“What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” Luke 24.19-24
“We had hoped that he was the one.”
In this second entry on the Emmaus Road experience, Jesus is patiently listening to Cleopas and the other disciple about what happened with Jesus and all the events of the crucifixion. They talked about how he was a ”prophet, powerful in word and deed,” and how Jesus was handed over to be sentenced to death. They had hoped he would redeem Israel but it’s now the third day since his death, they said. However, some women amazed them, went to the tomb and didn’t find his body. Then they said angels told them that Jesus was alive. In addition, some of their companion went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said.
And still these two disciples did not believe! ”We had hoped that he was the one,” they replied. Were they still hoping? Were they beyond hope? Were they living into the lie of the enemy of discouragement and depression? Why didn’t they believe? Why not find faith to trust in these signs that Jesus was no longer in the grave and that he was risen?
I also admire how Jesus begins this conversation. The disciples are telling him about why they are so upset and Jesus says, ”What things?” Which makes the disciples give this whole discourse in v.20-24. Jesus essentially says, ”What happened? Tell me what is going on and what is the problem? ”What things?” Jesus asks.
All this to say, this week was Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. It’s almost as if my reflections on the Emmaus story are unrelated. However, just as Jesus surprised those on the road to Emmaus, so Jesus still surprises us. It’s good to reflect upon his suffering, death and now, his resurrection. On Ash Wednesday, we too discover the risen Lord. We confess our need for a Savior, turn to repent of our sins, and begin to walk in holiness of heart and life. Just as Christ appeared to those who were in their deepest need in a time of despair, so Christ will appear to us on this start of Lent.
Have you been surprised by Jesus? Have you received healing from the Lord? Are you willing and able to be captured by his grace and strengthened by his love? Turn to him this moment. Find him walking beside you. Allow him to redeem your life and bring comfort to your soul.
“O Lord God, I repent and believe the Gospel. I know that you are present beside me, walking with me, leading and guiding me. My desire for greatness is a sin of mistrust in your beauty. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me your power and love. Help me know the Risen Christ and find release from my battle against the flesh. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen