And they stood still, looking sad. *

 Do you recognize this verse from Luke? A few of Jesus’ followers had been walking home to their village about seven miles away when they encountered a “stranger” who asked them what they were talking about. “And they stood still, looking sad.” They recounted to the stranger how Jesus, a prophet mighty in deed and word, had been sentenced to death by the religious leaders and rulers, and he had been crucified.

But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.

–Luke 24:21 NASB

Can you hear the finality of disappointment and resignation in their voices? Take a second and say that line out loud to yourself a few times. Listen to the emphasis you put on the words. What word do you emphasize most of all? What emotion do you hear in your voice? Disappointment, discouragement, despair, despondency, dejection, defeat? I could imagine that all of those would have been true of Cleopas and his companion that day on the road.

“And they stood still, looking sad.” They described to the stranger how some of their friends had claimed to see a vision of angels who had said that Jesus was alive, and others of their friends had gone out to the tomb where His body had lain, and indeed it was empty, but they still hadn’t seen him anywhere yet.

It dawned on me this year that the initial reactions to the resurrection we find in the gospels were not victorious joy and overwhelming relief and amazement. They were characterized by sadness, confusion, fear, and doubt. In this story, we find two people trying to make sense out of it all. God was up to something so far beyond their imagination, but they were focused on the part they knew. “We were hoping . . . .”

What have you been hoping for lately? Can you put your finger on a desire that has been a bit elusive? Take a minute to become aware of something that you’ve been hoping for. Is there some disappointment you have that Jesus is inviting you to share with Him? How do you sense Jesus reacting to your disappointments? What is He inviting you to?

* Luke 24:17 NASB



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