How do you face Monday when some of your best hopes and dreams about the future crumbled over the weekend? The two people in this story take a seven mile walk on Sunday to their home in Emmaus to try to regroup. However, rather than comfort each other they debate, even argue, about what really happened. The resurrected Jesus joins them on their journey but they are kept from recognizing him. When he asks what they are troubled about they blurt out , “WE HAD HOPED that Jesus was the one who was going to redeem Israel, but it’s now the third day since he died. There are rumors about him being alive but no one has seen him”.
Observation # 1
Premature conclusions can cloud hope.
Back to the story. As they continue walking Jesus gives them an Old Testament Bible Study about the necessary sufferings of the Messiah.
Consider all evidence, especially Scripture.
Back to the story. In typical Near Eastern hospitality the two invite Jesus to their home for a meal and overnight sleeping. At the meal they recognize Jesus as he gives thanks and breaks the bread only to have him mysteriously disappear from the scene. Trying to gather their thoughts they ask each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Observation # 3
The resurrected Jesus changes everything and puts Hope on the rise
Back to the story. With their dejection turned to excitement the two disciples don’t hesitate to take the seven mile journey back to Jerusalem even though it’s getting dark and dangerous. Nothing can stop them from sharing their excitement with the Eleven and the others assembled with them that Jesus is alive. To their surprise Jesus shows up at the gathering and repeats the Old Testament Bible study for the entire group.
Observation # 4
Repetition is the first law of learning.
Back to the story. Finally the resurrected Jesus commissions the entire group to take the message of the gospel to all nations.
Observation # 5
Personal experience is the most compelling evidence of Hope.
It’s powerful to follow the conversation and see two people spiritually refocus in one day. Now that’s Hope on the rise.
In the latter half of the 20th Century the United Methodist Church initiated an Emmaus Walk weekend retreat (which has its roots in the Roman Catholic Church Cursillo movement) that offers todays disciples a parallel opportunity to rediscover Christ’s presence in their lives and to gain a fresh understanding of God’s transforming grace.
Hope on the Rise is not relegated to a story in Luke 24. It can happen anytime we welcome Jesus into our situation and follow his guidance.