Monday, April 9, 2018

A Crisis of Faith

And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.  And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.  While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them.  But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.  Luke 24: 13-16

The resurrection of Jesus Christ happened a little over a week ago.  How is your life different after you have had your eyes opened to the power of the resurrection?  Our lives should be very different after we truly receive the power of the resurrection. 
There is a story in scripture about two men, disciples of Jesus, who traveled to see the events of Easter weekend and were on their way home, to Emmaus.  They were not feeling too religious. In fact, they had lost all hope of a bright tomorrow, and the great expectations they had been happily carrying on their shoulders for the past few years was now a disappointing, heartbreaking memory of what might have been… so they thought.  In this story, Luke gives us a very vivid glimpse about what was going through the minds of some of Jesus’ disciples as they traveled on this road home. 
The Mystery of the Place Called EmmausIf you go to the Holy Land of Israel today, you will find that no one knows exactly for sure where Emmaus was actually located.  The Bible tells us that it was seven miles from Jerusalem, and the word “Emmaus” actually means “hot baths.” But beyond this we don’t know exactly where Emmaus was located centuries ago.
The Mystery of the Travelers Only one of them is named, Cleopas, and we have no idea what the other disciple’s name was. It is important to mention that these two disciples were not part of the original 12 Disciples, although these two certainly were very familiar with Jesus and they had desired to follow Him.  We join the two travelers at their lowest point in life. Their expectations, their hopes, their dreams, that which got them out of bed in the morning had been crushed before their very eyes. They surely felt their lives were over and they would never recover from the events they had witnessed just three days prior.
The Mystery of the CompanionAs they walked they talked of the events of the week Jesus showed up on the same path.  For whatever reasons their eyes were restrained from recognizing this third person was Jesus, the Risen Lord. Perhaps they were so preoccupied on their own disappointments and problems. But Jesus recognized them as His own. 
The darkness of despair can blind us to the blessed presence of Christ. It is amazing how we can’t see past our pain when we are hurting.  Only a week before, these men’s hopes had risen to fever pitch when the excited crowds welcomed their Master waving palm branches and shouting 'hosanna'. But now Jesus lay dead in a sealed tomb. Their hopes were dashed; the dream was over!  They had left the sad and confused band of disciples who were afraid and bewildered over what had happened to Jesus on Good Friday. The two men, as they travelled along, were also sad and disillusioned.  The biggest obstacle they faced was DOUBT.  That is the word we need to deal with, for it was the source of all the other feelings.  The rest of this week we will focus on how Jesus helped these two men deal with their doubt and turn it into faith.  
Scripture to Claim: Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.   Psalms 42:5

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