Ken Werlein, Founding Pastor of Faithbridge Church

Ken Werlein, Founding Pastor of Faithbridge Church

Thursday, Spiritual Awakening in Houston

Luke 24:31 “Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.” 

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When do you suppose these two characters recognized Jesus?

Some think when Jesus bowed His head and prayed, they might have recognized His voice, or the cadence in which He prayed. But I have to think they recognized Him when He handed the bread to them. (The Bible says He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.)

When they took the bread out of Jesus’ hands, they surely saw something that must have given them goosebumps and made their hearts pound rapidly! What? When they took the bread out of Jesus’ hands, they saw the nail scars in His hands and realized they were sitting right next to our risen Lord!

As their mouths gaped open, I imagine Jesus grinning broadly as it all dawned on them exactly who He was.

Even though it was nighttime (and even though it was seven miles back to Jerusalem) they were so overcome they couldn’t constrain themselves from racing back to share the good news that Jesus Christ was alive!

Nighttime robbers on the road? Wild animals? What about their safety? None of that mattered anymore! Because if Jesus is alive – well, this changes everything!

I have a friend named Rob, who grew up as a pastor’s kid. But Rob was totally closed to the things of God. Impressively, he had graduated from Stanford, and was now working on his Ph.D. at Yale.

But one late day, on a bitterly cold, Connecticut evening, he sat in his apartment. He reached for a copy of the Bible and began reading. Upon hitting the words in Matthew 22 where Jesus says, “I’m not the God of the dead but of the living . . . ” Rob’s eyes were opened. What before he could not seem to see, he could not now miss!

That was the day the doors of his heart swung open to the Gospel, and his soul came to life and all old things became new. Now, decades later, Rob invests himself in the lives of many around our community, particularly in focused effort to reach and serve the less privileged.

Too many of us forget that Houston is still chock full of people walking around like zombies, eyes shut tight, colliding into every barrier possible – never understanding what could make all the difference in the world for them.

We know, though! Our eyes have been opened! We know the news that Jesus – and He alone – will bring life, love and new hope to anyone who would have eyes to see.

So every morning something predictable happens. As I remind myself that our Savior was crucified, dead and buried – so that each of us might have life, my passions are rekindled; my outlook is reframed; and my desire to share the Good news is reawakened.

Just think: our guy beat death, and we can see this clearly. Let’s go, now, and relay the good news to all the others who haven’t yet seen it, to the end that their eyes could be opened up, as well!


God, forgive me for too often carrying such great, good news as if it’s almost a secret. Reawaken me to how good the gospel is, so that I’ll burn with a desire to share this message of grace and hope. And make it bubble up within me, Lord, in such consistent ways that I might overflow with Gospel hope, even when I’m not focused upon sharing it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.