Summary: Followers of Christ can become discouraged, without the lively step in their service. Jesus gave to two of His followers a new bounce to their step.
How to Get Your Bounce Back
Our spirits are fickle. One time we are on top of the world, the next time we are at the bottom. Like many politicians call their opponents, we are “flip-flops.” Two examples of spiritual “flip-flops” are described in Luke 24:13-35.
No doubt you are familiar with these two persons. They were followers of Jesus, living in hope that He was the sent one from God to redeem their world. The events around the Passover celebration had dashed their hopes. They had watched as Jesus confronted the religious leaders of a dead faith, saw them betray Him politically, walk Him through “fixed” trials and deliver Him to His death. Their spirits died with Him.
They are going home, to a village called Emmas seven miles from Jerusalem. It was Easter Sunday morning, but they didn’t know it. Their incomplete comprehension of the events left them discouraged, defeated and giving up. As they walked toward their home, rehashing the dismal events of the last few days, a stranger came to walk with them. Though they didn’t recognize Him, it was Jesus. He joined them in their journey.
Jesus asked about their troubles, and heard their account of things. This included an important statement from them. Even as they left the city, bogged down with their own set of facts, they said that some of the ladies had returned from Jesus’ grave to say He had been resurrected. However, locked in their own sorrow, they chose not to believe or even explore if that could be true. They didn’t know the “rest of the story.”
After listening to their sad story, Jesus began to teach them from the scriptures. Remember that those scriptures were only from the Old Testament. He taught them how the Messiah was to come and reveal God’s power to the people. He gave them the “big picture,” the complete story of God’s promises.
As they ate an evening meal, they recognized Jesus. As He disappeared from their presence, they recounted their time with Him on the road. They became energized and ran back to Jerusalem, the same seven miles they had recently walked so slowly and sadly. They had their “bounce back.” The presence of Jesus and His explanation of God’s promises renewed their faith. When they returned to the disciples, they discovered that Jesus had revealed to them His presence and they were excited and energizes. They too had their “bounce back.”
How do we get “our bounce back?” How do we overcome the damage of a defeated spirit and gain a new spirit of excitement and energy?
We must first put our selves in the presence of Jesus. He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. However, we can walk away from His presence, distance our selves from hearing the whole story, and make our own conclusions about His way of doing things. Our need is to come into His presence for Him to teach us. It is hard to slow down, wait and expect that God has something good for us to know. Receiving Jesus means to slow down, take time to listen and again receive His presence into our minds and heads.
As Jesus opened the scriptures to them as He wants to He wants to do with us. We are so fortunate to have the “New Revelation,” the New Testament. The scriptures are not to be read critically, to be argued for sport, not to be used to hit others with the words. Our role is to be a learner. His Holy Spirit is our teacher. We are to listen to His voice. Too often we feel we must fill our space with our words. In the battle of Waterloo, General Wellington of England faced the power leader Napoleon and his French army. As they fought against each other in this famous battle, England waited prayerfully to hear the outcome. Finally, the message was sent to an English military ship by flag signals. The words spelled out “Wellington defeated” and then clouds prevented any other message for several hours. Everyone was discouraged. Then the message was sent again after the sky cleared, “Wellington defeated Napoleon.” They received the full message. Those followers of Jesus and we who are followers of Jesus need to receive the full message, “He lives.”
Pentecost followed Easter. The defeated disciples were energized by the resurrection of Jesus. Those on the road to Emmaus finally had an Easter celebration. Those who want “their bounce back” will find it in the presence of Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit.
In Mosie Lister’s gospel song, “Till the Storm Passes By,” the chorus says:
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand, in the hollow of they hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.