Dear Theophilus… April 2018

Dear TheophilusOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We often hear that life is more about the journey than it is about the destination. That was certainly true for two of Jesus’ followers who set off home for Emmaus on the afternoon of the first Easter Sunday, either not believing or not understanding the stories they had heard that Jesus was indeed alive (Luke 24:13-35). I think this journey has much to teach us about our journey through life.

One obvious point is that there were two of them on this journey. We know one was a guy called Cleopas, but we’re not told the name or the gender of the other one. It could have been his wife, his brother, or it could just have been a good friend. We all benefit from having a companion to share our journey with, whether we are married to them, related to them, or just good friends. That being the case, I wonder who you know to whom you could be a companion, someone to walk with and share the pressure of life’s burdens with? These relationships do not need to be exclusive, like a marriage relationship, they need to be inclusive, embracing those who are maybe journeying alone.

Another key point in this story is ‘listening’. Jesus clearly listened to all that the two disciples told him as they walked along, and when he explained things to them, they in turn listened to him. How good are you at listening to other people? Or are you too quick to jump in with ‘Me too…’? To listen fully to someone, without interrupting or jumping to conclusions, is to give them a real and valuable gift. This is true as you listen to those who, like the two
disciples, are struggling. It is also true as you listen to those, who may have something important to say into your situation, like Jesus did with the disciples. They too need listening to properly.

But perhaps the main point in the story is the recognition that Jesus has been with us all along and we simply didn’t recognise him. How many times, when things are difficult or confusing, do you rush around, soldier on, try and sort things out in our own strength, or just moan about a situation or a person, rather than stepping back and saying ‘Where is God in this?’

Instead, why not imagine you are walking on the road to Emmaus with Jesus? Explain to him what is going on and how you are feeling. And then listen to what the Holy Spirit reminds you of, or prompts you to do?

David

Theophilus is the guy for whom Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1) Theophilus means ‘Lover of God’ so, if you love God, it was written for you!