The Resurrected Lord Listens
I have heard it said multiple times, “We know Jesus truly was God’s Messiah, because no one could have invented Jesus.”
Jesus always defies every expectation. Just think about how the resurrection is described to us in the four gospels: In Mark, it ends with an empty tomb, nothing more. In Matthew, it is Jesus appearing to a few women; a rumour of a Roman cover-up; and a final commissioning for the disciples. In John, it is Jesus confronting doubting Thomas followed by fish-fry on the beach. Luke’s is my favourite of all. In Luke’s account, the majority of it consists of Jesus casually walking and talking with two clueless friends on their way from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus. Think about it — are these the ways you and I would want to describe the most important and incredible event in human history? The way we would describe death’s defeat? The gospels almost make Jesus’ resurrecting seem too casual. Listen to Luke’s description (24:13–19):
13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
19 “What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said…
One cannot read how Jesus chose to reveal himself to his friends, and not help but make you love Jesus all the more. As though Jesus, knowing how devastated his followers were, he knew the best way to reveal himself to them was with a little lightheartedness, a little laughter, and a revealing lesson of who he really was?
One cannot help but read a little April Fools mischief in Jesus’ appearance? The risen Lord pretending he was ignorant of what had been going down. “What things?” He dubiously asks…
Out of the millions of people on the planet, and on this singular day that has shaped our world more than any other; much of what took place on this inestimably important day, took place as an easy-going Sunday stroll and conversation down a country lane; just Jesus and two friends. There is no urgency with Jesus. Instead of dramatically revealing himself and correcting this disillusioned duet, Jesus simply inquires, and then he listens…
The all-knowing, recently resurrected King, listens. He listens to their heartache; he listens to their believed but misguided expectations; he listens to their misunderstood and misplaced hope; he listens to their reported rumours and their refusal to believe what they believed couldn’t possibly be true, because it would be far too good to be actually true.
A minutes later, Jesus will correct his friends. He will help them fill in their missing pieces. But here may be the most amazing thing; the thing Jesus does first is… He listens. The Resurrected Lord listens…
Their not-yet-realized leader and teacher first takes time to hear the hearts and heartache of those he loves. Before he speaks, before he answers, before he corrects, God incarnate walks and he listens.