By David Faust
The English architect Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt more than 50 church buildings after the Great Fire of London. When he died in 1723, Wren was buried inside his greatest masterpiece, St. Paul’s Cathedral. Engraved in black marble, the Latin inscription over his grave translates, “If you seek his monument, look around you.”
God is the architect of the universe. If you seek evidence of his existence, look around you.
From the elegance of a chickadee’s nest to the complexity of a beehive, from the sculpted grace of stalactites in a cave to the mind-boggling splendor of outer space, God demonstrates his “invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature . . . so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
Walking with the Lord, But Unaware
Sometimes, though, even Jesus’ own disciples struggle to recognize him. Three days after the Lord’s crucifixion, two of them journeyed toward Emmaus, a village seven miles west of Jerusalem. “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:15, 16). Their faces were “downcast” (v. 17). In their dejection they didn’t realize that Jesus had risen from the dead and he was walking with them.
We make the same mistake. We forget that the risen Lord is the companion in all our travels, the listener to all our conversations, the unseen guest at all our meals, the observer of all our words and deeds. He sees it all, but we don’t always see him.
One of the disciples, named Cleopas, impatiently asked Jesus, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” (v. 18). As any good counselor will do, Jesus used a question to draw out their thoughts and feelings: “What things?” (v. 19). Unwittingly the two disciples went on to tell Jesus about Jesus! As if the Lord didn’t know, they reported that he had been “a prophet, powerful in word and deed” who was crucified, and now there were reports that his tomb was empty (vv. 19-24). “We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel,” they said (v. 21). What sad words: not “we hope,” but “we had hoped.” They didn’t realize they were speaking to the living Lord, the source of everlasting hope.
Jesus replied, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (vv. 25, 26). The Lord led them in a Bible study they would never forget. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (v. 27).
Witnesses of the Lord, Without Hesitation
Wouldn’t it be a life-changing experience if Jesus himself explained the whole Old Testament to you? That day he walked seven miles with a class of two students. The disciples’ hearts burned within them as he taught, and when “he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them,” they finally realized who he was. Once “their eyes were opened and they recognized him,” they immediately hurried to tell others what they had seen, testifying, “It is true! The Lord has risen” (vv. 30-35).
The risen Lord is available for all who receive him with open eyes and open hearts. If you seek evidence, look around you.
1. What evidence compels you to believe in the risen Lord?
2. What makes it difficult for you to recognize God’s presence at times?
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of The Lookout.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for September 29, 2013
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Isaiah 54, 55
Isaiah 65, 66