Luke 24: 13-21
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognising him.
He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’
‘What things?’ he asked.
‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.
Psalm 62: 8
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Hebrews 10: 23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
This week we will look at some of the emotions the followers of Jesus experienced during the first Easter. As readers of the Gospels, we have the benefit of 2000 years of hindsight, therefore it is difficult for us to fully grasp or comprehend how those disciples must have felt in the hours between Jesus’ arrest and His appearances following the resurrection.
Deep disappointment was one emotion that was certainly very evident with Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus. They honestly thought Jesus had failed them, that He had let them down. Look at what they say:
“….we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (v. 21)
Their expectation was that Jesus would be Israel’s Messiah and deliverer, that He would begin a revolution, an uprising, overthrowing the occupying Romans. That was their hope.
Their experience however fell far short of this expectation:
“The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him…” (v. 20)
When Jesus died on that Friday evening, their hopes and dreams died with Him. Their hearts were shattered. That’s why they’re going home to Emmaus. There’s no point in staying in Jerusalem when their leader has been executed.
We all have certain expectations about life, relationships, work, church, even about God. We have dreams and hopes for the future. And that’s generally really good. We want to expect positive things. However, when our experience falls short of our expectation, that gap between them both can be filled with disappointment, disillusionment, even despair. We think others have failed us, perhaps even God has let us down.
In those moments, it so vitally important to try and get some perspective. To not be so overwhelmed with our emotions that we lose sight of what else might be happening, how God might be working in a different way than we had anticipated. We need to look back at our past, remember what God has spoken to us, how He has never failed us before even though at times we might have thought He had. To remind ourselves of His character, His goodness towards us, His love, His Fatherly affection, His sovereignty, His promises.
Cleopas and His companion were so focused on their present disappointment that they missed the fulfilment of His promises even though Jesus was right in front of them. It wasn't how they anticipated it so they failed to recognise Him. Jesus had to take them on a two hour Bible study right through the Old Testament to give them a right perspective, the big picture, on what they had experienced. They began to see that His death was no tragic accident, but was God’s intention all along. They slowly understood that the cross wasn’t plan B, but rather was the only way for humanity to be redeemed.
If you are experiencing disappointment in any area of your life, first of all examine your expectations. Where they realistic or where they merely wishful thinking? Be really honest.
Then ask yourself, what might God be doing in your life through your current circumstances?
Remind yourself of His Character, how He has always been faithful in times past, and begin to praise Him that, even though you don’t know how or when, you can have complete confidence that you will see His goodness and experience His provision.
Trust God's heart when you can’t see His hand.