. Not literally, not audibly; but discernibly and she knew that He was alive.
I shared yesterday, that I have struggled with doubt, that I have felt the emptiness, the loneliness of unanswered prayers. Of a Jesus who seems absent at best and dead or nonexistent in the worst moments.
But, too, I have heard my name spoken by the one who is closer than a brother. And might it be that like Mary, there have been times, even, when I face Him and I don't recognize Him. When I weep, not realizing He is standing before me.
"Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. Luke 24:13-35(TNIV)
Not recognizing him, still they urged him to stay with them. Communing with him, their eyes were open and after his departure they realized they should have known Him. "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us...and opened the Scriptures to us?" So it is with us. Often we experience this heart burning and credit it not to the Source. It is not until later we realize.
In Mark 16:12-13 the same story says, "Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country."
So though God is the same yesterday as today, could it be that because He can take on different forms sometimes we are so caught up looking for Him as He appeared to us in the past that we miss Him in the present?
I pray the eyes of my heart will be open. That I will sit at the table He has invited me to and commune with Him. That as Jesus' body was broken, and as He continues to break bread with me, to open the Scriptures to me, that the Word might come alive in my heart and my soul and that I will know that it is with Him that I daily walk.