They had had such high hopes, convinced that a new era had arrived. They had thought that what they had anticipated for the last several years was going to be fulfilled. Indeed, the signs were everywhere, but their hopes had ended in bitter disappointment. How could they move forward into an unknown future?
Then the two men walking on the road to Emmaus recognized that Jesus had been in their presence all along. And His presence changed everything. They traveled the proverbial road from disappointment to delight. How did they do this? Our journey through their story can be found in Luke 24.
They shared their thoughts with each other (vv. 14–16)
I know very few people who don’t have at least one person in whom they can confide their hopes, dreams, secrets, joys, pain, and fears. Human nature demands that we not keep matters of importance only to ourselves.
The two travelers spoke of their hopes that the Messiah would soon come and their dismay that their dreams remained unfulfilled. Little did they realize how literally near He was to them; that He had already come. Ellen G. White says of them, “they were so absorbed in their gloom and disappointment that they did not observe him closely.”1 They allowed their feelings about recent events to eclipse their ability to see that Jesus was near them, waiting to share eternal insights with and through them.
They expressed their feelings to Jesus (vv. 18-24)
Although these two men shared their thoughts with each other, they didn’t experience the breakthrough they needed until they expressed their feelings to Jesus. They were heartbroken; but Someone was about to turn their disappointment into delight.
They listened to what Jesus had to say (vv. 25–27)
Jesus was waiting to speak words of comfort to their troubled souls. No sooner did they open their hearts to Jesus than He revealed life-changing light to them. More than that, what Jesus had to say was squarely focused on His mission. The work of God didn’t start just three-and-a-half years earlier, and it certainly didn’t find an inglorious ending 48 hours prior. His mission was clearly to be seen in every lamb sacrificed on altars, and had also been ultimately witnessed as the Lamb of God was sacrificed on the cross.
They welcomed Jesus even when they didn’t discern Him (vv. 29–31)
The men, still not knowing who Jesus was, invited Him to rest with them and share a meal. He, who thrilled their hearts with what He said earlier, now thrilled their souls as He took the bread, broke it, and gave it to them. At that time, their eyes were opened, and they realized that the One who just blessed the bread was the One who had always been blessing them with the hope that they would one day see prophecy fulfilled.
They preached the message Jesus gave them (vv. 33–35)
Without regard for hunger, weariness, personal safety, or a host of other physical or mental factors,2 these two men proclaimed “a message of glad tidings upon which the hopes of the human family for time and for eternity depend.”3
In ministry, we face all types of disappointments—far too many to enumerate at present. When we encounter them, it seems as if the end of the world has come, and we have no hope for the future.
However, the question we must ask ourselves is, “How does one move from disappointment to delight?”
The two men of Luke 24:13–35 traveled on something more than the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They traveled the road from disappointment to delight—a delight rooted in Christ’s presence with them and the burning desire to share the good news of the Savior with others. May we all do the same!
1 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Assn., 1898), 795.
2 Ibid., 801.