The Third Sunday of Easter
April 30, 2017
“The Art of Seeing Without Seeing”
Sermon Text: Luke 24:13-35
In the Name of Jesus
Two weeks ago it was John who saw nothing in the tomb, but saw everything to believe Jesus rose again.
Last week it was Thomas; to whom Jesus said “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
And now this week Cleopos and the other disciple need to learn the art of seeing without seeing.
In spite of physically seeing the resurrected Jesus, Cleopos and the other disciple didn’t recognize Him.
You might think they lacked information, like maybe they weren’t around when Jesus prophesied His death and resurrection?
But, when they recited what happened over the past three days, including hearing from the women who saw the empty tomb, we know they saw everything they needed to see in order to believe.
So, what kept them from recognizing Jesus?
They saw what happened to Jesus on the cross, heard the report of the resurrection, and now Jesus is present speaking to them.
What else could Jesus have done? Their lack of seeing wasn’t Jesus’s doing, it was the two disciples that kept themselves from recognizing him.
There wasn’t a deficiency of information, but rather there was an abundance of information, a super-abundance.
Jesus Christ, who was once dead, was standing before them, the resurrection was simply too much for the disciple’s view of reality.
This reminds me of a mother I knew who tried to answer her son’s question about Jesus’ words, “This is my body”.
“He doesn’t really mean that,” she said.
“But what does He mean then,” her son persisted.
The mother not knowing what to say to him simply said, “You just have to have faith.”
The problem with this answer is faith seems to fill in a gap of information, almost to the point of pretending that there is something, [pause] when there is nothing.
Faith, rather, is the opposite; there were no gaps needing to be filled for either the disciples or the mother, rather faith is needed so they could take it all in.
There was simply too much to even consider; Jesus talking and walking with them was too much for their ability to see reality.
It’s too much Jesus, rather than not enough that faith actually helps them to see.
They want Jesus in front of them, but it never crosses their minds that Jesus could, in fact, be in front of them.
Their world still has Jesus living within the sinful world, but in fact He’s risen from the dead, life has changed for everyone.
This also plays out when someone asks for forgiveness.
The easy way is to keep the one who wronged you in the wrong, [pause] but that isn’t the way of Jesus.
Restoration of a relationship is sometimes too much for us to imagine; we speak about forgiveness and the love of Christ, but are we really comfortable with that much Jesus?
Could that much love of Jesus actually live in someone who hurt us? Could that much of Jesus’ forgiveness actually reconcile us one to another?
Like the two disciples, we have our minds made up: The man who wronged me is wrong, period. This is living within the sinful world.
However, because of the Resurrection, a New world, according to Jesus that is filled with forgiveness, is truly before our eyes – but we don’t think it exists.
Everything lies in front of us: Knowledge of forgiveness, the one who wronged us, an apology.
We aren’t lacking information, but we simply can’t imagine a world more than we perceive.
Like the men on the road, Christ needs to take us further than we could imagine in order to open up us to His world.
He needs to takes us further into Him; further into His love; further into His world.
So Jesus rather than going further on the road remains with them and us.
He comes into their lives to give them something they can’t miss, He gives them Himself.
“taking the bread, he said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them.”
At this moment, their eyes were opened and they recognized him. So to for us.
It is in the Lord’s Supper where we receive the faith of Jesus Christ.
His faith gives us the right reception and strength to bear the brilliance of the Resurrection.
His faith gives us His vision and strength to live His resurrection life.
We’ll always need Jesus to help us to see His Life and World.
Once we receive the Crucified and Risen Jesus in the Lord’s Supper, there really is too much of Him.
In fact there is so much Jesus that He spills out of our lives on to others.
There is simply too much Jesus for us to take in that we give Him away so everyone may see Him.
Giving Jesus to a world that can’t imagine forgiveness.
Giving Jesus to a world that can’t imagine resurrection.
Giving Jesus to a world that can’t imagine eternal life.
In the Name of Jesus.
Vicar Marshal Frisque from St. John, Wheaton, IL