Read Luke 24:13-35
Life is often similar to the Dickens novel, ‘Great Expectations’, isn’t it? We have a picture in our minds of the way things will play out, just as Pip did. He had grand ideas of living in London and becoming a wealthy gentleman. However, the unfolding of his life’s events were often much different than the way he imagined they would be. We too have our own “great expectations”. May I relate one from this past Christmas that will never be a part of a novel as Pip, Miss Havisham’s and Estella’s were? I saw it. The perfect recipe for fudge, one that contained chocolate, marshmallows and peanut butter. A trio of deliciousness. In addition to that, it didn’t require a candy thermometer. The great expectations took root. I would whip up a batch and have it plated up for family and even a bit set aside for a special gift for someone who might pop in. So, I put it together and placed the ready to be cooled mixture in a pan. Into the refrigerator it went. I couldn’t wait to taste it. Surely it would be as good as that wonderful peanut butter and chocolate candy most of us really enjoy. Then it happened. I took the first bite. I had expected creamy and rich. I tasted chewy and unimpressive. I thought about putting the pan in the back of the refrigerator, with the hope that several days of resting might improve the finished product. Alas, not really believing that was possible and having no idea what might infuse some taste and texture into the disappointing confection, I simply threw my “great expectations into the trash. After all, fudge failure has no lasting effect in the scheme of things.
That same thing can’t be said about the events in today’s scripture reading. Here we meet two men Cleopas and an unnamed gentleman who had been living with truly great expectations. They had ideas about the way Jesus would do things that were set in stone. It is obvious by their demeanor when we first encounter them, that all their hopes concerning the Master had been shattered. Surely, I would have been in the same boat with them. Can you imagine believing that Jesus was on the precipice of setting up the promised kingdom, only to watch His brutal death? How different things looked on the Emmaus Road than they had on the day the Lord road into Jerusalem on a donkey. They had watched the One they believed in go from being lauded to being mocked. No wonder they spoke of being amazed at what the women had said about the tomb being empty, and yet they experienced no joy from their proclamation. They weren’t able to get past their broken dreams, having witnessed circumstances that were so contrary to their preconceived ideas. Enter the One Who is the Truth. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been on that walk with them? Imagine the beauty of Jesus’ unwrapping the truths of His Word to them. He reminded them that what He had suffered, as well as details about His life and ministry had been foretold in the scriptures. No wonder their hearts burned with joy. No wonder after they recognized Him, they returned quickly to tell the others. They had walked with the One Who had fulfilled the great expectations they had for Him, even though they had not realized that fact prior to their special time with their Lord. The knowledge that God’s plan was more grand than they knew changed the Road to Emmaus into a road of excitement. How different the trip back to Jerusalem was than the trip toward Emmaus had been. Hope changed everything. God’s plan hadn’t been aborted; instead, it had taken a vastly different turn than Cleopas and his friend could have imagined.
What we learn is that God has greater expectations, based upon His wisdom, power and love than we can imagine or think, Ephesians 3:20. The encouraging truth is that when we can’t see past our thwarted hopes, God’s greater plan for us stands, Psalm 138:8.
Lord, Thank You that all of Your truly great expectations will come to fruition, Psalm 115:3. Thank You for the glimpses we can see of Your great work. When we are disappointed by life’s twists and turns, please comfort us as You comforted Your friends on the Road that day.