I have a couple of pictures to show you this morning. Here is the first picture. (Show the tree illusion.) What do you see? How many of you see a tree? Did anyone see anything besides a tree? Did anyone see a gorilla? If you didn't see a gorilla, look here on the left side of the picture. (Point to the gorilla.) Can everyone see it? Does anyone see anything besides the tree and the gorilla? How about a lion? Does anyone see a lion? Look here on the right side of the picture. (Point to the lion.) Now do you see it? So, if you look at this picture, you will see three different things—a tree, a gorilla, and a lion.
Here is the second picture. (Show the duck/rabbit picture.) What do you see? Does anyone see a rabbit? That is easy, isn't it? Here is the nose, an eye, and here are the ears. Does anyone see anything other than a rabbit? Oh, I see a duck! Here is the head and here is the duck's bill. It is interesting how the picture changes depending on how you look at it!
Sometimes, like in these pictures, we don’t always see what is really there. It was easy to see the tree, but we might not see the gorilla or the lion until we look at the picture for a few minutes. The same thing is true of the rabbit and the duck. We might not see one or the other. Our Bible lesson today is about two men who had some difficulty in recognizing Jesus as he joined them as they were walking to a village called Emmaus.
On the very same day that Jesus was raised from the grave, two of his followers were walking to Emmaus and talking about everything that happened over the past several days. As they walked along, Jesus joined them, but the Bible tells us that they were kept from recognizing him.
"What are you discussing as you walk along?" Jesus asked the men.
"Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know that has happened the past few days?" one of the men replied.
"What things?" Jesus asked.
"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "Our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to die. They crucified him and buried him. Now, some we saw some women and they told us that they went to his tomb this morning and they did not find his body. They told us that an angel appeared to them and told them the Jesus was alive."
They continued walking and talking to Jesus. As they approached the village, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther, but the men urged him to stay with them since the day was almost over. Jesus agreed and stayed with them. As they sat down at the table to eat, Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, and gave it to them. When he did this, their eyes were opened and they recognized that it was Jesus, then he disappeared from their sight.
Sometimes, we don’t see the whole picture at first—like when we looked at the illusions at the beginning of this lesson—and as the men in our Bible lesson didn't recognize Jesus. You and I might not always see that Jesus is walking beside us, but He is there, walking with us and caring for us.
Father, open our eyes that we might recognize that Jesus is with us as we walk through life's journey. We trust in him as he guides us in our daily walk and it is in his name we pray. Amen.