May 1, 2016 | text: Luke 24:44-49
Luke’s account of the resurrection is at the beginning of chp. 24 and only Luke describes in detail the conversation Jesus had with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. As soon as he reveals himself to them, they return quickly to Jerusalem to tell the others. They were doing just that in v. 36 when Jesus himself appeared in their midst. Many rejoiced, some doubted, and Jesus had to reassure them he was real and that it was really him. He showed the scars in his hands and feet and touched them to show he was not a spirit. As a final proof he asked for food and ate a piece of fish. We pick up our sermon text in v. 44.
The Old Testament is about Jesus. I’ve said it before and will probably say again “The Bible, from one end to the other, tells one story. It’s about how a holy God relates to a sinful, fallen and broken people. At the center of that story is Jesus.” Jesus quoted from the Psalms more often than any other book, secondly from Isaiah. After reading from the Isaiah scroll in the Nazareth synagogue he plainly said “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus is the incarnate Word of God, it is a gross understatement to say that he knows a thing or two about the written Word of God. The Old Testament has a certain amount of face value but it has even greater value in light of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The literal embodiment of the fulfillment of the prophesies is explaining that they have been fulfilled!
He opened their minds to understand scripture. Jesus criticized the scribes and Pharisees for keeping the letter of the Law but missing the spirit of the Law. They had read and memorized the Law and the Prophets. But knowing the words of scripture and God revealing the truth of a scripture is not the same thing. Debating the truth and meaning of scriptures with non-believers is of limited value (not necessarily none at all) because we rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truth to us. Jesus himself opened the minds of his followers so they could understand scripture. He first reminded them of things he had already told them (“These are the words I spoke to you while I was still with you…”). Reading the words of scripture was not enough and even being told by Jesus in person did not allow the disciples to fully understand until it was given to them.
It was necessary that Christ be crucified and rise on the third day. It is necessary that repentance and remission of sins be preached in his name to all nations. Like we read in Acts 1:8 (also written by Luke) the mission to all nations begins in Jerusalem. The disciples and Apostles in Jerusalem are witnesses to these things and Jesus promises again to send the promise of the Father, i.e. the Holy Spirit, upon them. Jesus gave them a mind of understanding; the Holy Spirit will endue them with power from on high. They believed in Jesus then received the gift of the Holy Spirit. That same spirit lives today in the heart of every believer. The nations still very much need to hear the Gospel and we have the Spirit in our heart and the Word in our hand.
Anyone that can read can read the Bible but only the born-again believer can fully understand through the indwelling Holy Spirit who gives understanding. Aladdin’s lamp wouldn’t have been much if it didn’t have a genie inside. The Bible is not much different from any other book until we realize we find God inside.