Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

The Power of the Resurrection and the Depressed and Discouraged Believer

Powerful Life Lessons from the Aftermath of the Resurrection #3

Luke 24:13-34

13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;

23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

The Power of the Resurrection and the Depressed and Discouraged Believer (Powerful Life Lessons from the Aftermath of the Resurrection #3)

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?

First, understand that Jesus knows about your depression. When Jesus meets up with the two travelers, He asks them, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” Other translations of the Bible state that Cleopas and his companion “stood still, their faces downcast.” Jesus knew that they were “sad.” And, that, in itself is comforting.

Many who struggle with depression feel as though nobody cares, as though they are all alone in the world. But that is not the case. As the hymn writer says, “Jesus knows all about our struggles.”

Not only does Jesus know about our struggles, but He is willing to lend a listening ear. He wants to hear about the things of life that have caused us to be depressed and distressed. He asks Cleopas and his companion, ‘Why are you sad?’ They answer, “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?” Basically, they are saying to Jesus, “Sir, have you been living under a rock? Everybody knows what’s been happening in Jerusalem.” We see from their response that the crucifixion of Jesus was big news. It was all the city had talked about over the Passover weekend.

Jesus, evidently pretending not to know, asks, “What things?” And the Bible tells us that these two travelers go on to tell Jesus about His own crucifixion at the hands of the Jewish authorities. And, in the course of this discussion, we learn why they are so depressed.

They are depressed and discouraged because Jesus did not do what they had expected Him to do. They said that they “trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.” I.H. Marshall comments that “Their hope was that Jesus would crown his prophetic work by redeeming the people, that is by setting them free from their enemies and inaugurating the kingdom of God. The disciples naturally think in terms of the redemption of God’s own people, Israel. But their hopes had been dashed by his death.”

Moreover, these two go on to state, “beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.” Marshall adds that “the reference to the third day appears to reflect the Jewish belief that” the soul lingered around the grave for three days after death in hopes of being reunited with the body. This statement might also reflect “a dim memory that Jesus had spoken enigmatically of something happening on the third day… What the disciples have said remains valid despite what has been reported concerning the body of Jesus; neither the empty tomb nor the story of an angelic message provide conclusive support that Jesus is alive, but simply heighten the tragedy…”

Jesus takes the time to listen to these two people who had put their hope in the Messiah talk about their disappointment with the way things had turned out. Of course, Jesus knew exactly how things would turn out, but He still took the time to listen. The good news for those who are dealing with depression today is that God wants to hear from you too. You never have to go through life thinking that nobody cares or that nobody knows what you are going through. The most important Person in the universe knows, and He wants to hear from you.

Second, notice how Jesus turns our attention to the Word of God. As soon as Cleopas and his companion finish telling Jesus the reason why they are depressed, He says to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken…” Jesus immediately focuses on the Scripture, not on what is happening at the moment. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”

By pointing their attention to the Scriptures, Jesus helps these two to understand what is happening from God’s perspective — not from their own perspective. All they know is that the Jesus who they put their hope in was put to death and now His body is missing. However, God knows that Jesus had risen from the dead just as had been predicted and that He would bring about the restoration of the kingdom of Israel according to His plan.

For those struggling with depression and discouragement today, please understand that you cannot focus on your circumstances and what is happening in the present. You must look at God’s Word for the advice, comfort, confidence, and answers for your present situation. You cannot live by your feelings and emotions, but by the Word of God. Corrie ten Boom said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look to God you’ll be at rest.”

That is what Jesus Christ does here. He does not take part in their sadness over the recent events in Jerusalem. Rather, He turns their attention to the Word of God and helps them understand what is happening from God’s perspective. If you want to overcome your depression and your discouragement, you must do the same — look at the world through God’s eyes rather than your eyes.

Finally, we see that, through Jesus, we are able to overcome depressing circumstances. After Jesus finished talking with the travelers, they, as was Jewish custom, invited Him to stay at their house in Emmaus. While they were eating, the Bible tells us that their eyes were opened and they were able to see Jesus as He really was. As they looked upon Him in awe, He “vanished out of their sight.” The Bible tells us that “they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

The Greek word used for “burn” means “to set on fire, to light, or to consume with fire.” William Barclay says their hearts were “strangely warmed.” Marshall writes that “they had experienced an unusual elation.” He goes on to say, “The reality of the risen Jesus was already making itself known to the disciples as he spoke to them, struggling to put itself into conscious form, and only being recognised for what it was after the visual revelation of Jesus. The story may then be suggesting that in the light of the disciples’ experience later believers may be able to recognise their inward warmth of heart as springing from the presence of the risen Lord.”

Even though the physical presence of Jesus Christ was gone, these followers knew that He was alive, and that knowledge filled their hearts with joy. Despite the circumstances, their outlook had changed both from their new understanding of the Word of God and from their brief experience with the risen Lord. They were so elated, in fact, that “the same hour” they left Emmaus to go back to Jerusalem — a journey of seven miles, on foot — to tell the disciples there the good news.

If you are struggling with depression and discouragement, the power of the resurrection extends even to you. Understand that, although you may feel alone, God knows about your struggles and He wants you to talk to Him about them. Also, choose to get into the Word of God and begin living by what It says and not your feelings or the circumstances around you . Finally, make sure that Jesus Christ is living in your heart. Accepting Jesus Christ as Savior will not solve every problem in your life, but it will give you the strength, endurance, and even the joy to deal with whatever situation you face.

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If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.

First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.