Road to Emmaus: Why Jesus?

March 15, 2009 Series: Easter

Topic: Gospel Passage: Luke 24:1–24:49

 

Road to Emmaus:  Why Jesus?

March 15, 2009

Sam Ford

 

The Empty Tomb Read - Luke 24.1-12 

Jesus Christ is the most influential and important figure who ever walked the face of this planet.  The measurement of human history turns on the day of his birth and who exactly he is and what he actually did is hotly debated.  Every religious, irreligious, moral, immoral, secular, or spiritual group loves to form Jesus into an image that supports their cause or lifestyle.  Without question, the most important question you will ever answer is: WHO IS JESUS.  The 2nd, and probably just as important is, WHY DID HE COME. Today we begin a short series that will take us up to Easter Sunday, arguably most important week in a Christian's life leading to THE EVENT that distinguishes our faith from all others-the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus.  It is a fantastic story, one that his best friends didn't believe at first, but eventually one that many of his disciples died for.   So, THE MOST important question anyone can answer before they die is-WHO Jesus of Nazareth?  And once we understand that, we can see WHY what happened...had to happen...exactly the way it happened, all for God's glory and our joy.

§         Road to Emmaus:  "Why Jesus came?"

§         Road to Nazareth: "Why did Jesus have to be fully man?" 

§         Road to Zion:  "Why did Jesus have to be fully God?" 

§         Road to Jerusalem:  "Why did Jesus have to be rejected?" 

§         Road to Golgotha "Why did Jesus have to die?" (Good Friday) 

§         Road to Damascus "Why did Jesus have to rise from the dead?" 

 

The Road To Emmaus:  Luke 24.13-35 

Back to Luke's account...after hearing the report of the empty tomb, two of Jesus' own disciples leave town.  If they actually believed that Jesus had risen from the dead, chances are they would have stayed in Jerusalem hoping to see him or investigate.  Though the women came and reported that an Angel had spoken to them, they received it as an "idle tale"-pure nonsense.  A few hours later, they left for home.

V. 13-20   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?" 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?"

Jesus Draws Near to ask a question:  Jesus himself drew near and went with them. This is a strange and wild narrative.  Jesus incognito, disguising himself as a fellow Passover celebrator going home, catches up to these two despondent disciples.  As he starts to walk with them, he injects himself into their conversation.  He doesn't make small talk, he doesn't make a comment about the weather or their fashionable sandals, ignores all of the social cues screaming that their upset and dives in.  "What are you guys talking about?" And they stood still, looking sad.  These guys can't believe what he asks.   Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know?  What you've been living under a rock somewhere?  These disciples are more than disillusioned, they're devastated.  Only 4 days ago, they were on an emotional roller coaster of excitement that led straight into despair.  Their world is turned upside down-probably asking questions like, what's next?   And Jesus knows this. 

 

Jesus Hides Himself?  It feels like Jesus is playing with them-but if he simply reveals himself, they will not learn. And because he pretends to be ignorant, they explain to him what they think should have happened.  We know that these guys had some EXPECTATIONS of how things would play out, as did the other disciples.  They week started with a celebration worthy of a king riding on a donkey and it ended with a crucifixion of that king between two common thieves; the one they loved most, the one they had probably followed for years, had seen perform miracles, had learned from; they watched be betrayed, arrested, ridiculed, shamed, beaten, and murdered.   

 

False Expectations:  God let me down.  

When life doesn't play out they way we see it, it hurts. I feel like Jesus approaches me this way, when I'm disappointed, sad, or even crushed about how things worked out.  Especially in the moment when that despair leads me to question whether or not God is in control...He'll ask something like he asked these guys.  They say, "We're talking about things that happened."  And implicit in the statement is, "We're thinking about the things that SHOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED that did, or SHOULD HAVE but didn't. Jesus wants to know what things they THINK were supposed to occur..  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.

