Lesson 7

Hope: Too Much or Not Enough?

(Luke 24)
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Introduction: Remember the children's story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears?" What the mother and father bears owned was either too much or too little, too hard or too soft -- it was never just right for Goldilocks. Only the possessions of the "little bear" turned out to be just right. This week our lesson guides us towards a hope that is not so bright it burns out and not so dim it fades away. Instead, let's dive into the Bible to find out how to have a steady, solid "little bear" hope!

  1. "Underhope"

    1. Read Luke 24:13-16. Did these two travelers have some business that occupied them other than just talking about Jesus? (The goal seemed to be to get to Emmaus rather than just talking.)

    2. Read Luke 24:17. This is a nosey stranger, right? "Hey boys, what are you talking about?"

      1. Why do you think they stopped walking to answer Jesus? (Our opening text sounds like these two had something important in their life other than just discussing Jesus. However, this interaction shows the most important thing for them was what had happened to Jesus. It was so gripping, they could not discuss it and walk at the same time. They postponed whatever was waiting for them in Emmaus to discuss Jesus with a stranger.)

      2. What was their mood? (They were visibly sad.)

    3. Let's read on. Luke 24:18-19. Is this a correct description of Jesus?

      1. Why did they use the past tense to describe Jesus? (They described Jesus only as a "prophet" - and a dead prophet at that.)

    4. Read Luke 24:20-21. What was their hope for Jesus? (That He was the Messiah.)

      1. In their opinion, was that hope realized? (No. Jesus was just a dead prophet. That was why they were so sad.)

      2. Why did they let their hope go? (Notice the reference to "the third day." In Matthew 16:21, and other places, Jesus had foretold that He would rise from the grave on the third day. The third day was here, and these two had not seen Jesus.)

    5. Read Luke 24:22-24. Are these facts consistent with their hope or their dashed hope?

      1. What conclusion do you think they should have reached from these facts?

      2. Notice that they refer to the angels' message as a "vision." What does this suggest they concluded about what the women reported? (The complaint of these two is that nothing is concrete. There is no hard evidence. It was in a "vision" that the women were told Jesus was alive. In verses 23 and 24 they repeat their complaint that neither Jesus nor His body can be found.)

    6. These two had facts that were consistent with their hope and also with doubt about their hope. They concluded that these facts better supported their doubts rather than their hope. Let's read what Jesus said in response to their conclusion. Read Luke 24:25-27. How did Jesus label their "underhope?" What did Jesus call it?

      1. These two travelers rested their wrong conclusion on the lack of solid proof - a body. Why did Jesus start out by giving them Scriptures rather than solid proof?

        1. Or, are Scriptures solid proof?

    7. Read Luke 24:28-31. Why did Jesus now give them "the body?"

      1. What does this teach us about how Jesus will deal with us when it comes to our hopes? (Jesus gave them every proof they could require. He started out with the Bible predictions. Someone who is not (v.25) "foolish and slow of heart" should be satisfied with the Bible prediction and the fulfillment of that prediction - without the need for any body. But, Jesus gave them every proof because they were foolish and slow. It gives us hope, doesn't it?)

  2. "Overhope"

    1. Read Luke 24:32-34. We just learned in verse 29 the day was almost over. Why rush back to Jerusalem in the dark like a couple of maniacs?

    2. Our lesson suggests (Sunday) we can have too much hope. Do you agree? Let's read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2.

      1. The problem of our two travelers to Emmaus was that they did not connect the facts with their hope until they actually saw a body. What is the problem for the believers in Thessalonica? (They were "over-connecting" the facts. Disputed "facts" and reports were taken as fulfillment of prophecy.)

        1. Is "overhope" a problem today?

        2. Or, is "underhope" our main problem?

      2. If you agree we can have "overhope," what is the main danger here? (If you jump at every report. If you keep reading the Second Coming into every event, you may become desensitized to the truly significant events or suffer burn-out.)

    3. Going back to our two travelers who are rushing back to Jerusalem, is this an example of "overhope?" Is it an extreme swing from "underhope" to "overhope?" (It certainly is an extreme swing. I don't see the mad rush to Jerusalem as being "overhope." They had solid evidence that Jesus was alive and that He was the Messiah. It would seem unnatural to me to just keep that to yourself until you got a good night sleep.)

  3. Getting It Just Right

    1. Let's continue with our story in Luke 24. Read Luke 24:35-37. Did the "Eleven" (the disciples) have the same problem was the two travelers to Emmaus? (It was worse. Jesus is there in body and the disciples think He is a ghost.)

    2. Read Luke 24:38-41a. Jesus specifically disproves the "ghost" theory. Verse 41, the first part, tells us the Eleven still did not believe. Why? ("Because of joy and amazement.")

      1. How can that be?

      2. What does this mean? (It seems they had conflicting emotions. They were filled with joy because this seemed to be the fulfilment of their hope. On the other hand, faced with the facts, they were having doubts that this could really be happening.)

        1. Does this mean their hope was not real?

        2. Does this mean that unlike the "little bear" in Goldilocks, we can never have our hope "just right?"

    3. Let's finish reading verse 41 and read through verse 43. Do you think Jesus is really hungry? (He is giving them more proof He is not a ghost.)

    4. Read Luke 24:44-48. What formula is Jesus using so that the Eleven get their hope "just right?" (He is coupling a review of the Scripture (in this case the Old Testament) with a review of His words to them (the New Testament). He then adds in solid proof that their hope has been fulfilled.)

      1. Is this the same formula we should use for our hope?

        1. How about teaching hope to others. Is this the formula we should apply?

    5. Read Luke 24:48-49. Jesus calls them to be witnesses to the fulfilled hope that He is the Messiah. He adds another ingredient to the "just right" hope formula. What is it? ("Power from on high" - the Holy Spirit.)

    6. Read Luke 24:50-53. What else does Jesus give them? (His blessings. I like this picture: Jesus leaves them while in the process of blessing them. Jesus last act here on earth was to give us a blessing.)

    7. Friend, Jesus calls us to a proper hope. He calls on us to share that hope with others. Will you apply the "just right" hope formula to your life: study of the Word of God coupled with solid facts and the overall inspiration by the Holy Spirit? God will bless that formula! The result, according to Luke 24:53, is that we break out with praises to God!

  4. Next Week: A Living Hope

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