Luke 24:13-35 - Was It Not Necessary? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tim Black   
Sunday, 19 April 2009 16:04
  1. Introduction

    1. Have you ever begun reading a book which came highly recommended, only to find you didn't understand it, and so you never finished the book? Let me tell you, there's hope! Some books actually are boring! But for the rest, Mortimer Adler wrote a book titled "How to Read A Book" that shows you how to actually benefit from books you don't understand.

    2. On the road to Emmaus, two of Jesus' disciples didn't understand why Jesus had to die, and why He rose from the dead. And for that reason they didn't understand the Bible. Why did Jesus have to die and rise again? What is the meaning of these things we care so much about at Easter? Jesus Himself will help you understand.

  2. Body

    1. Central facts of the gospel: Death and resurrection. First, Christ implies what Paul later taught—that Christ's death and resurrection are the most central facts of the gospel.

      1. Paul's letters. In 1 Cor. 15:1-4 Paul teaches this clearly:

        1. 1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you- unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

      2. Paul's preaching. This also was the core of Paul's preaching, as in Thessalonica

        1. He reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ."

      3. Peter's teaching. Peter concurs in similar words in 1 Peter 1:11:

        1. 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.

      4. Christ's teaching. Was this not what Christ Himself taught?

        1. In Luke 9:22 Christ said,

          • The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

        2. Mark says "He said this plainly." (8:32)

        3. As in other places, Christ taught in Matthew 20:28,

          • The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

      5. Two stages of Christ's work: Humiliation and exaltation, from suffering to glory.

        1. We learn from these passages a clear principle that there were two stages of Christ's saving work: His humiliation and exaltation, moving from suffering to glory.

        2. Through faith-union with Christ, these also form the two stages of Christian experience.

          • Paul encourages us in Rom. 8:17 that we are now

            • heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

          • And so through the Spirit Christ now tells you in Rev. 2:10,

            • Do not fear what you are about to suffer....Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

          • "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." (1 Pet. 5:10)

          • For the Christian, "suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope"--even the hope of glory. (Rom. 5:3-4)

          • "It was fitting that he...in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Heb. 2:10)

          • "Rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed." (2 Pet. 4:13)

    2. What made it necessary? What made it necessary for Christ to die and rise from the dead? Together man's sin and God's deeds of redemption made it necessary, but especially God's words in the covenant—God's promises and laws. Christ "explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Luke 24:27) Christ explained "Moses...the Prophets," and "the Writings," translated here the "Scriptures," which together were the three parts of the whole Hebrew Old Testament. Christ refers to this threefold division again in v. 44, "everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." In this we learn that "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes;" He is the purpose and point of the message of the OT. We know well from the OT why Christ had to suffer—because He bore the penalty our sin deserved. But why did the OT make it necessary for Christ to rise from the dead? To answer that you need to recognize that as a whole the OT teaches the Christ would not only suffer, but also be glorified. Both humiliation and exaltation, death and resurrection, suffering and glory, are the total message of the OT for Christ and for you.

      1. The Law. The five books of Moses teach this gracious truth.

        1. Genesis

          • At the beginning of Genesis God made a Covenant of Works in the Garden of Eden, whose penalty for sin was "in the day you eat of it you shall surely die" and whose reward for obedience was Adam would "live forever." When Adam sinned and fell nevertheless God made a Covenant of Grace with Adam, promising regarding Christ and Satan, "He will crush your head, and you will bruise His heel."

          • God saved Noah through the flood, God called Abraham to leave his family and live for God in Canaan—and calls you to count yourselves dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ—Abraham believed God could raise Isaac from the dead, and at the end of Genesis Joseph, after being so terribly wronged by his own brothers, said to them full of God's redeeming grace, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good."

        2. Exodus. In Exodus the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of the living, not only of the dead—revealed Himself as the great "I AM" (3:14) and delivered His people from slavery in Egypt, saved them from the angel of death through the death of the passover lamb, and by the "blood of the covenant" "Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And...they beheld God, and ate and drank." (24:9-11) Suffering, but glory to follow.

        3. Leviticus. In Leviticus you gained entrance to the Holy of Holies only through the death of a sacrifice for your sins.

