Points Covered: A powerful and inspiring Easter sermon ‘When Dreams are Crushed’ to motivate people that God is still in control.
INTRODUCTION: We all have dreams in life. But quite often the journey of life is strewn with the wreckage of dreams. Failures, lost hope, and disappointments are roadblocks to our dreams. I am here to tell you no matter what your circumstances; God will satisfy the desires and dreams of your life.
In Luke 24, the dawn broke on that first Easter morning upon a night of crushed hopes because for many people their dreams had died. Just 3 days prior the Lord Jesus Christ had been crucified.
As that morning broke on the first Easter Sunday some woman who loved the Lord Jesus Christ very much; Mary Magdalene (delivered from demon possession), Joanna, Mary the mother of James and a number of other woman made their way to the tomb. They went out of love, carrying with them the spices for embalming his body. As they got to the tomb, they found it was open. The stone had been rolled away.
They made their way to the interior of the tomb and Jesus’ body was not there. So not only they were crushed and dismayed but now they were confused because his body was gone. Can you get the picture? Total loss, total dismay. No hope whatsoever, not even a glimmer of hope to hang on to.
As they left the tomb there were two men in shining garments, two angels who appeared there, standing by them. These women were afraid. The women bowed their faces to the earth because of fear and the men said, “Why do you see the living among the dead?”
Now that question did not make sense to them, they were not seeking the living. Jesus was dead, they were seeking the dead among the dead. But these angles said: Luke 24:6-7 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’’
These angels were talking about an event 6 months prior while Jesus was in Galilee. Jesus spoke about his death then. Jesus then repeated himself over and over again that he must die and that on the third day he would rise again. But in their human experience, they had never seen anything like that. So it took these 2 angels to remind them to remember what Jesus had been teaching them for the past 6 months.
Luke 24:8 Then they remembered his words. They believed. The women left the sepulchre and found the 11 and the other disciples. Now the disciples were hiding. They were fearful for their lives. Jesus had been killed, they were probably next. Here they were crushed, their dreams gone, there was no way.
So these women told disciples all these things. Luke 24:9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
Now what were that all these things that they told them? I think that included what the angels had told them that Jesus is risen. They also told the scripture the Jesus spoke of in Galilee.
When you look at the disciples response we find some very sad words. Luke 24:11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
They just did not believe it. It was like a fairly tale. They had seen Jesus crucified. John had stood there at the base of the cross. Peter had been there where Jesus was put on trial. And for these women to come and tell them that Jesus is living could not be true.
Then Peter rose and made his way to the sepulchre. Luke 24:12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Those are not words of belief. Peter left puzzling what is going on. Jesus is dead, these women told that somebody told them that he is alive, but he is not there. What has happened to the body of Jesus? So Peter left still in defeat and puzzling within himself of all these things which had come to pass.
Well a little later on that same day, two of the disciples began to make their way to Emmaus which was about 7 miles from Jerusalem. Luke 24:14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. Their talks included not just the crucifixion and the burial of Jesus. They were also talking about the strange story the woman had brought back that morning and Jesus’ body was gone. Peter went and he confirmed to them that Jesus’ body had disappeared. So they were talking and discussing all of these strange happenings. Life has ended for them and without any hope they were returning back home.
Luke 24:15-16 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.
Why were their eyes unable to recognize Jesus? Jesus should have been very recognizable to them. They were his disciples that loved him and stayed close to him. They did not recognize Jesus even when he came up to them, because they were so crushed. They were so hurt, hope was gone for them to the extent that they could not even recognize Jesus.
Luke 24:27 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. Cleopas said to Jesus, “Are you just a stranger in Jerusalem that you have not heard of all these things that has been going the past few days?” Jesus was trying to get them to open up to open their hearts. Luke 24:19 “What things?” he asked.
That is like when God came to Adam in the garden and he said them, “Where art though?” God knew where Adam was but he was trying to get Adam to respond in some way. So Jesus who is God asked them the question, “What things, tell me what is in your heart?” So they told him about Jesus of Nazareth. Luke 24:19 “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.
So now they do not even refer to Jesus as the Messiah. They said Jesus which was past tense, he is dead now they are thinking. He was a great prophet but he has been killed. So they told him how Jesus had been crucified to death, it is already three days.
They said the women came back and told us that angels had told them that he had risen from the dead. They said Peter went to the sepulchre and found them just like the women had said, the body was gone, him they saw not. So he is not risen from the dead.
Then Jesus said to them: Luke 24:25-27 25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! (Don’t you believe all that the prophets had spoken?) 26Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Jesus began all the way in the beginning with Moses and the first 5 books of the Bible. So Jesus probably began in Genesis 3:15 with a promise of the seed of the woman. Jesus taught them the OT scriptures and himself. They still do not know it is Jesus.