He was man who was a MIGHTY prophet  This Jesus they met was more than a man.  He was unlike anyone that they ever met, heard of, or read about.  Charismatic, Radical, Wise, Clever, Bold, Gentle, Strong, He hung with sinners, and he memorized the whole bible it seemed...a walking Paradox.  They call him a prophet, comparing him to men like Moses who, from all appearances, were radical and accomplished radical things.  (We know Moses was just a Man...and a reluctant one at that).  Jesus was different.  This 30 year old normal joe, born to a teenage girl with a wild story, adopted son of a blue collar carpenter husband (Who was a stud by all accounts of how he treated Mary), this man from the armpit of Galilee--Nazareth, this man TOOK ON EVERYONE spoke God's Words like no other, he performed God's miracles not just in front of his men, or in church, but in front of all the people, for ALL to see. Jesus was different.

 

How he would deal with the religious   If anyone, they thought that their leaders would see that Jesus was a prophet; the ONE they had been waiting for.  But they were blindsided by the failure of their leadership, there to protect and guide them, they in fact were threatened by this young radical and sought to kill him as a fraud, a rebel, a heretic, and did so.  Jesus was the one that taught them true spirituality, calling the Pharisees white washed tombs, that their Dad was Satan, that they loved their traditions more than God.   Jesus was going to redeem his people.

 

How he would deal with the irreligious   And they thought that Jesus was the one do deal with all the sinners-Rome in particular, led by their oppressor Caesar.  The men had hoped that Jesus would redeem Israel just as Moses had served to redeem Egypt from Pharaoh.  They waited for God, through this man Jesus, to crush the sinner.  But the sinners won.  And, along with help from the religious folk, they executed Jesus as a falsely accused traitor of the kingdom. Jesus was going to destroy the world.

 

What should they had been expecting?

Why did they miss the mark?   What happened?  How could we have not seen this coming?  Our HOPES are shattered.  Anytime someone's hopes are shattered, we're so quick to sympathize; but perhaps it is better to also to discern whether or not the HOPE was placed in the wrong thing.  Whether what they say they NEEDED is really what GOD says they needed.  Let's not forget, many of the disciples were self-absorbed. THEY DIDN'T LISTEN TO JESUS...ever.  If you read the gospels, you'll see that on the night that Jesus was betrayed, several of the disciples were arguing over WHO WAS or WOULD BE the greatest in the kingdom.  According to Mark 9, prior to this argument he told them plainly, "I WILL BE ARRESTED, KILLED, and RISE AGAIN."  They were a bit confused, afraid of what he meant, and most likely overly concerned with what they were going to "get out of it.'   

 

JESUS REBUKE and then Into the Scriptures

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.

A sermon to remember: Jesus does not give them instructions on how to deal with their grief, he doesn't offer an explanation for why they feel how they do; he rebukes them.  He goes into the Scriptures to show them that WHAT IT SAYS THEY NEED...and HOW IT SAYS THAT NEED IS SATISFIED.  Beginning with Moses, which is the first five books of the Old Testament, he continues through the prophets to show how the entire Bible declared that this would happen.  In other words, the entire Bible is about Jesus.  And, I'm sure he could have went through and pointed out each of the over 300 messianic prophecies, proving how Jesus met them.  But perhaps he spent some time pointed out how Jesus of Nazareth was the PERFECT fulfillment, of ALL that God communicated in the Old Testament Narrative.

 

A promised Seed 

Immediately after sinning, Adam and Eve hid from each other and from God.  And, as they confessed their sins to God, he explained to them the consequences of their choices.  He described how sin's curse would impact men, women, and even cursed Satan himself.  But, in the midst of the just indictment against sin and rebellion, God reveals his plan for redemption.   Genesis 3.14-15  A seed, a child, a HE-MAN will be born and will one day crush his head.  15  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." The Different "Seeds" of Israel  Many men, in fact, the entire world came from the "seed" of Mommy Eve over thousands of years.   As God gathered a people of his own from among all the people's of the Earth, beginning with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, God also raised up men in specific offices to help lead Israel.  The Old Testament is divided into the books of the law, history, prophets, and poetry. In these books wer are introduced to the Prophets, Priests, and Kings.

