Luke 24:13-21 – Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
Things were not going well for these two, at least they thought not. Their hopes, big hopes, had been dashed in pieces. What had been such a bright, promising prospect now lay in ashes as a ruined dream. They continued by telling the “stranger” about Jesus, the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and the rulers delivered Him up to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. ”
The “stranger” (who was actually no stranger at all, only their eyes had been kept from recognizing Him) was the resurrected Lord whom they were mourning.
Jesus would not have been the first prophet of God slain by evil men, but these two disciples are convinced that He was the greatest. It must have been difficult to try to piece together the events of the last three days in some way so as to make sense of them.
Why had the One who walked on water and calmed the sea not delivered Himself from death? His enemies had treated Him so badly, and had taunted Him to “come down from the cross.” Why had He been so yielding? Why did He refuse to defend Himself at the trial against the lies? Why had He not appealed to Pilate when given every opportunity to do so? It almost seemed as if Pilate had wanted Him too, but He wouldn’t.
The truth? Well, the truth is that everything was right on schedule. It appears that neither disciple is thinking that way any longer; “We were hoping…” should have been “We are hoping….” Sometimes, when problems mount, it is difficult not to let our confidence in God and His care become past tense instead of present tense.
The fact is that God was redeeming His people in accordance with the ancient prophecies of which these two disciples ought to have been aware. Sometimes, we are not competent to “see the end of a thing from the beginning” as God is. The cross of Jesus served a divine purpose, and though these two disciples could not yet see it, they soon would. But God already knew the blessings which would come from such an ugly deed.
Sometimes, our plans undergo similar upheavals. Is it possible for any good to come from the darkness of personal tragedy? Of course, the answer is yes. We do not see the final outcome, but it is always good for those who have faith which endures to the end, no matter what. For this reason, we are encouraged to remain “in Christ” where we can never be separated from “the love of God” by tribulation, distress, persecution, famine or sword. We will never “throw away our confidence” but will endure so that when we “have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-39). Jesus has promised, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10).
“THE MESSAGE OF RESURRECTION IS THAT GOD’S NEW WORLD HAS BEEN UNVEILED IN JESUS CHRIST AND THAT YOU’RE NOW INVITED TO BELONG TO IT.”