Powerful Life Lessons from the Aftermath of the Resurrection #3
TEXT: Luke 24:13-34
According to the World Health Organization, over 350 million people around the world suffer from some form of depression. Long-term depression can lead to serious health problems. And, at its worse, depression can lead to suicide which is the cause of 1 million deaths each year. In recent months, the church has been forced to take a look at how it deals with depression. This is due in part to suicide being committed by pastors and children of pastors, as well as the seemingly consistent stream of reports which state that people who have carried out mass shootings, other criminal activity, including crashing a plane into a mountainside with 149 other people on board, suffer from some kind of depression or psychological illness.
So, depression is a real issue, and in our passage today, we find two depressed and discouraged individuals walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. One of these individuals is named Cleopas. Some have identified him as the husband of the “other Mary” who was at the cross as Jesus was being crucified. We do not know who his traveling companion is, but some have suggested that it is his wife. These two were on their way home from the Passover feast in Jerusalem which took place at the same time as Jesus’ crucifixion. Luke tells us that they were traveling “that same day.” This is referring to Sunday, the first Easter, after Mary, Mary Magdalene, Joanna and “other women” had gone to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus and found that the tomb was empty. The text indicates that Cleopas and his companion were with the disciples and others when the women came to tell them the good news, however, they, like the disciples, did not believe the report of the women. They are depressed, discouraged worried, and anxious about what has happened. As they are traveling, Jesus himself appears and begins walking with them, however, the Bible tells us that they do not recognize him. “Their eyes were holden that they should not know him” — indicating that their inability to recognize Jesus was divinely orchestrated.
How does this experience speak to the depressed and discouraged travelers as well as the depressed and discouraged people of today?