Two of Jesus’ disciples are walking along the road to Emmaus when the risen Jesus joins them. He eventually proceeds to interpret in “all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24: 27)
After the men realize they have been speaking with Jesus, they remark, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” (vs. 32)
That’s how I feel when the Holy Spirit convicts me as I read – a “burning heart.”
Yet they did not realize they were speaking with Jesus until He served them:
When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. Luke 24: 30-31
And later they told the 11 apostles:
Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. vs. 35
I wonder why they didn’t know Jesus was Jesus until He broke bread with them?
The whole time He expounded on scripture as they walked together – and their hearts burned within – they didn’t recognize their Lord. In fact, Luke says in vs. 16 that while they walked, “their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”
It only happened “in” the breaking of the bread. Only then their spiritual eyes opened so that they could “see” their risen Lord.
There are two things that jump out at me here.
The first is that someone had to OPEN their spiritual eyes. They were “kept” from seeing Jesus until the right time. There’s a sense, then, that none of us can truly see the risen Lord unless He opens our eyes.
The second observation is a question: Why at that time? Why did their eyes open in the breaking of the bread?
My ESV Study Bible notes helped here (the commentaries are downstairs and it’s late!). It points out that three other resurrection appearances were “associated with eating.” Interesting.
But probably more importantly, the bread breaking echoes Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper and the feeding of 5000.
Perhaps the disciples (who weren’t the 11) had heard about the words Jesus said at the Last Supper. Maybe they made the connection between Jesus’ broken body and the bread He served them.
Perhaps in an instant they connected all the scripture Jesus interpreted with the Last Supper words and with the cross – then realized (as the Study Bible suggests) “that the risen one was also the one who poured out His life for them.”
I don’t really know for sure, but I do know this: Jesus opened my spiritual eyes to recognize Him. And I take communion to remember Him.
Dear Jesus: Please keep opening my spiritual eyes so I can see more and more of You. Amen.