Branson Bible Church
Sunday Service 7.17.2022
  • Majesty
  • How Great How Glorious
  • All I Have Is Christ
  • INTRO: Why do we say “All roads lead to Rome”? At one point in history, even the very timeframe of the life of Christ, the city of Rome was the center of the known world, such that the Roman Empire had developed 29 major roads to all 113 provinces under their rule. Every road found its end in Rome.
    It is just so with the Bible: all roads in Scripture lead to Jesus. (not explicitly or slavishly in every text or context, but it is clear that God’s granting sinful humanity access to himself through Jesus is ultimately the center of it)
    In our usage “all roads lead to Rome” has come to mean that there are many methods to get the same result, that there are multiple ways to reach the same outcome. While that may be true with some things, like reaching the correct math answer (it doesn’t matter what method you use, as long as you come up with the right answer), it is not the case with faith in God. Not all roads of human religion lead to God. In fact, all other roads lead away from God; the Lord Jesus Christ is the only path to God. (Why do we know that’s true? Bc God himself has said it in his revealed word.)
    What that means for us is...
    Until we are changed by the crucified and resurrected Christ, we are inevitably heading the wrong way. We must see and embrace Christ for who he is to reverse our direction and our destiny, to return to God instead of rebelling against him.
    In our text for today, Luke takes advantage of a literal historical situation about a journey on a road and a reversal of direction to make us think deeply about how encountering the resurrected Christ as presented in the Scriptures completely reverses our understanding and our course.
    Luke 24:13–35 ESV
    That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 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. 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?” 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, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 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. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 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. 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.” And he said to them, “O 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 enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 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. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 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?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
    As we continue, I’ll remind you that ancient writers had an affinity for irony, and Luke appears to love dramatic irony in particular (where the audience [reader] knows something that those living in the action do not know, or at least not yet fully realize). We have grown accustomed to the use of this device in good literature, theater, and movies.
    But why does Luke emphasize this specific appearance and present it this way? That’s what we hope to understand (and be sure we apply to our lives). Confirmation of the resurrected Christ, testified in all the Scriptures, reverses our hopeless and wrong-headed direction and leads us to conviction and confession that he is Lord.
    There are 4 Parts to the episode: Meeting, Conversation, Meal of Revelation, Return to Report (So we’ll look at each of those parts and be sure we ultimately connect the dots to the big picture of a reversal of thinking and a reversal of direction when they finally realize that they have been talking to the resurrected Christ.)
    First we have a…

    When a chance meeting is more than it seems (vv. 13-16)

    Two journeying on the road are joined by a third, whose presence alters everything. Despite how this chance meeting at first appears, it turns out to be life-changing.
    - that same day, Sunday, first day of the week (the same day that these other crazy reports from the women have come to the disciples)
    - two of them: one is named Cleopas (v. 18), the other remains anonymous. It begs the question as to whether Luke’s source did not know who the other disciple was. Some have made suggestions, but they don’t hold water: Cleopas’s wife (oh foolish ones is not explicitly masculine), but that would have been perhaps easy and obvious to remember and relate. Peter?… really doesn’t make sense with 24:34. Another person named Simon. All of these suggestions are pure conjecture. At times our speculation is literally of no value. We don’t know bc Luke didn’t tell us, probably bc he didn’t know… another mark of veracity/authenticity of the way Luke relates what he has researched from eye-witness accounts, and tradition already being carefully circulated among Christians.
    - It seems clear these two are themselves disciples of Jesus but specifically from among the 11 apostles, although they are known to them (as we see in later verses).
    - walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, the site to which Luke refers is no longer known. More than one place in Palestine had gone by this name; it cannot be the same one Josephus describes from the intertestamental period. We know that bc this town of Emmaus is only…
    - sixty stadia (Gk) was about 7 miles, 11km from Jerusalem - They could make this walk in about 2 hours (a bit less or a bit more, depending on pace).
    - already conversing themselves (word suggesting an emotional dialogue) about all the things that had happened in just the last few days, vv. 20-24
    - Jesus himself joins them on their journey, but they don’t recognize him. - It would not have been strange for them to allow a fellow Jewish traveler to accompany them, perhaps assuming him another pilgrim to the Passover feast in Jerusalem now heading home. What is strange to Luke’s reader is that they don’t immediately perceive that it’s Jesus himself. The passive voice in v. 16 (were kept) gives us the explanation. God providentially kept them from initially knowing that it was the risen Lord. (Yes, Jesus’ glorified body is somewhat different than his pre-glorified one [which was like ours], but now his new one is without imperfection, yet still material, even though he can also apparently transfer himself instantaneously from one location to another. …a body more like when he was temporarily transfigured, Lk 9:28-36. So it’s possible that his transformation to perfection does make it somewhat harder to immediately recognize him (cf. Mary Magdalene in Jn 20:14). But here it seems plain that, especially as they are given so much time with him, God prevented them from recognizing him until the meal.)
    We, the audience, know this chance meeting is more than it seems, but they do not yet see clearly enough to have a reversal of understanding and direction. So we listen with anticipation to the walking conversation as the interaction unfolds, still waiting for the mic-drop moment. But in this entire conversation that realization never comes… yet.
    What the interaction accomplishes is for these two disciples to admit and explain that they are disappointed and confused, so Jesus is then able to correct their disillusionment with evidence from Scripture, giving them hope that they ought to believe the reports that Christ is risen.

