Hey guys! It’s Devon here, taking some time to communicate what things have been on my heart lately (Communication leads to unity and creates community…ooooweee). Here is what God laid on my heart.
It seems really easy to believe in things that we agree with. In fact, we often don’t latch on to a belief until it resonates in our heart, and we can then say ‘I believe such and such…’ Like, I just went on the Paleo diet and I overhear someone saying “Paleo is scientifically the best diet for the human body,” and I then think ‘I can believe that.’ Or because Paleo takes out processed foods like potato chips and sugars, and I have known those things to be unhealthy, I therefore think, “If I do the Paleo diet I’ll be the healthiest person ever.” But that actually is a way that we are able to reinforce our own, previously held, opinions. We endorse the facts that support our ideas. This leads me to think that maybe, when we speak about what we ‘believe’, or when we act on what we ‘believe’, it is sometimes little more than us being impulsive or whimsical. In other words, this action gave me the desired end I wanted last time, so I’m going to keep doing it without thinking about how ‘true’ or ‘foundational’ or ‘virtuous’ it may in fact be. But how is the truth of Jesus confronting my everyday beliefs and not letting me stay the same? Not, how does Jesus align himself with the ways I already think, but how do I align myself with who Jesus reveals himself to be?
In Luke 24, there is a story of a couple guys walking to a village called Emmaus (em-may-us) after Jesus was crucified (if you’d like to read it, the reference is 24:13-35). Now, it is known that many Jews expected the Messiah to be a socio-political savior, and he was supposed to come and overthrow the Romans who inhabited ‘the promised land’. So when Jesus died, many people were confused and frustrated because they thought for sure he was going to be the one to do it. They even say ‘it is now the third day since these things took place’ (v.21), so they even waited around because Jesus mentioned he would be raised on the third day, and the disciples think, ‘maybe now the overthrow will happen’. But the ‘Kingdom’ Jesus was talking about was different than the kingdom most of the people expected. It was different than what they ‘believed’. In verse 25, the risen Jesus (whom they are unable to recognize at this point) confronts them and says ‘how slow of heart you are to believe the things the prophets declared!’ You see, at this point, they are content to continue believing the thing they’ve always believed about the Messiah. It is the opinion they have always held and one they were raised with as children. It is a belief that requires nothing of them, except to be blessed by the Messiah’s winnings. Just serve him until he wins and then we will finally get what we’ve wanted.
In the story, Jesus goes on to explain the scriptures and what they were saying about the Messiah. As it is getting late, the men invite Jesus in so he won’t have to face the danger of traveling alone at night. This is when Jesus reveals himself to them. ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us?’ – is their response. And then comes the climax of the story, in my mind- ‘that same hour they returned to Jerusalem.’ That same hour after they’d arrived to the comfort of their home. That same hour that it was too dark and dangerous for their fellow stranger to travel alone, so they invited him in. That same hour that Jesus revealed himself to them.
Everyday Jesus meets us on the road to where we are going. He meets us as we carry our opinions and ideas, and we discuss them with our family and friends. And we don’t recognize him at first because we’re busy with our conversation. We are trying to prove our point. We are overwhelmed because ‘our Messiah’ just died, and God knows, MY Messiah is supposed to win a victory over Rome. MY Messiah is supposed to give me the desires of my heart. MY Messiah is supposed to…… (fill in the blank). And we actually fail to recognize that we’re imposing our ‘belief’ on Jesus. Notice in the story, after Jesus rebuked the two men for how they were thinking, they could have allowed him to continue on the road, but they didn’t do that. They invited him in. And that is when he revealed himself.
You are a beautiful Church, As Is! We have seen a lot. You have seen a lot. I have seen a lot. But God IS NOT DONE! He wants us to be world changers and history makers! Will you listen to a stranger when he confronts you? Because the world needs a listening ear. And when that stranger is right, will you still invite him in after he rubbed you the wrong way? Because our world needs a home and safety.
What I know is that when someone comes face to face with Jesus, it moves them ‘that same hour’. Because the world needs Jesus. But sometimes he just comes to us in ways we don’t expect. And I wanna be the one who invited him in and ended up seeing him, I wanna be surprised and changed by the presence of Jesus.