Summary: We want to follow two of these discouraged disciples and look at the three stages they passed though in coming to experience the joy and victory of Easter.

During the early part of the World War II, the crew of a vessel in the Caribbean Sea had

an experience that illustrates the theme we want to consider on this Easter morning. As

reported by Walter Maier, this vessel was carrying a cargo of oil, and was suddenly attacked

by an enemy submarine. It raked the decks with shell fire and shrapnel, and before the crew

knew what was happening a torpedo hit them. It destroyed the stirring apparatus, and tore a

gaping hole in the side. The craft began to sink, and fire broke out. Soon the order came to

abandon ship. Only one life boat and three rafts remained undamaged, and so the crew had

to squeeze into these, and roll for all they were worth to get out of the danger zone.

The captain and 8 men had been killed in the raid, but all the rest made it into the rafts.

There they were, huddled together on a dark lonely sea waiting for the night to pass in great

anxiety, and wondering what the future might hold for them. You can imagine the thrill that

came to them as the sun came up and they discovered their ship had not gone down. Life took

on an altogether different color. The blackness of despair was now the brightness of delight.

Hopelessness vanished, and hopefulness filled their hearts. With all the vigor of men who had

a good nights rest, they rode back to their ship, and with some emergency adjustments

brought it into an American port several days later.

What an illustration of the experience of the disciples. Everything was going so well, when

all of the sudden, all the forces of evil on earth and in hell broke loose upon Christ, and they

abandoned the ship. The cross was to them like a torpedo that had ripped such a hole in their

hopes that there was nothing to do but forsake Jesus, and that they did in despair and utter

hopelessness. We want to follow two of these discouraged disciples and look at the three

stages they passed though in coming to experience the joy and victory of Easter. The first

stage is

I. HOPE DEFEATED. vv. 13-24.

We know practically nothing about these two discouraged disciples. In fact, we do not

even know the name of one of them. Someone has said that Jesus made His most remarkable

revelations to the least remarkable people. Here we see Him walking 7 miles from Jerusalem

to Emmaus with two people who are never heard of before, and never again after this. This

shows there are no such things as unimportant people in the eyes of Christ. Jesus is always

busy with important people, for all people are important to Him, even if the rest of the world

only knows them as Cleopas and whats his name.

As these two walked along talking of what had happened, Jesus drew near, unrecognized,

and asked them why they were so sad. Jesus knew perfectly well what the problem was, but

like any good counselor He wanted to draw it out from them. Just as He knows our problems,

but wants us to come and share it with Him in prayer. Modern psychology knows that the

best medicine is just to talk out your burdens to a sympathetic person.

Cleopas answered this sympathetic stranger, and the jest of his answer as to why they were

sad is in verse 21, "We had hoped." Note the past tense-had hoped. We had high hopes that

at last the Messiah had come, but the nails they put through His hands punctured our hopes.

It is no wonder they were discouraged, disappointed, downcast, and depressed. No one can be

happy when their hope has been crushed. All of life is a search to find hopes that cannot be

dashed to pieces by circumstances. They thought they had found such hope in Jesus, but now

it looked as if this too had been shattered by the cross.

This search for uncrushable hope is true for all of us, and we all go through the experience

of seeing that which we had hoped for be demolished by the circumstances of life. These

experiences of defeated hopes begin even in childhood. The experience of pastor Donald

Bastion is typical of many. Though humorous to us, it is painful to those who pass through it.

He tells of how he fell in love in the first grade. He had high hopes in spite of the fact that

Marjorie was in the third grade, and she was big for her age, and he was small for his age.

His hope never wavered until one day he fell on some cinders at school.

As first grade boys will do, he began to cry, and walked around the corner of the school

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