Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.” – Luke 24:18-21
The great works of God were in the past tense for these two disciples. They were now in retreat. They had misunderstood who Jesus was, had sold him short. They described to this stranger a different kind of conflict because they had expected a different kind of rescue. Their savior was someone who could be “handled” by the authorities, someone who could not control events as they happened to him, a victim. What a crushing feeling of disappointment must have been written across their faces.
If only they had really heard what Jesus had been trying to communicate all along.
It makes me wonder about things that I might be missing. I wonder what the Holy Spirit has been trying to tell me and then I wonder what I’ve actually been hearing. Sometimes it’s hard to hear life changing messages when you’re very busy propping up an agenda about yourself:
- You see I want to make a point
- I need to appear strong, not weak
- I want to be moving forward in my spiritual journey, not backward
- When people ask, I should have answers
- Why would anyone come to me for help if I look unsteady?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? – Matthew 16:24-26
It is increasingly difficult for the visible man to hear and understand eternal truth.
Did you pick up any “attitude” in Cleopas reply? “What kind of dumb hick are you? Let me explain what’s been going on.” They are walking in the wrong direction yet are able to maintain a clear air of superiority. I wonder what that feels like, I’m glad I never act like that (ha!).
This part of the story is that constant and classic reminder to us all that we often misunderstand God’s will and then go about constructing and living in a different reality (Gordon-Conwell Seminary estimates that there are 43,000 Christian denominations world-wide, all reading the same Bible). That’s why Jesus taught his disciples to pray for God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. That’s why he came and joined these two on the crooked road to Emmaus, to straighten things out.
And He gives grace generously. – James 4:6