Imagine for a moment your favorite friends and family – your closest companions. You’ve traveled everywhere and done everything with them. They are the people you love and trust most in the world. Cut your heart open, and it bleeds them.
Now imagine the darkest hour of your life and ALL of them simultaneously abandon you.
You need them – they’re gone. You cry for help – they’ve left you. You’re in agony – they ignore you. And worst of all, when others question them – they even lie about ever knowing you! Nice friends you got there.
Now imagine surviving that darkest hour – what happens the next time you see these supposed “friends”? If you’re like me, payback! I’d play scenarios of delicious revenge over and over again in my head until I could retaliate! Or, if you’re better than me, you’d demand answers in a tearful confrontation. Either way, it would get ugly.
Now imagine you’re one of those abandoning, unreliable friends – and the one you hung out to dry is none other than Jesus. Yikes. That anguishing tension is where Jesus’ so-called “friends” found themselves as rumors of his resurrection began to emerge. Each disciple was hopeful of seeing Jesus alive again. Each of them was fearful. What would he say? What would he do?
In Luke, two of the disciples decided not to wait to find out. They took off for a town called Emmaus, a seven-mile walk away from Jerusalem. These followers weren’t out for a Sunday stroll – they were fleeing!
And Jesus tracked them down. When Jesus walked with them, there was no payback. No demands for answers. Just conversation and friendship. The interaction so inspired them that they turned around and hiked back to Jerusalem in the dark.
Later, when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room, there was no rage. No awkwardness. No confrontation. “Peace be with you,“ He said to them as they sat there utterly slack-jawed.
The lesson here is that once you are a friend of Jesus, there is NOTHING you can say or do that will keep him from pursuing you. Jesus’ love is relentless! So stop running. Stop hiding. Stop feeling shame. Stop feeling unworthy.
After all, Jesus loved you first – when he was still unknown to you. So how much more will he chase you down once he considers you his friend?