When was the last time your day was interrupted by impossibly good news? We suffer interruptions all the time. We plan our day and set our tasks, then the interruptions come along one after another. Yet some interruptions are a good thing: Luke 24 reminds us that when we least expect it, Jesus himself would like to break in.
You know the story. Two guys, despondent over the death of Jesus, make the long walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They are leaving the city. Worse: they are leaving their dreams as well. They had dared to place their hope in someone else, and those hopes have been crushed. They were returning to the routine and the mundane, each convinced that they should never let their hearts get carried away again. The road from Jerusalem to Emmaus is downhill. It’s not a difficult walk, but then, the pathway to despair and broken dreams is always downhill.
Amazingly, Jesus joined them on that path. Even though they were headed the wrong direction, away from the glory and majesty of death’s defeat, Jesus sought them out. They expected to walk alone, but the Father wasn’t about to leave them trapped in despair, so he sent them a Perfect Stranger. They didn’t recognize him, perhaps because when we are caught up in our own disappointment nothing ever looks right.
The Stranger began to interact with them, asking what they considered to be stupid questions. They were astonished to think anyone could have missed the significance of the events in Jerusalem. They thought they knew the score when in fact they were the ones who were clueless. They had even heard rumors too good to be true, and because those rumors were impossibly good news, they had chosen to head back to their old life.
Even though they had given up, Jesus had not. They were strangers to hope, but their fellow-traveler began to explain the truth. Gradually the road began to level out, and their hearts began to burn. Finally, as they reached their destination, they made an important decision. Despite their own sadness and disappointment, they invited the Stranger to share a meal. They welcomed the interruption. They welcomed the Stranger.
You know the rest: Jesus reveals himself. They are amazed. They recognize the old burning in their hearts, and they head back to Jerusalem to deliver impossible, ridiculously good news. They had walked slowly down the Way of Despair; now they raced up Burning Heart Road.
Luke’s resurrection story is a parable as well. A burning heart comes only by walking with Jesus—or rather, by inviting him to walk with you. The good news was hidden inside an interruption. The miracle came when they chose to show hospitality, and when they finally recognized him they realized their true destination.
The Great Interruption comes to us when our eyes are set low on the down-hill path before us. Jesus caught up with them in their retreat. He does the same for us, but we must welcome the stranger who seems so clueless about or sorrow and disillusionment.
How will Jesus interrupt your day? You won’t know it until after you welcome the interruption.