ADVENT 2021 DEVOTIONAL
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 the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
(Luke 24:15-18, New International Version)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33, NIV)
Today’s Reading: Luke 24
When I was a kid, my mom drove me to Toys“R”Us to pick out the toy of my dreams for my birthday. With intense anticipation, I wandered the aisles in my mind before actually entering the warehouse to obtain that prized possession. Once I got home and thrust the batteries in, my excitement rapidly waned and I felt utterly crushed with despair. It wasn’t all I hoped it would be. It was a child-sized life lesson in disappointment.
Reading Luke 24 feels like riding a roller coaster of disappointment. As you read today’s chapter, notice the three episodes of dashed and restored hope.
In verses 1-3, the mourning women’s grief is compounded as they arrive at Jesus’ tomb to find His body missing. Quickly, angels restore their hope with the announcement that Jesus has risen from the dead. But their joy is short-lived; their friends don’t believe what sounds like nonsense. In a final scene, just hours later, Cleopas and his friend walk the weary road to Emmaus, wondering how their dreams for a grand future as citizens of the Messiah’s kingdom could have turned sideways so quickly.
A week earlier, Jesus had triumphantly entered Jerusalem while religious leaders looked on with disgust. Jesus’ followers must have boasted full hearts as their leader rode into the city like a conquering king.
Within five days, Jesus experienced an unjust trial, death on a cross and burial. “How can this be?” Jesus’ friends must have thought as they cowered in an attic room. “What happened to our king?”
It’s likely you can identify with some aspect of the disciples’ experience on this roller coaster of disappointment. Disappointment is a regular part of life in our fallen world. But even if you are well acquainted with the “oh no” feeling of being let down regularly, you don’t need to stay there.
Jesus invites you to a hope that ultimately cannot fail. In each instance in Luke 24, His hurting friends are provided the antidote to disappointment. He brings His followers back to the truth revealed in Scripture. The angels remind the distraught women of what Jesus had said before the devastating turn of events. And what Jesus patiently explains to the men walking to Emmaus invites us to remember the truth about Him.
Jesus also gave His followers the gift of His presence, which brought needed comfort. He was with them, and He is with you.
Even when you don’t feel it, in your darkest moments, Jesus is with you. It is the promise of Christmas, when He entered the world to save it. It is the promise of Easter, when He rose in victory over death. It is the promise of Jesus, your source of unfailing hope.
Mick Haupt has served with Cru® for 30 years, mostly in creative realms. He enjoys taking photos, writing devotionals for a music ministry and helping men grow deeper in their faith. He lives in Orlando, Florida, with his wife and two rambunctious boys.
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