In the Gospel of Luke 24:13-49, we read of a trip taken by two disciples of Jesus. Cleopas and his unnamed partner, decided to leave Jerusalem. Now this might make sense if it happened right after the crucifixion on Friday, but it didn’t. They waited until Sunday. In fact, they left after hearing the news that the tomb was empty. When they are approached by Jesus (who they are prevented from recognizing), they tell him what happened to this prophet Jesus who they thought “that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” Their expectations were not immediately met in the way they wanted, so they left. But before they leave, they heard some interesting news:
…In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus…
How often have we done this? How often have we focused on the negative or the lack of meeting OUR expectations that we fail to see the positive standing right in front of us? How many times do people stop coming or leave the church all together because they only see the negative? How often do we lose an important relationship because we only see bad habits while missing all the good? How often do we criticize things – and miss the good that happened?
The other day we went to the movies. And at the end, we were talking about how good the movie was. Then, we started focusing on how the people behind us were kicking our seats – but only for a moment – we stopped and thought about it. We just experienced a great movie as a family – and had a lot of fun. Why ruin that by focusing on the little negative instead of the huge positive? We refocused on the good and enjoyed the rest of our day.
In our gospel story, the two disciples continue their journey away from the big event – but Jesus stays with them. And when they have reached the evening destination, they invite Jesus to eat with them, following appropriate hospitality rules. And then it happens. Jesus breaks the bread and their eyes are opened. They get it.
There is good news for us. Even when we have momentary doubts, Jesus is with us. Even when we don’t see Him, Jesus is with us. But we need to be willing to open our eyes. We need to see the good over the bad, the positive over the negative. Sometimes we need to look beyond the immediate negative and see the hope. After all, isn’t hope what Jesus brought us in the first place?
Grace and Peace,