In 1620, Spanish artist Diego Velázquez painted a most intriguing canvas depicting the Emmaus story recorded in Luke 24. Velázquez entitled the work “The Emmaus Supper.”
There are many pieces of art from the medieval and modern eras which portray various scenes of the Luke 24 account. Most artists focus on the two disciples and Christ walking the road or being seated at the table as Christ breaks the bread.
Velázquez, however, approaches this story from a very different angle. In this artwork, the two Emmaus disciples are vaguely seen in the background seated at the table with the Resurrected Christ. Essentially, the main characters of the account become the backdrop to the canvas and message the artist is ascribing.
In the foreground, the center of the artwork is a servant girl. Velázquez’s accurately and beautifully portrays this nameless girl with Middle-Eastern features. The complexion, dark hair and attentive eyes reveal an adolescent girl focused on the task before her. As was the culture in the first century, this servant girl likely had very low social status and her appearance suggests having little economic means.
Velázquez chooses this young girl to reveal the risen Christ. The young lady is seen dropping the bowl she was preparing and propping herself against the table, overcome by the significance of what has been revealed to her. She is the first in the house to recognize the One whom she is serving. She is serving the Resurrected Christ. What a moment!
Granted, the angle the artist provides is not included in the Biblical narrative. Whether or not Velázquez imagery is merely a remote possibility is immaterial to the message the art calls out. This nameless and marginal servant girl encountered the Resurrected Christ. The realization and impact rocked her world. She got it!
In these weeks of “in-between,” from Resurrection Sunday until Pentecost, I am reminded how I must become like this servant girl and be overwhelmed with the significance of the Resurrected Christ. For this girl, what appeared to be an ordinary day in the kitchen, the One whom she served forever changed her life.
What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. 1 Peter 1:3-5 The Message