From Strangers to Friends: Recognizing Jesus in Our Midst

Title: From Strangers to Friends: Recognizing Jesus in Our Midst

Scripture: Luke 24:13-35

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.

24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”  25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. 28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s sermon is based on the well-known account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, recorded in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24, verses 13-35. This story is a beautiful illustration of how we can move from being strangers to Jesus to knowing Him intimately. As we go through life, we can sometimes lose sight of Jesus, but He is always with us, waiting to reveal Himself to those who earnestly seek Him.


I. The Disciples as Strangers to Jesus (Luke 24:13-24)


The story begins with two disciples, Cleopas and another unnamed disciple, I have always thought it must have been the wife of Cleopas, walking to the village of Emmaus, discussing the recent events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. They were disheartened, their hopes shattered by what they perceived as the failure of Jesus’ mission.


Just as the other disciples were captivated by fear and disappointment, these two disciples we focused on what they HAD NOT seen. (term for seeing faces in natural structures)


Jesus Himself approached them, but they did not recognize Him. This lack of recognition can be seen as a metaphor for those moments when we too fail to see Jesus in our lives.


The disciples’ inability to recognize Jesus may have been due to their preconceived ideas about the Messiah. They expected a powerful political figure who would save them from Roman oppression. When Jesus did not fit that mold, they became disillusioned. Likewise, we too can become strangers to Jesus when we allow our own expectations or desires to blind us to His true nature.


II. The Journey from Strangers to Friends (Luke 24:25-27)


When Jesus began to engage with the disciples on their journey, He took the time to explain the Scriptures to them, revealing that the Messiah’s suffering was always part of God’s plan. As Jesus opened their minds to the truth, their hearts began to burn within them. This gradual revelation of Jesus to the disciples demonstrates that the journey from being strangers to Jesus to knowing Him intimately is a process, and one that requires our active engagement with the Word of God.


To deepen our relationship with Jesus, we must be open to learning and understanding the Scriptures. The more we immerse ourselves in the Word, the more we will recognize Jesus in our daily lives and the more our hearts will burn with love for Him.


Wesley, third rule of Christian living is to practice our spiritual disciplines, such as reading and studying the scriptures.


III. Recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of Bread (Luke 24:28-35)


As the disciples reached Emmaus, they invited Jesus to stay with them, still not knowing His identity. It was only when Jesus broke the bread and blessed it that their eyes were opened, and they finally recognized Him. This powerful moment teaches us that Jesus can be found in the most ordinary and unexpected places, like in the breaking of bread or in acts of hospitality and kindness.


The breaking of bread is a symbol of the Eucharist, where we receive Jesus’ body and blood. It reminds us that, as followers of Christ, we are called to recognize Him not only in the sacraments but also in the people we encounter and the situations we face daily. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we become more attuned to His presence in our lives.


The power of symbols to remind us to know Jesus and in knowing remember to share Jesus!




The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus reminds us that our journey with Jesus is one of transformation, moving from being strangers to knowing Him intimately. Let us strive to be like the disciples who, once they recognized Jesus, could not help but share the good news with others. Let us seek Jesus in the Scriptures, in the breaking of bread, and in our everyday encounters, so that our hearts may always burn with love for Him. Amen.

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