Summary: The God who holds the future is the God who can heal your broken heart.
This is the first of a five-part series entitled, “Is There Any HOPE for Me?” This message will answer the question, “Is there hope for my broken heart?” The subsequent messages will answer the questions, “Is there hope for me when I’ve messed up? Is there HOPE for me when I’m afraid? Is there HOPE for me when I feel like quitting? Is there hope for my fractured family?”
Hope is the ability to stand in the present and look into the future with confidence. People not only want to know what the future holds for their life, but what will happen to them after they die.
I read a funny story about a man from Chicago who was traveling to Florida for a vacation. His wife was delayed and was going to join him the next day. When he arrived at his hotel, he wanted to send her an email from the lobby computer, but he couldn’t recall her email address from memory. He typed in what he thought was her email address, but unfortunately he got one letter wrong. Instead of the email going to his wife, it went to an elderly preacher’s wife, whose husband had died a few days earlier. When the preacher’s wife checked her email, she found the message from the guy in Florida. When she read it, she screamed and then fainted. It said:
Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow.
Your loving husband
P.S. – It sure is hot down here!
If you really could get a message from someone who has already died, you’d probably pay close attention to it. Actually, we do have a message from the only man who died and then came back from the dead, never to die again. His name is Jesus, and you can read about Him in Luke 24.
On the very first Easter, there were two people walking back from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus, seven miles away. Cleopas was one of the people, but the other one is never named. It might have been Mrs. Cleopas, or another family member or friend. If you had been following them, you’d have noticed their heads were hanging low and their feet were dragging. They were weighed down with a load of discouragement and disappointment. These two had been followers of Jesus Christ, and three days earlier they had seen their hopes and dreams nailed to a cross. Their hearts were broken.
As they were walking along, a stranger joined them. They didn’t recognize Him, but the stranger was Jesus, fresh from His resurrection. They had watched Him die, and nobody expects to see dead men walking. The stranger asked them what they were discussing. We’ll pick up their answer in Luke 24:19,
“‘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 was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.’” (Luke 24:19-24)
To fast forward a little, at that point, Jesus started telling them about why the Messiah had to die. Then, as they walked, Jesus talked them about how every book in the Old Testament predicted the ministry of death of the Messiah. When they reached their home in Emmaus, the two disciples invited their guest to join them for supper. When Jesus took the bread and said the blessing they suddenly recognized Him–and “poof” Jesus vanished. Let’s pick up with Luke 24:32.
“They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.” (Luke 24:32-35)
Because of their Easter encounter with Jesus, these two people were never again the same. If you so desire, you, too, can have an Easter encounter with Jesus. In this message I want to share two brief observations and one important application: