The Risen Christ: From Eden to Emmaus
April 17, 2022 Preacher: Kevin Godin Series: Various Messages
Topic: The Resurrection Scripture: Luke 24:13-27
All around the world today believers are celebrating the empty tomb of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is the single most important historical and spiritual event that has ever occurred in the universe. Jesus died on a cross and was buried, but then three days later, he got up and walked out of the tomb. That event changes everything because it opens the door for sinful humans to enter the Kingdom of God.
The Bible is a record of God’s plan to save a people for Himself. It traces the history of what God has done to keep His promise of salvation. Today, on Easter Sunday, we celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promise to secure salvation and look toward the final day when all those who put their faith in Jesus will be raised and glorified with Him.
Our message this morning comes from Luke 24:13-27, which I think is one of the most amazing passages in the entire New Testament. You may take it with you as you go. Verse 13,
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”
This is early Sunday morning, and these two disciples were heading from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Now, we don’t know anything about these two, other than that one of them is named Cleopas. They are not apostles or prominent in any other way. Just two regular disciples. As they walked, they were discussing the crucifixion of Jesus and the next thing you know, Jesus walks up close to them and begins to walk with them.
Verse 16 says that they were kept from recognizing him. In all these initial post resurrection appearances, it is interesting that people do not immediately recognize him. In each case, their eyes must be opened before they can and so these two don’t know it is him. So Jesus walks up to them and basically says, “what are you guys talking about?”
And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
Notice that the big news of the day was the crucifixion of Jesus. People from all over the world were gathered in Jerusalem for Passover and this crucifixion occurred right during the celebration. This didn’t happen in a corner, and everyone was talking about it. This brother Cleopas describes Jesus as “a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.”
The power of Jesus’ preaching and his miracles could not be denied. Nobody could doubt the power or wisdom of Jesus. The real question was what the significance of this miracle-working teacher who was so popular among the people. Cleopas explains that it was the leaders who had Jesus crucified. He then says, “21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”
Imagine how crushing it was for these early disciples to see Jesus executed. He was the one they thought would be the Messiah who would judge the world and usher in the Kingdom of God. Many gave up everything to follow him and then he was arrested and killed. Those Roman Centurions didn’t just kill their teacher and friend. They killed their hope.
That was bad enough but now things were even more confusing. Look at verse 22,
22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
He was publicly executed. The high council was involved. The Roman proconsul was involved. Experienced soldiers, trained to kill, double-checked to be sure. He was sealed in a guarded tomb. Yet, there is no body. Some said he is alive but how can these things be? What is going on here? Where is He? Then Jesus speaks,
25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
These brothers were dazed. Verse 17 says they were sad, verse 21 says they hoped he would be the redeemer, and now here they are trying to make sense of all this. Life certainly did not seem to be going according to plan. They expected a great King who would judge the nations. They were looking for the one who would rule Israel with righteousness and defeat her enemies. They had a theology of glory and were looking for Jesus to fulfill all those triumphant prophesies.
But what does Jesus say to them? He rebukes them calling them fools, slow to believe, and ignorant of the scriptures. He says, was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer. Did you catch that. It was NECESSARY for the Christ to suffer, and they should have known this because it was clearly taught in the Old Testament. Christ will come in glory, but He first had to suffer. God will establish His kingdom by first redeeming a people for himself and he does this by dying for them.
Verse 27 says, “27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. Shortly after recording the creation of the world and the creation of the first humans, Moses records their fall into sin. They disobeyed God and listened instead to Satan, plunging the world into sin. God had said if they did not obey, they would surely die and when they disobeyed, death entered our world. Human beings were now under the curse of judgment.
But at that time God also cursed the serpent and made a promise. In Genesis 3:15, God speaking to the Serpent says,
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
God said the world would be filled with struggle between the children of the promise and the children of the devil but there would be a day when one of the decedents of the woman would finally defeat the ancient Serpent, crushing his head, but the promised one would also be wounded in the process. This promised redeemer is Jesus Christ.
As the rest of the Old Testament unfolds, this promise of redemption gets unpacked with more and more detail. The entire story of the Bible is really a story of the unfolding of this promise that finds its fulfillment in Jesus. These two disciples on the road were confused and disappointed because they did not understand their Bible. It often works that way for us too. The more clearly, we understand the Bible, the more clearly we see Christ. The result is our anxiety and confusion are replaced with peace and joy.
