I love this painting. The original hangs in the British Gallery in London where I recently bought a large print. I’m going to frame it and put it up somewhere in our house (location tbd by my wife).
What do I like about it? I love the reactions of the two disciples when they realize that Jesus is sitting with them. Read the story again, it’s found in Luke 24:13-32, where two disciples met Jesus along the road after the crucifixion. They thought Jesus to be dead and were confused and disheartened by the recent events. The risen Jesus walked with them and explained all that had happened from scripture. As they neared their destination, the men asked Jesus to stay and dine with them, still not recognizing him.
It’s when Jesus blessed the bread and broke it for their supper that their eyes were opened. Caravaggio captures their surprise at that instant in his painting. Notice the third man, the innkeeper, who is standing next to Jesus. He does not know who Jesus is, not yet, so his face doesn’t register a response. But the two disciples, they know. Their eyes go wide and they start out of their seats. The intensity of the scene blows me away. Jesus is alive!
For the people who knew Jesus and had literally walked with him, this painting encapsulates the profound changes that swept their lives when Jesus rose from the dead. The world now has hope, life is not in vain, the Savior still walks among us! Scripture records that these men immediately returned to Jerusalem to report the Risen Savior.
How about you? Have you been surprised by Jesus lately? Has the intensity of your faith, of how you see Jesus, ever matched that found in this painting? Perhaps it’s time to ask Jesus to walk with you for awhile, to become real to you again. Maybe it’s time to ask Jesus to join you at supper?