Read: Luke 24
They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32, NLT)
Heartburn isn’t usually a good thing, but when God shows up and gives you heartburn, it’s a good thing.
These two disciples were walking the seven-mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, discussing the devastating news of the past few hours. It was the very first Easter Sunday, but they didn’t know yet that Jesus had risen from the tomb. As far as they were concerned, he was dead and gone—and so were their hopes.
Then Jesus showed up, although his identity was hidden from them, and gave them an incurable case of holy heartburn. It was the heartburn of hope, and it was just the cure their broken hearts needed in those post-crucifixion moments.
That’s the beauty of the resurrection. No matter what you’re going through, the empty tomb stands as a constant and certain reminder that there is always reason for hopefulness. That’s why the psalmist, David, said, “Why are you hopeless? Why are you in turmoil? Put your hope in God!” (Psalm 42:5) Resurrection hope is not just wishful thinking or a pie-in-the-sky kind of attitude that says, “Oh well, things will turn out okay someday.” It’s not the breezy kind of optimism that Mary Martin sang about in South Pacific when she said “I’m stuck like a dope with a thing called hope.”
The kind of hope Jesus will burn into your heart is first of all, a reliable hope. Marx said that hope is the opiate of the people, but Christian hope is built on the foundation of the Bible and supported by the reality of the empty tomb. Verse 27 says, “Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Second, resurrection hope is a relational hope. The resurrection is not just a story from the pages of history. “Christ is risen” isn’t just a theological incantation clerics pull out of their bag of tricks every Easter. It is hope that arises from an experience with Jesus himself, not just a dream or a fantasy or a phantom. Verse 29 says, “So he went home with them.” Jesus walked with these two disciples. He ate with them. He listened to them, inviting them to pour out their hearts. And he revealed himself to them. Resurrection hope is a real person—an intimate relationship with the living Lord.
And third, the kind of hope Jesus wants to give you is a radical hope. When you encounter the risen Lord and put your complete trust in him, it will be nothing short of life-changing. Verse 31 says that after they had spent time with Jesus, “suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” These two disciples were headed back to Emmaus to pick up the pieces of their shattered dreams, if that were even possible. Instead, they encountered Jesus, and their plans were radically altered. Actually, their lives were radically altered from that moment on.
Maybe you are in the kind of funk these two disciples were on that first Easter Sunday. Perhaps your dreams have been dashed, your circumstances are not what you had hoped for, and your life has not turned out as you expected. Get ready! If you start to get a little heartburn, it could be that the risen Lord is resurrecting your hopes.
By the way, when Jesus resurrects your hope, you will never be disappointed! (Romans 5:5, NLT)
“He that lives in hope dances without music.” ~George Herbert
What If God Took Over?
Surrendering to God’s total control means giving him your dashed hopes and broken dreams. Have you done that? If you have, perhaps you’ve taken them back out of his hands and are clinging in bitter disappointment to things that have not turned out as you had hoped. Surrender—or re-surrender—then to the One who specializes in resurrecting dead things!