13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”19 “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.”25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Last time we saw three very different reactions to the resurrection. We saw those that ran to Jesus, those who rushed to tell others about Jesus and those who rejected Jesus. Today as we continue in our series, “Living in the reality of the resurrection” we come to the familiar story of the Emmaus experience. A story which highlights the living hope found only in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote this to his friends at Corinth, “If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. 20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.”1 Corinthians 15:19-20. Yet on that first Easter day that living hope was far from being established in the experience of these two men. Today I want you to put yourself in their shoes and try to feel what they did as they set out on this seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. It’s here that we see them go from heart break to hope. But the story starts first with a:
- Heart Breaking Experience
Heart break is something every one of us has in common, because we have all experienced the crash of unmet expectations. From not being asked to prom or asking and being rejected to the dad than never said “I Love you.” Some of you have been gutted by a grief that won’t seem to go away. Drowning in the “deadly Ds” of life – doubt, disappointment, depression, disillusionment, defeat, and despair. These were all evident in Christ’s followers as they tried to deal with His death. Even the radical reports of Christ’s tomb being empty did nothing to alter their thinking and excite and energize them; it only caused more confusion. Their entire world had fallen apart. These two despondent disciples sum up the situation with these words, “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.”Often hope is like a light bulb, full of promise and potential, and while it can bring light that chases away the darkness it’s also very fragile and when dropped easily shatters. That’s where some of you are at today, instead of holding onto hope you are living in the heartbreak. Like the lyric in the song “Tell your heart to beat again” you feel, shattered like you’ve never been before the life you knew in a thousand pieces on the floor. Human hope is a fragile thing, and when it wanes and withers it’s difficult to revive. Hopelessness as a disease of the human spirit is desperately hard to cure. When you see someone you love and care for overtaken by illness, which goes on, and on, despair sets in. It almost becomes impossible to hope for recovery. We become afraid to hope because of not being able to cope with another letdown. These two men had erected a wall of hopelessness all around them, trapping them in the torment of their own misery. A wall with only one door, the door that leads to despair. “We had hoped …”What they were saying is “We don’t expect it now, but once we did. We had it, this thing called hope, we were holding it but then they ripped it from our hands when they crucified Christ. For a brief moment we believed, and we held hope but now it’s gone.” May be that’s where you’re at today, someone or something has come between you and your relationship with God. If so then listen up because the heart-breaking experience is only its beginning. While the story may start with heartbreak and sadness it doesn’t end in sorrow. There is light even in the dark and difficult times because our hope is not based on our circumstances it’s based on Christ. If your struggling with heartbreak and hopelessness take some time to today to reflect on the resurrection. Instead of focusing on your feelings and fears focus on His faithfulness and forgiveness.