“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. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” He (the stranger Cleopas didn’t recognize to be Jesus) said to them, “How foolish you are.” (Luke 24:19b-25a)
This morning two of my loved ones are waiting for diagnoses and possible treatment plans. The symptoms and surface findings aren’t positive, so it’s easy to sit in an empty tomb. When I’m there, I’m wallowing in self-pity and darkness. This morning I heard Jesus say, “How foolish you are.” The words rang in my ears because I read it last night.
How foolish I am to sit in that empty tomb. Jesus hasn’t left me, but I’ve let my faith and hope dwindle. I’ve decided to walk home to Emmaus, but I’m trudging with Cleopas, doing nothing to help him. The journey will take all day. My mind focuses on the negative, so I still have accomplished nothing, and I still don’t recognize Jesus is with me.
Cleopas lost faith. He created a scenario where Jesus can’t possibly be His Savior. He demoted him to a prophet. Also, his hope vanished because Jesus was crucified before he could redeem Israel and He was supposed to rise on the third day. Even though his body has disappeared, no one has seen him. Cleopas and I are in the same place. When a tragedy happens or even if we think tragedy is a possibility, we sometimes lose faith and hope and blame God. We don’t sense the presence of Jesus, so it is easy to demote Him.
The truth is Jesus is our Savior, and there is hope. We will live with our loved ones for eternity in God’s kingdom. We all have little time to do God’s work on earth, so we shouldn’t waste time. Yes, God wants us to minister to Cleopas and others and sometimes we need ministering ourselves. But we should never lose sight that Jesus is our Savior and walks beside us no matter what our circumstances are. Even when we need ministering, we can reach out to others and spread God’s love.
Father God, help me avoid foolishness. Assist me out of my bad place and recognize that Jesus died to save me from anxiety, negative feelings, and death. Help me create joy. The story of life has a happy ending, so help me focus on the positive and spread God’s love. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.