“What things?” He asked them.
So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death,and they crucified Him. But we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened.â€ Â Â Â Â Luke 24:19021 (HCSB, my emphasis)
Over and over in Scripture we are encouraged to put our hope in God and that believing in anything else for our future will be a letdown, a great disappointment. But sometimes God disappoints us.
The disciples had a definite idea of what the Messiah was going to accomplish and how He was going to accomplish it. They thought that the restoration of Israel was going to involve â€œtaking back the landâ€ and that would mean overthrowing any government who did not agree. Rome had to go. The Temple was to be the focus in the city (Jerusalem) that was to be the focus of God’s Kingdom. Jesus said the Temple would be destroyed (Matthew 24:2) and it was. He told them that He would die. That isn’t what Peter or any of the rest wanted to hear (Mark 8:33). Sometimes God has a plan we do not want to hear.
There were a few disciples who died in their old age. Most were martyrs or worked themselves into an early grave. There were a few disciples who were wealthy. Most lived from day to day with little possessions of their own. They gave what they had to others. The LORD provided for their needs. Those who were seen as â€œleadersâ€ did not seek that but just did what they did to mimic Jesus. The â€œgreatestâ€ were the greatest servant!
The New Jerusalem is not here. It is the place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us (John 14:1-4, Revelation 21:1-4). It is more than I could ask for or imagine â€“ but I have to be patient. I have to have faith in the Hope that has been promised. Like the 1st century disciples, I am hoping. But I don’t want to be disappointed so I spend time reading God’s Word, discussing it with other disciples â€“ iron striking iron so that we have sharpened (Proverbs 27:17) swords for Kingdom work. I am thankful for brothers and sisters who encourage me but also challenge me. The best book (not the Bible) that I have read was written by someone that I do not agree with but who made me study God’s Word more to consider why I believe what I do. I had to exercise my spiritual muscles!
I have been through an Emmaus journey this year. I had a few weeks when I had all but given up because God wasn’t coming through with the plan that even remotely resembled what I thought it should be. But Jesus is faithful. He walked with me. He kept talking to me and explaining His plan since the beginning of time. He infused me with His Hope again that assures me that I will not walk this path alone. I will have all that I need to make the journey. I have Jesus. I have Hope.