        4. Numbers. In Numbers God led His people through the wilderness in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and in the midst of poverty their clothes did not wear out and their foot did not swell. God fed them with manna to "make you know that man does not live by bread alone...but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD." (Deut. 8:3-4)

        5. Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy, though His people were not worthy of God choosing them but were worthy of death, God would send a Prophet like Moses whom they would hear and follow, and God would lead them "into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out into the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you." (8:7-10) Rest in Canaan was a foretaste of the glory to follow.

      2. The Prophets. The Hebrew OT is divided into the "former" and "latter" prophets.

        1. The Former Prophets. The "former" prophets begin with Joshua.

          • Joshua. In Joshua God gave His people that rest, and "Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass." (21:45)

          • Judges – In Judges God's people suffered in sin when "everyone did what was right in their own eyes" because "there was no king in Israel." "The glory has departed." (1 Sam. 4:21)

          • Samuel – But in 1 Samuel God gave His people a king—not the evil Saul, but David, "a man after [God's] own heart." (1 Sam. 13:14) Believing in the resurrection of the dead, David confessed regarding his departed son, "I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (2 Sam. 12:23) Suffering now, and glory to follow. God will not let His holy one see decay! (Ps. 16:10) "You will not abandon my soul to Sheol....You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Ps. 16:10-11)

          • Kings. In Kings God's people suffered from their and their kings' sin, and would have perished but for the grace and glory of God among His people, revealed in splendor through the heaven-sent prophets Elijah and Elisha, who called down fire from heaven—but also raised the dead—and were taken up to glory in chariots of fire.

        2. The Latter Prophets. Major and Minor prophets – The "latter" prophets proclaim the suffering that would come in the Exile, but also the restoration, the new covenant, and final glory to follow.

          • Isaiah. Have you not heard of God's Suffering Servant in Isaiah, that "when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand"? (53:10) Have you not heard that "the children of the desolate one will be more than of her who is married"? (54:1) Have you not heard that "Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together"? (40:4-5) One day "They will mount up with wings like eagles" (40:31), "The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory....and your days of mourning shall be ended." (60:19-20)

          • Ezekiel. Did not Ezekiel see the dry bones come to life, and did not God say "I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people!"? (37:12)

          • Daniel. Did not Gabriel tell Daniel the "Christ shall be cut off"? (9:26) Did he also not say "many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt"? (12:2)

          • Jonah. Do you remember how Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, went down to the depths of Sheol, then was raised and spit out on dry land? God brings His people from suffering to glory, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

      3. The Writings. The writings included the Psalms, Ruth, Job, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, and others.

        1. Psalms. "They that in the sowing weep, will reap with shouts of joy!" (Ps. 126:5-6) Is that not the consistent message of the Psalms?

        2. Ruth. And do you remember in Ruth how she was delivered from her poverty and grief so you would recognize Christ as your kinsman redeemer who gives his life for yours?

        3. Job. Did you learn to say with Job, "I know that my Redeemer lives?"

        4. Proverbs. Did you not learn in Proverbs of the "way that leads to destruction" and "the way that leads to life"? (Matt. 7:13-14)

        5. Song of Solomon. Did you learn in the Song of Solomon that in God's love for us our heart's desire is fulfilled--"He invites me to his banqueting table; his banner over me is love"? (Song of Solomon 2:4)

        6. Lamentations. In the midst of disaster and his lamentations, Jeremiah cried "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!"

    3. Christological Interpretation of the OT and NT.

      1. Do you see that every book of the Bible is about the gospel of Jesus Christ? Every book. That is why when our Wednesday Night Bible Study studies an overview of a whole book of the Bible, we call that series of studies "The Gospel in Every Book of the Bible." Every passage relates to Christ through God's covenant with His people. Not every passage mentions Christ directly, but the whole message of each book presents at least a part, and normally a great part, of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

      2. What Jesus told these disciples on the road to Emmaus should affect how you read the Bible. It affects how I preach from the Bible. In college and seminary I was rightly trained to carefully seek to find the unique purpose of every passage, and to not expect I understood that sometimes hidden message which is specially unique to the passage at hand. It is right for ministers and even laymen to be trained to uncover the hidden and deep truths of scripture. But the big picture, the main point, of the whole Bible is not hidden; it is not difficult to find. Christ says the Bible's point on every page is to lead you to Jesus Christ. Since coming here to Caney I have grown in this area—I recognize that although there are deep things in every passage in the Gospel of Matthew, in every passage there are also the simple truths of the gospel which are not new, are not difficult to understand, but which are truly pearls of great price for us to know and love. I am finding great comfort and joy in finding the plain and simple, straightforward truths of the gospel on the face of the text in Matthew. Make sure you don't miss them when you read your Bible! Ask yourself, "How does this passage lead me to faith in Christ my Savior, repentance from my sin, to love and obedience to Him, to hope in Him amidst suffering today awaiting the glory to follow?" How does this passage lead you to Christ?

