They had to run away from Jesus. It was inevitable.
They could no longer reconcile their hopes and plans for Jesus and the Jesus they had met.
They had to face their doubts, fears, and secret shame. When they finally faced the worst case scenario, they ran away and asked one question after another. Where had they gone wrong? Everything about Jesus seemed right, but then it all unraveled in a matter of days.
When God’s plans aren’t what you think they are, who do you turn to for comfort? Certainly not God.
These two men walked along the road to Emmaus searching for answers as they sought to preserve their lives. They were doing the most logical thing possible by running away, even if running away meant waving the white flag and declaring that all hope was gone.
No one wants to reach that point of desperation and despair. No one plans to run away, and surrender is unthinkable.
How We Process Tragedy
Every time we learn about or experience a personal, national, or international disaster, our first instinct oftentimes is to find someone willing to talk about it. We need to process what we have just witnessed by putting the events into words. We need someone to acknowledge these events and to agree that all is not well with the world.
These men who ran away weren’t necessarily searching for answers. They were processing everything that had fallen apart. In fact, they most likely didn’t have a “next step” or “answer” in mind.
They were on their way to Emmaus because it was just another place that wasn’t Jerusalem.
A Faith Set Adrift
Resurrection is God’s revival of a life that is dead, flat-lined, and beyond all reasonable hope. The person who is still running, limping, inching, wallowing, or gasping for air has no need for “resurrection.”
No matter how bad things may be, a beating heart that is holding on to its own resources and plans cannot be resurrected. In order to reach the resurrection, we must first reach our own ends. Death is what precedes resurrection.
Jesus spoke of seeds dying in order to find life and his followers giving up their lives in order to save them.
There are many ways we could read this, but in my own experience, part of the story is the way that we must pass through our doubts, fears, and secret shame if we want to reach resurrection.
The resurrection demands a leap into the darkness, a stark confrontation where hope slams into a one barrier after another until we fear that all is lost. In that confrontation with doubt and shame, we wait.
Our own plans and resources will be exhausted. Our only hope is that God will enter into our lives with his power of resurrection.
Read more about Jesus bringing resurrection when we doubt…
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