We moved in September of last year and have been fortunate to meet tons of new and wonderful people. It can be overwhelming. A new neighborhood, new church, new organizations we’re involved in, all mean we have exponentially increased the number of names and faces we wish to recall. This has also increased the number of embarrassing moments.
I have lost count of the times I confidently walked up to one of the new folks in my life and said ”Hey there (insert wrong name here)”…only to be kindly corrected. Yep, hard to play that one off…”um, yeah, I knew your name was really (insert correct name here), I was just messing around”. Then there are the cringe worthy moments when the person I have incorrectly named does NOT correct me. They attempt to save me from embarrassment by pretending I did not just misname them. Of course this is worse, since later in the day I may realize my error and have no way of reconciling things. This leads to an inevitable awkward conversation next time we meet, “Hey, sorry I called you by the wrong name all evening long last time we were together”.
I’m getting better, but I still need all my “new” people to be confined to a particular area/group. If I see a new neighbor at the grocery store, I may walk right past them. Whereas, if they were walking down my street, or at a neighborhood gathering, I would know them instantly. If one of the new folks we met through church happens to be dining at the same restaurant, I may not be able to immediately place them. I need them in context.
This last Sunday our pastor spoke about an event which took place following the resurrection of Jesus. I found myself totally able to relate to the two disciples in this account. In Luke 24:13-35 we find two men on their way to Emmaus, just outside of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation about things like Jesus arriving into Jerusalem to great fanfare, His captivity and torture, crucifixion and burial. It had been a rather eventful week. These guys were so caught up in their conversations they barely noticed when another man joined them on their walk. Jesus Himself began to travel alongside them, but “their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him” vs.16
They even went so far as to sort of make fun of Jesus! In verse 18, after Jesus asked them what they were talking about they replied, “…Are You the ONLY one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” They practically asked Him, “What rock have you been hiding under that you do not know what happened?!” Pretty ironic right?
.My favorite part is when they realized it was Jesus. You see, like me, they needed context. “And it came about that when He had reclined at the table with them He took bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him…”vs 30 Yep, walking on a dirt road they did not place Him, but as soon as they saw Him in the familiar position of dinner host and bread breaker it became crystal clear. They even seemed a bit embarrassed and tried to play it off saying, “Where not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road…..?”vs 32 But I get it. Sadly, I get it. I wonder if I would have recognized Jesus?
It is easy to see Jesus in places like church or among other believers. When I am in crisis and on my knees in desperation and prayer, it is easy to see the hand of God working in my life. But what about the times my God shows up out of context? As I walk through my life I do not want to miss my Jesus. I want to see Him, recognize Him and listen to Him.
I want to expect to see Jesus in any and every part of my life. His “context” is everywhere and anytime. Let us continually seek a close relationship with Him, break bread with Him, know Him, through His Word and the Holy Spirit that we may find ourselves always aware of our traveling companion and Lord.
We will recognize Him when we see Him in CONTEXT, the context of our life.
I tell them I carry a driver’s license so I can remember my own name.