The Sad Walk Home
One of my favorite stories about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the story of what happened on the road to Emmaus after Jesus was resurrected. The Bible tells us of two followers of Jesus, one by the name of Cleopas, the other unnamed, who were on their way home from Jerusalem. Their home was in Emmaus, a village about 7 miles from Jerusalem.
While on the way they were discussing the events of the Passover, a feast day that pointed to the Lord’s sacrifice until it would be fulfilled. Not understanding the significance of the Passover, their hopes had been dashed when Jesus was crucified, and they were sad over His death. So it was with heavy steps that they walked home.
A Stranger Appears
Suddenly they are joined by a man (Jesus Himself) who they don’t immediately recognize (the Bible says “their eyes were restrained so that they did not know Him” Luke 24:16). Their surprise guest asks them what their conversation is about, and why they are so sad.
“Are you the only one who hasn’t heard?”
Incredulous, they ask Him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” (verse 18). The stranger asked them in return, “What things?”, and they answered, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this today is the third day since these things happened”. (vs. 18-21)
A Bible Study I Would Have Loved to Have Heard!
Upon hearing these things the “stranger” said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
What a strange thing to say … or is it? Why would Jesus answer them the way He did? After all, when you look close at His answer it seems almost like He’s rebuking them, or at the very least implying the meaning for the things that took place should be common knowledge.
Why did Jesus respond this way?
Moses And All The Prophets …
The next thing Jesus said to them gives us some clues …
“And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (verse 27)
What’s the lesson here?
He could have easily dazzled them!
Just think of what Jesus is doing! He could have dazzled them with an outward display of His glory, and they would have fallen to the ground and believed. He could have worked a miracle to prove to them He’d risen from the dead. There are a number of ways Jesus could have revealed Himself with outward show – but He didn’t!
Instead, Jesus wanted their evidence of who He was to be based on the accuracy and authority of the Word of God. What Jesus was telling them – what He is telling us, is to base our evidence for what we believe on the Word of God – even more than our 5 senses. Listen to how Peter says the exact same thing in 2Pet 1:16-20:
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For we received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” (vs. 16, 17)
And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. (vs. 18)
And so we have the prophetic Word confirmed [I like the way the King James version puts it - we have a "more sure Word" of prophecy] , which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of men, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (vs. 19-21)
Note some key thoughts from the passage above:
- we were eyewitnesses of His majesty
- we heard this voice which came from heaven
- we have a more sure Word of prophecy
- you do well to take heed (to the prophecy)
- prophecy never came by the will of man
- holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit
Wow! Did you catch all that?
Holy men of God spoke
What Peter is saying is to trust the Word of God over your sight and your hearing. That is, judge the authenticity of what you’re seeing by whether or not it agrees with Scripture! The passage begins with Peter saying they’re not following cunningly devised fables – they were eyewitnesses of Christ and the life He lived. They saw His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. They heard the voice ‘which came from heaven’ proclaim “this is My beloved Son”.
BUT, he says, we have a more sure word of prophecy.
There! Do you see it?
The point is anyone can dazzle. The Scripture says, “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light”. 2 Cor 11:14 Remember when he tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness after He’d fasted 40 days as He began His public ministry? He transformed himself to appear as ‘an angel of light’ hoping to deceive Christ.
How did Christ defeat him?
Each time by saying “it is written” and quoting a Scripture text!
Our Only Safety
That’s the bottom line. The only safety we have is to have a knowledge of the Scriptures!
Today I truly believe we’re living in the last days of earth’s history. Jesus is coming soon as He promised He would. In the 24th chapter of Matthew when the disciples asked Jesus to tell them what signs to watch for while they waited His very first words were:
“Take heed that no one deceives you.” Mt 24:4
Jesus then went on to say that many will come in His name and deceive many. (vs.5)
CONCLUSION: My hope and prayer for everyone who reads this post is that they will spend time in God’s Word each day, and become knowledgeable of prophecy. The men on the road to Emmasus – plus the disciples and all Jerusalem – were not prepared for the Scriptures to be fulfilled, because they didn’t understand the prophecies.
But – once Jesus opened their eyes to the meaning of the old testament prophecies and how they applied to Him, including the events of the crucifixion … the Bible says they marveled – “Did not out hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
The same Holy Spirit who burned within their hearts will burn in ours too, when we seek to know and understand the prophecies in order to do His will.
Be sure to leave a comment below. I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the way Jesus chose to reveal Himself and the example it gives us.