“We had hoped that He (Jesus) would be the one who was going to set Israel free (Luke 24:21).” This statement captures the sentiment of the two disciples while they were walking along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
Defeat. Discouragement. Despair. They were afraid and bewildered over what happened to Jesus on Good Friday. Jesus was shamefully put to death. The crucifixion was still fresh in their minds.
The disciples’ hopes were shattered. Only a week before, they and the crowd were excited that the Rabbi from Galilee would save them from the cruel occupation of the Romans. For them, the Messiah would come with glory and power to crush the oppressors. They all hoped for liberty from hardship. They were all focused on their version of victory that they were filled with regrets following the events that transpired.
Does this sentiment sound familiar to us?
We have our own version of the Walk to Emmaus. At times, we journey along the path of life feeling hopeless or discouraged. We have thought ourselves just one step closer to the fulfillment of our dreams. Then suddenly, on the verge of a second, we find ourselves on the brink of failure.
At times, we may also be blinded by the preoccupation of our failures and immediate difficulties. Our own interpretations and views of circumstances in life may prevent us from seeing God’s redemptive purpose. We need to look for the silver linings in the darkest of times.
Here comes the most interesting part of the disciples’ journey: A stranger comes along beside them. It was Jesus. But they were unable to recognize Him.
Jesus talked with them through the words of the Scripture. He broke bread with them when they got into Emmaus. Jesus succeeded in giving the disciples a new sense of hope. They went back to Jerusalem and shared their experience with their brothers.
We do not walk alone. We can experience peace knowing that the “unseen stranger,” accompanies us in our journey. Amid failures and uncertainties, God shows us that His plan is greater than ours.
The disciples’ expectation was that Jesus would save the people from the cruelty of the Romans. They were focused on their temporal salvation. However, Jesus aimed on something that is eternal. He would protect not only the Jews, but all humankind from the stain of sin. Jesus brings salvation that would last forever.
When all we see and feel are disappointment and discouragement, our world would feel like a place of defeat and terror. However, when we become receptive to God’s Word, we see His promise. We see our circumstance as a place of waiting toward God’s final victory.
Jesus’s constant presence in our journey should be our restoring hope.
Thank you Fr. Dennis for you encouraging and hope-filled messages — indeed, Christ is risen, loves us beyond any earthly measurement and is always with us!