by Shaun Caudill
Read the instructions first. I have been told that my whole life, but I don’t always practice it. I just want to get the project finished. I look at the pictures or read a couple of the main paragraphs and I feel like it is going to be a simple breeze to accomplish. It can be a very unpleasant experience when you think you know what you are doing only later to find that the project has become a total mess. If only I would have read the instructions first and followed them!
This is exactly what happened on the first Easter. Jesus had risen from the tomb, the women had seen and talked to Jesus, the disciples saw the empty tomb, however none of that seemed to sink in with the rest of Jesus’ followers. What should have been an exuberant celebration was instead marked with dismay and sadness. On the road to Emmaus, two men were walking and lamenting that their hope in Jesus had failed. On their way, Jesus Himself appears, but they do not recognize Him. When Jesus asked them what they were discussing, they launched into their discussion of despair with Him. After Jesus listened to them, He rebuked them. In Luke 24 it states, “And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Notice Jesus interpreted ALL the Scriptures concerning Himself. Not just the victorious passages, but also the ones where He would have to suffer. There are times that you and I just like to take the passages that make us feel hopeful. Notice I said feel. Every Scripture in the Bible is meant to increase our faith and draw us closer to Him in love and dependence, but we have a tendency to just look at a few and then proclaim that we truly understand God. This is a recipe for a total mess! It is the beginning of a complete letdown of your faith when things are not going the way you believe they are supposed to go. What would happen if you read the Bible (all the Bible) and began to let God show you His entire plan for the world and for you? What if you began to pray to God and ask for understanding over difficult passages instead of just skipping them altogether? What I am suggesting is more time consuming and difficult and may not always give the immediate gratification that you are looking for, but in the end you are on solid ground and full of more hope, joy, and peace because God has told you who He is and not vice-versa.
At the end of this story, Jesus has explained everything and then sat down to eat with them. When He breaks the bread their eyes are opened and they recognize who Jesus is. At that moment, everything changes. “They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed…!”” Let’s make a choice and start today to read all the instructions.