After the Tomb: By His Touch (A Meditation on Luke 24:13-35)

After the Tomb: By His Touch (A Meditation on Luke 24:13-35)

Mar 25, 2015

After the Tomb: By His Touch
(A Meditation on Luke 24:13-35)

by Pastor Matt Olson
Berlin SDB Church, NY

When I was pursuing an Art degree in college, I was forced to take Art History. I say “forced” because I had very little interest in watching a half-billion slides of various works and then regurgitating that list back again at the end of the semester. (Okay, so I exaggerated…there were only about a quarter of a billion slides, which were collected into a printed list the size of a phone book.) In response to the monumental task that lay before me, I began searching for an easy way—easy, lazy, whatever—to memorize all of that art. The key, I found, was to learn to recognize each artist’s style—the brush marks on the canvas or the grooves in the stone—so the only piece of information missing was the title. If I were lucky I would be presented with a painting of a boy wearing a blue suit, which was known as “Blue Boy.” If I were unlucky, it was some horrible mess obviously painted by Picasso inappropriately named “Guernica” instead of the more fitting “Artist on Acid.” But hey, at least I’d get one point for knowing the name of the artist—and if I got all of the artists plus a third of the titles right, I’d have the sixty-five percent needed to pass.

Luke 24:13-35 tells of two men who walked with Jesus to Emmaus, but who had no idea who He was until they sat down to eat. It was then, when Jesus blessed the bread and His strong hands broke it, that their hearts burst into flame. Like all great artists, Jesus was given away by His touch: a knowledge of the artist’s style—of His way of saying and doing things—made it possible for His disciples to recognize Him.


Supper at Emmaus


How do we know Jesus? We know Him in the way He breaks the bread and our hearts—carefully, gently, with the intent to share Himself in the process. It is through His gift to us—the breaking of His body and the shedding of His blood—and through the way He reveals Himself that we come to know Him as He is: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.

It is not a terribly long way from Jerusalem to Emmaus (about seven miles Luke tells us)—near enough that when their hearts and eyes were opened, the two disciples returned to Jerusalem to tell the apostles that they had seen Jesus. Soon enough the 12 would see Jesus as well, and would know Him by the scars in His hands and feet and the hole in His side. But they would recognize Jesus in another way as well—by His actions, the way that He blessed the bread and broke it. We, too, recognize Him not just for the things we have heard about Him, but by the change wrought in our hearts and minds by the One who died for our sins, setting our hearts aflame in such a way that we are compelled to tell others about the Master’s touch.

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