Scripture Reading: Luke 24:1-49, Psalm 16:9-11
They had hoped He was the one. But here it was, the third day since Jesus’ crucifixion. And here they were, spices in hand, walking to the tomb to anoint His dead body.
They had hoped He was the one, and now they were heartbroken.
That same day, two others walked the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were discouraged and dejected, and the tension in their conversation showed it. When a stranger inquired about their trouble, they responded in disbelief. Was this the only person in town who didn’t know what had happened? And so they told Him: a great teacher and prophet had been put to death, and now His body was a missing from the tomb. There were rumors that He was alive, but no one had seen Him. “We were hoping that he was the one who was about to redeem Israel,” they said (Luke 24:21).
They had hoped He was the one. What would they do now?
If we pause the story here, we can imagine this desperate, disheartening feeling. We know from experience what it feels like to realize our long held hopes have come up empty. We know the sinking feeling that comes with a door not just closed, but bolted shut, the key permanently out of our reach.
We know what it’s like to hold on to a hope that cannot hold up. But this was not that. This was an unbreakable, undeniable, unsinkable hope.
Yes, the two on the Emmaus Road had all but given up that a redeemer was coming. But then they saw Jesus breaking bread in front of their eyes. Yes, the disciples gathered, grieving the death of the one to whom they’d given their lives. But they would soon touch the scarred hands of the Savior. Yes, the friends of Jesus walked weeping to the tomb that morning. But they walked away rejoicing.
“Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the light-clad angels at the empty tomb. “He is not here, but he has risen!” (vv. 5-6). Their teacher, their prophet, their friend—their hope—was no longer dead in the grave.
When the risen Jesus dined with the Eleven that evening, He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (v. 44). Everything—all the promises and prophecies of God—are fulfilled in Jesus.
The stories are all true. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior, who lived a life perfectly obedient and pleasing to the Father, bore the punishment of death for our sins, was buried, and rose on the third day, conquering death forever and reconciling us to God the Father.
For every hope that comes up empty, for every grave that remains closed, there is the faithful refrain of a loving, living Savior who calls to us: Repent and receive forgiveness (Acts 2:38). Believe and have life (John 3:16-17). Come to me, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
Jesus Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.