“This is so unexpected” “Who could have ever thought?” “What is going on here?” “What does this all mean?” “Where is this all headed?” “Is there any way to explain all this?” “What does this mean for us?” “This is just so hard to process.” These statements and questions are likely ones you are hearing in conversations as people react to the situation in which they find themselves in these days of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, these statements and questions could just as easily be running through the minds of two disciples after the death of Jesus.
A week earlier the disciples were riding the emotional high generated by a wave of popularity as the Jews had hailed Jesus with the words, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (John 12:13). Even the enemies of Jesus acknowledged, “The world has gone after him” (John 12:19). Caught up in the positive atmosphere of Jesus’ reception, they started to imagine the position they would have when Jesus was crowned king of the Jews (Luke 22:24-30).
Then things changed. Their positive perspective was shattered. Even though Jesus revealed his betrayal and crucifixion, they had not embraced it because it did not fit into Jesus’ life as they envisioned it. No one expected what happened. Then it did. They saw Jesus rejected, abused, mocked, crucified, and put to death. He was placed in a tomb along with their passions, hopes, and dreams. On Sunday women who had followed Jesus headed to his tomb. They were not going to find a resurrected Jesus, but to anoint the dead body of the one they loved who was crucified (Mark 16:1). He was dead and so were their future hopes. The eleven disciples remained behind in a room with a locked door. They huddled there in fear of the Jews (Luke 24:9; John 20:19). A report comes that the body of Jesus is missing, and it is announced by some of the women that Jesus was alive! The disciples wrote it off as “empty talk and they disbelieved them” (Luke 24:11). However, Peter and John checked out their report and saw the empty tomb and “wondered at that which was come to pass” (Luke 24:12). Added to their fear was confusion – what does this all mean?
Two disciples that had interacted with the twelve leave Jerusalem and head to Emmaus about 7 miles away. On their walk they reviewed the events and reasoned (literally “disputed”) about what had happened and what it meant (Luke 24:19-24). They were trying to make sense of what made no sense. The positive emotion they had a week earlier had vaporized. Emotions were turned upside down (24:17-19). Triumph had turned to tragedy. They had hoped (24:21), but now their hope was gone.
In walked Jesus. He came to their desperate situation and gave clarity to their confusion and calmness in their calamity. How did he do this? First, Jesus took them to the written Word. He challenged them to “believe in all the prophets have spoken” (24:25). Then he instructed them in the Word of God and how it pertained to Him (24:27). I would love to have been in that class! Second, Jesus took them to the living Word – Himself. He did this not by a lecture but with intimate fellowship with them. They shared a meal together (24:30, 34-35). Jesus moved them from an intellectual encounter to an intimate connection with the risen Savior that had overcome death. The result was two men, whose hearts had grown cold by confusion, fear, and despair, had become men whose hearts were on fire with Jesus (24:32).
When Jesus walks into our lives, he transforms who we are and even our perspective on how we see life. In these days Jesus is still renewing lives. Has the chaos of life smothered your belief, and have you lost hope? Is it time to rediscover that God has a plan for your life as revealed in His Word? Are you spending quality time with the Lord Jesus Christ, resting in His love for you, and reflecting upon His promises to you? Let Jesus walk into your chaos in these days and revitalize your life. At Easter we realize that our risen Savior, Jesus Christ, is alive and active in His world. Let that truth be a comfort in unsettled days.
Jesus wants to walk into your life first to be your Savior. He died for you so that by faith you can trust in Him for your eternal life. He deals with your deadly sin and gives you new life (Romans 6:23). He also wants you to see Him as your sustainer. Paul reminds us, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Romans 8:35,37 NLT). Let Jesus walk into your life!