Summary: Like the two on the Emmaus Road, we sometimes grow disappointed with God. But, if we seek his will through his word, he speaks to us and clarifies his plans. Then, our disappointment turns to joy as we begin to see things from God's perspective.
Running into Jesus
The Bible records ten different resurrection appearances of Jesus. Today we look at one of the most captivating, a story only found in the gospel of Luke. The setting is a round trip hike between Jerusalem and Emmaus. A couple of Jewish believers are heading home after the Passover celebration. One is named Cleopas, the other unnamed, perhaps his wife or son, we’re not sure. Scholars don’t know exactly where the town of Emmaus would be, but Luke tells us it’s a seven-mile walk from Jerusalem. The two travelers probably were surrounded by lots of other Jewish pilgrims making the same journey back to their homes, so it was no great surprise when a fellow traveler joined them.
Their emotions ran full gamut that day, as do ours at times. So today, let’s join these travelers on the road to Emmaus. For, you see, basically we go through the same emotional roller coaster as they did. We grow disappointed with God. But, if we seek out his will through his word, he speaks to us and clarifies more of his plans. Then, our disappointment turns to joy as we begin to see things from God’s perspective. Let’s unpack each of these segments of the journey. First,
1. We grow disappointed with God. In today’s story, “disappointment” is an understatement. Cleopas and his companion had put much stock in Jesus as their nation’s savior. Scripture says their faces were “downcast” (verse 17), as they shared, “We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (verse 21). They were tired of living under the tyranny of the Roman government and desperately wanted God to rescue them. Jesus looked like the answer to that prayer, that is, until he was turned over by their own Jewish leaders and executed by the brutal Roman government. All their hopes died with him on that cross.
But the two continued: There was something strange amiss. Women were talking about an empty grave. His body wasn’t where it was supposed to be. These folks were confused. They were sad, disappointed, perhaps a little hopeful but afraid to be more so; perhaps even angry with God for dashing their hopes, for not answering their prayers, but wondering if maybe God was up to something new.
And if we’re honest, we can relate. Sometimes it seems God lets us down. God doesn’t come through for us in the way we expect. We pray for healing and it doesn’t happen. We talk to God about a relationship and it gets worse. We pray for peace of mind, and we become more anxious. We pray for enough money to get through the month, but the cash ends before the bills. God lets us down.
Bill Gothard calls this the “death of a vision.” He writes, “Faced with the death of a vision, a person must hold on to hope, anticipating and expecting God to work out His revealed will in one’s life, even when it seems impossible. This ‘season’ of waiting provides us with the opportunity to develop Christ-like character, to realize our shortcomings and inadequacies, and to trust God to demonstrate His power and bring the vision to fulfillment” (http://iblp.org/questions/how-does-god-work-through-birth-death-and-fulfillment-vision).