AN INTENSE IRONY
Luke 24:17 – “………And they stood still looking sad.”
There is an intense irony in Luke 24. Two of the disciples are walking on the road to Emmaus after Jesus’ crucifixion, to be precise it is actually 3 days after his crucifixion. They are extremely sad and as they are walking they were discussing all the things that had happened. Maybe this was the first time that they had gotten together, and were now trying to process all they had seen and heard over the last few days. They were trying to make sense of something that didn’t make sense. Jesus, their leader, the one they thought was going to be King was gone. He had been crucified and He had died in a merciless way. It was horrific, all their dreams, all their hopes, all their ideas had been shattered. Jesus was dead, He was in the grave. It was over and life didn’t make sense.
They are talking about all of this on the road. Walking and talking, and probably weeping and spending time in silence because sometimes the pain is so real, that you can’t even speak. These disciples are probably at that point, but then as they are walking someone comes up beside them and begins to talk with them. “What are you talking about? What are you discussing,” the man says. And they just simply stand still looking sad. They are sad because their lives have changed, sad because their dreams are seemingly destroyed, sad because Jesus is gone and the irony is Jesus is walking with them and talking with them. They don’t recognize Him however so they just simply “stand still looking sad.”
They probably stopped walking because they couldn’t believe that this man whoever He was would come and interrupt their conversation. Of course it wasn’t just shock it was also disbelief, “are you the only person who doesn’t know what went on?” In other words the whole town knows, the whole region knows, how can you not know? Again the irony, they are asking Jesus how do you not know what went on, when in reality He knows full well what went on. He suffered and He died. He of course also knows what they don’t know, He knows the reason for all that went on. He knows that His death was for the glory of the Father and for their salvation. They don’t know and so they are living in sadness, in shock, in brokenness. Jesus however knows and in His grace and love He is getting ready to reveal it to them.
At this point however they have no idea so the just “stand still looking sad.” As I read these words and contemplate the whole scene I have to wonder are we ever that way in our lives. Sad, overcome, living in shock, horror, and disbelief because we don’t see Jesus. We see the horror of the situation we are going through. We see the pain. We see the immediate suffering, but we don’t see Jesus. We don’t see that He is “working all things together for good for those that love the Lord” (Romans 8:28). We don’t see His promise, “blessed (happy) are those that mourn (that is another great irony, happy are those that are mourning) for they will be comforted. We don’t see Him standing right beside us with arms wide open.
On this journey sometimes we miss Him and when we do we live in a sadness and a hopelessness and a brokenness that we don’t have to live in. He is with us every step of the journey, and He is working for our good in every step of the journey, and He is comforting us in every step that we take. We sometimes get overwhelmed and miss Him but He is there. We can’t see the big picture, but He can, and so we simply trust what He is doing and how He is working. We simply listen to Him, love Him and walk with Him. Make no mistake about it that is not easy to do and somedays are better than others, somedays we will just simply “stand still looking sad”, but even then He is there. Even then He stands with us, He listens and He cares. That is the God that we serve. No wonder Samuel Rutherford said, “I marvel that a follower of Christ could ever have sadness of heart, when they consider what Jesus is preparing just for them.”