Staring at hope

I sat across the table from my friend; it was my turn to catch her up on my life. The last few months have been months that I wouldn’t change for anything because my God has been refining me. I said with ease, “These last few months have been interesting.”  She replied with, “I know.”  She then said two words that brought me to tears because those two words were the two that the Lord had been laying on my heart.  I quickly asked her, “How did you know?  Did you read something or hear me speak?”  She said, “No, I’ve been praying for you.”  We sat silent and I marveled at the moment.

 

There is nothing like an honest, life-giving conversation with someone that you respect and trust.  One conversation that has intrigued me for weeks in the resurrection story is the story about the two men that encounter Jesus on the road to Emmaus. I have been puzzled, angry, and encouraged by it all at the same time.

 

The story is found in Luke 24:13-35. I’m gonna sum it up for you and I’m gonna preach, so hang with me!

 

Two disciples of Jesus were traveling on the road leading to the city of Emmaus on the day of the resurrection.  We know that their journey was about seven miles, which may have taken them about two hours.  While they were walking, they were talking really intensely about their dear Leader, Jesus, and His crucifixion.  Luke tells us that Jesus appeared to them and prevented them from recognizing Him, then asked them what they were talking about.  In my study, I discovered that Scripture tells us that one of these men was actually Joseph’s (the earthly father of Jesus) brother and he was married to one of the Marys.  The two men were shocked that Jesus (who they didn’t recognize) asked them about the events that they were talking about.  Surely, they thought everyone knew in the area what had happened to Jesus of Nazareth.

As they told Jesus about the crucifixion, Luke says that their demeanor was sad. (Note that Jesus was talking to His earthly uncle).

 

Take a look at the dialogue:

Luke 24:19-21

19 And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.

They continued telling Jesus that some women went to the tomb and Jesus’s body was not there.

This is the part that is frustrating to me.  These two men had eyewitnessed EXACTLY what Jesus had told them was going to happen. They saw the crucifixion and the empty tomb. Yet, they sadly thought all hope was lost.  Even though they walked with Jesus, they didn’t believe that He would do exactly what He said He was going to do.

Jesus response was priceless.

Luke 24:25-26 says that Jesus said, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”

The prophets Jesus was referring to may have been Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15:  “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to Him.”  Or, Jesus may have been referencing the great Isaiah and the chapter about the suffering Servant in Isaiah 53.

The line that gets me about this passage in Luke is 24:21, “But we were hoping that this was He Who was going to redeem Israel.”  I shudder just reading that.  There they were talking to the risen KING OF KINGS and their weak faith said, “but we were hoping.”

I shudder because I’m convicted and challenged.  Sweet readers, OUR GOD ALWAYS DOES WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO.  I have heard people say things like, “I prayed about it, but God doesn’t answer my prayers.” Or, “The Bible is irrelevant.”  Some people have just given up hope that God even cares about their situation. I know I am writing to someone today who feels just like these men.  You believed that something would happen and hoped it would and then it appears all hope is lost!  You may be in despair wondering where God is in your situation.  You may be so destitute in spirit to the point you can’t pray. My challenge to you today is that our God always stands in VICTORY. He is not weak or defeated.  He is the Warrior Who fights on your behalf continually. He is just as available to you as these men. Don’t miss Him.  One of Jesus’s last words on the cross was to His mother in John 19:26-27.  He said, “Woman, behold your son,” then looked at John and said, “Behold your mother.”  Even in death, He cared for His mother. He also cares for you.  Your pain.  Your wait.  Your anger.  Your frustration. Your hurt. He is waiting for you, and get this, HE IS ALIVE.

Let me pray for you today.

Lord, Almighty, Father, God.  I come before you today on behalf of my sisters and brothers that are facing insurmountable odds.  I ask you in the name of Jesus to give them a season of rejoicing.  I ask you to show them that you are the Risen King and are knocking at the door of their heart with a specific message for them.  Refresh them this weekend with the remembrance of your Son’s sacrifice and glorious resurrection.  Lord, we need you.  We are a needy people with needy lives.  Please move in the readers of this blog today and refresh them with your power. In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.