ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS

ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

 

'We had hoped'

The messages and the miracles of Jesus had led his hearers and his followers to assume that he was the one spoken of by the prophets hundreds of years previously:

The long expected king, who would lead Israel to victory just as his ancestor, King David, had led his people to resounding victory against their enemies and unified the tribes of Israel.

The Messiah, the Christ, the One anointed and appointed by God to be a national, political leader and liberator.

Chafing under the political and military domination of the Roman government the people of Israel longed for the coming of this Liberator.

So the two walking home to Emmaus on the third day after the crucifixion said: 'We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.'

'We had hoped'

Into this devastated hope, into these shattered dreams, the now-risen Jesus spoke to them: 'How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?'

They had believed the prophets in a superficial, earth-bound way. In their earnest desire for the political liberation of Israel they had overlooked the whole world's need for spiritual liberation. In their longing for earthly peace in Israel they had ignored the many prophecies that spoke of a Saviour who would bring God's message of spiritual peace to the whole world.

And so he showed them the truth about his death from all the Scriptures: that this death was planned by God, this death was a substitutionary death, a ransom, that fully paid the debt of our sin, that brought redemption, liberation, not from earthly political tyrannies, but from the tyranny of Satan, sin and separation from God; and that his kingdom was not ruled from an earthly throne, but from his glorious eternal throne in heaven.

From their despairing earth-bound 'we had hoped' he lifted their minds to spiritual certainty: That by this death, eternal life comes. That because of this one man's suffering, salvation is offered to many.

Scriptures: Luke 24:13-35; Romans 5:12-21

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004,2009