“We Had Hoped”
Bible Reading: Luke 24:13-35
How sad and tragic is the expression “we had hoped” (Luke 24:21). That’s how the disciples on the road to Emmaus spoke of Jesus after His death upon the Cross. They had hoped for something, a noble thing and suffered bitter disappointment when it failed to come to pass. “We had hoped” is a common human sentiment. Sin and its associated ailments work to diminish and destroy all ill-founded human hopes.
The disciples on the road to Emmaus were talking with each other about the things which had recently transpired. “Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16-17). In their conversation with their unrecognized Friend the two disciples spoke of how Jesus, “a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,” was delivered up by the “chief priests and rulers…to be condemned to death and crucified” (Luke 24:19–20). “But we had hoped,” they said, “that he was the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21).
The disciples had hoped for a thing, but God was doing something far greater than what they had hoped for. Their hope was invested in the redemption of Israel. They believed Jesus to be the promised Messiah. They hoped that He had come to deliver His oppressed people from the Romans and to reign as King. They had invested their lives in their ministry with Him. Yet His death had—in their minds–worked to vanquish their hope. Their hope was misguided. They could not envision the greater purpose of the Savior’s death. Jesus will one day redeem Israel (as they had hoped), but He came the first time “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Through His redemptive work “a living hope” has been given to all who believe, Jew and Gentile alike!
The disciples were lacking hope because they were unaware of Jesus’ presence. “Their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16). Sin is the ultimate cause for diminished hope. The evils which beset us in this life can be traced back to the fateful day Adam and Eve fell in the garden. Adam’s kin are all born to a hopeless existence (Ephesians 2:12). The “shadow of death” works to vanquish even the most vibrant of earthbound hopes. Yet, the two disciples had good reason to hope because they were walking with the One who had triumphed over both sin and death. It is possible for any of to walk unaware of Jesus’ presence. Yet He doesn’t just walk with the believer in Christ, He dwells within (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4).
The disciples were lacking hope because they were ignorant of important truths regarding Jesus. As Jesus explained to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? And beginning with Moses and the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27). Their ignorance of the Scriptures robbed them of the hope that could have already been theirs. The Scriptures, inasmuch as they collectively speak of Jesus, represent an overflowing reservoir of soul-encouraging truth for hope-thirsty souls (Romans 15:4).
The disciples were lacking hope until their eyes were opened to behold Jesus. Jesus shared a meal with them, “And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him” (Luke 24:30-31). Their eyes were opened to Him and the truth of His resurrection and in Him, well-founded hope was secured. In this world there is a lot of uncertainty, but be of good cheer, believer, you serve a Risen, Reigning, and Returning Savior. The words, “we had hoped,” need not be uttered from your lips as you walk along life’s path. Jesus is with you. His promises are sure. We do not lose heart because we “look to Him” and “not to the things which are seen” (Hebrews 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). He is our reason for hope!
In Jesus we possess a hope that “does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5)!
Heavenly Father. We have hoped and dreamt for so many things, only to suffer disappointment when they failed to come to pass. Forgive us for the countless times in we’ve doubted You. Praise You for Your faithfulness. No promise of Yours will ever fail. And in all Your doings, we can trust You to work in ways that always exceed our expectations. May our hope be fully vested in You and well informed by the truth of Your Holy Word! Amen!