“That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
“What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago” (Luke 24:13-21, NLT).
But we had hoped. Those are some of the saddest words in all of the Bible. There are few things worse than dashed hopes and crushed dreams. I think most of us know from experience what it’s like to have hopes disappoint.
When you said “I do” in a marriage, you had hoped that it would last forever. When you started dating that special someone, you had hoped it would lead to marriage. When you had taken the job, you had hoped it would be fulfilling and challenging while utilizing your gifts and talents.
In this case, these disciples were in the presence of the fulfillment of all their hopes and dreams without realizing it. They didn’t recognize that the Messiah they had hoped for was standing right in front of them.
I have found in my own life that disappointment leads me to redirect my vision and reset my hopes. Not all hopes and dreams are bad. Most of them are good– in fact, some are very good. But ultimately, if my hope is in anything less than Jesus, I will be disappointed. Even if I get what I wanted, it will turn out not to be my heart’s true desire.
Those two disciples eventually recognized Jesus for who He truly was and worshipped. May we find in Jesus the ultimate fulfilling of our own hopes and dreams, knowing that every other good gift comes from Him and finds its ultimate fulfillment through Him.