By Dr. Ronnie Wolfe – March 27, 2016
After experiencing events both saddening and wonderful, two disciples of Jesus walked along on a road from Jerusalem that led to a northern town named Emmaus. One disciple was named Cleopas (18), and the other one’s name is withheld. Some believe it was Peter; others believe it was another certain disciple, but the truth is that we actually do not know who it was.
As they walked, they talked between themselves of the events that had happened in Jerusalem the past few days. These events were profound and historical. They would not long hence be written down in four Gospels for us to read and be blessed by the story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
Also, as they walked, Jesus came near to them, but Jesus hid their understanding of Him. He was a stranger to them. He began asking about the subject matter of their conversation and why they were so sad concerning these things.
They asked Jesus if He were a stranger and perhaps had missed out on the message of what had recently happened in Jerusalem. They said, “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?” Luke 24:18. Then Jesus asked, “What things?” This is a great question, because it is a question that we should all ask, a question that, if answered, will give answer to the many problems that face the world and its confusions. They said it was Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: (19).
Certainly we should all ask, What things?, as we consider the history of this great man, Jesus. We need to know, not only who He is, but also what he did. Someone recently preached a series of sermons, not on WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?, but on WHAT DID JESUS DO? It is, then, more important to know what Jesus DID than to know what he WOULD DO. What did Jesus do?
We find the answer to that in the further discussion of these two men as they describe “these things” to Jesus. In verse 20 we read the beginning of what happened. Jesus was delivered to be condemned to death. Acts 2:23 says, Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, . . . . God delivered Jesus through the hands of chief priests and rulers to be crucified by his determinate counsel and foreknowledge, his own divine counsel, his divine wisdom that Jesus would be condemned, crucified, and slain.
At this point in time, Jesus has been condemned to death, crucified, and slain. This was a sad day in Jerusalem. At this time most did not know that Jesus had resurrected from the dead; they knew only that He had died and was gone from their presence. These two disciples, then, were saddened; because they had not seen Jesus after His resurrection. They had known only of His death. He was gone, and no one knew where he was. That is why they were sad. They thought that Jesus would be the one who should have redeemed Israel, (21).
They thought that Jesus, as Messiah, would overcome the government of Rome and set up His kingdom here on earth, a kingdom that would last forever; but this did not happen, and now Jesus is dead.
If Jesus is dead, then, all hope is gone: all hope for Israel, all hope for the Gentiles, all hope for the world, all hope for creation, all hope for all of us here today. A dead Messiah is no Messiah at all, for Messiah must be a Prophet, a Priest, and a King. A dead man can be none of these.
They continue to say in verse 21, and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. They evidently were convinced that, after three days in the tomb, Jesus would still be in the tomb. Men do not come out of a tomb. A tomb signifies death; and, even though Jesus had raised others from the dead, no one ever thought that He could raise himself from the dead or that there was any other way He could come back from the dead. The hope of the Kingdom of God was very bleak at this time. Therefore, these men were very sad.
Now, these men had heard that the women went to the tomb early on that same day and that they did not find the body of Jesus there. They had not, however, actually seen the Lord, so they were perhaps persuaded that the false rumor may be true that someone came and stole the body and took it away somewhere. All they knew for sure was that Jesus had died, was placed in a tomb, and now His body is not there.
Now they knew of the death of the Lord and the burial of the Lord, but they were not convinced of the resurrection of the Lord. They, no doubt, thought they must be satisfied with the answer that Jesus was nowhere to be found and that there was no reason at all for them to try to find Him.
But Jesus answered in verse 25: Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: They had no doubt read in Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption, but they did not understand it, because their hearts were slow to understand. They no doubt read in Psalms 24:7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in, but their hearts were slow to understand. They no doubt had read in Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this, but their hearts were slow to understand.
