Eager Hearts Carry Easter Forward – April 20, 2017

And Jesus said to the two disciples, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”
(Luke 24:25-26).

Whenever we reach the other side of Easter it can be instructive to ask, “What now?” After we’ve journeyed to the upper room to commemorate Jesus’ Last Supper, and after we’ve felt the burden of Jesus’ death on Calvary, and after we’ve participated in the triumphant celebration of Easter, where does that leave us? What’s different about the world? What’s different about us? What now?

In many ways our questions mirror the predicament of two downcast companions of Jesus as they plodded their way out of Jerusalem. They had been to Jerusalem with Jesus, maybe even in the upper room with Jesus. They had seen their plans for the future shattered as Jesus—the one they believed to be Israel’s ultimate redeemer—was cruelly executed as a criminal. Worst of all, they had allowed themselves to be swept up in the excitement of reports that Jesus’ tomb was empty. But, alas, while the tomb was indeed empty, there was no sight of Jesus (Lk. 24:19-24). They had naively pinned their hopes on a pipe dream, or so they thought…

Unbeknownst to them, these companions were actually speaking directly to the risen Christ! Yet when Jesus rebuked them it wasn’t because they failed to recognize him since, in that moment, they were prevented from doing so (Lk. 24:16). Rather, Jesus called them out for failing to have eager hearts.

Instead of holding firmly to God’s revealed plan of salvation—long foretold by the prophets and embodied by Jesus—these companions were wallowing in the broken remnants of own plans. They were fixated on their own worries, their own disappointments, and their own lack of understanding. Consequently, Jesus accuses them of being slow to embrace the witnesses God had provided through Scripture. Had they trusted in God’s plan they would’ve been eager to accept the testimonies regarding the empty tomb, and they would’ve avoided falling into overwhelming discouragement.

Like those two companions we are currently unable to see the risen Jesus face to face with our physical eyes. But that doesn’t mean we cannot carry our Easter hope with us beyond April 16, 2017. Why? Because our faith is not based on fantasies and wishful thinking; it is based on God’s unshakable Word. May the Lord grant us eager hearts to believe all that the prophets have spoken.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

Your Pastor,