The Lord reveals Himself to us in many different ways. He does that through His Word (the Bible), nature, His Ministers, friends, family, circumstances, etc. Unfortunately, we don’t always hear Him or recognize His voice right away. It is either because we are not paying attention, we don’t believe Him, or we have not learned to recognize His voice or ways. Jesus says in John 10:4b, “and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.” When we fail to recognize His voice we miss out on things like: His encouragement, comfort, assurance, directions, and blessings. Jesus revealed Himself to different individuals after His resurrection. They recognized Him through the things they knew about Him.
Mary Magdalene went to the tomb on the Day of Resurrection, only to discover that it was empty. She reported that to Peter and John, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!” (John 20:2 NIV). Peter and John went to verify her story, and after that they left, “but Mary stood outside the tomb crying” (John 20:11 NIV). Jesus appeared to her at the tomb, but she thought He was the gardener. During the conversation, Jesus said to her, “Mary” (verse 16 NIV). As soon as she heard the mention of her name, she knew who she had been talking to, she had recognized His voice. So “She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’” (verse 16 NIV). Oh, the joy, the excitement, and the peace she must have felt to know that her Lord was alive after all, the result of voice recognition. Had she not recognized His voice, she might have continued to sorrow over His death and disappearance from the tomb.
Likewise, when Jesus appeared to the disciples by the sea of Tiberias, they recognized Him, not by His appearance but by what He said and did. They admitted to Him their failure and disappointment for the night; they had not caught any fish. When they did what Jesus told them to do, the result was outstanding--a large catch of fish. Right away, they knew who He was. John said to Peter, “It is the Lord” (John 21:7 NIV). How comforting and how reassuring it must have been for them! Do you ever recognize Him in your circumstances, and are you able to follow His leading? When the disciples did, the result was astonishing.
On the day of resurrection, two disciples were on their way to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem. They were discussing the events from the past few days, i.e. Jesus’ death and resurrection. As they went along, Jesus went up and walked with them. They didn’t recognize Him, even when He rebuked them for being so slow in understanding the Scriptures. They invited Him home to dinner, and at the table, as He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give to them (He had a habit of doing that), their eyes were opened and they recognized Him (Luke 24:30-31 NIV).
Are you able to recognize Him through His ways of doing things? We need to look for God in all situations and circumstances and be able to declare to ourselves and others, “It is the Lord.”