Thud... thud... thud. The sound of weary, sandaled feet on a dusty road was the only thing that could be heard. It was obvious all the two men were capable of was placing one foot in front of the other. Their only goal was to make it through the day and reach a place of lodging before nightfall. Shoulders drooping, heads bent low, the air was heavy with their dejection. Anyone passing by could feel the misery radiating from the pair.
As they plodded along, the taller man hit his forehead with the palm of his hand in a motion of annoyance and bemoaned to his friend, Cleopas, "Those women, they'll believe anything! We know it's over. He died. We witnessed it firsthand. All Jerusalem watched it happen. Our dreams of victory are gone. Gone! Freedom from the oppression of the Romans?" He snorted derisively. "Why did we ever think it was possible?"
Cleopas' voice cracked as he fought back tears, "I know. It's almost cruel of them to suggest that he is alive. Gullible is what they are. All of us men were trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of our lives and find a way to go on when they ran in claiming angels told them he had risen from the dead. They have to stop telling tall tales! It's hard enough as it is, trying to understand what happened."
As they were lamenting the recent events, their downcast eyes missed seeing another man come in from a side road and join them. "Friends, what is it you speak of that makes you so gloomy?"
Without even raising his head, Cleopas responded in an irritated voice, "Where have you been? You must be the only one in the whole city who doesn't know."
"Know what? Tell me." The stranger replied eagerly.
Cleopas and his friend explained the sad story: Jesus, the mighty prophet who they thought would redeem Israel, had been crucified just a few days ago. Now the women who were his followers claimed angels had informed them he was alive.
Their new friend sighed and unwittingly mimicked the earlier gesture of the taller man, with the palm of his hand to his forehead, he marveled, "'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?'" (Luke 24:25-26 ESV).
As they would later realize, the one that met them on the road was no new acquaintance. This was Jesus.
Foolish? Slow of heart? Can you hear the frustration in the voice of the Master? The disappointment? The compassion? He had spent years with these men, had told them He would die but live again. He revealed the prophecies to them in word and in deed but when the moment came, when the most exciting event in history took place, they chose despair over belief.
Repeatedly in scripture we see the exasperation of God in response to His people's unbelief.
Jesus crying over His beloved nation: "'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem... how often would I have gathered thy children together... and ye would not!'" (Luke 13:34 KJV).
The Savior rebuking the religious leaders of the day: "'And have ye not read this scripture...?'"(Mark 12:10 KJV).
In the account of the rich man and Lazarus: "'I pray thee... send him to my father's house... that he may testify unto them.'" "'If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.'"(Luke 16:27-31 KJV).
How many times has the Almighty done a facepalm when, once again, you or I responded to a crisis with a lack of faith? What will it take for us to trust His promises? Are we waiting for one to rise from the dead? It already happened. If you don't choose to accept the word of God with the promises it contains as the truth, how will you be convinced? The answer is simple. You won't.
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