WHEN YOUR HOPE IS GONE                                                                                                   Andy Hollifield 1-8-19

Proverbs 13:12  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

In Luke 24 we find one of the saddest pictures in the bible.  Cleophas and presumably his wife Mary, were on their way from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus, a distance of about seven and a half miles.  As they began to talk about the events of that week in Jerusalem.  They were soon joined by a stranger who, unbeknownst to them, was Jesus.  As he asked them what events they were talking about, they began to give him a rundown of the whole week.  In verse 21 they tell Jesus that they had trusted that it would have been Jesus who was to be the redeemer of Israel.  Then they explained how it had now been three days since the crucifixion.  His followers, having been told by Jesus prior to his death that he would raise the tabernacle in three days, had now lost their hope.  Not only was their redeemer gone but so was all the hope of Israel.

They continued on with the account of the women at the tomb seeing the angels and being told that he was alive.  They even told him about Peter and John racing to the tomb only to find it was empty and Jesus was nowhere to be found.  In verse 25, Jesus kind of gave an admonishment about people not believing what the prophets had written and said about him.  At that point, he began to expound all of the prophecies from Moses throughout all of the scriptures that were written about him.  As they got close to their home, Jesus acted as if he was going on a little further.  They begged him to stay with them since it was getting late.  While in their home, they sat down to supper.  As he took the bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to them, their eyes were opened and they figured out who he was and then he vanished.

This couple began to remember how their hearts had burned in them as Jesus went through the scriptures.  They immediately headed back to Jerusalem, even though it was probably getting near dark, and found the disciples and the other followers of Jesus gathered together discussing Christ’ appearance to Peter.  While they were recounting their experience to those gathered, Jesus appeared in the midst.  Even though they knew he had risen, they were still scared and thought they were seeing a spirit.  Jesus first showed them his wounds but they were still wondering about it.  He still had to convince them it was him in the flesh and not a spirit, by eating fish and honeycomb.  As he ate, he began to recount to them the scriptures that had been written about him by the prophets .  He had to open their understanding so they could comprehend the meaning of the scriptures.  Then he began to explain that they were witnesses of all that both he and the prophets had spoken.  After Jesus blessed them they worshipped him with great joy.

I went over this whole story for one purpose and that is to illustrate that with Jesus there is always hope.  Things are not always what they seem.  Abraham had no idea by looking at the circumstances he was in, that incredible joy and relief were about to come to him in Genesis 22.  What had been a hopeless situation became a time of worship and rejoicing  when the angel spoke and stopped him from slaying Isaac. He then saw God provided the ram caught in a thicket to be offered to him in place of his son.   These folks too had spent over a week seeing their greatest fears be realized when Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified.  Many had devoted their lives to Jesus over his three plus years of ministry and were now disillusioned at best and distraught or worse.  Their hope had died on that cross.  For the last ten days their situation had gone from bad to worse with the arrest and trials, to being completely hopeless with his crucifixion.  Now, they couldn’t believe their eyes!  What, only moments before had been heartbreaking and hopeless, had now become total jubilation.

You may have reached a place in your life when your hope is gone.  Common sense tells you your situation is beyond hope.  Effort and rational thought have proven there is no help for it.  Your heart and mind want to hope and believe but your circumstances say it is no use.  You have reached the same place that Abraham and all of these folks had reached.  I hope this has helped you to believe that with Jesus, there is never a time “When your hope is gone.”  “For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).  Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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