These two believed in the glory of the coming king but they had no category for a suffering Messiah. Now, in teaching the greatest course on biblical theology ever taught, Jesus will help them understand. We don’t know everything Jesus said but the New Testament gives us many clues as to some of what Jesus would certainly have shared.
First, the Messiah had to suffer to make atonement for sin. Atonement means to bring two separated parties together. Sin had separated us from God because He is holy. Every Jewish believer knew that sin brings death and that atonement required a blood sacrifice.
Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”
This is why Hebrews 9:22 says,
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
You may recall that God accepted the blood sacrifice of Abel but rejected the bloodless sacrifice of Cain. The entire priestly system was connected to the constant shedding of blood. Every day, every week, year after year there was a stream of blood that flowed from constant sacrifices for sin upon the altar in the temple. Forgiveness required a sacrifice.
Every Old Testament believer also knew that God in His grace accepted the sacrifice of substitutes in the place of the sinner themselves. Blood is required, but God has provided a way for the sinner to live through the sacrifice of another that represents them. If a sinner is repentant and the sacrifice is offered in faith, the sin can be imputed, or transferred, to a substitute. This is the basis of the entire sacrificial system in the Old Testament. By grace, a substitute could be offered in sacrifice.
Old Covenant believers also knew, however, that these animal sacrifices never truly satisfied the righteousness of God. They knew this because they had to constantly be repeated. They were imperfect and called the attention of the faithful to the need for a perfect sacrifice that only God could provide. God promised that the Messiah would be this perfect sacrifice. Look at what Isaiah 53:4-6 says about Him,
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Hebrews 10:11–14 makes it clear that Jesus made this sacrifice on the cross.
And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
The penalty for sin was death and required the blood of the offender but in His grace God provided a substitute sacrifice. These sacrifices pointed to the one perfect sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus for the sins of all who would believe in Him. It was necessary for Jesus to suffer for atonement to be made.
In the same way that the imperfect sacrifices and imperfect priests point us to the need for a perfect sacrifice and a perfect priest, the imperfect kings and prophets of the Old Testament show us that if salvation is going to come it must come from God Himself. Even the great faithful kings like David failed. Even the most holy prophets like Moses fell short. Even the holy temple itself could be defiled. All these things, however, were mere shadows pointing the to the one who would not fail. To Jesus who is the perfect priest, prophet, and king.
Jesus may have also explained how each of the seven major feasts of the Law pointed to Him:
- How he was the fulfillment of Passover, the unblemished Passover lamb that was sacrificed and it was His blood that was applied so that death would pass by those who accepted it by faith. He was killed during Passover at the same time those lambs were being offered.
- The fulfillment of unleavened bread, that He was the bread of life not corrupted in any way by sin.
- The fulfillment of the first fruits, being the first fruits of the resurrection, the first of a great harvest of souls. He was raised on the third day, the same day this celebration was held.
- The fulfillment of Pentecost, by sending His spirit to empower the church to bring in the harvest from all the nations.
- How he is the fulfillment of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah, the great feast of rest because we are accepted by his work and through him have peace with God and all our needs are supplied.
- That he is the fulfillment of the Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement. That he was the scapegoat who would carry the sins of the people away.
- That he is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles because he is Immanuel, God with us. He is the one who tabernacled with us so that we might see the glory of God.
It seems likely Jesus would have walked them through the many prophecies that detailed his suffering such as Psalm 22 that tells us his hands and feet will be pierced, his bones will be out of joint, and his clothes will be divided up. Or Psalm 69 that prophesied his cry of thirst and that they gave him sour wine to drink. Perhaps he taught them about Psalm 41 saying he would be betrayed by a friend, or Zachariah 11 that says he will be sold for 30 pieces of silver.
Possibly they discussed Isaiah 50:6 in which the Messiah says, 6 I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. Or chapter 53 verse 12 which says that he would be numbered with the transgressors. There are at least 30 direct prophecies fulfilled in the crucifixion alone. Had these brothers understood their Bible better, they would not have been discouraged or surprised.
I think Jesus would also have showed them how each of the narratives in the Old Testament are illustrations of a pattern that finds its final completion in Jesus.
For example, in Genesis 3, right after God gives the promise of the redeemer that will defeat the Serpent, He kills an animal to make clothes for Adam and Eve. Because of sin, there is death, the shedding of innocent blood to cover the sinner. Immediately after the first promise of Christ we have a picture of what he will do. He is the innocent sacrifice that covers.
