God Knows…When Things Look Hopeless – Part 2
After Jesus exited the tomb, shining with the glory of heaven, the soldiers guarding the tomb hurried toward the city, telling everyone what they had seen. Before they could report to Pilate, some very concerned priests sent for them. The very same men who had asked for soldiers to ensure that the disciples couldn’t steal Christ’s body NOW begged the soldiers to say that the Jesus’ body had been stolen! Reluctantly the soldiers agreed to change their story. But the true story spread anyway, for many people had heard the first version.
Jesus’ friends hadn’t heard the news. When Mary Magdalene discovered that the tomb was empty, she rushed to tell the disciples! Peter and John returned with her to confirm that the tomb really was empty. When they left to carry the news to Jerusalem, Mary stayed behind. Two angels appeared and asked, “Why are you crying?” “Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she cried. A voice from behind her repeated the question. She replied, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him.” Then this person said her name. Suddenly Mary recognized the voice of Jesus! She turned and saw Jesus, alive! What great news!
But on the very day Jesus’ followers should have been rejoicing, things seemed hopeless for them because they didn’t BELIEVE the good news. Cleopas and a friend were headed home to Emmaus. In Jerusalem, they had learned that Jesus’ body had disappeared. They heard Mary’s story of seeing Jesus, but rationalized it as something she had imagined. While walking along in gloomy conversation, a stranger joined them and asked, “What are you talking about?” “You must be the only visitor to Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened!” they replied. They described their disappointment regarding Jesus. “We were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel,” they said.
“Oh, you foolish men!” exclaimed the Man. “Wasn’t it necessary for Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Starting with the beginning of history, the stranger explained the prophecies in Scripture that foretold the true mission of Jesus. It was dark by the time they reached home. “Come, stay with us,” they invited. Soon a simple supper was on the table. As their guest reached out His hands to ask the blessing on the food, the men were startled. “It is the Lord Jesus! He HAS risen from the dead!” In an instant, Jesus vanished. But so did their exhaustion and hunger. They raced back toward Jerusalem. They had good news to tell!
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When things look hopeless, we can turn to God’s Word and search out His promises. We can remember that it is always the darkest just before dawn, and that with God all things are possible. His wisdom, power, and love are greater than our biggest problems.
Where to find the story: Matthew 27-28, Mark 15-16, Luke 22 and 24, and John 19-20
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