January 27, 2021·Mario Ortiz
Today, I want to talk to you for a few minutes about HOPE.
This week, we’re in Luke 24 in our Pause Bible reading plan, and we read a fantastic story about two guys who had put their hope in Jesus, but when they witnessed Him crucified, they lost all hope. The events and circumstances of the previous 72 hours had not gone the way they planned.
Luke 24:13-16: That same day, two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along, they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus Himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But they didn’t recognize Him.
These are two very discouraged followers of Jesus. They thought He was the Messiah, who would deliver them from Roman oppression and occupation, and now He was gone. They had left everything to follow Him, and now He is dead. They had lost all hope.
Jesus, who they don’t recognize, says, “what’s going on?” and Cleopas pretty much says, “Where have you been?” So, they give Him the details. Then look what they say next in verse 21, “We had hoped He was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.”
Now, I want us to focus on the first words of this verse, “we had hoped…” What are they saying? They’re saying, “We placed our hope in Jesus, but we were wrong.”
My guess is that there’s not a person reading this today who hasn’t made a similar statement. “We had hoped…”
Well, these guys are devastated. They think Jesus is still dead and in the tomb. So how does Jesus respond to them? “Oh guys, I feel your pain. I sense your sorrow; let Me say a prayer for you?” NO! How’s this for a tender response?
Luke 24:25-27: Then Jesus said to them, “You fools! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering His glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
So, Jesus taught while the three of them walked seven miles. We don’t know exactly what Jesus taught during that walk, but we know it was about Him and the work of the Messiah. When they get to Emmaus, they asked Jesus (they still didn’t know it was Him) to stay with them, because the day was almost over.
Luke 24:30-32: As they sat down to eat, He took the bread and blessed it. Then He broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And at that moment He disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
The next verse says they got up, ran the seven miles back to Jerusalem, gathered the disciples, and said, “Friends, Jesus is alive! We’ve seen Him!”
They started this journey with NO HOPE, but in the end, they found HOPE! And what they discovered is that the longer you walk with Jesus, the more hope will rise.
I have the sense that many of you reading today are feeling like life hasn’t turned out the way you planned, you look at the current circumstances in front of you, and you want to give up, throw in the towel. But hope can rise in the middle of the turmoil, and you may not know how close you are to experiencing the HOPE that is staring you right in the face!
Here’s why this is so important:
When life doesn’t turn out the way we planned, our tendency is to WALK AWAY from God. We lose hope, and eventually, that disappointment gets transferred into disappointment with God. Let me encourage you to NOT WALK AWAY.
I love this passage, because the end of this seven-mile journey actually represented the beginning of their journey with Christ.
Today could mark the beginning of a new chapter in your journey with Christ. So, my encouragement to you is, keep walking with Jesus, even when you can’t see clearly. You’ll soon find yourself having vision and feeling hopeful. Your Hope will rise, not because of something you did, but because of what Jesus the Living Hope can and will do, as you faithfully walk along.
Pastor Mario Ortiz