Near the end of Luke’s gospel account is a very powerful story about the journey of two of the disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem. It reads, beginning in verse 14,
“They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him.
He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, ‘Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?’
‘What things?’ He asked.
‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him; but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel.’ Luke 24:14-21
As we stand on the doorstep of the Easter resurrection celebration, it’s set against the backdrop that seems to be a significant point of struggle for many followers of Christ. For just as these two disciples of Jesus struggled with believing the account of Jesus’ resurrection; downcast in their countenance and almost out of hope, they were unable to believe the report that they had heard.
In what I believe is an all too common posture, I find that many followers of Jesus are so afraid of being disappointed in their requests for the release of God’s power and life into a difficult situation that they are literally bound to unbelief by fear of disappointment.
Make no mistake, if we seek to avoid disappointment at all costs then we will never pray for the release of God’s resurrection power in the here and now. Ironically, we still believe that His power will cause us to be raised up with Him into eternal glory after we die, but we’re not so sure about that power in our lives in the eternal now. In the same way that these disciples were bound by disappointment and therefore stuck in their unbelief, so it is with much of the church today. Out of the fear of the possibility that the miracle breakthrough may not happen, many in the living church of Jesus won’t pray for the power of God to be released into every day situations for fear that somehow they will be disappointed or even worse, cause someone else to be disappointed.
Let’s be honest and recognize that the drive to avoid disappointment at all costs actually allows the spirit of unbelief to hold us in a place where we fail to see the power of God.
In this same story, Jesus continues on with the disciples and later chastises them for being “foolish” and “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” It’s not until He breaks bread with them that they recognize that this is indeed the risen Jesus whom they have heard was no longer in the tomb, but were not able to believe those first hand reports.
This Easter, check your unbelief at the door! Wherever you go this Easter weekend, boldly declare that “the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead will give life to our mortal bodies.” (Romans 8:11) Choose to step over the barrier of disappointment and trust that God knows how to cause all things to work together for good and that if we want to see any release of His resurrection power, we must be the ones who boldly declare it and believe it!
From that moment, the fulfillment of the hope that the resurrection brings to every circumstance rests entirely upon the sovereign grace of God. We have fulfilled our mandate in declaring what is possible in the life of anyone who has received the risen Savior. And because He is risen from the grave, anything and everything is possible for those of us who will believe His promises!
That’s what it means to be delivered from disappointment . . . that’s what it means to celebrate His resurrection!
P.S. Our ninth grandchild was born this morning, March 30, at 3:30 AM…. We rejoice in the healthy birth of James Benjamin Passavant! Congratulations Jon and Jenny!