This past week my wife and I spent time with a close friend who adopted a two and a half year old child. Their home, family, and hearts were prepared to lavish great love on their new child. This child would come into a caring, loving and comfortable home. Surely this child would respond with ecstatic appreciation! Or so we all thought. After years of waiting, the actual adoption happened, and the child struggled. She struggled to leave her foster parents and adjust to her new parents. She threw temper tantrums and refused to eat. Physical challenges became apparent. Although she was adopted into a new family, she struggled to adapt to that new family. Only after a few years did she begin to settle into her new identity as an adopted child.
Similarly we often struggle when we are adopted into God’s family. Although we are adopted and embraced by God unconditionally, we struggle to receive and live by that love. In Luke 24:13–35 Jesus walks with his disciples so that they can live in a new reality. This is the reality of his resurrection. How does Jesus help us to live into that reality?
First, Jesus walks with us in our disappointments (Luke 24:13–24). Jesus meets a few people on the road from Emmaus, confused because of the death of their hopes that he was the one to redeem Israel (24:21). Jesus meets them in the midst of their disappointment. Similarly with our disappointed hopes, Jesus does not rebuke us for our disappointment but he walks with us in the midst of our disappointments.
Second, Jesus helps us understand his purposes through his Word (Luke 24:25–27). Even as Jesus confronts their lack of understanding about this resurrection, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Their disappointments and misunderstandings are refocused by careful interpretation of God’s Word.
Finally, Jesus demonstrates his presence in the flesh (Luke 24:28–36). Jesus spends time with the disciples in his risen body. Their eyes are only opened as he took bread and ate with them. This ensures that this is not a ghost who was with them. As they spend time with Jesus in that way, they realize who he is. And they go and proclaim all that they have heard. Similarly as we encounter Jesus in his body, the body of Christ, we truly realize the truth and goodness of who He is.
Jesus helps us to adjust to the new reality of his resurrection. He walks with us in our disappointment, interpreting it according to his Word and bringing us into an encounter with Himself. May we walk in the fullness of his resurrection!