June 16, 2003 • By Ed Wrather
Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 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. And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?" - Luke 24:13-18.
Have you ever said "hello" to someone thinking they were a certain person, but they were not? It creates one of those embarrassing moments! Some people are so kind that they never say a word and only later you suddenly remember that they were not the person you thought they were. However, mistaken identity can be a quite serious matter. Nona Cason found out exactly how serious when she was mistaken for a fugitive from France (Nadine Tretiakoff) who had kidnapped her children from their father. Not only was Nona misidentified but the children were also misidentified as being the children of Pierre Fourcade. Pierre stood only three feet from Nona in court and swore that she was Nadine Tretiakoff.
Even though Nona had birth certificates, passports, and other records to prove she and her children were not fugitives she was still held in jail for six nights. The children were placed in state custody during the ordeal. She was finally released, along with her children, after DNA tests revealed that the children were not related to Fourcade. Cason said as to the reason for the misidentification, "Apparently, I look like this other woman."
On the road to Emmaus two disciples of Jesus make a misidentification. They assume the man that has joined them in their travel is a stranger from another area. The disciples almost miss out completely on this resurrection appearance of Jesus. But finally, when, "He sat at the table with them…took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight (Luke 24:30-31)." It was then that they remembered, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us (Luke 24:32)?"
If Jesus were to knock on your door - would you recognize Him? While you are in church assembled with other believers would you recognize His Voice if He were to speak to your heart? The disciples on the road to Emmaus were not expecting Jesus to join them in their travel. But He did. How many times do we spend time in prayer alone and with others not really expecting to hear God speak? How many times do we sit singing in church and never really expect God to speak? How many times do we daydream through sermons not expecting God to have anything to say to us? How many times do we sit through invitations hoping all those other people will respond because we think, "God wasn’t speaking to me?"
Could it be that we have misidentified that still, small voice as being our conscience, or a bad memory, or just heartburn when really Jesus has decided to travel with us for a while along our way? What blessings have we missed out on because we have assumed that God would never speak to us? The next time that voice in your heart speaks remember it could very well be the Voice of God.