Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Later that day, as two of His disciples were walking to the village of Emmaus, they discussed the events which had recently transpired in Jerusalem (Luke 24). Jesus Himself came to them and joined in the conversation, but they were prevented from recognizing Him. Upon His questioning,
“One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, ‘Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?’ And He said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to Him, ‘The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” –Luke 24:18-21a NAS
Did you catch that? They “were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” You see, it appears that they shared the view that Jesus would, as the Messiah King, set up an earthly kingdom and deliver Israel from their Roman oppressors. They saw Christ’s death as a great failure and disappointment. Instead of seeing His death and resurrection as the greatest victory and success which the world had ever known, they disbelieved the report of the women that Jesus was alive (Luke 24:23). Their countenance was sad (verse 17). Why were they sad? Because they misunderstood the will of God. They expected one thing from God and His Messiah, and they got something else.
Do you know anyone who has become disappointed with God as a result of misunderstanding His will? Oh, it can happen easily, if we’re not careful. Of course, if you believe lies about God’s character, His priorities and way of doing things, then you set yourself up for eventual disappointment. Expectations play a big role in this. Like those two men, many Jews thought they were getting a divine military hero that would ‘wipe out the enemies of God.’ What they got was a humble spiritual giant which was much more concerned about their repentance than about a revolt against Rome.
How did Jesus handle this situation? “And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” –Luke 24:25-27 NAS. In this—as in every area of our lives—it is expected of us to submit our will to the will of God, NEVER the other way around. The lives of those two disciples were forever changed when they had a personal encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and it is the same for each one of us.
The Gospel has always been an urgent message (although many churchgoers have not considered its spread urgent) but I have recently come to realize the urgency with which the Gospel must be spread in South Africa this year. This is because times are going from bad to worse, about which I’ll explain more in a separate letter. Lord-willing, our Mission will start our full-time operations again this Friday. Please join us in prayer for a weeklong outreach in the Free State in February, the East-Rand Tour in March (which we have to make appointments for) and for the youth camp at the end of March.
He who walked the Road to Emmaus Louis Gervais