Hope from Despair
By Leanna Simpson
She walks into the waiting room with her head hung low. Her friend, nudging her along, speaks softly: “It’s OK. They will help you. Believe me… they know what to do.”
We sit. We listen as she talks. Fleeing domestic abuse, living in her car, addicted to drugs, and now pregnant. We listen and we cry. We know there is better for her and her baby. We make some calls. We find her shelter in a safe place. We got her some food to eat. We pray with her. We watch her drive away. We are left staring at the horizon, wondering what came of her story and her life.
When we meet her, I am reminded of Luke 24:14-31. This passage takes place right after the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The passage reads as follows:
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 God kept them from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
“What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
“Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”
Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! 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.
By this time, they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. 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!
Two thousand years ago, Jesus was buried in a tomb. His followers believed there was no hope. All was lost, and only despair remained. This, my friends, is the despair that this world feels. This world believes there is no Jesus, no hope, and no empty tomb. EVERY DAY is Friday for them. Every day there is no redeemer, restorer, or divine answer to this ugly world and their hopeless situations. Just another day where Jesus has no meaning, and they are left confused, questioning, and desperate for a life of more.
We meet them on the Road to Emmaus and pray that their eyes will be opened to see Jesus through our words and actions. The truth has been revealed to us – Jesus is Who He said He is. He will do what He says He will do. Jesus could not be contained in the grave… neither should our testimony of what He has done! The only hope for a broken world is the cross. May we continue to make Jesus famous, as we lift up the cross for all to see!
Additional Scripture: Luke 24:14-31, 1 Corinthians 15
Worship Song: “I’ll Show You the Cross” by Matty Mullins