When we get caught up in the moment, or the events of the day, we often lose sight of the bigger picture. But when we take a moment to look back, we can see how God is at work.
Luke 24:13 – 27
On the road to Emmaus
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognising him.
17 He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’
19 ‘What things?’ he asked.
‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.’
25 He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
When I read this passage – and in fact any passage where the people seem to have no idea about the significance of the events they talk about – I tend to put on my “judgey pants” and think “how thick can you be?”. How can they not realise that Jesus’ body wasn’t there because for the last 24 chapters Jesus has been pointing to his own resurrection. And didn’t they hear him when he said that he wasn’t going to redeem Israel with force?
But when I stop to think about it, I realise without the benefit of the gospels – and indeed the whole bible – I would probably have exactly the same response as Cleopas and his friend. I would get caught up in the events of the day and lose sight of the bigger picture.
It’s like the whole story of the bible is helping us see in hindsight how God has been working to lead to this point on the road to Emmaus – the fulfilment of what has been promised from the beginning. It’s helpful to look back over the story of the whole bible and see how it all fits together – kind of like what Jesus does with these 2 travellers on the road to Emmaus. To get out of ‘the moment’ and see the bigger picture.
Similarly, in those moments when I doubt or question – when I, like Cleopas and co, fail to see the seemingly obvious – I find it helpful to look back over how God has been working in my life. It gets me out of ‘the events of the day’ and reminds me that there is a bigger picture, and a bigger plan at play.
Head: Take a moment to think about key moments in your life and think about how God was acting in them.
Heart: Take a moment to think what is going on in your heart when you get caught up in the moment and lose sight of God’s plan.
Hands: What is one thing you can do today to remind yourself, in those moments when things seem bad, that God has a bigger picture?
Dear Heavenly father. Thank you that you have a plan – a good and perfect plan. Please help me in those moments when I lose sight of that – when I get caught up in the moment. Please forgive me for those moments when I lose sight of your plan and grasp for control. Amen
A song to listen to: Who You Say I Am
Living Church – Creek Road