Luke 24:15-16 (KJV) “And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.”

Last week we discussed how we can get so focused on the circumstances of life that we are not able to “see” Jesus.  Such was the case with the two traveling on the Road to Emmaus.  Such is the case with many today – both in the church and outside the church.

I learned and taught the principle that Satan will always settle for “second” with the hope of gaining “first” in a person’s heart.  If he cannot tempt them to dismiss their faith in God, he will encourage them to discount the importance of obeying God in a prompt manner.  If he cannot tempt a person to denounce their calling, he will maneuver circumstances to get them busy doing “God’s Work” that they are unable to be directed by the “Will of God.”

Pay attention to Christ’s warning to those who would serve Him on their conditions…

Luke 9:57-62 (KJV) “And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Emphasis Added).

The first one was quite willing to follow Jesus if he stood to gain something out of it. There are many today who do not “see” God when there is “lack,” but they certainly “see” Him when there is “luxury!”

The second one was willing to follow Jesus providing his status in society was not diminished.  Nicodemus was willing to come to Jesus “by night” (John 3:1-2) because he stood less of a chance of being seen.  After all, he did not want to be diminished in the estimation of his fellow Jewish leaders!  Just a thought – did the second one in these Scriptures stand a chance of gaining something when the will of the deceased was read?

The third one was willing to follow Jesus ONLY after he had the approval of his family.  I wonder how many have given up their call from God because it did not fit in with what their families thought they should be doing?

Jesus gives a monumental warning in Matthew 25:31-46 concerning “seeing” Him.

I want to share a poem written by Emma A. Lent for us to consider…

They said, “The Master is coming to honor the town today.
And no one can tell at what house or home,
The Master will choose to stay.”
And I thought, while my heart beat wildly,
“What if He should come to mine?!
How would I strive to entertain and honor the Guest Divine?!”

And straight I turned to toiling,
To make my home more neat;
I swept and polished and garnished,
And decked it with blossoms sweet.
I was troubled for fear the Master,
Might come ere my work was done.
And I hasted and worked the faster,
And watched the hurrying sun.

But right in the midst of my duties,
A woman came to my door.
She had come to tell her sorrows,
And my comfort and aid to implore.
And I said, “I cannot listen,
Nor help you any, today!
I have greater things to attend to!”
And the pleader turned away.

But soon there came another –
A cripple, thin, pale, and gray.
He said, “Oh, let me stop and rest,
A while in your house, I pray!
I have traveled far since morning,
I am hungry, faint, and weak.
My heart is full of misery,
And comfort and help I seek.”

And I cried, “I am grieved and sorry,
But I cannot help you today.
I look for a great and noble Guest!”
And the cripple went away.
And the day wore onward swiftly,
And my task was nearly done,
And a prayer was ever in my heart,
That the Master to me might come.

And I thought I would sprint to meet Him,
And serve Him with utmost care,
When a little child stood near me,
With a face so sweet and fair.
He was sweet, but with marks of teardrops,
And his clothes were tattered and old.
A finger was bruised and bleeding,
And his little bare feet were cold.

And I said, “I’m sorry for you,
You are sorely in need of care.
But I cannot stop to give it,
You must hasten otherwhere!”
And at the words, a shadow,
Swept o’er his blue-veined brow,
“Someone will feed and clothe you, dear,
But I am too busy now!”

At last the day was ended,
And my toil was over and done.
My house was swept and garnished,
And I watched in the dark alone.
Watched, but no footfall sounded,
No one paused at my gate.
No one entered my cottage door,
I could only pray and wait.

I waited ‘till night had deepened,
And the Master had not come.
“He entered some other door,” I said,
“And gladdened some other home!”
My labor had been for nothing,
And I bowed my head and I wept,
My heart was sore with longing,
Yet in-spite-of-it-all, I slept.

Then the Master stood before me,
And His face was grave and fair.
“Three times I came to your door,
And I craved your pity and care.
Three times you sent me onward,
Unhelped and uncomforted,
And the blessing you might have had was lost,
And your chance to serve has fled.”

“O Lord, dear Lord, forgive me!
How could I know it was Thee?”
My very soul was shamed and bowed,
In the depths of humility.
And He said, “The sin is pardoned,
But the blessing is lost to thee;
For, comforting not the least of Mine,
You have failed to comfort Me.”

Let us practice “looking” for Jesus in this New Year.  In so doing, we will not be caught unaware.