April 26th, 2020
Minoh International Church
Pastor Joseph Ricohermoso
The Christian faith is unique. It starts with God who makes Himself and His ways known — much of it He caused to be written down – in the Bible. This truth can be verified throughout human history. But, understanding God and His ways don’t naturally come to us. He Himself needs to open our eyes to perceive His truth.
This morning, I would like us to explore another post-resurrection appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Fulfilled prophecy – Luke 24:13~27
Luke set out to teach us that the Christian faith is trustworthy. This is his purpose for writing the Gospel. He said in Luke 1:4 – 4 “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
Dr. Luke is saying that what happened on that Resurrection Sunday morning is consistent with what God said He would do, as written in the Scriptures, centuries before these events took place. Prophecy can be described as God making a promise. God made a promise (salvation story) and He fulfilled it.
It is still “that same day” (v.13). The news story is still developing. There were two (2) disciples going to Emmaus, which was about 11 km (literally, ‘sixty stadia’) from Jerusalem. If he meant round-trip, the reference would fit rather nicely with a town Josephus (a Jewish historian) identified as Emmaus, which he located thirty (30) stadia from Jerusalem.
They’re talking together about everything that’s happened when “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them” (v.15). Continuing on in verse 16, “but they were kept from recognizing Him.” Now, they didn’t prevent themselves from recognizing Jesus; someone else did. God kept them from recognizing Christ at this point. In a spiritual sense they are walking and talking blind.
The Lord asks them what they’re discussing. We don’t know much about Cleopas, the disciple named in verse 18. But Cleopas will forever be remembered for what he said next: “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
Imagine being known for asking Jesus whether He knew about the crucifixion. That’s hilarious! Jesus is the only One in the world who does truly know! Our Lord has a sense of humor. He plays along and asks them, “What things?” (v.19).
Certainly, they’re discouraged (v.17). They’re like the women at the tomb. They don’t understand what’s happened either. But they break things down for Jesus as they knew them.
- First, they say that Jesus was from Nazareth and that He was a mighty prophet who taught and did miracles (v.19).
- His ministry was done before God and all the people (v.19).
- His ministry had integrity (v.19).
- But their own religious leaders betrayed Him when they “handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him” (v.20).
- Then they tell the Lord about the women at the tomb (vv.22-24).
These men know the facts of the gospel, but they don’t yet recognize the face of the gospel. Their problem is not intellectual. The problem is not that they don’t know some things they need to know. The problem, brothers and sisters, is spiritual.
That’s why Jesus begins with the rebuke of verse 25: “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” They believe some things, but not all things. They don’t yet believe the resurrection, and in referring to the prophets, Jesus is referring to the Old Testament, to the Bible in His day.
So the Lord says, “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” (v.26). It was necessary because God said in the Old Testament, He would do it. It was necessary because God was bound by His word. So the Lord introduces them to the best method of Bible study ever! “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (v. 27).
There are two (2) important points here:
- First, Jesus asserts the whole Bible is about Him. That means we cannot claim it’s all about us. The Lord Jesus went from the books Moses wrote through the whole biblical record about Himself. This means we don’t properly read our Bibles until we see the thread that connects Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. The Bible is Christo-centric. You and I are in the Bible too. We are the ones for whom He came to redeem—but Jesus is the headline and the main story.
- Second, Jesus clarifies that our faith should not be anchored in personal experience only; our faith should be anchored in the Bible. We have a biblical faith. We believe these things because the Bible predicted them and they were fulfilled in history.
Scripture interprets Scripture. The meaning is there in the Bible itself. God made sure that the message that saves the world doesn’t rest on human experience and oral testimony alone. He inspired human authors to write it down beforehand so we could verify it. He wrote it down so we could pass it to the next generation. Christianity is God’s way of saying to everyone, “I told you so! I told you I would save you, and I did it just like I said.”
Question: Where is your faith anchored? Is it anchored in some kind of philosophy, personal experience or influential person in your life? Or is your faith actually built on the truth and Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the Bible?
There’s an empty grave. The resurrection was prophesied and was fulfilled.
- Truth recognized through revelation – Luke 24:28~35
The biblical narrative and even a careful search of the gospel, are not enough to truly see Jesus. We need the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment. The same God that prevented them from recognizing Jesus at first (v.16) needs to open our eyes spiritually.
That’s what we realize here. It’s not enough to merely do Bible study and subject Him to academic pursuit to get to know Jesus. We need God’s revelation.
They are nearing Emmaus. Verse 28: “Jesus continued on as if He were going farther.”
J. C. Ryle, an English bishop, commented that Christ “does not always force His gifts upon us, unsought and unsolicited. He loves to draw out our desires, and to compel us to exercise our spiritual affections, by waiting for our prayers” (Luke, p.373).
So in verse 29 they “urged him strongly” to stay with them and He did. When they sit down to eat, the Lord blesses and breaks bread with them. “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him” (v.31).
This is the passive voice again: they did not open their own eyes; Someone—GOD, of course—opened their eyes for them. This is divine revelation. The moment they had their eyes opened, they recognized Jesus, and the moment they recognized Jesus, “He disappeared from their sight.”
Can you imagine the look on their faces? They were petrified! I imagine them saying to each other, “Did you see that? That was the Lord Jesus! He’s alive!” And they thought about how they felt while Jesus talked with them. “They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?'” (v.32)
I heard a story of a cult member offering someone a copy of their supposed Scriptures and said, “When you read it, you’ll know it’s true because your heart will burn.” What?! A burning heart is no proof of religious claims. It might just be an indigestion or acid reflux.
For the disciples, it was because our Lord was with them that they felt His warmth. They had walked and talked with Him. His aura, His authority and His affable manner has enough glory in it to heat a person’s soul. His presence communicated something they could neither explain nor recognize on their own.
Right away, “They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem” (v.33a). They’ve just arrived at Emmaus. Now they’ve seen the resurrected Lord and they walked briskly back to Jerusalem. They’ve got good news to tell! When they get back to Jerusalem they find “the Eleven” (v.33b) and others gathered in the upper room. Apparently, the Lord had also appeared to Simon Peter, and he had given a report. So they shared what had happened with them also (v.35).
It’s a developing story. We had the empty tomb. But now we’ve got two (2) other appearances—one to Peter and one to the two disciples going to Emmaus. The newsroom continues to put together its breaking story: The tomb was open and empty. The Scriptures were opened and fulfilled. Their eyes were open, and they recognized Jesus.
Salvation is an act of God. We need to pray for those who don’t know Him yet that God would also grant them spiritual eyes to see and a heart that is responsive to His call and invitation. Likewise, let us pray for ourselves that the Spirit of Jesus would grant us that ability to look at this world, circumstances and people in a new and living way. “In the eyes of faith we can clearly see that God is good and His word is true — all the time.”