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

      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

        1. Or, are Scriptures solid proof?

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

      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

      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

    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

      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