Rev. Dr. Sheldon R. Shipman
Greenville Memorial A.M.E.
A Spiritual Message
Rev. Dr. Sheldon R. Shipman, Senior Pastor Greenville Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church
In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was… Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:15-16; 31)
“In Times Like These, Father, Open Our Eyes”
As a global village, we are all dealing with the fear, uncertainty and anxiety of the Coronavirus Pandemic. This tragic world disruption is what we “See,” yet we often fail to “Recognize” the “Unseen Hand and Power of Divinity!” This leads me to ask: What is it that causes men to “Recognize” …and yet, even further, what is it that prevents men from recognizing what is right in front of them? Philosophers and theologians have theories… Some say it is based on position; others say that it is based on perspective; still, others say that it is based on precision or timing. I would offer that the ability to recognize is based on providence. We “See” with our natural eyes, but we “Recognize” with our spiritual eyes. There is a difference between being able to “See” and being able to “Recognize.”
Our lesson for this inspirational moment (Luke 24:13-35) finds two men traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus, about a seven mile journey… And while they are walking, the text tells us that they are discussing the events surrounding Jesus’ death and possible resurrection. Right in the midst of their conversation and journey, Jesus shows up… (Right in the midst of this global pandemic… Jesus CAN and WILL Show UP!) The text, however, does not say that they did not “See” Jesus, for they realized He had come up on them and joined in on their discussion. The text says that they did not “Recognize” Him. Have YOU ever been so engrossed in conversation, or so enthralled by life’s circumstances, that YOU were oblivious to what was happening around YOU?? Something, maybe even God, Himself, was preventing them from “Recognizing” who Jesus, Yahshua, was. It was through an act of fellowship and communion that their spiritual eyes were opened and they “Recognized” Him. It was through the breaking of bread, the act of communion, that they “Recognized” it was their Lord and Master who had been the entire journey! The inspiration and revelation in this lesson for “US” is that we cannot truly “Recognize” the things of God (even the Hand of God) until and unless we open ourselves to intentionally stay in “daily communion” with the Master!
Even, and especially, in times like these, we must be intentional and find devotional moments to communion daily with Our God. When was the last time you had an intimate moment of fellowship and devotion with the Father? DO IT NOW! In fact, since these are such critical times, I challenge you to say: “Father, Open My Eyes to Recognize Your Presence with Me, even beyond the end of this pandemic!” I challenge you today to remove yourself from the news reports and the constant climate of fear, “Go” into your inner room (Matthew 6:6), shut the door and spend some solitude time with the Savior. You’ll discover an intimacy like no other and “Recognize” that He has always been there and will continue to be with YOU Through IT ALL!