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Finding God in your story - "don't you remember?" When we are trapped in our own perspective.

"And these words seemed to them to be babble, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, and stooping down, he saw only the linen cloths and went away, wondering at what had happened. " (Luke 24:5, Revised Elberfelder 2006)

"But some of our women also upset us, who had been at the tomb early in the morning
23 And when they did not find his body, they came and said that they had also seen an apparition of angels, saying that he was alive.
24 And some of those who are with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see him." ( Luke 24:22 ff)

My dear friends, dear followers,

When the disciples came across a man at Emmaus who asked them about the recent events in Jerusalem, they did not recognize him.

How could they have forgotten the appearance, the voice, the manner, the whole being of Jesus within a few days?

Well, they didn't really forget Him - but the story was shelved, discarded and literally buried. For them, the story of this book - as sad as it was - was simply over. Nobody expected Jesus anymore.

What remained were people's reactions to recent events:

Conversations about the disappointment, about the fact that they all thought Jesus was a special prophet. Well, some who even said he was Elijah reincarnated! Some went even further and even considered him to be the Messiah. And now? Had he been crucified as a blasphemer, an impostor, a juggler, a rabble-rouser, and they? They all? They also followed him. How much he had fooled them! No, that never, ever happened to them again. This oath of the disciples can be clearly seen in the following stories:

I don't think we should blame Peter for suddenly no longer being so sure that what he had experienced with Jesus was real. What he saw was a hundred thousand times more real: the whipping, the humiliation, the mockery, the superiority of the High Council and the Romans. He too was among the disciples who met the Risen One in Emmaus.

Yes, there were rumors spread by women who said Jesus was resurrected, including James' mother. Women's gossip. You couldn't believe the testimony of women anyway, as a good Jew knew. " They hallucinate, the women. "

Anger, frustration, deep resignation.

Disillusionment is a bad feeling. Hope disappointed is heartbreaking. Waiting for something with all your heart and then not receiving- it destroys your soul. Any couple who has ever lost a child by misscarriage can confirm this. The emptiness they must have felt was all-encompassing.

The crucifixion of Jesus was like a slap in the face to all those who believed in him. It left them not only sad, but devastated. And what we do then, what we all do in such situations, is to cling to the simple. We no longer dream, we don't want to dream. We don't want to hope either. We no longer want to aim high. We want what is really real. We want to touch and understand.

And everything else - we no longer trust it.

And then there is our own version of the story that we experience:

In the case of the disciples, it was the desperate realization that their Lord, the untouchable Lord, the glorious Son of God, was dead. Died like any other human being, and in such a shameful way.

Instead of a wonderful future - back to reality. It didn't work, it didn't work out. It was a nice dream - somehow, that thing with Jesus. There is also a natural reaction to experienced suffering: it colors our perception even darker, even more sinister than reality actually is. And our stories become darker and darker, our perception ever more hopeless, fatalistic and terrible.

In such a situation, the disciples meet Jesus on their way to Emmaus. And they don't recognize him, are so caught up in their own version of history that they need someone from outside to correct their narrative:

"And he said to them: You foolish[6] and ⟨too⟩ slow of heart[7] to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" (Luke 24:25, revised Elberfelder). 

What Jesus is doing here is correcting, supplementing and expanding one's own perspective.

The disciples simply overlooked and ignored much of what was written about the Messiah. What was still there in her head was the positive narrative: the 1000-year kingdom of peace that did not come. The miracles and signs that they had seen, the lame that walked, the blind that saw, the prisoners that were set free, the dead that rose again. Well, that was clearly over now.

Jesus does not simply reveal himself to them. No: He begins to interpret the scriptures to them.

He supplements their own narrative with the suffering of the Servant of God, as foretold in Psalm 22, as preserved on Isaiah's scrolls. From Isaiah 52:11 the picture of the Messiah is completed, moving away from all the glory towards suffering. And by completing the picture and saying, "It was written, and this is how it had to happen," he created comfort, understanding, and gave them back their faith. Obviously, someone from outside is needed to retell the story, expose errors, and... broadens their view.

