Just as Jesus came to meet and walk beside these downcast men on the road to Emmaus, Jesus comes to walk alongside many of us on our painful journeys through darkness and despair. We’ve all walked this road to Emmaus at least once during our lifetime. We’ve all experienced fear, failure, disappointment, sadness, hopelessness, uncertainty, and death. And just as He did for these men, Jesus comes to us and opens our eyes to reveal Himself as our true Lord and Saviour. The road to Emmaus is whatever road we’re trudging down when we encounter Jesus, resolve to walk and talk with Him, and open ourselves up to His radical transformation of our lives. It may be a calm experience like the one described in Luke, or it may be a more dramatic encounter like Paul’s on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9).
As we travel life’s road, Jesus joins us on our journey even though we may fail to recognize Him. It is His Spirit who arouses our curiosity and draws us towards Him. Like Moses, wonderstruck over the miracle of the Burning Bush, we find ourselves drawn aside from our usual path by a deep desire to explore a slow-burning but imperishable fascination with a spiritual world that’s difficult to fathom (Exodus 3:1-3). Our curiosity to know more about God leads us on an incessant spiritual quest. We find ourselves seeking fellowship with Him through His Word, prayer, devotionals, and meditative readings.
It’s at this point in our spiritual journey that we discover God is not some unseen, passive, “abstract” deity, but a very real and holy being who demands our complete loyalty, commitment, and devotion. Like Peter, it’s the crucial moment when we decide to “drop our nets,” to leave our former lives behind, and commit ourselves to Him (Matthew 4:18-20). It’s the moment when we open ourselves up to spiritual change.
At this stage in our spiritual development, we come to realize that this new life to which God is calling us is not only full of promises, but it’s also full of demands. We have not only accepted Christ, but the bonds, vows, and responsibilities that come with our spiritual conversion. God desires us to be active and fruitful in our spiritual lives. He’s given us gifts that He wants us to use to help and encourage others, open their hearts and minds to Him, and help direct them down the path in life that He’s chosen for them.
The Lenten season allows me to set aside extra time to walk and talk with Jesus. It enables me to focus more fully on my risen Lord and Saviour, reflecting on and renewing my relationship with Him. Lenten practices like Bible study and prayer open my eyes, move my heart, deepen my faith, and help me grow on my spiritual journey. Above all, Lent is a time for me to meditate on the profound meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and celebrate His eternal victory over sin and death.