Our Living Hope

“What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

As we sit with the Easter miracle, let’s take a moment to put ourselves in the disciples’ shoes that resurrection Sunday. Over the course of a few years, Jesus’ disciples had slowly given their lives, their very selves over to Him as His miracles and His presence had pushed their doubts to the corners of their minds. They dared to believe that everything He said was true, dared to believe that perhaps the redemption of Israel was at hand. Their awe at Christ had grown into love, and they beheld Him, not only as a leader, but as Friend. They triumphantly hailed Him as He entered Jerusalem on a colt, cloaks underneath Him and palms overhead - only to see their Lord and dearest Friend brutalized and crucified a short time later by the very people they had hoped He would overthrow. Incandescent hope gave way to incredulous grief and despair.

What happened?

This is the question Jesus poses to two of his disciples as they leave Jerusalem, arguing and disheartened on their way toward Emmaus: “What things? What do you think happened here?” They tell Him everything, keeping nothing back. “They crucified Him - but we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel.”

Do you know that feeling? How it feels to put your hope in how you think God will redeem a thing? Do your eyes sting with compassion when you hear the agony of Cleopas’ words - "we had hoped He was the One to redeem." They had cashed in all their chips. Their trust was unreservedly in the Messiah. How then could they find themselves in this place?

How have you understood these things?

No one on earth has been spared the grief of this past year. No one. Though our losses look different, we have all experienced that hope that can, at times, feel torturous - hope for thing to turn out a certain way, hope for a different kind of future. How have we understood this? “What do you think happened here?”

This is a good and honest question to consider with our Lord.
What happened?
Were we abandoned?
Forsaken?
Forgotten?

Never. This is a question that, when settled in the presence of our Lord and Shepherd, will banish all fear.  
___

With a mix of amazement and disappointment, the disciples continued toward Emmaus, the site of the Maccabean revolt, where the last successful coup against the Romans had taken place. Perhaps, with their hopes dashed in Jerusalem, they thought their answers could be found in going back to the last place redemption stirred. But “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. ‘How foolish and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?’”

Imagine the pieces coming together for them. Imagine hope beginning to rise again. They urged this Man to stay with them that evening, and “as He reclined at the table with them… their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight [and] that very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem.”

That very hour. When their eyes were opened, and they saw Christ, they knew what to do. When the questions above were banished - when the doubts of His love and faithfulness were dissolved in the light and truth of His presence - everything fell into place. They returned to Jerusalem that very hour, and they did what He called them to do.

Like Peter, like these two disciples, we can be tempted to shrink back or turn aside when our hopes are dashed. But let us not mistake an Easter Saturday for the final word.

May our eyes be opened to Christ in the midst of our disappointments.
May our eyes be opened to His greater redemption.
May our eyes be opened to Christ who is our living hope. Let us fix our hearts and eyes upon Him whose body was broken for us, for He has taken it up again, and there is no end to what Sunday can bring.

by Chelsea Bucci
Chelsea and her husband Dj have enjoyed attending Kingsway since 2011. Chelsea is currently pursuing an education in Biblical Studies and Counseling. She is often heard before she’s seen, and her laugh may or may not have broken the sound barrier once. She finds great joy spending time with her husband and children, enjoying a good meal with friends, animatedly discussing theology, reading C.S Lewis, and watching Doctor Who. You can read more of her writing on her blog, Doctor Pew.  

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