 

We Expected an O.T. Prophet

Clearly, the men knew of prophets.  The Prophets in the Old Testament heard from God and spoke His Word to the people.  They were not popular.  These were the bold and courageous truth tellers, called by God, who had the responsibility of going into difficult situations, before men who hated them, could imprison and even kill them, and declare they were SINFUL and call them TO REPENT.  Rarely, did they listen.  Moses the prophet is told, as a fugitive, to go before the most powerful man on earth and demand to let people go; Elijah is called to rebuke religious leaders though he is outnumbered 450 to 1; Isaiah the prophet is told to declare God's Word but that no one would listen to him. 

 

Why Jesus is the Perfect Prophet

Moses had said that a PROPHET would come, a prophet like Moses who would redeem.  Deuteronomy 18.15  15 "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers-it is to him you shall listen-Jesus was that prophet who, like Moses, who brought the WORD OF GOD to the people. Jesus fulfilled this office unlike any prophet before him. 

 

Jesus speaks as God:  Jesus does not just speak FOR God....Jesus speaks AS God.  John 1 declares Jesus as the Word of God, and verse 1.14 says that the WORD became flesh.  He was superior to the prophets who would say, "THUS SAY THE LORD"  because he was the LORD.  He would speak, "I SAY TO YOU..."  And Jesus, in his day, brought the word to bear on ALL people-religious and irreligious.  Jesus calls ALL to repentance.  He calls the religious to repent of their self-righteousness and pride.  They separate as they admire their own piety and look down on the broken world they refuse to go in to. At the same time, Jesus calls the sinners to repent of their indulgence. Jesus says you go too far into the world in pursuit of evil. 


We need a Prophet:  Jesus is the perfect prophet, pointing a finger at our sinfulness.  He is God himself, telling us truthfully, and boldly, to repent.  And although we often don't want it, we need it.  We desperately need God to tell us when we have failed, to attack our sin, and to rebuke those in rebellion.  Jesus does not remain silent because he loves us.  Like a siren warning of a bomb attack, Jesus is there just as he was in the garden of Eden to say, don't do that...it will kill you.    

 

The Expected Priest

If the men looked outside their own expecations, they would have also seen that Jesus was the perfect fulfillment of the role Priest.  As he continues to teach them, Jesus does not berate them with how they should know this, but we see that as he walks with these guys he begins to act Priestly.   V.28-3428 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other,  "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

 

If the prophets were the ones responsible to speak for God, the priests were responsible to make a relationship possible between God and Man.  Beginning shortly after the Exodus, God installed Priests to mediate the relationship between God and Men.  The Exodus was the beginning of the engagement, the law a pre-nup, and the office of the priest maintained the marriageThey Priests offered sacrifices to agree with the prophet that sin was real, that it deserved death, but made a plea to God for mercy and grace by forgiving.  Each year, the Priests would make sacrifices for the sins of the people.  But they began by making sacrifices for themselves because they were sinful too.  There were elaborate purification routines and specific God-given guidelines of how to make atonement for those sins.  A perfect God demanded perfection.

 

Why Jesus is the Perfect Priest

Hebrews 9.24-26 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Jesus is a SUFFERING, SINLESS PRIEST: Jesus is a different more perfect priest.  In Hebrews, Jesus mediates sin once and for all. He serves as the one who makes relationship with God possible. And because he is the PERFECT, SINLESS priest, can HE ALONE do that.  It is mind-boggling to imagine a man without sin-and that is why Jesus is so amazing. Our perfect, sinless, holy priest, Jesus, offers a sacrifice to pay for sin-the price of which is death.  Jesus does more than sacrifice goats and lambs, he sacrifices himself.  The perfect sacrifice restores is not temporary for a year, rather, it is permanent, final, and complete.

