They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
I worked as a paramedic for five years while going to school for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. One of the idiosyncrasies found in the wake of trauma is the way an injured person’s mind preoccupies itself with inconsequential details. The stress of trauma tricked more than one patient’s brain into looking over a severe injury only to fixate on the loss of a shoelace to my trauma shears.
Poor decision making is, of course, not limited to trauma patients.
Leaders make bad decisions, in part, because of “inappropriate self-interest or distorting attachments,” writes Andrew Campbell in the Harvard Business Review. “Our brains can cause us to think we understand [situations] when we don’t.”
The final chapter of Luke shares the story of Jesus walking the road to Emmaus with two of his followers. They are unaware of his resurrection. It takes a seven mile walk and part of a meal for them to recognize to whom they are speaking.
They show their dismay when Jesus asks, “What things?” in reference to the previous days’ events. The trauma of the crucifixion consumes them (rightly so). Yet their reply to Christ also reveals their own self-interest and distorting attachments.
“We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel,” they lament. For many in Jesus’ day, “redeem Israel” had clear and immediate geo-political ramifications which were unmet. Jesus’ response reorients them.
God’s love did not deny or diminish Jesus’ suffering on earth. Yet Jesus’ words after the resurrection are almost exclusively focused on the meaning of the crucifixion rather than the pain of the event itself.
The reality of the resurrection gave Jesus’ suffering a meaning that could not be taken and a restoration of all that was lost. The reality of the kingdom took what must have felt like a thousand years of pain and eclipsed it with eternal glory.
Lord we long for you. Today we hurt and suffer under the weight of a world which is not our home. Come quickly, Lord. Return what has been lost. Restore what has been taken. Heal the brokenhearted. Resurrect the dead. Quench every longing with your presence, Lord Jesus.
Hope in the Darkness
Part 2 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org