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The Emmaus Hut by Mark Copley

"When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him..."  (Luke 24:30-31)

One of the ways churches are seeking to expand their mission is by taking our worship, proclamation, and teaching out of the sanctuary and classroom and allowing the Spirit of Christ to sanctify common places for these ministries. Recently, I joined a group of men at the local Pizza Hut to study scripture, pray, and watch Monday night football.  We had been doing this in my living room for weeks and decided to give the public place a try.  The Pizza Hut had installed flat screen TVs and were happy to welcome our group into their restaurant.

Pizza Hut

That night before the game, we placed our orders, gave thanks, and opened our bibles to Luke, chapter 24, for our study.  We follow a simple plan of reading the scripture aloud and asking four simple questions about what God's word is saying to us.  We welcome Christ's presence as our Teacher, and through our discussions, we expect to learn from Him.

On this particular night, as we followed the bewildered (and unnamed) disciples on their journey to Emmaus, we were intrigued at how the resurrected -- yet unrecognized -- Jesus joined them and carefully explained the scriptures to them. Reaching their destination around supper time, they refused to let their stealthy stranger leave them. They insisted that he join them at their table for a shared meal.  In an uncharacteristic move, their guest takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks it, and gives it to them.  In a flash, their eyes are opened and they recognize Jesus, sitting right there at the table with them!  And just as quickly, he was gone, vanished like a mysterious phantom, but leaving behind him a revelation that would send his hosts jogging back down the road to Jerusalem with the good news that he was alive.

In the midst of our discussion, my friend Randy, a growing disciple of Jesus, spoke up saying, "I just don't understand. Why couldn't they recognize him?"  I mumbled something about how he must have looked different after the resurrection. Others chimed in with their suggestions as well, none of which satisfied Randy. "I just don't get it," he said, "why couldn't they recognize him?"

At that moment, our waitress arrived at our table. Since we were embroiled in a discussion, we hardly noticed, until she sat a fresh basket of breadsticks down, right between Randy and me.  I looked at the bread, looked up at Randy, and then looked down again.  Without hesitation, I picked up a breadstick, looked around the table, and said, "On the night that our Lord Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and broke it..." (I broke the breadstick in half.) "...and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘This is my body which was broken for you, take it and eat it in remembrance of me.'" I handed half the breadstick to Randy and said, "Randy, this is the body of Christ, which was broken for you..."  As each of us said the same, shared the bread, and looked at each other through glowing eyes freshly opened to his presence, we understood.  And our hearts burned within us.

©2011 Mark Copley

Mark is the Mission Strategy Director at Illinois District Church of the Nazarene. Find Mark on Facebook. Originally posted on Mark's Facebook Page here Used with permission.

See also:
Seven Signs in John- Simple Process for Starting Churches
Organic Evangelism Principles
The Secret Source of Unlimited Leaders

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