Two friends—people who had known Jesus, who had walked with Him, talked with Him, and eaten meals with Him every day for three years didn’t recognize Him even on a long walk down a dusty road. Have you ever wondered about that? I have. How could that possibly be?
The reality is: the disciples were looking at a man who happened to be traveling along the same road they were. They did not see Jesus because they did not expect to see Jesus.
How many times on our walks through life do we not see Jesus? How many times do we talk with a co-worker or a parent or a child or a friend or even someone we have never met before and fail to recognize that this person holds a precious piece of Our Lord and Savior within them? And because we don’t recognize Jesus in them, we treat them not as we would treat Jesus, but as just our friend, or just our co-worker, or just our child.
It must make Jesus terribly sad that for all our flowery words and pious presumptions, we still do not recognize Him in each other.
Moreover, consider this: Is it possible that in religious settings, we look at one another, and instead of seeing Jesus, we see only the other person’s religion, their label? And because we don’t see Jesus, we say, "You are so obviously not spiritual—look, you stand when we are kneeling, or you use crucifixes instead of picturing the risen Lord, or you pray to statues and icons instead of to the living God, or you don’t have our label, and so, obviously God is not going to let you into His kingdom."
Thus, we spend so much time questioning each other's commitment to Jesus and so much time fighting over man-made rules and laws that we forget about those people who are lost and hurting. We forget to do God's real work—ministering to those who are hungry for His word and His truths to come into their lives. Instead, having been seduced by Satan to believe that God's kingdom is some kind of exclusive club, we spend our time fighting with each other about who is going to get in and completely fail to see that the world is going to hell around us.
However, we have the choice to open our eyes and commit ourselves to do God’s work here on earth. Rather than judging, we can reach out to the lost souls—not by telling them about God's love, but by showing them how great God’s love is. Witnessing by how we live and how we treat one another, so that they look to us and say, "I want to be like them. I want what they have." And then maybe God's grace will touch their hearts and make them ask, "How do I get it? What do they have that I don't?"
But living this way hinges on whether or not we see Jesus in every single person we happen to walk down a path with in our day-to-day lives. When we look at another person, do we see someone who is worthy of Christ’s message? Someone whom God loves beyond measure? Do we see Jesus Himself—lost, hurting, and alone? Or do we see just another person.
I tell you truly, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. —Matthew 25:45
Think about the inherent admonition in these words. Our goal should be to treat others not as we want to be treated but as we would treat Jesus Himself. That is God's real work. We are commissioned to spend our time ministering to God’s children—rather than trying to improve our status in His eyes or to impress one another.
By opening our eyes to Jesus’ presence in the those around us, we will come to see His spirit manifesting in our own lives. And thus we can say as the disciples did at the conclusion to the Emmaus story,
“Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road . . .”—Luke 24:32
Open your eyes. This opportunity is with you right now. Don’t waste this chance to get to know the Jesus who is in your midst at this very moment.
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