Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.”
Sometimes the story doesn’t go as planned. The dream falls through. They hurt you. The job is lost. The school says no. The success never comes. Where do you go when the story breaks down?
The disciples in this story were disillusioned and disoriented. First the trauma of the crucifixion, and now these rumors of resurrection. It all left them confused and searching for what to do next. They were disoriented by the resurrection because they had not dared to hope for it. They had hoped for something else. They confessed, “but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (v. 21).
Perhaps this is why they were headed to Emmaus. Scholars have noted that about two hundred years prior to this, Emmaus was the site of one of Israel’s greatest military victories. Led by Judah Maccabee, an underdog collective of Jewish freedom fighters overthrew their oppressors and ushered in one hundred years of independence. Perhaps they thought Jesus would be this kind of leader and bring this kind of peace. Perhaps they were hoping for an uprising to crush Rome, not a crushed leader who would be raised back up.
Where do you run when the story breaks down? When confusion and chaos hit, when you are disappointed and disillusioned, where do you go?
Their reaction was to search out another script. But Jesus uses the grand story of Scripture to show them how the whole thing has been pointing to him. Even in the disorienting chaos, the Author of the story bends every part of it toward redemption. Stop looking for another script.
Jesus, you are Author and Protagonist of the story. You bend every part of my story toward redemption. Help me to have eyes that are open and a heart that is burning, enabled to sense and see you present, engaged, and at work in my small part of the narrative. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Where do you run when the story breaks down?
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