This morning, I rose to find a quiet moment before the rest of the house woke, so that I could read about the resurrection of Jesus. The story begins with some women finding the tomb empty, and declaring this news to the disciples; yet still, some of the disciples were in disbelief; they were still mourning the crucifixion of Christ. As they walked and pondered the truth, risen Jesus (in disguise) walked along the two of them and asked them what they were discussing.
They said, "We had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel." When I read this, I found myself amused by the irony of their statement. Here they were: downcast, mournful, and confused, thinking all hope was lost, stuck on the notion that the one thing they longed to see hadn't come to fruition, and wouldn't. All this because they just couldn't see it with their own eyes; it wasn't apparent in the physical circumstances of the situation that hope was not lost.
Yet Jesus. Yet Jesus, who is always working in our lives, had done immeasurably more than what they had hoped for, asked, or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). While they had only been hoping for the redemption of Israel, Jesus, through His death and resurrection, had instead gone and redeemed the whole of mankind, for nations and generations to come, offering not just a sense of redemption for life on earth, but eternal redemption for ALL who believe in the power of His sacrifice.
How often do we as followers of Christ react to things in the same way as His disciples did? We hope for one thing from God, but when an obstacle hinders our view of the road ahead, we are quick to assume that all hope is lost. We throw in the towel and give up because we can't see how it could possibly still work out. Yet, all the while, our God has been working behind the scenes of our lives. Not only does He know the hopes of our hearts, but He is able to do, and often does, abundantly and exceedingly more than all we can see, think, or imagine. All we have to do is trust Him.
When Jesus reappears to His doubtful disciples, He says, "Peace be with you... Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?" (Luke 24:36-38)
I think this is what He would say to us too. Why do we worry? Why do we ever doubt that His word and His promises are true? He has called us to make our requests known to Him, and then to rest in the unrivaled peace that only He can give (Philippians 4:6-7). When Jesus rose again, He called His disciples to be at peace, knowing that what He had done was the fulfillment of prophecy. He wanted them, and us, to see the crucifiction and resurrection of Christ as the grave-defeating, glory-revealing act it was. He wanted us to recognize the truth of His word, the power of His being, the salvation that He brings. For this, for us, He died and rose again.