31 Days toward Spiritual Maturity — Day 27
March 26, 2008
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LIVING THE JOURNEY WITH CHRIST — Not a Place but a Path
Most of life has a purpose. No matter what kind of job a person holds, the company or organization for which he works usually has a clearly-defined goal. A person working in a factory knows the purpose for being there: to turn out a product at the end of the production line that will be sold to a happy customer. A store wants to move products from the shelves and racks out the door with satisfied customers. The goal of a hospital is to make people well, moving the worst of the patients from critical condition to serious, then to fair, and then to good condition. The goal of a school is the education of its students, moving them through the grades.
In almost all of our endeavors there’s a clear path that everyone follows, and everything must be in place along that path. Why isn’t it the same with our Christian faith?
The historical account in the Gospel of Luke of Jesus’ walking with two of His disciples to the town of Emmaus illustrates, with powerful imagery, the idea that the Christian faith isn’t a place; it’s a path. It reminds us that we’re meant to be taking a walk with Jesus, going somewhere with Him.
After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, two of His followers were taking the seven-mile hike from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. They were despondent over the death of Jesus. They had heard rumors that some people had seen Him alive, but apparently they thought that they were just that: rumors.
The historical text says that “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;” (Luke 24:15), but His followers didn’t recognize Him. He began to ask them questions: “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” (Luke 24:17) They were amazed that the stranger hadn’t heard about what had happened to Jesus, so they explained it all. Then Jesus began talking to them about the Messiah, quoting from the beginning to the end of the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament). He was invited to stay with them later that day, and when He broke the bread that they were going to eat they immediately recognized who He was. Then Jesus disappeared from them, and they rushed the seven miles back to Jerusalem to tell the others that they had just been with Jesus. Their lives were changed forever!
In a sense, we’re all meant to be on an ongoing Emmaus walk, moving ahead in our faith in Christ. Our faith in Christ isn’t supposed to be a place where we find ourselves; it’s meant to be a path we’re traveling on.