Oblivious to Jesus

Have you ever been oblivious to something big going on around you?

This week, there was a lot of hullabaloo surrounding the unfortunate decision of United Airlines to forcibly pull a man off an airplane. The news spread like wildfire, and social media went nuts with all sorts of jokes and spoofs of this embarrassing debacle.

Nearly twenty-four hours passed before I was in on the jokes. People kept on talking about them, but I was too busy to investigate what actually happened. When I did, what a shocker it turned out to be. I had been obvious the whole time.

The Bible records for us an important account of people who were oblivious to something much bigger than any social media scandal or news headline.

In Luke 24:13-35, we read the story of the experience of two men that fateful Sunday morning Jesus went missing from his tomb. The two disciples were making a seven-mile journey on foot from Jerusalem to a little village named Emmaus.

They had a lot to talk about on their trip. They were arguing about the events that had taken place. The flared emotions they had were consistent with the kind of disappointment they must have felt. Over the weekend, they watched the man that they believed would rescue Israel hang on a Roman cross like a common criminal.

Now, out of the middle of nowhere, a stranger shows up whom they do not initially recognize. (Luke tells us they were prevented from recognizing him.)

This stranger asks what all their fuss was about.

They stop in their tracks, astonished by the stranger’s question: “You must be the only guy in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that just happened there!”

The stranger prods them: “What things?” This stranger was clearly out of the loop, oblivious to what was going on.

So, to the best of their abilities, they begin to explain what Jesus was about to them. They said he was a great prophet. They said he was a great speaker. They said he was a great leader. They went on describing what a huge disappointment this was to them because they hoped this Jesus character would rescue Israel from her foreign enemies. But they also said their religious leaders handed him over to the authorities who nailed him to a cross.

Then they laid the real point of contention down—the thing which had these men arguing. This, they believed, was the real shocker.

They said that some of the women who were in their group went to Jesus’ tomb and couldn’t find his body there. They said they had seen angels who claimed Jesus was alive. They said they had reports that confirmed Jesus’ body was, in fact, missing from the tomb.

Then this stranger, who they didn’t recognize, laid into them. “How foolish and slow you are to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (23:25) In other words, why don’t you read your Bibles?

This stranger went on to explain to them that the Scriptures prophesy that the Messiah had to suffer before he could be glorified. He then gave them a long Bible lesson, going through the entire Old Testament to explain “the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures” (23:27). They didn’t know it, but they were being schooled by the Risen Lord.

Eventually, they invite this stranger in for a meal after their long journey. When the stranger blessed the bread and gave it to them, they suddenly realized who they were with, “their eyes were opened” (23:31). The moment they recognized Jesus, who they had unknowingly spent the larger part of the day with, he disappeared from their sight.

They were overjoyed. They couldn’t get over how their conversation with Jesus made the Scriptures come alive in their hearts. They couldn’t get over the fact that they had just seen Jesus—alive again.

So, they raced back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples. I can assure you that the trip back to Jerusalem was a lot faster than the trip from Jerusalem.

They ran with a purpose, like men on a mission to proclaim the most life-changing thing that had ever happened to them—to anyone.

What’s amazing about this story is how oblivious they were to Jesus. Here’s the irony: they accused this stranger of being oblivious to what was going on in Jerusalem when they were oblivious to the miracle going on right before their face.

They were kept from seeing Jesus, naturally or supernaturally I’m not entirely sure. But Jesus explains their obliviousness to him was rooted in the fact that they were “slow to believe” and “unwise” or “foolish.”

Sometimes being slow to believe God’s word makes you oblivious to what God is doing in your midst. Maybe God is trying to get your attention now. Maybe God is wanting to bring you into a closer fellowship with him.

God wants to transform your life through the good news of Jesus. Do you recognize his voice when he speaks? Are you paying attention?

If you don’t have a church home, please join us for worship this Easter Sunday at First Baptist Kenner. 

We believe God has something important for you to hear. We believe that the good news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection can change everything in your life.

 

You are loved,

Rhyne Putman

Interim Pastor, FBC Kenner


Rhyne Putman serves as the interim pastor at FBC Kenner. His day job is at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he serves as the Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture. (Yes, he’s the nerdy theology type.) Rhyne is the author of In Defense of Doctrine (Fortress Press, 2015) and of When Doctrine Divides (Fortress Press, 2017). He greatly appreciates any contribution you make to his son’s college education by buying his very (interesting) books. He’s also a pop culture geek who thinks himself Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen. He also bleeds Mississippi State maroon. More importantly, he’s the husband of the stunning Micah and the father of a rambunctious preschooler named Ben.