An Easter encouragement – part one
Two disciples were walking home from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the evening of the day Jesus rose from the dead. They were dejected, disillusioned, disappointed. They had invested a lot in following the man whom they had believed to be the Messiah. He had been quite unique, so wonderful, so hopeful, so promising, so mighty, so effective. But the chief priests and rulers had handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he had been crucified. So here were two disillusioned men who had lost faith in their object of hope, for they had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.
That’s despair for you, that’s abject disappointment and there are many today who suffer like that. Maybe some of us can identify with those two on their way home to Emmaus. If so, there is a glimmer of hope. There was for them for they had heard rumours! They had heard reports that Jesus was alive. Was what they had heard actually true, or perhaps too good to be true, or too true to be ignored? No doubt they wanted to believe what they were hearing but as yet they had nothing to encourage them to do so. What of us today? Maybe there is hope after all, maybe Jesus is real, even actually alive today.
Then amazingly “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them”. As they got into conversation with this ‘stranger’ they told him what had happened to their Master in Jerusalem, and then gently, but firmly, Jesus rebuked their slowness to believe everything the prophets had said about the Messiah and then he showed them from the Scriptures the things about himself they should have known.
Jesus came to these two disciples at the point of their extremity. They had nowhere to go and no-one to hope in. Jesus is not an additive to life, another satisfaction to place alongside other rival satisfactions. He is life itself, he is satisfaction itself, and it is only when he is allowed to mean everything that he can mean anything at all. He challenged their slowness to believe by drawing their attention to the prophecies about himself in all the Prophets and in all the Scriptures. They had been among his followers and yet their understanding of him was so shallow. This challenges us to ask if we play with our faith, picking and choosing the aspects we like or find comfortable, or do we have hearts and minds that are open to receive everything that he wants to give us of his truth, his power, his life?
Warmest greetings in Christ,
Chairman, Saffron Walden Bible Focus