In each edition of the television show Undercover Boss, a corporate executive assumes a fictional identity and works as an entry-level employee for a week. Then the real identity is revealed, and the boss announces rewards for some hard-working employees or other changes to benefit people throughout the company.
Our reading has a surprising revelation of true identity, but this account is much more than a feel-good story. The unrecognized leader was, Himself, the reward His followers had been seeking.
Cleopas and his friend were walking to Emmaus just three days after the crucifixion, the same day that the empty tomb had been discovered. They were confused and upset. They told this stranger, who had joined them on the road, they had expected the mighty prophet Jesus to be the one would redeem Israel. Now He was dead and His body was missing.
Notice that when Jesus instructed them in the teachings of Scripture, they still did not recognize Him. They were, however, eager to hear more. They urged Him to stay with them. Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, and shared it with them—a direct echo of His actions during the miraculous feeding of the five thousand men. And that was when their eyes were opened. Now they knew that this was Jesus Himself—clearly alive!— who had walked seven miles with them, teaching them the Scriptures.
As we saw in Jesus’ words yesterday and will explore more tomorrow in the Lord’s Supper, breaking and sharing bread is both physically and spiritually significant. This activity of breaking bread, giving thanks, and sharing with others was an identifying mark of who Jesus was (v. 35).
Apply the Word
If we are to be like Christ, we should also be known as people who break bread, give thanks, and share with others. Do we participate in fellowship with others, both in formal settings like the Lord’s Supper at church as well as in other gatherings? Do we give thanks to God for His gifts? Do we share those gifts with others?