We also tend to tell half-truths about both:

On what Jesus has announced to us and what concerns our personal history. And it tosses us around like loose chaff flying around.

Many tend to sugarcoat when telling their own story, while others tend to dramatize and choose a much darker narrative than what is real. Our perspective is colored and incomplete.

The problem is: If we don't see the whole picture, then we get lost in assumptions that are not correct, we get stuck in insolvability, in hopelessness, in false assumptions that we defend to the death - even though they have long since crumbled in our hands .

And it is no different with the story that Jesus told and announced and that set our future:

We are outraged by earthquakes, catastrophes, heresy. We do not understand why people stop loving, and we are completely drowned in every form of darkness that floods this earth. We are outraged by false prophets, we are horrified when we leave a discussion with a scribe feeling like we have hit a stubborn wall of hard legalism. We react completely lost when the world hates us for love and truth. We are totally shocked when we see people who serve both money and Jesus obviously choosing money. Yes, more: We condemn them bitterly for their choice, we are obviously unable to see the conflict behind it.

We moan and groan and question our faith when our personal story is burdened.

When we are excluded, when we encounter unforgiveness, when we experience illness, persecution and hardship. We are shocked to the core when we are publicly whipped and excommunicated for honesty and rejection of injustice. We respond with dismay to those who accuse us of unholiness for wanting to eat with sinners. And when spiritual gifts and supernatural guidance come to us, we are happy about it - but we actually don't want that in our normal everyday life because it robs us of our control and structure.

The reason we react this way is because we allow our hearts to be troubled, as Jesus calls it.

You know what?

Jesus announced that this would happen, just as Isaiah announced Jesus' personal suffering. And if we calculate back, then Isaiah was like a prophet to us who said in 1284 AD, somewhere in the High Middle Ages, what is happening today - not a few pages before the beginning of the New Testament!

You know what?

It must be so. Our hearts must not be troubled.

When it comes to our own story, there is nothing more important than remembering where God has been when we are floundering in the dark like the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We need two things: We need to remind each other of how God has already worked beforehand:

  • "Do you remember when you thought you would never get through this crisis? How God held you, how suddenly life returned?

  • Do you remember when you thought you'd never be able to pay for the flight to New Zealand and it was all just a dream? How you wanted to go fishing? And how then suddenly the phone rang and you were flying on free miles?

  • Do you remember when you met that woman who taught you before you could even look over the edge of the table? Do you remember how the teacher saw you and rebuilt you with just a few words when you were so alone?

  • Do you remember?"

And what we need, second, is the reminder that Jesus told us that walking with him would not be easy:

  • "Yes, don't you see that all this has to happen?

  • Don't you see that Jesus announced that you would be falsely accused? That you would be whipped, with words, with deeds, that you would be excluded?

  • Yes, don't you remember that Jesus said that if you wanted to serve both, you would be torn between money and him for a time?

  • Don't you remember that he said that more righteous people are to be found among unbelievers than among believers and leaders and teachers? (The Good Samaritan).

  • Don't you remember that Jesus said that some of those who would see false prophets put on a show and lead many astray, those who would see much of the church fall away and lawlessness take over in a self-centered way selfishness and coldness, would be the ones among whose ranks some would not die before he returns?

Where we are stuck, we have to look at what we don't (want to) hear. Where we are missing a part of the story. Maybe it's the good, the healing part that we don't hear. But perhaps it is what Jesus said and announced about the end times that brings peace back to our souls.

In any case, the disciples conclude with:

Did not our hearts burn within us as he spoke to us on the way and as he opened the scriptures to us?"

Their hearts were burning again. Life returned.

Sometimes we need someone to interpret the scriptures for us correctly.

And sometimes we need someone to show us how Jesus worked in our personal story.

Sometimes we need someone to remind us that Jesus is not a story from the Arabian Nights, but walks with us, always meets us.

That He, the King of kings, has not only risen. TRULY risen.

Be blessed.

Zion's daughter.


Elberfelder Bible 2006, © 2006 SCM R.Brockhaus in the SCM Verlagsgruppe GmbH, Holzgerlingen ( ), with the kind permission of SCM.


Music: Yonder Dale: Benevolent.

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