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Pastor’s Corner 4.23.2023

Expectations vs. Reality

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The Church continues to celebrate Easter and the mystery of Jesus’ triumph over sin and death and his promise that all who believe in Him will share in His resurrected life.

Today God’s Word pours out the beautiful account of Jesus on that first Easter day when he appeared to two disciples on their way to Emmaus.  The disciples are grief-stricken and deflated because of what had happened just a couple of days earlier.  They had hoped that Jesus would be the one who would redeem Israel.  But they recounted how he was handed over to a sentence of death by the chief priests and rulers and how he had been crucified.

Anyone who reads the New Testament knows that Jesus did not keep his destiny of dying and rising a secret.  He had told his disciples on several occasions that he would have to suffer and die, but that he would be raised from the dead.  Yet, his disciples, even Peter and John, didn’t understand what was happening to Jesus.  So too with these disciples on the road to Emmaus.  Their hopes for what Jesus would become were dashed and they were wallowing in grief.  Why?

Sometimes we, like Jesus’ first disciples, do not really hear what Jesus is telling us because we are made deaf to His truth by our own insistence that He be what we want Him to be rather that who He really is.  We sometimes recraft God into our own image; we put Him in the box of our own expectations.  When we do that, the god that we have created in our minds is not God.  The god we create is most often a dim reflection of who God really is.  Our expectations of the god we create are far less than what the true God has in mind for us.

The disciples on the road to Emmaus had not fully grasped the identity of Jesus.  Their expectations of Him were far less than what He was in reality to offer.  Only when the Scriptures were opened to them did their hearts begin to burn within them.  It was only when Jesus broke bread in their midst that His true identity became known.

The scriptures invite us, the modern-day disciples of Jesus, to ask ourselves.  Do I accept Jesus for who He is, or have I created a “Jesus” of my own expectations, a “Jesus” that I’m comfortable with, a “Jesus” that won’t challenge me, a “Jesus” that I can control?  If so, that is not the Jesus of the Scriptures, nor the Jesus that rose from the dead.  The true Jesus loves us so much that He refuses to leave us as we are, but calls us to grow in love, a growth that sometimes is very challenging.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,