“We were hoping that he would be the one…”
Today’s Gospel [Luke 24:13-35], the Wednesday after Easter, is that famous story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. I think many people like the story because these two disciples are so blown away by the drama that just took place in Jerusalem over the Passover feast days and they were trying to figure it out. Jesus, the Christ, the One who was supposed to be the Messiah of Israel, was crucified in an indignant and horrifying end.
“We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel,” the two disciples told Jesus, as he questioned them along the road. They were hoping Jesus was the One that all of Israel looked to as the Deliverer, the God-hero who would free them from the conquering Romans. They were hoping, but they were looking in the wrong direction.
They added, “…Some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.”
Hope makes it possible…
The story continues and Jesus opens their minds to the Scripture and reveals who he is, the Messiah of God, the ONE who conquers death and is risen to new life. This is not the political redemption they were looking for, but something far beyond their imagination. I can relate to their slow realization as they encountered the Risen One. I can relate to their blindness, to the gradual opening of their minds to what they have hoped for in their hearts all their lives.
Hope makes it possible to do the most astonishing thing: change your mind. The hope of Israel was not from an oppressive political reality, but a release from the ultimate of oppressions: sin and death. What an astonishing revelation. No wonder the disciples did not recognize Jesus – they didn’t expect this!
Their hope made it possible for them to see that the One, the Savior was indeed with them. Their hope predisposed them to seeing with new eyes, to a realization that what they thought to be true wasn’t true. Something more was true: God’s love for us is greater than sin. God’s love for us overpowers death. Their hope made it possible for them to change their minds and recognize Jesus. What a conversation that must have been! I wonder if they could recall the ancient text from Job 19:25: “I know my Redeemer lives.”
Don’t ever let go of hope
Don’t ever let go of hoping. Hope unlocks your capacity to expand your understanding. Hope makes it possible for you to see someone else with softer eyes. Hope makes something new possible. Hope is broad, joyous, free, and unexpected. Hope says you can be something new. You can embrace more of life. Hope makes forgiveness possible. Hope opens you to new ways of thinking – a most astonishing thing.
Hope looks upon the world with spring time eyes – knowing that the bud shall bloom even when all you see is empty soil, the barren branch. Hope is the most astonishing thing you could ever have. Changing your mind is the most astonishing thing you could do.
Dear God, keep me open to hope when all I see is empty soil and barren branches. Let hope make it possible for me to change my mind. Keep me ready to be astonished by You. Let me see spring as your sure sign. Amen.