April 10 – The Road to Emmaus
It’s a few days late, but we’d love for you to reflect on where we came from this past Sunday. Luke posed a few questions to us as we considered our expectations of God and how that relates to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
We’re going to try and spend more time following up Church @ 6, our time together and the Q&A that comes out of it. So take a read of Luke’s reflections that followed Sunday.
The road to Emmaus story revealed,
- the disciples had expectations about the Messiah, and resurrection (can’t happen) that prevented them from seeing what God did
- God kept their eyes from recognizing Jesus to teach them what was been already revealed and promised.
- The disciples recognized Jesus when their expectations were aligned with God’s revealed word and by doing what Jesus taught them to do.
- The resurrection changed their focus and lives – they returned to Jerusalem with hope, mission, and work to do!!
- Though Jesus rose, the disciples still faced death, hardship, and tremendous suffering… At times, they probably continued to question the ways of God, His plan, and yet continue to follow His teaching, committing themselves to His mission. Why? Because resurrection came and is promised to come again.
Can we relate to the disciples in the story? Check out this popular verse and how it can be used to develop expectations (good and bad).
Jeremiah 29: 11 – For I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you, but to give you a future and a hope.
Taken out of context this verse can mislead us to believe, God will make us all rich… A dangerous belief called the ‘prosperity gospel.’ It saddens me when you hear how pastors make their millions off the generosity of low income people who are manipulated to believe that God will multiply their money if they give to the pastor’s church…
Taken out of context. this verse can mislead us to believe that God has the perfect person in mind for us to marry. That God will someday orchestrate my meeting with the person of my dreams and I’ll be ‘complete’ and live happily ever after….
Or perhaps, this verse has led us to believe; God will ensure my future with a good paying job and/or success at work…
These are just a few examples of expectations we may have based on verses like these (and there is nothing wrong with that – expectations set us up for opportunity to learn and grow)
Jeremiah 29 is written to exiles. Babylon has taken over Israel and now God’s people are living under a foreign king. God’s promise in Jeremiah 29 is to one day fulfil his promise to the people. God will restore the land, save His people from oppression, and bring freedom.
Again, God is not making a promise to fulfill Israel’s self-centred desires. He is not their genie. He is promising to fulfill what He promises to them and the world.
If you want to know what to expect from God, we must start by getting to know His promises. As an example, Revelation 21: 4 & 5 says, ‘One day God will wipe away every tear from your eyes’. This is great hope for us who continue to experience exile here on earth (Peter calls Christ followers sojourners and exiles in 1 Peter 1: 1). The Revelation promise doesn’t mean it is going to happen in our lifetime – But that resurrection is coming… Presently, we live to see His Kingdom come. We will get glimpses and experiences of it. We work for it. But until His return, we will not fully experience it in this broken world…But resurrection has come and will come!
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the resurrection changed how they lived, and what they lived for. Their expectations started to align with God’s promise and reality and they let that promise lead their life. In verse 33, they turned and went back to Jerusalem to carry on the work.
A few examples from the questions
What do I expect from God?
- job security, 2. a wife/husband, 3. new life.
What makes you think God will meet these expectations?
- God doesn’t promise job security or the job you’ve always wanted. In Corinthians, we read about Paul’s job as a tentmaker. His job supported his ministry. This seems to show us that there is more to live for than work… and that one’s work can be a great tool for ministry. Perhaps, God won’t give you a dream job… but he desires for your work to build His kingdom.
- The bible doesn’t say anything about finding a ‘soul mates’. The bible doesn’t talk about Mr. or Mrs. Right, but more about becoming Mr. or Mrs. Right. If you’ve decided to get married, focus on becoming the right person for your spouse (that’s biblical). The Bible also says marriage is for life, so one would be wise to find a spouse that seeks Christ before marriage. Biblically speaking, Christ is ultimate not marriage. God’s plan may or may not include a spouse.
- God desires to bring forgiveness, freedom, new life. Even if it seems like the world is far from any of those things, We can expect that God is not finished yet!! We cannot give up hope, the world isn’t lost yet, because God is not done. Scripture teaches that true life is found in Christ.
Has God ever not met your expectations of Him?
- My story on Sunday revealed that God was at work. God used my failure to prepare me for what was next. The Apostle Paul used his job as tentmaker to support his ministry. Based on this, I believe God can use any job to bring Him glory and further is work. If you want a different job, go after it!! But imagine if we lived with a sense of purpose and identity outside of our job. It isn’t easy, but perhaps Christ cares more about the mission and the person you are to your colleagues than He does about your job title.
- We sometimes think marriage is ultimate, but the Bible states that Christ is ultimate. Paul boldly claimed that, it is better to be single than married. Celibacy was Paul’s gift (I don’t think many men/women have it) but his gift allowed him to be fully devoted to the church. He was fulfilled.
- The disciples on the Emmaus road expected the Messiah to destroy enemies (not be killed by them), free Israel from oppression (Rome still ruled over Jerusalem), and reign over His new Kingdom (no kingdom came). I think we also will wrestle with this till we meet God in eternity. God, in and through Jesus fulfilled all that He promised, but not in a way that was expected. Through Him we believe that His death brought freedom and that He reigns over the earth seated beside God the Father. He is in control, there is a plan, and if we put our faith in Him He will fulfill His promise to bring resurrection and new life, if not in this life, in the life to come! We know this, but it isn’t always easy to see (Hence why Jesus wasn’t recognizable)… Darkness and brokenness will come, and even when we can’t see the light, God is with us, walking with us through trial, and pointing us to Christ and His resurrection… New life has, and will come… Trust in Him.
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