Who Was That Masked Man? (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 2)


You did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.  Luke 19:44

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  1 Corinthians 2:10

I’ve been bemoaning the relative depth of my own commonplace Christianity and what seems so typical among many Christians and their churches. In my last post I talked about how we shut the door to exploring the realm and the Person of God any further than our initial salvation and have no expectation or intention of delving any deeper. God’s invitation to a deeper place begins with our dissatisfaction with the place we’re in.

After his resurrection Jesus made some curious appearances, including his stroll with a couple of befuddled believers on the road to Emmaus.

As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him . . . we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel . . . it is the third day since all this took place. Luke 24:15-16, 21

Strange episode. Right? They were walking with Jesus complaining to Jesus that Jesus was gone and wasn’t coming back! If that doesn’t depict us when we’re hot and bothered about something going on in our lives and interrogating God about why he doesn’t hear our complaint.

Mark adds an interesting factoid about this scene. He says that Jesus appeared to them “in a different form.” Remember how that after Jesus rose Mary thought he was the gardener and later the disciples on the sea didn’t recognize Jesus on the shore?

What kept them from recognizing him in this “different form”? I guess they had “form-ulated” an image of him that didn’t quite fit the form he took on after the resurrection. They had a “form” in their minds, and he no longer fit the form. I wonder how many of us would recognize him if we encountered him in a way to which we’re not accustomed. Would he fit the form we have settled in our minds that he’s supposed to look like? Do we recognize him when he acts in ways that don’t fit the form-ulas we have concocted?

Jesus nails it when he says to these two confused brothers:

“How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe”… Luke 24:25

“Slow of heart.” What’s a “slow heart” anyway? Maybe it has to do with how fast your heart moves to catch up with how he’s presently revealing himself to you, to what he’s saying to you, or asking of you. I’m asking myself these days how fast my heart is. If it’s not keeping up with the Spirit’s pace, what can I do about it? And what are those things that clog it up to keep it from functioning faster? Like a lethargically running computer, our hearts need a reboot––or something even more drastic.

Their eyes were opened and they recognized him . . . Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. Luke 24:31

I wonder what the bread-breaking had to do with their revelation of Jesus. Maybe it was just their familiarity with how they’d seen him break bread before. It could’ve been what he’d said the last time he broke bread in their presence in the upper room. But I think there was something else at play, something more than just familiarity with what he’d said or done before.

They didn’t recognize him, then they did. They didn’t understand what was happening, but then they did. They didn’t believe, and then they did!

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:31

They went from “slow hearts” to “burning hearts” in one fell swoop! What happened? It’s called “revelation.”

“He opened their minds so they could understand.” Luke 24:45

Revelation is not a natural thing. It’s a supernatural thing, something that takes place between God’s Spirit and ours. When “deep calls to deep…” (Psalm 42:7) there’s something deep in God calling to something deep inside us. That’s revelation. It’s something more than the intellectual assimilation of information. It’s more than a warm fuzzy feeling while singing a worship lullaby.

In a number of our worship songs we sing things like: “As you call me deeper still,” “I want to know you more,” “Take me to a deeper place.” But I wonder how willing we are to actually be taken there. Do we really want the Spirit to reveal more of Jesus to us? A prerequisite for revelation is that we actually want it.


Some revelation is inexplicable, like when Paul “knew a man” who passed into the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2). If you’ve had one recently of a more explicable nature, please share…

Next time we’ll look at the only miracle on record that Jesus did in stages. Until then…

6 Replies to “Who Was That Masked Man? (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 2)”

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