I think one of our biggest problems as humans is the gap that almost always exists between what we hope for and expect, and our perception of reality. We expect a certain outcome, and when our perceived reality doesn’t measure up, we lose hope. Notice I say, “perceived reality.” Most times, how we perceive a situation lies on the outskirts of the actuality. My mom used to be a cop, and she would always laugh about taking eyewitness statements because they so seldom matched up. We all see things through our own filters and therefore rarely have a clear view of anything.
This is obvious in the account from Luke, where these disciples have seen all that Jesus can do, and know that he has been killed, but is no longer in the grave. They have seen great things from Jesus. He was a prophet, healer, and teacher, and they had hoped he was more than that. They had hoped that Jesus was the Messiah. But when he was crucified, their expectations were not met, and their hope died along with him. Now, these travelers in this passage were Jewish. They knew the prophecies about the Messiah, had heard about them literally their entire lives. But when the situation is right in front of them, they misinterpret it because they feel that their expectations for who Jesus was supposed to be have been unmet. They cannot perceive the fact that Jesus is standing right in front of them!
17b They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 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.”
19 “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. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
22 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. 23 They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! 24 Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”
Even with this they were skeptical. They didn’t perceive that this was always the plan. A skeptic is a person inclined to question or doubt beliefs. These disciples on the road wanted to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but when events didn’t happen the way they anticipated, they became skeptical. And Cleopas expressed an unfavorable opinion about events and questioned the reality of what had happened over the past three years. They all were harboring doubts about Jesus: what he said and did, and what it all meant.
We all exhibit these behaviors in our lives. We are living in a broken world, and being skeptical, critical, and doubtful is ingrained in us. What we can rely on is the truth of Jesus and the truth of God’s word. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “Seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart.” We must have the conviction to step out in faith and believe that God is who he says he is, and that the Bible gives us all the truth that we need to know God through Jesus.
Do your unmet expectations and hopes leave you feeling skeptical, critical, or doubting?
Are your expectations realistic?
Is your hope in the Lord or in the world?
Be intentional about reading your Bible regularly to seek out the answers to any skepticism, criticism, or doubt you may have. As you intentionally become more of a seeker, find a guide to help you along the way.
Dear Father, thank you for giving us your son and your word. Thank you for loving us just as we are — skeptics, doubters, critics. Help us to seek you for the answers, for you are the way, the truth and the light. Amen.
This post was written by Kelda Strasbourg, Kelda is a grateful member of the LivingItOut writing team. She has a love for Jesus and the desire to help others find that same love. She has her own business and a border collie named Emily.
Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?
We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!