Sermon Title: “Resurrected Hope” (Click Here to watch Sermon)

Pastor Richard Brown

Scripture reading: Luke 24:13-35

To have hope is to want an outcome that makes your life better in some way or another. It can not only help to make a tough situation more bearable but it can improve our lives as envisioning a better future can motivate us to take the steps to make it happen. There are none of us that don’t need hope. All of us go through experiences that begin to defeat and diminish our hope. Every person at times goes through situations and circumstances where your hope is depleted. Cleopas and his companion had buried their hope. They were heading down a 7 mile road to Emmaus. They’ve seen their hope killed, dashed and buried. They decided to turn their back on Jerusalem and walk away. They watched hope die on Friday. And death is final. Death relinquishes faith. Faith is for the future. Death says there is no future. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ is about God being in your tomorrow and in your future. The resurrection speaks to us about hope for the future. There will be a tomorrow, this is not over. 

While God is working in our lives we don’t recognize it. While He is working in our lives we don’t know it. True perspective can only be gained when the process is past. Sometimes you have to go through some stuff. Then you can look back and see the pattern. Once it’s over you can look back. My soul looks back and wonders how we got over. We cannot give up in the process. We have to wait until the end. The psalmist said that “it was good for me that I had been afflicted”. That’s hard for many of us to say while we are being afflicted but at the end of the road the psalmist says this. This verse says this breakup, disappointment was of God – brought me to a place where I am stronger and wiser.

Don’t cry over anything that has left your life. Greater is coming. Something better is coming up the road. Plant your hope, don’t bury it. If you plant your hope it is an indication that it is coming back in a greater form. This time of year we get to remember Jesus’s sacrifice and we know that if He got up, we can get up. The resurrection is the greatest indication of hope. No need to bury your hope.

So they’re on the road commiserating their disappointment. They are talking about Jesus and while they are still talking Jesus shows up. The resurrected Jesus, He got up early Sunday morning and amongst all the things that He does He goes off after two men who walked away from hope and are going in the wrong direction. They were going back to where they came from. But the Bible says Jesus caught up to them – He drew near – Jesus always catches up to us. He catches up to us before it is over. So He doesn’t identify Himself when He draws near to them but He asks them the right question. The right question can cause you to think right and resurrect your hope. 

“What are you talking about”? Jesus is God and sovereign and He asks this rhetorical question. He asks to provoke them into right thinking. They, the two of them are stopped in their tracks as they ask that question. They talk to Jesus about Jesus and they don’t recognize that Jesus is in their midst. It is crazy to know so much about Jesus but not know when He shows up. To know all the songs but not the presence. Standing next to hope without hope. It’s crazy to have power in your presence and yet be weak. They’re now returning to the place that they came from – that’s what you do when your hope is gone. But Jesus keeps walking with them. Jesus walks with the backslider. You might be on the Emmaus road but He got up from the grave to return your hope. You don’t recognize Him now but keep walking you soon will. So verse 19 they are recounting the story, talking about Jesus how He was scourged, beaten and whipped and put on the cross. When they buried Jesus their hopes were buried. Their conclusion is that “we were hoping”… they had hoped – a sad conclusion. There are many things we’d hoped as well that would work out the way we planned. But their hope was killed and they were turning back the way they came. Life can hit you so hard that it can make you retreat from your dreams and cause you to retreat into your old familiar days.

And yet, it is not over – hope is with you, hope is standing in your presence. If you are walking 7 miles to another destination, know that hope is not dead, they didn’t bury hope, hope is resurrected. They were foolish and forgetful – much like us. Jesus had already told them, He says didn’t the Bible, didn’t the scriptures tell you this? Jesus told them that He’d be beaten, ridiculed and put to death but that He’d rise again. But even though He had told them, these brothers had faith but they didn’t have hope. Faith is believing that God is going to do what He said He’d do. Hope is to expect. They gave up their expectation but believed in Jesus. You can believe in prayer but not expect that that prayer will change things. That’s why the writer of Hebrews would tell us that hope must become faith. 

The third morning of the third day they were heading home, Jesus had told them that He would rise again on the third day and having seen all of His miraculous works, they were still heading home and didn’t give Jesus even a chance to prove Himself. At the first scent of defeat, they gave up and backslid and walked away. They gave up too soon. Believe till the end, keep hoping until the end. Don’t be too quick to quit. Don’t be in a hurry to give up. Even after hearing the reports of the women finding an empty tomb surrounded by angels, even after the disciples confirm that His body is not there, they still walk away. And, if not for God’s grace, they would have missed it. What are we missing right now because we are quick to quit? What new level are we missing because we are quick to quit? Whatever God says is sure and it will come to pass. He may not come when you want Him but He is an on time God. He may not come on your timing or when you think He should do it but He will do what He said He will do in time, at the right time He will reveal Himself.

Walking along the road with Him they didn’t even know who He was. Get ready for God to show  up in conversations, in disappointments. God will show up in our places of giving up with resurrected hope. Jesus walked all the way with the men to Emmaus. They are going in the wrong direction but He walks all the way with them to reveal Himself to them. They reach Emmaus and it is now night time. Jesus He indicates that He would have gone further but they compelled Him to stay. They knew enough to know there was something special about this individual. When Jesus really begins to talk with us we know we can have more. Jesus comes right to where backsliding lives. They had gone back to their old life and old lifestyle and Jesus is right there proving all of the legalists wrong that had been saying that God will not be with you in darkness or in your place of disobedience –  no Jesus was right there in their backslidden state. Wherever we are Jesus is there.

Jesus breaks bread with them in their backslidden state, He continues to fellowship with them in their backslidden state. He is reminding them that it is not over but it is just the beginning. Their eyes are opened and Jesus gives them a moment of release. Jesus is right where we are and He is ready to fellowship with us and is ready to prove to us there is still a mission over our lives. 

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

He is with us right now. He rose up early on Sunday morning to resurrect our hope and this resurrection Sunday, Jesus is right here with us – will we let Him resurrect our hope? After He was made known to them, their eyes were opened, Jesus then vanished from their sight because now the decision was theirs. And that very hour, they got up and returned to Jerusalem. That very hour they got up and decided to go back to the place of promise. Don’t stay in a backslidden state, if you walked away because you feel like your hopes have died know that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life. Know that Jesus is willing to walk whatever path we are on. Don’t be quick to quit.