There are some Bible stories that are so powerful, they have the ability to change your entire perception of who God is and how He feels about you. For me, one such story is found in Luke 24.
In the midst of great grief, turmoil, and confusion, two disciples encountered the Wonderful Counselor and were forever changed. In places of pain and confusion myself, I reread this story and see such beauty in it. Take a walk with me along the Emmaus Road to see how brokenness is turned to beauty.
The Emmaus Road
Two disciples were facing the worst kind of grief they had ever known. Someone they followed and gave their lives to for three years - Someone who claimed to be their Savior - died a violent death, leaving them bereft.
Suddenly, the Scriptures made no sense. It seemed all the promises they had believed would never come to pass. Things looked hopeless.
As these two walked the seven-mile road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a Stranger joined them. Noticing the sadness in their faces, He asked: “Why are you so downcast? What are you discussing among yourselves?” These disciples began telling Jesus, whom they didn’t recognize yet, all that Jesus Himself had just been through.
This part of the story alone is so powerful - and almost comical! After all, Jesus knew what had happened; He certainly knew He’d just been crucified! How funny that He should ask these questions of His disciples after living through the events Himself!
Here’s what I find so beautiful:
In the middle of His own resurrection, in between a visit to hell and a trip to heaven, Jesus took the time to listen to His friends.
Never mind that Jesus already knew what they were discussing; this conversation was not about communicating facts but about releasing the grief in their hearts. Like the Wonderful Counselor that He is, Jesus allowed His followers to share the depths of their grief and pain, thus unburdening their hearts.
Our Savior could have shown up and smacked his disciples over the head with Scriptures (He did explain the Scriptures to them, but only after listening first). He could have made a grand entrance and confronted them in all His victory and His glory. Instead, He chose to come humbly, as a stranger, identifying with their grief and listening to their hearts. This quiet appearance at Emmaus was not unlike His first humble entrance at Bethlehem.
God Responds to Your Invitations
The disciples felt strangely drawn to this Stranger. They compelled Him to stay where they were lodging. “Abide with us tonight,” they said. Jesus had indicated that He would continue on His journey, but in response to their invitation, He stayed.
Here again is another beautiful truth:
Whenever we pursue God intentionally, He responds in kind. Sometimes, our movement towards God is not physical but emotional. The choices we make to spend time with Him, opening our hearts on a deeper level, result in greater intimacy with the One who still compels us to know Him. When we invite God to abide with us, His answer is always “Yes.”
We Know Him in Brokenness
It wasn’t until the disciples sat down for a meal with this Stranger that their eyes were opened to His true identity.
Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it as He had many times before. Suddenly, they knew. “It’s Him!” they realized. And with that revelation, He vanished from their sight.
Mourning turned to joy, and the disciples ran back to Jerusalem to share their good news. Jesus is risen! There is hope! We have seen Him, even in our brokenness!
Only someone who has been broken and grieved himself can fully identify with those who are broken. Jesus was broken for you and for me, His body and mind tormented beyond what we can imagine. When we celebrate communion; when we break bread together as believers, we are remembering the incredible love of our Savior.
Here is Someone who is ready at all times - even on the busiest day of His life - to listen to our hearts. Here is Someone who knows every detail of our confusion, yet wants to hear it from us again anyway. Here is Someone who is unafraid of our prayers, our pain, our unbelief at times, and our inability to recognize Him even as He walks silently alongside us. I cannot think on this passage and not weep. Such love is beyond anything I have ever known! I am so incredibly grateful for a God who understands. Me. Life. People. Process. Healing. Everything. How can I not worship Him?
When I am grieving, when life seems confusing and unfair, this is what I meditate on. This brings praise back into my mouth! Such a glorious Savior, who sets aside His glory on our behalf! He is infinitely beautiful, amazingly wonderful, so powerful and yet so humble.
There are no more words after this...
May you also know the height, depth, width, and breadth of His love for you, in every situation. May the knowledge of who He is never intimidate you but always compel you to draw closer. May you welcome the Wonderful Counselor into your prayer life. Give Him all your brokenness and pain, because He understands. He knows what it is to be broken. May you always invite Him to abide. Amen.
Jesus was broken for you. Now your pain and brokenness is an opportunity to know Him as your Wonderful Counselor!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.