By Brooke Holt
“Then one of them named Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘What things?’ And the said to him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.’” Luke 24:18-21a
This morning I gathered with a hundred other people for a prayer service. One hundred may not seem like many until you see the size of the chapel. It was full – full of people desperate to experience the healing touch of Jesus. Every person came into the chapel with needs and desires. Some had cancer, others had lingering chronic pain, many had unhealed emotional wounds, and others needed help forgiving those who had hurt them. It was a beautiful, Spirit-filled time of worship and prayer. Hope seemed to fill the small chapel and lift the spirits of all gathered there.
I often imagine the followers of Jesus must have experienced that great sense of hope. They saw miracles with their very own eyes. Clearly anointed, Jesus’ teachings had power and authority like his followers had never heard. It seemed Israel’s long-awaited Messiah had finally come. What a great reason to hope – powerful teachings, miracles, and the expectations of deliverance for the nation of Israel.
They set their hope on Jesus until Good Friday. The man who healed the sick, who cleansed lepers, who raised people from the dead, who calmed the wind and the waves, and who fed the multitudes from just a few fish and loaves of bread – this same man did not save himself from the religious and political leaders or from death on a cross. For these followers of Jesus’, it seemed hope had gone. Read the words Cleopas spoke to Jesus: “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21).
Hope was not gone. Hope was walking alongside Cleopas on the road! Jesus had not saved himself from crucifixion in order that hope may abound and continue abounding even after he ascended to the Father. Darkness seemed to overcome hope on Good Friday, but on the third day Jesus rose from that grave.
Hope may seem lost to you or to someone you love. It often seems that darkness is winning. Yet, this season of Easter reminds us that hope is not lost! Jesus has already defeated sin, death, and all the forces of evil. And Jesus walks the road with you just as he did with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. His presence brings hope that will endure. Cling to him today!
Ask the Lord to reveal himself in your challenges and pain. Remind yourself he is there and trust in his abounding hope. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
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