“Then one of them, named Cleopas, asked Him (Jesus), ‘Are you the only one living in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have happened there in these days?’”
“Facing the Unknown”
Why Me? Handling Life’s Perplexing Events
“Perplexed” – Bewildered. Confused. Puzzled. Complicated.
“In perplexities – when we cannot tell what to do, when we cannot understand what is going on around us – let us be calmed and steadied and made patient by the thought that what is hidden from us is not hidden from Him.”
Frances Ridley Havergal
“And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.”
Luke 24: 2-4
After the death of Jesus, just think how His closest friends must have felt. Not only did Jesus’ death dash their hopes, for many of those who had connected their lives to Jesus, the future looked bleak, indeed.
These two men had an expectation that Jesus was the political leader who would bring them release from the power of the Romans. But their dreams had been dashed. They were disappointed beyond anything imaginable when their beloved friend, Jesus, was arrested and crucified like a common criminal. Their inconsolable grief was followed by overwhelming disappointment.
Sunday morning, women who followed Jesus, decided to go to the tomb where He was buried. This is where our text begins today. When the women who loved Jesus arrived at His burial place they “expected” to find a big stone covering the grave. Instead, to their utter confusion, the stone was rolled away and the grave was empty. The Bible says, “They were perplexed” (Luke 24: 4).
Have you ever found yourself “perplexed” by circumstances in your own life? I know I have. I expected that if I did something --- a specific result would happen. You work hard and do a good job. You expect a promotion and a raise. But instead, the boss puts a friend in the position that was promised to you. Or worse yet, as has happened to so many of you during the past year, you may have lost your job! You are confused. You are perplexed. You may even find yourself extremely upset!
Now let’s think about Jesus’ followers who had two days before buried their friend in a tomb, and then returned 48 hours later only to find His body gone. I believe we can say with surety if you were in their shoes, you would be “perplexed.” When the women reported to the men that Jesus’ body was missing, confusion reigned.
I can hear some of the men talking, now. “These girls are too emotional! They are just grief-stricken and are having a “spell.” Poor little things. They aren’t as strong as we men. They’re seeing things. We’ll go to the tomb because their story doesn’t make any sense.” In fact, in Luke 24: 11, Dr. Luke who was one of Jesus’ disciples and was a witness to this event writes: “The words (of the women) seemed to them (the apostles) idle tales, and they believed them not.” (Luke 24: 11).
Not only was everyone perplexed and confused but the “men folk” thought the “women folk” made the whole story up!
There’s a big lesson for you and me. When things don’t meet our expectations, we can get confused. And too often confusion leads to distrust, of anyone and everyone – even Jesus. At the tomb, we find two men were sent from Heaven, reminding the perplexed women of Jesus’ words: “In 3 days I will arise.” But sadly, fueled by false expectations and overwhelming disappointment; blinded by crushing sorrow and grief – the women became confused and forgot Jesus’ words. The women weren’t the only ones to forget what Jesus had said. When Jesus’ disciples heard the women’s report -- they, too, forgot Jesus’ words and decided not to believe what the women said. Then hours later, when two of Jesus’ followers were headed home out of Jerusalem, they were still in such a state of confusion they not only forgot all the words in Scripture that Jesus had told them which pointed to His death, they forgot Him. When Jesus joined these two men on their journey – their perplexity and confusion blinded them so much they didn’t recognize He was right by their side!
I’m going to admit the same thing has happened to me. Disappointment in myself and others has led me to become so sorrowful, confused, and, grief-filled I’ve almost denied the presence of God just because I couldn’t see Him. I’ve found myself saying to God, “Why me? I thought You promised better than this! Why, O why?”
The apostle Paul, writing to the Christian believers living in Corinth during very trying times had Heaven’s answer to Dorothy’s “why?” question, and to yours, too.
Paul points out that in our lives we may be, “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair? (2 Corinthians 4: 8). Why not? Because, He says, even in our “earthen vessels” we can show God’s transcendent power. We may be confused and perplexed by the difficult circumstances we face, but when we do not let these tragedies make us lose our grip on God, we are showing His power working in us. If it’s our power we’re trusting, we do get confused. We think that the news of Christ’s resurrection is nothing but an “idle tale.” But when we remember Jesus’ words, we are empowered by the Source that is greater than our disappointment, or sadness, or confusion! All I can say is:
“Thank you Jesus, for walking with us step by step, even when we can’t feel or see You!”
“O Blessed Jesus Christ, who bade all who carry heavy burdens to come to You, refresh us with Your presence and Your power. Quiet our understandings and give ease to our hearts by bringing us close to things infinite and eternal. Open to us the mind of God that in His light we may see light.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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