April 30, 2011
“They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us'”
The Post-Resurrection Ministry of Jesus
“Suffering and Glory”
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Jesus not only appeared at the empty tomb to testify of His resurrection, but He also appeared to two travelers on the road to the village of Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. As Jesus talked with these two men and traveled along with them, they did not recognize Him. We can learn many things from this post-resurrection visit of Jesus.
Jesus Approached Them. Jesus loved to seek out different people, and talk with them. He spoke to the blind, the lame, the demon-possessed, the woman at the well, a Syro-Phoenician woman, and many others. In this case, Jesus approached them and asked a question: “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” (Luke 24:17). Jesus had asked other people questions when He met them. For example, He asked a blind man, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41), and He asked the Gadarene demoniac, “What is your name?” (Luke 8:30). Jesus asked many questions, and He knew the truthful answer to every question He asked before He even asked it. It was never a matter of gathering information, but rather a method of clarifying an issue before a crowd, or in the heart of the listener, or both. Jesus constantly approaches people, and engages them about spiritual matters. How many times have you been to lunch with Christians who want to talk about anything other than Christ and His work on earth? Jesus walked right into their conversation about the crucifixion and resurrection and intended to enlighten them, but on His terms, and in His divine way. He did not overpower them with His glory, but rather He taught them as one traveler to another, from the Scriptures. I will call this the Traveler’s Approach.
Their Eyes Were Prevented from Recognizing Him. The two travelers were prevented from recognizing Jesus (Luke 24:16). Although Jesus approached the travelers, He always revealed Himself to people in the way that would have the best impact upon them. In this case, instead of flashing before them in all His glory, He approached them from behind, joined them, and asked an ordinary question. We should carefully remember that Jesus did not use the same approach with everyone, but tailored His approach to the individuals and the situation. We should be very careful about how we approach strangers, and how we teach people about Christ. Jesus approached in a friendly, low-key manner that did not cause these travelers to be frightened (remember the people at the tomb), but in a quiet and tranquil way. But as He talked with them, He focused upon the Scripture. Notice too that these men were prevented (“ἐκρατοῦντο“) from recognizing Him. Jesus apparently blocked their perception of His hands with the piercings, or His feet with their holes (consider the proof offered to doubting Thomas (John 20:27). God hindered their perception because He had a greater purpose in mind. This same root word for “prevented” is used by Matthew to describe how Herod arrested (“κρατήσας“) John, and took him by force. Jesus deliberately “arrested” their perception with divine force, and kept them in the dark about His identity at first, so that they would focus upon His message. He was explaining the Scriptures to them, as a fellow traveler along the way.
They Stood Still and Looked Sad. We get a key insight into these men by their emotions. Jesus described them as “sad” (Luke 24:17). This word for sad (“σκυθρωποί“) is used to describe facial expression, or countenance. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus used this word to describe the gloomy face of the hypocrites who fast with a sad face, to let people know they are fasting. So often we see our friends talking, with sad looks on their faces. We can tell that these travelers had heard about the crucifixion (Luke 24:19-21). The travelers also knew about the report of the women who did not find His body, but did see two angels who said He was alive. The travelers described the report of the women as a vision (Luke 24:22-23). Apparently, these two travelers were a part of the group who heard from the women directly. Some of that group, Peter and John, went to the tomb. These travelers had been with the disciples earlier that day of resurrection (Luke 24:13). These two travelers had heard the news of resurrection, but had profound doubts, and those doubts were written all over their sad faces (compare Matthew 28:17).
Slow of Heart To Believe. We know that these two travelers had a faith and doubt problem because of what Jesus said to them. He told the two travelers that they were “foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken . . .” (Luke 24:25). Notice that Jesus did not criticize them for not believing the report of the women and other believers about His resurrection, but because they did not believe the Old Testament Scriptures that testified of Him. Jesus dealt with foolish and doubtful hearts in a kind and loving manner, by reinforcing and explaining the Scriptures (Old Testament) to them. The Bible will always be useful for curing our doubts and growing our faith in Christ Jesus because He wants to banish our doubts forever.
Suffering and Glory. Jesus also asked them another question: “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26). Jesus then began with Moses and then with all the prophets to show that the Old Testament predicted that He would suffer, and then be glorified. The suffering would come before the glory (Luke 24:26). The travelers should remember the Scriptures, and link up the text with their present witness to the resurrection. Notice here that Jesus decided to appear before them for the purpose of teaching them the Scriptures related to His suffering, glory and resurrection. He approached them without shining brilliance, but in a perfectly ordinary manner. Jesus, by standing there, risen from the grave, the work of redemption completed, did not blind these men with His glory, but explained to them the fact of His glory to follow the suffering. These men understood His suffering, but did not comprehend His glory. Jesus fit His appearance to the message He delivered to them. One day He would return in His glory, with the armies of heaven. to rule the world, but that day was not today. Yet, the fact of His glory remains, clearly broadcast throughout the Old Testament, just as surely as His suffering, death and resurrection.
So we begin to learn about the Post-Resurrection Ministry of Jesus.
● The Post-Resurrection Ministry of Christ focused upon explaining the Scriptures (Old Testament) to His disciples so that they could understand that Christ fulfilled the prophesies of the Law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets. They testified of Him, and He wanted everyone to know it. He explained to His disciples that the Old Testament testified of His suffering, glory and resurrection.
● Whenever anyone wants to tell you about Jesus, be sure to check and see that what anyone tells you matches up with the Old and New Testaments–no matter how much you love them, no matter how closely you may be related to them, or how educated they may be, no matter what.
● Jesus expects His children to read the Bible and be familiar with what He teaches in it. He calls these disciples foolish and slow of heart to believe. Although the Old Testament prophets had spoken of His suffering and glory to follow, the travelers did not believe what He had written to them, even when it was fulfilled right in front of their eyes.
Application for Today
Today I want to believe God’s word and see it fulfilled all around me all day today. I will see Jesus loving people, and forgiving people and bringing people together in Him. He is working today, and approaching all kinds of people. Are you acting foolishly and slow of heart to believe His word, or will you believe and rejoice today in what Jesus is doing?