Crossroads: Recognizing and Remembering


Luke 24:13-35

My Story

My father lives in the same small town where I grew up as a child. Though I moved away more than 25 years ago, I enjoy going back to this community to visit a few times each year. When we go back for these visits, I often see people around town who our family has known for many years. When we go out to eat or go to a worship service at church, I often find myself talking with people I have not seen in a very long time and remembering enjoyable experiences from the past.

The only problem is that sometimes I don’t recognize or remember these individuals. Their faces usually look somewhat familiar to me, but I can’t always remember names or identities. I think I know who they are, but I am not always able to call them by name. And to make the situation even worse, some of these people will walk up to me and say, “Hey, do you remember me?” My response is usually something like this: “Yes, of course I remember you. How are you doing?” My hope is that as I talk with the person, he or she will say or do something that will help me remember their name. Sometimes I just need to hear people talk for a while, and then I am able to recognize and remember them.

Your Story

Can you remember a time in your life when you saw someone who was familiar to you but you couldn’t remember his/her name or identity?
• How did you handle the situation? Did you tell them you didn’t know their name or talk to them while trying to remember who they are?
• What kind of feeling do you experience when you know you are supposed to recognize and remember someone but you cannot recall their name?
• Why are some people better at remembering names/identities than others?
• Can you remember a time when someone didn’t recognize you? How did that make you feel?

Bible Story

This story takes place on Easter Sunday. Luke begins in verse 13 by writing, “Now that same day . . . .” If we look back to 24:1, we see this day was the same day the women went to the tomb—“the first day of the week.” So these two men are walking away from Jerusalem back to Emmaus, a small village about seven miles away from Jerusalem, on Easter Sunday.

Well, who are these two men? We don’t know very much about them. One is named Cleopas (v. 18), but we are not told the other person’s name. These two men were obviously close friends of the disciples because they knew everything that had happened to Jesus during the previous week. Also, notice how the Bible refers to these men—(1) “two of them” in v. 13, (2) “but we had hoped” in v. 21, (3) “some of our women” in v. 22, and “some of our companions” (Peter and another disciple) in v. 24. Cleopas and his friend were Christian believers who were good friends with the twelve disciples of Jesus.

Jesus joins Cleopas and his friend as they journey to Emmaus, but even though they are talking about Jesus, neither of these men recognize Jesus as he walks and talks with them. Of course, they were not the only ones who didn’t recognize Jesus after the resurrection. John tells us that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, and she didn’t recognize him either. But as soon as Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, broke the bread, and began to give it to them, the eyes of Cleopas and his friend were opened, and they recognized Jesus. Immediately, however, Jesus then disappeared. The two men decide to return to Jerusalem as quickly as possible to tell the disciples about their experience with the resurrected Jesus.


• The Bible says these two men were “kept from recognizing Jesus”? Why couldn’t they recognize him immediately? (NOTE: One thought is that they needed to hear everything he said first before recognizing him. If they recognized him immediately, their surprise and joy may have kept them from hearing him explain why he had to die on the cross. Talk about this idea.)
• What was it about Jesus breaking the bread at the table that helped them to recognize him?
• Why does Jesus disappear as soon as they realized who he is? What might have happened if Jesus did not disappear?
• After Jesus disappeared, what would you have done if you were Cleopas or his friend? Would you have run the seven miles back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples? Why or why not?
• Are we sometimes like these two men? Do you think there are times when the presence of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit is around us, but we don’t recognize God’s presence? Why do we sometimes fail to recognize God?


Ask God to open your eyes so that you can recognize God’s presence in your life and participate in what God is doing. Thank God for the resurrection of Jesus. Also, thank God that He loves us enough to forgive us our sins through Jesus’ death on the cross and to give us abundant life through Jesus’ resurrection.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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