 

We need a perfect Priest: Although Jesus is the prophet who points out our sin and calls us to repent, he does not leave his finger pointed leaving us in despair.  His sacrifice is unique because he lived our life, he is not the religiously removed individual looking down on our brokenness. He sits with these guys...eats with them...stays with them.  He is not just the prophet, showing up and rebuking.  He is the priest empathizes, who listens, who spends time with us, who knows what we go through because he was tempted, he was betrayed, he was lied about, he was abandoned, he was falsely accursed, he was misunderstood, he was murdered. 

 

The Expected King

The thing that the two disciples knew TOO much about, was the KING.  The O.T. is  full of Kings both good and bad.  The Old Testament records over 40 different Kings that reigned in Israel and over the divided Kingdome of Israel and Judah.  Out of 43 different Kings, SEVEN are listed as "good" and "right" in God's eyes. But even these good kings were broken, fell well short of God's standard, and rebelled in their own ways.  Most of the Old Testament Kings failed to protect from their enemies, failed to be just teachers, and led with a vision rooted in selfishness.  Even the good kings were corrupt in their own way.  But God had promised King David:  2 Samuel 7:12-13 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

 

Jesus the Perfect King

Jesus never intended to be the political King that these men were waiting for.  Their oppression was much deeper than that.  But when Jesus entered Jerusalem a week before he would die, they welcomed him as King-riding on a donkey, people crying "The Kingdom of David is at hand."  But Jesus was a different kind of King, a true and perfect King.  He did not plan to establish an early kingdom, to throw off the ROMAN oppressors. 

 

A different kind of kingdom & King:  In speaking to Pontius Pilate only hours before he was to be killed, he was asked, "Are you the King of the Jews?"  He responded by saying, I AM A KING.  He was the promised King, but it he planned to found a new kingdom in which ALL of life comes under his Lordship. Unlike all of the Kings before him, He does more than send armies to fight, he is a king who sacrifices and serves.  He is a king who gives up all power, all wealthy, all renown that his people might be saved and established forever.  He claims a people for his own and all of their lives for his own, purchasing it by his own blood. 

 

We need a King Today:  We need Jesus the King today.  We have Prophet to tell us where we rebel, a Priest to forgive us when we do, and a King who leads us into living a godly life.  And as he leads, he fights, he protects, and he builds as we submit more and more of our little kingdoms to His.

 

Still Walking on Emmaus 

Many people today are still walking on the Road to Emmaus.  Because they refuse to listen to what the WORD says about WHO HE IS, they are led by their own expectations that always fall short. In answer to why Jesus came, they don't know.  Jesus came as the perfect prophet to perfectly point out sin, the perfect priest to perfectly make forgiveness possible, and the perfect king to perfectly lead us in ALL of our lives.  If we dissect Jesus into his parts, we in fact declare the entire old Testament is full of outdated, irrelevant myths and lies and the New Testament is a meaningless set of moral letters.  44 ....that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

§         If we deny Jesus is a PRIEST, we have a prophetic king who finds all the sin in all parts of our lives but can do nothing about it.  In other words, we fear Jesus, but we don't love him so our lives are full of despair as we feel crappy about who we are.

§         If we deny Jesus is a PROPHET, we have a priestly king who makes us feel good about everything we do, but never tells us we're sinful.  In other words, we love Jesus, love people, but never enough to tell them they are sinning.

§         If we deny, that Jesus is a King, we have a prophetic priest who talks about Sin, and that God forgives is, but let Jesus be Lord of our "church life."  We're schizoprehnic Christians with two worlds, segmented into spiritual and secular worlds.  In other words, we don't live for Jesus, we use him.

 

Conclusion - Jesus as a King 

In verses 46-49, Jesus says: 46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 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  Here, Jesus speaks as a King leading his troops instructing them what to do next.  He opens their eyes to see that ALL that is written...that CHRIST should live, suffer, and rise AND that REPENTANCE and FORGIVENESS of sins should be proclaimed to everyone.  That all of our WHY questions are resolved in who Jesus is and what he did.  Pray Colossians 1.9b-23a

 

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