Disappointments. Disillusionment. Your life going to pieces.
It happens to everybody, doesn't it? As predictable as death and taxes.
How do you handle it?
I talked recently with a man who was hopeful of a new job. He had been through the application process and was one of the two persons being interviewed. He and his wife were so hopeful that they even applied for a place in a new school for their daughter and had that all arranged. Then he got the word: a younger man had been chosen.
He was crestfallen.
That's a descriptive word, isn't it? Do you know what it means, literally? A crest is a comb or growth on the head, such as a rooster has. It is also a plume on a helmet, or an insignia worn on the top of a helmet. When one is "crestfallen," it means that his head is bowed in humiliation or defeat.
My friend was crestfallen. He was hurt. He was disappointed.
How do you deal with your disappointments?
There is a clear prescription for it in our text today.
Maybe you are like me, and have always thought of this text about the men from Emmaus as a post-Easter text. It is filled with mystery and surprise, and functions well in that way.
But it is also a text about how to deal with disappointment at any time. It is very simple. It shows three things you are to do when you are hit by any great disappointment. First, you are to look back at the scriptures. Then you are to look around you at the fellowship. And, finally, you are to look ahead to the resurrection. Three simple acts, and they will take the heartache out of any disappointment. Let's look at them more closely.
I. First, look back at the scriptures.
These men had been greatly disappointed. They had believed that Jesus, the miracle-working teacher from Galilee, was the long-awaited Messiah from God and that the kingdom of God had been about to break forth in their time like wine from a pierced wineskin.
Then Jesus was crucified and His followers ran away. Their whole situation appeared to have changed dramatically. The Savior was dead, the movement was over. They were dragging their feet toward home, a few miles away from Jerusalem. They must have looked awful. They were tired, disillusioned, dispirited. Their hope had been nailed to a cross.
Jesus appeared and walked beside them. It was near dusk. They didn't realize who He was. He asked why they were so dejected. They hardly looked at Him, intent as they were on the dusty road.
"Surely you are the only stranger in Jerusalem who has not heard," they said. "Jesus was crucified there three days ago. We thought He would be the one to liberate Israel. Now He is dead."
And then, says our text, Jesus took the scriptures and, beginning with the Torah and then the prophets, showed them what they all meant concerning Himself, that He was to die and be raised from the dead. Wouldn't you like to have heard that lesson that evening? It would have to be the greatest Bible lesson of all time!
That was the first thing that answered the disappointment of these fellows from Emmaus -- they were made to look back at the Luke 24:13-35