This Weekend


Ashes: Easter Sunday // Unexpected Joy

April 21st

Writer: Ray Roan

Key Passage:Luke 15

Big Idea: He is Risen. He is Risen, indeed! 

The life that Jesus offers to us is available here and now, and it’s available to everyone. Even when everything looks hopeless and dire, when you are ready to give up on life, when you are ready to give up on God, something unexpected happens. In our God-talk, we usually portray ourselves as the ones taking the initiative to “find God”, but in Scripture, it is God who takes the initiative and finds us! When God finds us, we discover an unexpected joy, even in our most hopeless and desperate situations. Welcome to the party.   

Have you ever pursued a dream, one that required your total commitment? Maybe you had an opportunity to go all in on an idea that you thought would be a Very Big Winner (like many did during the Dot-Com Boom), only to have it crash and burn, so that you lost everything. With hope gone, people simply gave up and walked away. Were you one of those people?  

Jesus’ disciples knew that experience, as well. They had left everything they owned and the livelihoods they knew to follow Jesus. We see Jesus’ call to Peter and Andrew, James and John in Mark 1:14-20 and Luke 5:1-11, and to Matthew (Levi) in Luke 5:27-28. Each one of them, “Left everything and followed Him”. They were all-in following Jesus. Their hope was that He was God’s chosen Messiah to redeem and save Israel – the promised King from the line of David. Then, Jesus was arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and executed on the cross. The disciples, all of the disciples, not just the 11 (remember when Jesus sent out the 72 in Luke 10), had that experience of feeling they had lost everything; their hope had been in Jesus, and He was now dead and buried, and their hope evaporated.   

In Chapter 24 of his Gospel, Luke gives us an account of two of Jesus’ disciples who, with their hope gone, simply gave up and walked away. These two were in Jerusalem when Jesus was arrested, tried, executed and buried. Now, what could they do but give up and walk away? So, these two set out on the Sunday after Jesus’ death to walk to the village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  

Do you remember Jesus’ parable about the Lost Sheep in Luke 15? The shepherd had a hundred sheep, one of them got lost, so the shepherd left the ninety-nine others and went after the lost one until he found it. Luke also records for us how Jesus sought after these two disciples while they walked to Emmaus, came alongside them on their journey, and directly addressed their loss of hope. As you read and discuss Luke’s account of this walk and talk, notice their sense of loss; observe how Jesus addressed their sense of loss directly and restored their hope; and pay attention to their response from their new position of restored hope!     

Readings: Luke 15:1-7 and Luke 24:13–35  

Discussion Questions: 

  • In Luke 15:1-7, what is the significance of the shepherd’s actions when he discovers that one of his sheep is missing?  
  • What were the two disciples doing while they walked to Emmaus? (Luke 24:13,14)   
    • What did Jesus do & say to open His discussion with them?  
    • What clues can you find regarding their mental and emotional states? (vs.17-24)  
  • If you had experienced and witnessed what they had, especially over the previous several days, what would your mental and emotional condition have been?
  • What does Jesus do to address their mental and emotional condition? How did their condition change? What did they do that demonstrated the change (and, how long did they wait before they took action)?  

Share a time when you were in what seemed to be a hopeless situation? What truths (from His Word) did He use to address your disappointment and bring you to Himself and to fellowship with His people?

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