    4. Relation between the OT and the NT. From Christ's words in today's passage you should also learn the relation between the OT and the NT.

      1. The OT necessitates the NT. The OT necessitates the NT. Christ said, "Was it not necessary?" It was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead. It was made necessary by the OT.

        1. There are many today who say that while from all eternity God planned Christ's NT suffering and glory, God did not reveal that plan to the OT authors themselves. Instead, God prepared types and shadows in the OT which we could only recognize as referring to Christ after the NT told us to do so. These two disciples did not understand that the point of the OT was to lead you to believe that Christ would suffer and then enter into His glory; that He would die and then rise from the dead. No doubt these two disciples needed NT revelation to correct their perspective. But people who interpret the OT in the fashion I warn you against take the perspective of these two disciples as if it was the norm for how OT believers, and even the human authors of the OT, understood the OT. That the OT does not necessarily teach Christ should rise from the dead.

        2. But Christ called these two disciples "foolish!" "Slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!" "Was it not necessary?" For that reason we may not claim their initial misunderstanding was normative for the OT believer, nor that our NT interpretation of the OT must be completely new and foreign to the OT. Our interpretation of the OT is not of a NT origin; it is of an OT origin. This is precisely why Jesus said to the Pharisees, "If you had believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of me." (John 5:46) True faith in God's word in the OT flows directly into true faith in Christ and His word in the NT. "I am not ashamed of the gospel....For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." (Rom. 1:16-17) There is no conflict between Moses and Christ. Christ said, "[Moses] wrote of Me!" The OT necessitates the NT. I agree the types and shadows are there, but so is the clear teaching of God's saving us from suffering to glory through the suffering and glory of the Messiah. You need not depend on hidden meanings in the OT, secret knowledge its human authors didn't know themselves, a NT interpretation of the OT which contradicts the OT itself. I recommend you don't even look for this kind of meaning in the OT. "The word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil." (Deut. 30:14-15) Even these words have been misinterpreted by some, as if Moses meant by them only that we must fulfill the Covenant of Works to be saved, but Paul means by them only that we must trust in Christ under the Covenant of Grace. The correct interpretation is very different—in Rom. 10 Paul condemns understanding Moses' words as requiring us only to fulfill the Covenant of Works. Instead, while affirming that Christ fulfills the Covenant of Works in our place, Paul says Moses' words should have always directed us to seek salvation through Christ through the Covenant of Grace. "Christ is the purpose of the law!" (v. 4) Moses' word "is the word of faith that we proclaim." (v. 8) Paul says the unbelieving Jews' interpretation that Moses gave only a Covenant of Works is "not according to knowledge." (v. 2) True knowledge of God's revelation in the OT believes that in its own time it was already a revelation of the Covenant of Grace, a proclamation of the way of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And because it proclaimed this way of salvation, and because this is the only way of salvation for sinners such as you and I, it was necessary for Christ to die and rise from the grave. The OT necessitates the NT.

  3. Conclusion

    1. In vv. 44-47 Christ said,

      1. "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, 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."

    2. Not only Christ's death and resurrection, but the Promised Holy Spirit, the preaching of the gospel to all nations, the whole NT and whole history of the church are what the OT made necessary. The whole Bible, and the whole of human history, answers the question "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter into His glory?" with a resounding "Yes!" Christ had to die and rise again from the dead as the means by which God saved you and all His people from their sins. That is the real meaning of Easter, the Gospel, and the Bible.

    3. This is the greatest of books. And now Christ has taught you how to read it, love it, and receive its saving benefit. Read each word with an eye to how it leads you to Christ your Savior, and you will not go wrong. I will close with Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 4:1-6,

      1. 1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.