The Rest of the Story – Focus Scripture: Luke 24:30-31 (NLT)
What happens when we don’t have a clear picture and are forced to fill in the gaps? This question occurred to me in 2007 on the day the shootings took place at Northern Illinois University.
I followed the story as the events unfolded and people were trying to make sense of what had happened. The eyewitness news team was on the scene conducting interviews with passersby. Reporters were trying to amass evidence to support theories of what had occurred and why. The one thing that struck me through all this was that the stories told by the eyewitnesses were so different. And I thought to myself as I listened, “Were these people seeing the same thing?” Could the differences in their accounts be attributed to their “filling in the gaps”?
Perhaps some of you remember Paul Harvey, a radio news commentator who had a very popular ABC radio show in the 1970s and 1980s called “The Rest of the Story.” The premise of the show was that much of what we hear over the airwaves or read in the newspapers is not complete. Paul Harvey was like the roving reporter who attempted to provide additional information to complete the picture—those little details, those forgotten fragments, or those obscure facts that bring the story to life.
Shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, two witnesses were traveling to a village called Emmaus. Perhaps they had been eyewitnesses to the event. Or maybe they had gotten their information secondhand. The scripture is not clear on this point. But it is clear on the fact that Jesus filled in the gaps for the travelers that day, and they were left with the strong desire to go out and tell somebody what they had discerned!
On the road to Emmaus, perhaps Jesus served in a role similar to that of Paul Harvey. The witnesses had part of the information, but certainly not all of it. Jesus helped them to reorganize their data and to look at the available information in a different light. In fact, Jesus gave the witnesses a whole new dimension to consider. He shared with them the facts, but there were still many things they would have to take on faith. And for believers, doesn’t faith represent the “Rest of the Story”?
Gracious God, help me to have discernment in the face of uncertainty so I might witness with authority. Amen.