Luke 24:13-35: The Road to Emmaus
The loss of hope
The return of hope
The response of hope
I have been thinking a lot about hope lately. In part because of the three funerals that we have recently had, and the wonderful way in which the hope of resurrection, of our loved ones being the presence of God, and a promised end to pain make our present sufferings more tolerable. But also because I get to see into a lot of people’s lives, and every one of us has a pool of tears, and my job is to point each one of us to the hope that God provides us in Christ to keep our faith in Him strong, to give us endurance through our trials, even joy in our sorrows, magnifying the glory of who God is and the gracious superabundance of all that He has accomplished for us in Christ. When hope fails, strength fails, when hope is strong, we can endure. Prov. 13:12 says, ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.’ As we come to our portion in Luke we are coming across one of the biggest losses and restorations of hope in the bible, the death and resurrection of Christ.
This is the most detailed narrative in Luke’s gospel, the pace slows right down; and Luke with a master story teller’s skill develops the drama and tension of these events until the big reveal and twist in the end. Luke really wants you to pay attention here, and rightly so. We are observing one of the biggest existential crises a person can face, in the minds of these two disciples they are undergoing a massive challenge to faith as the promises of God appear to fail. What they thought was going to deliver them from what they thought was the worst of their problems was too weak and now what? So as we go through this portion we will look at it under three headings, the loss of hope; the return of hope; the response to hope.