I am out of town as this blog comes out and the celebration of Easter has come and gone. I have been in Nicaragua, the hottest and most humid time of the year here. I am with a group of men from my church, Northshore Baptist in Bothell, WA. We have adopted a village, Los Cedros, which is just outside Managua. We have named our group "Hammers and Hearts." It is a fitting name as we came to practically serve, by doing home repair projects for some widows and single moms and then conducting a men's conference.
As I reflect on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means for us today, I believe the story of the two disciples who walked dejectedly the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus after His crucifixion has much to say to us today. They were in a place of despair - Jesus walked alongside of them in their despair. Isn't that just like Him? Jesus brakes for the broken! He is close to the broken-hearted.
Why were they so discouraged and downcast? They had just seen their hope crushed. Jesus had been crucified and they didn't understand why He had to die or that He had to die for them. They didn't see the suffering of the Savior predicted in the Scriptures and were fixated on Him coming to be a political savior, king and ruler who would liberate them from the oppression of Rome.
Jesus opened up their eyes to Him, first explaining the Scriptures to them and then after they had sat down and broke bread together, He revealed Himself in His resurrected but pre-glorified state--before He disappeared from their sight.
How does this story at the end of Luke 24 speak to me today? I am like Cleopas and the other unnamed disciple. I am easily discouraged when God doesn't do what I expect Him to do. I put my hopes on Him, but for Him to do what I desire and expect Him to do.
So where do I go when I, like them, feel all hope is gone? Just where Jesus led these two followers...into the Scriptures and into community to see Him. Seeing Jesus in the Scriptures and in community builds our hope in Him. It was significant that Jesus appeared to these men when they were walking together in community and when they offered him hospitality.
What is my tendency though? To do the opposite. To not see Jesus in the Scriptures and withdraw from the community where He will be seen. That's one of the reasons I am here in Nicaragua with nine other men just simply seeking to live out God's word. I am here not because I am unselfish, but because I am selfish.
To be in this heat and doing uncomfortable things physically and culturally is selfish? Yes! Hopefully in a good way I am being selfish. I know that I need to do this kind of thing regularly or my faith will shrivel up and die from malnourishment. In Nicaragua I know I receive much more from the people whom I serve than I actually can give to them. They who have little materially are rich in faith as James wrote (James 2:5) and they have much to teach me.
Raised Up With Him,
P.S. Read Jeremy's latest blog and Join Jeremy's Journey through prayer, pledging or donating by going to payitforwardsa.org
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