The story of Cain and Abel points us to him because He is the sacrifice God accepts. In the story of Noah, the ark points us to Jesus because He is the one that protects the faithful from the judgment of God. In Genesis 22 Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac points us to Christ because he is the innocent son being offered up by the Father and He is the ram caught in the thicket that will be a substitute.
In Exodus 16, the manna points us to Jesus because He is the true bread that came down from heaven to sustain the faithful as they travel through the wilderness on their way to the promised land. In Exodus 17, the water from the rock points us to Jesus because from Him flow streams of living water that quench all those who thirst for righteousness.
We could go on for ages, oh what it must have been to be there on that road and to hear Jesus share these things! He is on every page. He is our kinsmen redeemer, He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother, He is the servant king, He is the shepherd of Ecclesiastes, He is the wisdom of the Proverbs, He is lover in the Song of Solomon, and on and on. There is a crimson thread that runs through the entire Scripture and if you follow it, it will always lead you to Christ. Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 5:39
“39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,”
The Pharisees studied and studied the Bible but never understood what it was about. They believed that they had their own righteousness that could satisfy God and so they missed the point of the Law, the festivals, and all the rest of it. I know that sometimes it can be hard to understand the Bible, but Jesus helps us to understand what about it is most important.
The main message is that God is the glorious creator who deserves to be worshipped. All of us, however, fail to worship him. That is a problem because God deserves this worship and failing to love Him in worship is sin. God is a righteous God, He is holy and his judgment is perfect and thorough. That means that all sin will be punished and the penalty for sin is death. Sin requires an acceptable sacrifice in blood. If that sacrifice is not made, then the result is the sinner will be separated from God for eternity in punishment, which the Bible calls hell.
The entire story of the scripture is that sinners are unable to provide an acceptable sacrifice for their own sin. Because we are not holy, we cannot offer a perfect sacrifice. Nothing in the world is valuable enough to satisfy the debt we owe. That is the bad news, but the good news is that God is not just holy, he is also loving and He has sent Jesus to be a perfect acceptable sacrifice for the sins of everyone who will put their faith in Him alone as their substitute. If we try to earn our own way, we will fail. But if we give up our pride, admit our helplessness and accept the sacrifice God has provided, then we will be saved.
Jesus has paid the price. He has fulfilled every picture of atonement, sacrifice, and reconciliation in the Bible. The entire story is the story of how a loving God did what sinful people could not do, and did not deserve. God has provided salvation and offers it to all who repent and come by faith.
Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life and was crucified, offered up as a sacrifice, for the sins of all those who would ever trust in him. It was necessary for him to suffer to satisfy the righteous wrath of God so that sinners could be saved. He died and then on the third day. On Easter Sunday, Jesus rose again. He is alive. He is risen. This proves that he accomplished his task. The sacrifice was accepted.
It does not matter who you are or what you have done in the past. You can come to Jesus for forgiveness now. You don’t have to accomplish any work, you don’t have to pay anything. All that is required is you stop trusting in yourself for salvation and instead trust in what Jesus has done. He has conquered death, defeated Satan, and overcome the world. You only need to recognize your need and cling to Him in faith. If you are not already a believer in Jesus, I urge you this morning to go to him now.
There is something else interesting that jumped out at me when I was studying this passage. These two guys are mourning the loss of Jesus and here is Jesus, walking right along with them. What struck me as interesting is that he doesn’t initially comfort them by revealing who he was. He doesn’t say, “hey guys, its me”. In fact, he prevents them from seeing who he is and he rebukes them for not knowing their Bible’s better.
The way he comforts them is by instructing them more thoroughly in the Scriptures. Rather than comfort them with his physical presence, he comforts them with the revealed truth about Himself. I think that is profound and I think that is a blessing to us. Christ is risen. He is alive. But, where is he? We know he is with us in spirit, but we do not seem him yet as we are awaiting his return in glory. Our peace and joy do not come from the things we see, but from those things we know to be true.
We are comforted, encouraged, and can celebrate because we have received what those Old Testament saints longed for. We have seen the salvation of the Lord. In 1 Peter 1:10-12 the apostle Peter says,
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
God keeps His promises and His word is unshakeable. The savior is alive and seated at the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for all who are His by faith until He returns to establish His Kingdom. This is the message of Easter. It is the message of the entire Bible.
A bit later in this narrative, after Jesus reveals Himself to them, the two men say that their hearts burned within in them as they listened to him teach the scriptures. I pray this morning as you reflect upon what God has done in Jesus and in how he meets our every need we will leave here with burning hearts.
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