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Almost three years ago today, I entered a dimly lit hospital room. Walking to the examination table, my boyfriend at the time firmly held my hand. I was here for a Colonoscopy and absolutely petrified.
After over twenty-four hours with no food, I was starving. I had expelled all nutrients and evidence of waste from my body and was prepared for the procedure. I merely wanted the Doctors to tell me what in the world was going on with my stomach. Why I had pain every time I ate? Why did I have to go through this?
I did not know that in three years my stomach pain would be minimal, but a new problem would arise. I needed Jesus’ third-day resurrection to save me then. I need His third-day resurrection power to rescue me now.
The Road to Emmaus
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, two people encountered Him on the Road to Emmaus without realizing it.
“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:13-16, New International Version).
In fact, they hold an entire conversation with Him, in which He poses as an outsider. Yet they were unaware of the omnipotence of His trinity.
“He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” 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” (Luke 24:17-19, New International Version).
Evidently, these two individuals expressed concern, disappointment, and a lack of faith.
One was named Cleopas, and the other was an unnamed individual. What stands out to me most here, however, is the verses following this passage.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus” (Luke 24:19b-24, New International Version)
As just a piece of it indicates in verses 21-24, “but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.” They also needed a third-day resurrection and were anticipating it.
Yet in the middle of their waiting, these individuals grew weary. They wanted to believe that Jesus would return but did not. It is clear here that they were filled with many emotions. And perhaps one we can relate to the most is, “it is the third day since all this took place.”
For these two people, Jesus was with them, and they did not even realize it. And sometimes for us, it may be the third day.
We are believing God to show up because He is faithful and true.
Not a Word will return void that He has spoken, and though flowers and fields and people of this world will fade, His Word shall remain forever. Yet, we are still waiting.
We grow weary.
We believe Jesus was instead of is.
We had hoped instead of actively hoping.
We do not see Him in the troubled waters, pestering people, and fearful failures looming over our minds.
What Do You Believe?
But the difference between these two individuals and the women who told them about Jesus’ body no longer being in the grave (tomb) boils down to belief. Although it was these two He physically appeared to, and not yet the women.
Jesus was with them, but they did not realize it until verse thirty-five. Of course Jesus was with them—it was the third day. How small ye of little faith.
“He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread” (Luke 24:25-27;35, New International Version).
When The Third Day Hasn’t Come
Today, I am encouraged that if Jesus is who He says He is, He will fulfill every promise. Even if it is the third day and the clock is ticking, I must not grow anxious, defeated, worried, or depressed. His Word is true. His promises are faithful. His timing is never early, or late, but exactly on schedule.
It is the third day for someone somewhere.
Awaiting test results.
Facing waves of gnawing grief.
Punching walls of confusion.
Screaming prayers you wonder if merely bounce off the ceiling.
It has been the third day for me many times in my life. And though I don’t always understand His process or how He might appear, I have got to trust the process. The one who holds the keys to life and death. Who rose from and defeated the grave, surely knows what He is doing even if I do not.
Even if and when I grow weary.
Even when it is the third day and I am impatiently patiently waiting for Him to show up.
Overturn diagnoses, and rise above them.
And transform my life.
It is the third day, and He is coming. You just may not recognize it in the people, places, ways, and things in which He arrives.
The stone has been rolled away. He’s moving.
Are you ready for the third day to arrive?