Luke 24:13-21, 25-27, That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognising Him. And He said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 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 He said to them, “What things?” And they 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. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.” …And He said 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 all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
It always amazes me that the Jewish people had the same Old Testament we have—the same Scriptures that spoke of Jesus the Messiah, especially prophecies like the suffering servant in Isaiah 52-53, which depicts exactly what Jesus underwent. Yet, as Jesus briefly points out in the parable of the ten minas, they were all expecting an immediate kingdom (Luke 19:11), so it’s no wonder they failed to see the fulfilment of the prophecies and became disappointed because they were expecting something other than what the Scriptures had spoken.
When’s the last time you were disappointed? Perhaps you expected your favourite sports team to win the last game. The Superbowl was last Sunday, so perhaps you were disappointed that the Patriots won rather than the Falcons. I remember experiencing such disappointment when I went to a Detroit Red Wings game. It was two to nothing in the 3rd period, and suddenly the Chicago Black Hawks scored three goals just minutes before the 3rd period ended and won the game. As our rivals cheered, we were dumbfounded and disappointed.
These two men walking back to Emmaus faced similar disappointment, although much deeper because a silly sports game cannot compare to the death of the Saviour of the world. They hoped Jesus was the one to redeem Israel, but then He died, and His enemies—the Jews who condemned Him of blasphemy and the Romans who crucified Him—were rejoicing. However, Jesus didn’t let them dwell in their disappointment. He eventually revealed Himself to them and taught them how the Scriptures of the Old Testament point to His suffering, death, and resurrection. Jesus continues to reveal Himself to us today.
We don’t have the luxury today of seeing Jesus in the flesh, but we do have His Word and Sacraments so we do not lose heart. Jesus cleanses us from our sins through the Word and waters of Baptism. Jesus forgives our sins in the Word, bread, and wine of His Supper—His very body and blood. And in Absolution, Jesus forgives us for our confessed sins before Him in His Word through the pastor. Others may disappoint us, and we may even disappoint ourselves, but Jesus will never disappoint us. God’s kingdom—Jesus Christ—is already within our midst (Luke 17:21); He never leaves us. He is with us in prayer, in the receiving of His Word, and in His sacraments. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Jesus is victorious over sin and death, and in Him through our baptism we, too, become victorious (Romans 6:3-11).