“So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” Luke 24:15-16
Cleopas and his companion were lost and directionless on their way back home. The events that occurred on that long and violent Friday left them wounded, confused, and hopeless. They knew Jesus, they witnessed his miracles, and they believed He was the Messiah, God’s promised one. That’s why this story is interesting, how could they not recognize someone they knew and observed very closely?
Pain has a way of reducing our ability to see clearly and make our choices based on reality. Perhaps that is what these two men were experiencing. Their focus was only on their pain and a future that was no longer hopeful. Scripture doesn’t give us the whole picture on their temporary “blindness,” but it’s not that difficult to put yourself in their shoes and understand why they didn’t recognize Jesus. We’ve all experienced a sudden loss, seasons of pain, confusion, worry, and frustration when things are not working out like we hoped. When in these moments, we can become unaware or even may experience some temporary blindness that hinders us from finding the hope, comfort, and strength that is found in Jesus.
Perhaps this was Cleopas’s experience; why Jesus appeared as a stranger to him. But, as we’re about to find out, ones’ heart cannot help but recognize when Jesus is near. Luke 24:32 says, "...Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and when he opened the Scriptures to us?" There’s just something special about Jesus. It’s too difficult to even attempt putting it into words. Even in moments we feel lost, hopeless or perhaps even angry at God, He still knows what it takes to warm and ignite our hearts. Our hearts can always recognize when Jesus is near.
As we move through this week in preparation for Easter, let’s not forget to slow down and steady our hearts to recognize Him. When circumstances and experiences are creating temporary blindness, know that only the living and powerful Jesus can get to those places in your heart that need Him. No heart is too far off or too cold to be warmed again by the presence of Jesus!