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Hope or Despair

Hope or Despair?: On the Road to Emmaus

Bible reading:   Luke 24:13-35 NIV - On the Road to Emmaus  

I love the glory and the surprise and emotion of the Resurrection story. The drama of the stone being rolled away, the angels, the guards fainting away, the empty tomb! The wonderful and tremendously evident power that God displays. Hallelujah! Christ is risen!

And I also love the Emmaus story. It’s simple and humble, with so much to which we can relate. Any one of us could imagine ourselves a traveller, leaving Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus. Jesus shows up, inserts himself into the conversation of two locals who are talking about what’s going on in their world. Can you just imagine Jesus asking, “Whatch’all talking about?” The travellers are astonished that he does not seem to know and proceed to tell him about Jesus of Nazareth and the events of the past days.

There are a lot of pieces of this story that resonate with me. Read and listen:  

“We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel”. 

Do you hear their disappointment? Their despair?  “We had hoped…” Were their eyes full of tears? Were they so focused on their circumstances that they couldn't see Jesus? 

How many times have we thought or cried ... “we had hoped. . . . “

The fact is, Jesus had answered their hoped-for request. But not in the way they expected. He had redeemed Israel, indeed all of humanity! He had done immeasurably more than all they (or we) could have asked or imagined (Eph. 3:20)! But they were slow of heart to understand. They needed God's perspective, and so do we! We are Easter people, but living consciously and intentionally in Jesus’ presence is a daily challenge. We so readily miss the reality of Christ with us. Yet this is our hope: Christ is with us whether we recognize him or not. Don’t ignore him. Look for him. Immanuel, “God with us,” walks with us. 

Carol Verbeek

(Sources: various. Stay tuned for more Emmaus lessons.)

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