Updated: Mar 23, 2019
On a dusty road between Jerusalem and a little town called Emmaus two men were talking on a seven-mile walk about the absolute insanity of the week of Passover. This man named Jesus had ridden into town on a donkey to shouts of praise and five days later was driven out of town with a thief and murderer to die on a hill of crosses. Everyone was talking about it and now, on this Sunday journey home, they still couldn’t make sense of it all.
Another man was taking the same road and caught up to walk and talk with them. “What are you guys talking about?” he asks. The one named Cleopas couldn’t believe this stranger didn’t know what had happened. He doesn’t know the religious leaders had killed the one who had done incredible miracles? So Cleopas explained the week… He was supposed to be the Messiah but he was crucified. Now there was talk by some of the women who followed him that his body wasn’t in the tomb. They even claimed angels said he was alive. Some of the disciples went to see. They found the tomb empty just like the girls said, but Jesus’ body wasn’t there.
This stranger then said to them:
Oh foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:13-27).
Of course this was no stranger. Over dinner Jesus broke bread. Cleopas and his friend’s eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus, the Messiah, who died and now talking with them, was alive and well.
What a moment!
The risen Jesus explaining not only the week of Passover, his death and resurrection, but also how the entire Bible points to him. After Jesus finished teaching, Cleopas and his friend immediately returned to Jerusalem to tell the disciples that Jesus was alive and what had happened on the road.
While Cleopas and the other man told the story, Jesus just shows up. Of course they are “startled and frightened.” The man they saw die on Friday was now standing in front of them out of nowhere. His hands and feet showed the scars of death, and the fish they were eating was good for his hungry stomach. Make no mistake, this was the Jesus who had died. Now he was standing right in front of them. Not a spirit or a vision, but Jesus himself in flesh and blood eating fish.
What could all this mean? How in the world are the disciples supposed to process this moment? While they stood there, jaws on the floor, experiencing a rush of joy, fighting off the utter inability to believe what they are seeing, Jesus calmly reminds them this is not a surprise. In fact, everything written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms pointed to this day and the ones to come. He taught them:
Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:46-49).
The Law, Genesis through Deuteronomy, the Prophets, Joshua through Malachi, the Psalms, the songs and poems of the Old Testament, basically the entire Old Testament, pointed to the life of Jesus in the last thirty something years, in the last three days, and in the coming mission of the church.
Could you imagine walking along the Emmaus road that day as the risen Savior of the World taught the Old Testament’s climax as it was happening? The prophesied resurrection Sunday is today and by the way I am he of whom the Prophets spoke! Yet Jesus did not end the story on resurrection Sunday. It is on that day the disciples of Jesus would begin to tell the story of the Risen Savior of Resurrection Sunday into the eternity.
I will never forget the moment I first realized this truth....
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Sentergy: When Jesus, People, Practice and Theology Collide
Chapter 1: The Glory of God
Chapter 2: The Glory of God in Jesus
Chapter 3: The Glory of God in the Gospel
Chapter 4: The Glory of God in Disciple Making
Chapter 5: If You Love Me You Will Obey What I Command
Chapter 6: Monday Morning Disciple Making
Chapter 7: Monday Morning Disciple Making Part 2
Interlude: The Father's Heart
Conclusion: The Lump In Your Throat