Text: Luke 24:13-25

Luke 24:13-25I recently read an article called, "How You Can Tell When It's Going to be a Rotten Day." It was signed "Author Unknown But Troubled." You're going to have a bad day when:

  • You wake up and your braces are locked together.
  • The birds singing outside your window are buzzards.
  • You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
  • You head for work and your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell's Angels on the freeway.
  • Your boss tells you not to bother to take your coat off.
  • Your income tax check bounces.
  • Feeling the stress, you call Suicide Prevention -- and they put you on hold.

We had one of those days recently at the Anderson household. The timing was bad because it was supposed to be a good day. We were hosting a dignitary from Japan, and things had to be just so. Karen had given her "Mom's Speech" to the five kids, the house looked better than normal, and we were ready -- sort of. Then the action began. Our youngest threw the vitamin bottle on the floor. Had the top been fastened, it would have been easy to clean up. We had quite a floor show as everyone chipped in to help rescue the vitamins. We argued during the process whether or not they were too dirty to save. Who wants to take vitamins for his health, then die because someone dragged in rabbit poop on his shoe and a vitamin landed on it?

Erikka was having fun while setting the table with Mommy's special dishes -- and broke one.

When the dignitaries arrived, we did all right until just before sitting down to lunch on our deck. The single red rose in the crystal vase at the plate of Mr. Dignitary looked so special, until the wind blew it down and knocked the cream over, spilling onto his plate.

The meal was built around apples -- apple salad and baked apples for dessert. Only problem -- he didn't like apples. We made the table nice with a red candle, but the wind blew it out and spilled the wax on the tablecloth. While pouring the apple juice, more went on the table than in the glass.

Afterward, Naomi broke a special goblet she had received from a friend. With days like this you duck every time you hear a sound. You start expecting problems and, sure enough, there they are. It was supposed to be a good day but we had one upset after another.

Some of us have marriages that were supposed to be good ones, jobs that were supposed to work out, relationships that were supposed to click, dreams that were supposed to pan out, hopes that were supposed to be realized. Yet when reality set in, "supposed to" didn't happen.

Two men were walking to Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. It was Sunday. Jesus had died the Friday before, a very bad day. He had said He was going to die, but they didn't really expect it. Palm Sunday was a great day; at least it started that way. It looked like He might even have enough popularity to be the Messiah. Yet events turned, and by Friday He was dead. It wasn't supposed to happen that way -- then it did.

Life has a way of robbing us of dreams, of throwing hopes back in our face. The men going to Emmaus said, "We had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21). Great expectations -- cancelled by death.

Death Puts Us in the Past Tense.

1. We live with what might have been but isn't.

The best that could have been is in the past -- and it died. So we live with memories rather than hopes. We have more picture albums than goals. It may be death of a vision, death of a relationship, death of a friend, death of a future -- for the Emmaus men it was death of the potential Messiah. They said to the Jesus they didn't recognize, "We had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21). They took a risk by putting their hope in Him -- and now their dream was dead.