So many hearts were slow to understand what the prophets had spoken (25). Many of us even today are slow of heart to believe what the prophets have spoken. Many deceivers have gone out into the world to deceive even the very elect if possible concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is of such great importance that without it there is no salvation. Acts 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. This is the message that was needed for these two disciples whose eyes were kept from seeing the very Messiah who was walking with them to Emmaus.
In order to see Jesus, our eyes must be opened. Otherwise, we cannot see Him, even though he is not far from any of us. Acts 17:27 says, That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
So, the women of Jerusalem made them astonished by saying that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb. Remember Matthew 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. There was a story told, said these two disciples, that the women went to the tomb where Jesus lay, and Jesus was not there. No only so, but the women said that an angel came and told them that he was alive; but they admitted that the women went to the tomb and saw where He lay, but He was not there, and they did not see Him.
Jesus begins, then, to answer them concerning these things, but He first calls them fools (25), because they were slow to believe what the prophets have spoken. They could see the prophecies of Messiah’s coming. They could see the prophecy that One would come like unto Moses. They understood that the Messiah would come as a root and offspring of David. They understood that this Messiah would set up a kingdom and be a redeemer to Israel. But they could not understand, as even the apostles could not understand, that He must first die and then rise from the dead.
Remember that the apostles did not understand that, even though Jesus told them time and time again that He was to die and resurrect after three days. Their eyes were blinded. Their minds were dull to hearing, and in addition Jesus had not opened their hearts to this great truth. You see, truth comes from God; so we cannot know the truth by way of our own knowledge and reasoning. God must open our understanding.
Jesus answered them by saying in verse 26: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? Jesus said in His prayer to His father: John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: – John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. – Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Now it is time for Jesus to have a Bible lesson on the Old Testament. Notice Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Just as Philip took the Old Testament and testified of Jesus from the prophets, so Jesus Himself here takes the Old Testament and preaches Himself to these two men, who had missed the whole point of the Old Testament prophecies, because their minds were dull to the real meaning.
When the Bible lesson was done, they came near to Emmaus, and Jesus was walking as to be going another way; but the men constrained Him, or convinced Him, to stay with them for a while, which He did. While they were eating, Jesus broke bread and gave it to them, and He opened their eyes to understand that He was Jesus, the Messiah, whom they had been talking about on the way home. As soon as Jesus had revealed Himself to them, the Bible says that He vanished out of their sight.
Then they admitted to each other that their hearts did burn as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them and helped them to understand the teaching of Old Testament passages the truth about His own death, his burial, and his resurrection. Now they get it! They were surprised by joy! Now they understand! Now they have a working understanding of the Scriptures, so they are now equipped to do the work of preaching the Gospel everywhere they go. Their hearts burned to know the truth, as ours should burn for the same reason. Remember John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Does your heart burn when you read God’s word? Does it burn to know the truth? Does your heart thrill to the truth of God’s word? Do you get excited to know what God says in His word? Are you thrilled at what you read? Are you anxious to talk to others about God’s word? If not, then learn from these men of Emmaus to get excited about God’s word, love it, and share it with others.
Now these two men, after seeing and knowing Jesus, arose and went back to Jerusalem and met with the disciples, along with the apostles, as they gathered together. They told the disciples that Jesus has risen and has appeared to Simon Peter. None of the other Gospel writers speak of this appearance to Peter except Luke here and Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: Not only was Peter the oldest apostle, but he was also the man who denied the Lord three times. Peter was, however, trusted by the other disciples and would believe what he would tell them concerning having seen the Lord. This appearance of the Lord to Peter (Cephas) shows his great grace on the greatest of sinners and His love to his disciples.
Now let us notice 1 Cor. 15:12-18 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Now that Christ is resurrected from the dead, so shall we be resurrected from the dead. 1 Cor. 15:51-57 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:10-11 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Low in the grave He lay
Jesus my Savior
Waiting the coming day
Jesus my Lord
Up from the grave He arose
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes
He arose a Victor from the dark domain
And He lives forever with His saints to reign
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!