Well, as they drew near to their village Jesus made as if he is going to go down further the highway. Luke 24:29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
It was late evening and it was time to eat and as they began to eat their meal Jesus took the break broke it and gave it to them. Finally their eyes were opened. Luke 24:31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
Luke 24:32-33 32They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Oh! when their eyes opened and they saw Jesus how those crushed hearts came back to life, oh how hope sprang up in their hearts again.) 33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.
Dear friends this is the story of the resurrection. This is that Jesus our God, our saviour is alive. Because Jesus lives we shall live also. Had he not risen from the grave our hope would have been in vain, but Jesus is risen, we have hope because Jesus lives.
I want to draw some principles from this event that will help you. What do I do when all seems lost? What to do when your dreams are crushed! If you are here with confusion, questions in your mind, dreams scattered there is a message for you.
Don’t focus on the circumstances.
Focusing on your troubles in difficult times will bring debilitating discouragement.
When the women had gone to that sepulchre that morning, they were discouraged that the tomb is open and Jesus’ body was not there. Something happened which caused them to turn their focus away from the circumstances and get their focus somewhere else. They met the angels who announced Jesus is risen and reminded them of the scripture.
It was only when their attention was turned away from the circumstances to something else that they were able to see a little glimmer of hope again. They believed, the ran to the disciples full of hope.
Dear friend, dear brother and sister, there are some of you who today, things are not going well for you. The circumstances of life even though you are walking with God brought you to a terrible place, perhaps it is family problems, perhaps you are so discouraged, that this weekend you have just concluded that there is no hope, I cannot pursue in life. Oh dear friend, if you have your eyes on the circumstances, the facts of the case as you see them today, that will so discourage you that it will just bring just loss in your life.
Don’t lose faith.
We are to walk by faith. Situations in life will come where there is no hope. There may be storms all around you, that is when you got to hold on to faith. Remember one incident of lack of faith will beget another incident. Don’t give room for unbelief.
The death of Jesus brought unbelief in the disciples. That is why when the women spoke to them they could not believe. Luke 24:11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
They were already in unbelief. The Bible taught them that Jesus would rise from the dead but they did not believe it now because they saw him dead. Since they lost their faith, when the good news came to them, they dismissed them as idol tales. Unbelief begets more unbelief.
Peter then runs to the sepulchre and sees that the body is missing. Luke 24:12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
This should have given him faith because Jesus told he would rise again on the third day. He still does not believe because he lost faith in the trial of Jesus, now he still cannot believe.
Then you find the disciples on the way to Emmaus. They were talking about all the things including the things of the morning what the woman had said. They were talking about the angels message that Jesus has risen, they still did not believe.
Jesus then appeared to them but they could not recognize him, their eyes were blindfolded.
Jesus then asked them why they were sad and they spoke to Jesus the events of his death. They spoke to Jesus about the open tomb, his clothes there and no body, still they could not believe. Why one step of unbelief leads to many steps of unbelief.
Dear friend, don’t focus on the circumstances so that unbelief in your discouragement creeps in. If you lose faith it will lead to more unbelief and eventual failure.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. So if you lose focus on what is seen it will cause unbelief. Don’t lose faith.
The third principle is the answer: If you are having a struggle today mark this down:
Focus on the promises of God.
In overwhelming times, focus on the promises of God.
Remember Jesus talking to the disciples on the road. He reminded them of the promises of the scripture. Luke 24:25-27 25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Jesus was teaching them God’s promise of the messiah. Luke 24:29 (As they began to do so, as they began to hear Jesus giving them the promises of the scripture) But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us. Something is happening in their hearts as they begin to focus on the promises of God.
Dwell in his presence.
Abide in the Lord. Ask the Lord to tarry with you and then your perspective will change.
Jesus made them feel as if he were going to go down the road but then they said to him, “Why don’t you stay with us?” as he agreed and did so they set up food and they began to have fellowship together and as they did so their perspective changed.
Luke 24:30-31 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.
CONCLUSION: If your life is crushed and your dreams are gone don’t focus on the facts. The facts are there, you are aware of them, I am not saying don’t pretend as if they are not there. I am saying don’t make them your focus, don’t lose faith, focus on the promises of God, ask the Lord to tarry with you and your perspective in life will change.
How do you do that? You pray, you look at his word and read it, you start and end your day with him. As you fellowship with him, you are asking Jesus to tarry with you. Soon your life will be filled with hope and God will fulfill all your dreams.