It’s a story that begins badly, but has a happily-ever-after ending.
Two guys got it all wrong, but Jesus put it all right. (Lk. 24:13-31)
Their world had fallen apart. As they walked and talked, Jesus joined them; but they didn’t recognize him.
Maybe that was because they weren’t expecting to see him. After all, he was dead; crucified last Friday. He was a part of their past, not their present or future. They had hoped he was the Messiah who would restore Israel to power and prosperity. So much for that.
It had been three days since he was crucified; that put the final nail in the coffin of their hopes. Strange. It should have been a day of excited expectation, for he had repeatedly said he would be killed … and on the third day be raised to life. Today was that day! Indeed, some of the women who had gone to the tomb this morning said it was empty and that angels had told them he was alive. But who could believe such a thing? Dead is dead!
They knew what the prophets had said about the coming Messiah, and everything that had happened these past few days was in agreement with the prophetic words. But those words didn’t mesh with their hopes, desires, and expectations, so they tossed them in the trash bin of unbelief.
Does any of this track with your own experience?
Jesus said, “I am with you always,” a promise that David Livingston called “the word of a gentleman of the most strict and sacred honour.” He comes and walks beside you … but do you recognize him? Or even sense his presence?
If not, it may be because you aren’t expecting to see him. The personal presence of Jesus had thrill to it. But that’s history. What about the present; the now?
Life isn’t easy. You have a job to go to; a family to take care of; bills to pay. You get tired; you get sick. Sometimes things don’t go well, and it can grind you down. With so many things screaming for your attention, Jesus can become a Sunday thought—if even that—instead of a daily-walk thought.
Do you have some failed hopes in your relationship with Jesus? “We had hoped,” said the Emmaus disciples, “that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” But he hadn’t measured up to their expectations, their hopes.
Has he measured up to yours? Are you disappointed because he hasn’t stepped up and handled your troubles the way you expected him to? Discouraged because he hasn’t exercised his heavenly muscle to fulfill your earthly hopes?
Calvary hadn’t delivered what the Emmaus duo was hoping for. And you may not be fully content with what your life has gotten out of that event either.
They knew the Scriptures, but were slow to believe them.
How about you?
“For those who love God all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28 ESV). “I believe that!” you say … or “I’m not so sure about that.”
“God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5 NLT). “I believe that!” you say … or “I’m not so sure about that.”
When they came to their Emmaus home they urged Jesus to stay with them. At dinner he “took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Recognized him, not because those hands that broke the bread were the same as they had seen before … but because they were different. These hands were wounded; nail-pierced.
“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands,” scoffed Thomas, “I will not believe.”
“Look at my hands,” Jesus said to him. “My Lord and my God!” declared Thomas.
Look at his hands.
My Lord and my God!