The Emmaus Road
One day, my friend, Jesus, my Lord, and Savior, the lover of my soul, walked beside me on the road, but I did not recognize Him.
He was a Stranger, a fellow traveler, who joined me on the journey.
He spoke to me while we walked; about all the ways in which I knew and Him, some beautiful and kind, others distorted and cruel.
He told me things beyond imagination, about a love so good that my head wrestled between possibility and offense.
And all the while my heart burned.
And as we walked, I began to change my mind.
As the Stranger talked, I became aware of the distorted and cruel thoughts I believed about the nature of my best friend, Jesus.
I began to repent.
I left the behavior-obsessed Jesus, the one who leverages shame and condemnation to manipulate me, and through me, others, into slaving for His namesake.
The dualistic Jesus who practiced exclusion, who thinks and operates in the context of good and evil, for or against, us or them, in or out, I left him too.
I left the sin-focused Jesus who defines justice through the revenge sentencing of souls to eternal torment.
The Jesus who can only be known through a devotion to the literal inerrancy of a book, he’d become an idol in my life. I left him.
As the Stranger continued to reveal Jesus to me, I found myself joyfully leaving the unkind, insecure, narcissistic, short-tempered, hateful, controlling, retributive, transactional, untrustworthy Jesus.
I repented of my belief and participation in these cruel ideologies at the foot of a cross where I discovered the kindness of Jesus, sacrificial, self-giving love, reconciling the whole world to Himself not counting my cruel thoughts and beliefs about Him, against me.
And my heart burned.
Then suddenly, my eyes were opened and I could see! The Stranger was Jesus all along!
“Why did you come to me as a Stranger?” I asked.
He grinned, “I didn’t want your preconceived ideas about me getting in the way of knowing me.”
And at that moment, I discovered the gospel, the good news!
There is no shadow of turning with God.
Jesus never leaves.
Neither death nor life, powers or principalities, present, future (time itself), not my understanding, my belief systems, or even my unbelief, my actions, not even my leaving, nothing separates me from the reconciling love of Jesus.
My fickle certainties, my absolutes, my experiences, finite thoughts are swallowed whole in the measureless sea of a love that never leaves me.
Jesus, the Stranger, joins me on my journey; His reconciling love burns within me and invites me to recognize, and awaken to the burning. Jesus’ love invites me into mystery and revelation until I am reflecting my redeemer, discovering and yielding to His image and likeness within me, so I would know union, that we might be one.
This life is a journey, a mystery, and an invitation to discover that there is no death Love hasn’t defeated, no hell Love hasn’t invaded, no delusion Love hasn’t infiltrated, no darkness Love hasn’t illuminated; there is nothing that separates us from the Love revealed through Jesus life, death and resurrection.
“…For we are all one in Christ Jesus.” (See Gal 3:28)
Jason Clark is an NYTimes Bestselling storyteller who writes to reveal the transforming kindness of the love of God in a world traumatized by the religious abuses done in the name of the love of God. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children, Madeleine, Ethan, and Eva.
My heart lept at the title of your new book. Watching the trailer for your new book and reading the above blog I cry (this is unusual, my heart is touched). Brought up my whole life in a christian family and church and God, I have had it. I have been crying for months – I have to leave you and I really hope you are the one I find again (Jesus). I understand from what you say, that the ‘leaving’ is not really so, we cannot be separated. It will almost be too long to wait until Feb 2022 to read your story, I will pre-order a book. But the title itself gives me much hope and comfort.
What is burning in my heart – is to understand the uniqueness of Christ, the difference He makes. Because in my wider reading I have come to understand that the ‘Oneness’ concept, the illusion of separation, although maybe ‘new’ in the church has ancient roots in other faiths (including Hinduism and the Catholic mystics) and ‘spiritual’ masters. I read of and listen to many who recognise Chi or Brahma or Source … an interchangeable term for “God’ but not yet an awareness of Jesus as He is, and yet they seem fully plugged into the ‘oneness’ the love – all without needing Jesus to get there. I am desperate to know – not because I want to dismiss these teachings, but I recognise that this new found ‘oneness’ ‘separation is an illusion’ is not new, is not unique to Jesus – I want to know what is unique to Jesus. I hope you know and I hope to understand this too. Many thanks for your brave walk and your beautiful expression of things that many cannot put words to. May we see as He sees. I can’t wait for your new book.
Thanks for sharing some of your story. You’re not alone! So many have toiled under the teachings of abandonment and separation and punishment. So many know a bi-polar God and wrestle with all the fruits thereof.
Praying grace as you discover the love of One who never leaves or forsakes, who is renewing and reconciling and restoring all things. Praying for friends to walk with and kindness to surround you.
Blessings and thanks for sharing!