You Get What You Expect
"Christ is often near His people, and they are not aware of it." - Matthew Henry
"A thing that is long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes." - Mark Twain
There are several accounts in the Bible where Jesus showed up, yet the people did not recognize Him.
You may wonder - how can such a thing happen? How can an individual come into the Presence of the Holy One and not even know it? How can he hear His voice speaking and not realize the contrast between God Incarnate and another man?
Let's study some Scriptures pertaining to this subject and see what the Holy Ghost would teach us through this lesson.
The first account is that of two men on the road to Emmaus after Jesus' Resurrection.
Luke 24:13-16 relates - "And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were held that they should not know Him."
Mark 16:12 adds - "After that He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country."
In John 20:14, we read of Mary Magdalene's meeting with the Son of God after His resurrection - "And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus."
In John 21:4, we find the disciples running into Jesus, yet not discerning Him at first - "But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus."
And lastly, in Mark 6:47-50, we read of when Jesus walked on the water towards the disciples' boat and they didn't recognize Him - "And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land. And He saw them toiling in rowing: for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night He cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw Him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw Him, and were troubled. And immediately He talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid."
In all of the above instances, all individuals did not know who Jesus was when He showed up in their midst. First of all, He happened to appear in a different form than usual. Secondly, they weren't expecting to see Him. After His crucifixion, they weren't really expecting to see Him again - even though He did tell them countless times of His upcoming death and resurrection. And thirdly, there seemed to be a restraint placed on their eyes which kept them from seeing Him in their midst.
Oftentimes, Jesus appeared in "another form." However, should this be an excuse for not recognizing Him?
Take one of your family members for an example. If your spouse or child showed up in "another form," would you still not know them?
At one time, Jesus appeared as a Gardner, while at another time as a Scribe. Or is it really that Mary perceived Him to be the Gardner and the two men on the road to Emmaus perceived Him to be a "stranger" (Luke 24:18) and then a Scribe or Doctor of the law?
It wasn't as though Jesus wore all kinds of different outfits or costumes which would cause others to not be familiar with Him!
No, the problem was not with His appearance; the problem was with the beholders - those looking upon Him. They were the ones who had the beclouded sight...who needed the obscurity and hindrance from their sight and knowledge to be removed...and who needed the veil or scales taken off of their eyes.
How can it be that someone would see Jesus standing, and yet not know that it is Him? How can it be that two individuals would be walking and talking side by side with the Son of God and not know something is different about their conversation?
The answer seems to be implied in Jesus' words to the two men on the road to Emmaus - "...O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" (Luke 24:25-26)
No one really wants to admit to being thoughtless, ignorant, senseless, stupid, slow to respond, void of understanding, or dull of perception or learning. No one wants to acknowledge that they have allowed the previous opinions or popular prejudices of the world system to cloud their minds to the supernatural occurring in their lives. No one wants to confess to being backward or not able to be persuaded of the truth but to be always filled with doubt, distrust, despair, or bewilderment.
What it all boils down to is this - your problem is that you don't expect to see Jesus. You seldom realize that He is communing with you or is so near to you. He is in your midst and you know it not.
In His Word, He promised that He would never leave you, nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).. He promised to be with you always (Matthew 28:20). He promised that "where two or three are gathered together in His name" (Matthew 18:20) to be in their midst.
Do you really believe that? Do you take Him at His Word as you so claim to do? Do you expect Him to be in your midst as a "very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1)?
How many times has He drawn near to you and spoken to you, yet you never knew it? How many times has He touched you in a very special way, yet you never knew it?
Who's at fault here - you or God?
You really get what you expect.
You can have more and more encounters with the Living Son of God - if you will only expect them to happen - if you will only be open to receive and recognize them - if you will only trust Him to do what He said He would do.
You get what you expect.
Don't you think that it's time to take God at His Word and lift the bar on your expectations?
You will be amazed at what kind of encounters you will have with the Living Son of God - even when you least expect it!
May God Bless His Word.