“We wanted him to redeem us, but he only got himself crucified.”
So intimated Cleopas and friend to that mysterious traveler on the road to Emmaus. He and his fellow disciples were hoping for a savior who would bring redemption to Israel, but all they got was a well-meaning dead friend, hanged on a bloody cross.
Of course, redemption originally meant deliverance from slavery. Israel was a vassal state of the Roman Empire. Roman centurions were a fixture of Israelite streets. If you were a Jew during these days of Israel and a Roman soldier asked you to carry his pack, you carried his pack. No questions asked.
And Cleopas and company thought that this Jesus of Nazareth was going to redeem them – they thought that this miracle working prophet, mighty in word and deed, would be just the One to get Israel out from under the boot of Rome.
“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.” Luke 24:21 (ESV)
They wanted so badly for one thing, and when it didn’t happen, they thought that God had come up up short for them. In the end, though, of course, they got far more than they might have ever hoped for: a resurrected Savior, the blessed Holy Spirit of God, and the hope of eternal life.
It begs the question: has God come up short for you too? Has He failed to answer your prayers…to meet your expectations?
- You wanted to get into UW Madison, but all you got was….
- You wanted to date so and so, but all you got was…
- You wanted to work at XYZ company, but all you got was…
- You wanted redemption, but all you got was a dead friend.
Well, Luke 24 tells us…don’t be so sure. Don’t be so sure that you got less than what you were hoping for. We serve a surprising and powerful God, who often doesn’t do things the way we would expect Him to, and who also happens to love us deeply.
Thus, our definition of God “not coming through” may in the end mean that we receive far more than we ever hoped for.
For tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4: Philippians 1