Apr 29 2013 - Luke 24:13-53 – He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures
Today we complete Luke's Gospel with the wonderful story of the couple walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. I say a 'couple' because I think it likely that they were man and wife rather than, as has often been assumed (why?), that they were two men. As they walked they were discussing the things that had happened in Jerusalem and trying to make sense of them. Jesus joined them on the way, but they did not recognise him. He asked them what they were talking about and they explained to him how their Lord had been crucified saying, "But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21). Their hopes had been shattered, and yet, now three days after Jesus had died, the body had disappeared from the tomb. They just could not make sense of it all.
The third traveller then responds to them, "He said to them, 'How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?' And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." (24:25-27). Later, as they sat down together to eat, Jesus "took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them" (24:30). Immediately they recognised him, but just as immediately he disappeared from their sight. As they hurried back to Jerusalem they said, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"
When they got back to Jerusalem they found the other disciples and began to explain what had happened. Then Jesus again appeared, this time to them all. "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, 'This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things'" (24:45-48). Jesus then tells them that they are to wait in Jerusalem until they are equipped with the Spirit who will enable them to tell the world about him.
Jesus is the focus of all that God has to say to us. Apart from him, we cannot understand the Scriptures rightly. Reading them without seeing Christ is, to use Paul's phrase, like trying to read with a veil over your face. But when you turn to see Jesus, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). Now you can see clearly the wonderful saving plan of God with Jesus at the centre. He is the one who brings to fulfilment all that was written beforehand. He is the heart of the story. He is the one who calls us to follow him and to take our place in the grand drama of redemption. This great story is also to find its focus and to display its clarity in us; the Spirit of the risen Saviour not only gives us freedom, he enables us to live out our part in the story as we are recreated in the image of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
The Spirit also equips us to tell the story – the whole story of Scripture with Jesus Christ as its focus. We have a message for the nations, calling them to come and join the drama; be part of the story; come follow Jesus the Christ.
Lord Jesus, help me by your Spirit to understand your word, live your word and proclaim your word. May the word become flesh in and through me and speak afresh to those around me.