    When a friendly conversation turns from disappointment & confusion to correction & hope (vv. 17-27)

    This conversation (in vv. 17-27) has three movements: First Jesus draws the information out of them, then they explain the events (along with their consternation and confusion), and finally the stranger corrects their lack of belief in the resurrection by showing them that these things (his suffering and subsequent exaltation) were God’s plan as revealed in the Scriptures.
    - Jesus, still unknown to them, initiates conversation by asking what they’ve been discussing/debating. They stop walking and clearly display sadness. (You know from experience what it’s like to observe in others a strong emotion being plainly evident… and not just with kids. :-)) We find out that the source/cause of their sadness is their disillusionment and disappointment with all that has taken place concerning Jesus.
    - Cleopas responds with surprise that this stranger wouldn’t just assume they’re discussing all the crazy stir surrounding Jesus that has recently taken place in Jerusalem. “Can you be the only visitor who isn’t aware?” The suggestion is that nearly everyone would have been talking about it. - ‘Have you had your head in the sand? Are you the only person who is ignorant of what has taken place in recent days in Jerusalem?’
    - Jesus does indeed feign ignorance, pretends to not know (reminiscent of God asking Adam in the garden where he was) in order to continue the conversation and draw them out: “What things?” v. 19a, eg. ‘What sort of things have happened?’ He wants to hear these two express their comprehension of what has happened. (so that he can correct and explain a different and better understanding)
    * Now the two of them launch into what must be an emotional and emphatic presentation of who and what had taken place. (19b-21a) - Their description of Jesus as a prophet was right but incomplete, and undoubtedly mirrors what many of Jesus’ followers were feeling: confused bc Jesus was indeed a great prophet whom they clearly perceived as having authority from God (in word and deed), and whom they thought was to be the Messiah. They had high regard and high hopes for Jesus, but then the religious leaders turned him over to be condemned and crucified! (a summary that clearly lays primary blame on the Jewish leadership… and rightly so)
    * So, these two share their personal disappointment bc they had hoped he was the one who was to come and redeem Israel (delivering Israel from her enemies [Rome] and restoring them to favor with God as his chosen people).
    * They continue: there’s more even today (Sunday) that adds further complication and consternation: It’s the third day (21b), which means to me they understand the implication of the report from the women. They go on to explain what the women reported (vv. 22-23)… They shocked us out of our minds! is basically what they express.
    * The empty tomb was confirmed by other men in their group (24). Although they had not believed the women, others besides just Peter and John evidently visited the tomb that day (unless this reference is only to that visit), just barely outside of the city to the north. [This might indicate that numerous trips were made to the tomb that day, perhaps with some even returning more than once, which could provide yet another way to reconcile the complimentary gospel accounts of Sunday’s events.] But the men who had gone to the tomb did not see Jesus at that time. (so the explanation ends with a note of doubt)
    They are amazed and perplexed, but not convinced.
    + Jesus’ answer to all of this description, and to them he is still an unknown stranger, is a rebuke (v. 25). Rebukes aren’t fun, but they are necessary sometimes. He begins with O!, which is emphatic. Jesus has some emotion in his response, as well as disappointment of his own. Jesus expresses that their failure to comprehend is foolish and slow-hearted. The word translated foolish here means to be without understanding, not marked by the use of reason. The reality of the resurrection really should have been plain, but since it is not, Jesus will remove the veil of their lack of understanding. They are also slow to accept the truth in their “hearts,” the seat of internal response—a truth attested to by “all the prophets.”
    + A summary of what this stranger will show them from Scripture (v. 27) is stated in v. 26, which he gives in the form of a rhetorical question anticipating an emphatic positive reply: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Notice two key features here as he makes this statement and proves it from the Old Testament:
    Scripture itself provides the needed correction, a right understanding of the person and work of Jesus. “Moses and the prophets… all the Scriptures” = the entire Hebrew Bible (what we call the OT). It contains explicit messianic prophecies, as well as promises and patterns fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Explicit: Isaiah 53 suffering servant, Deut 18:15-18 prophet like Moses but greater than Moses - Heb 3:3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.) (Promises and patterns/types: covenant with Abraham; sacrificial system. They are the shadow; Christ is the essence.)
    While he undoubtedly touches on other things, what he primarily seems to clarify is that the Scriptures do indeed anticipate the Messiah as a Suffering Servant first, followed by his vindication and exaltation: “necessary” (this was in fact God’s plan)… the Christ (confirming their suspicions/hopes about this Jesus of Nazareth)… “suffer these things and enter into his glory”. — Most Jewish scholars and teachers weren’t anticipating this because they didn’t make the connection between the Suffering Servant texts and the Triumphant Messiah. Different than expected, but also much better! (Here was and continues to be the major divergence between Christian and Jewish messianic expectation and eschatology.)
    Luke knows that this historical event has dramatic power to bring his readers to ask this question: What’s your understanding of who Jesus is and why he came? (Does he reveal God? Do you need him?)
    As Luke’s narrative continues, the reader can almost feel the two disciples wondering, who is this stranger with such knowledge and understanding? (of the scriptures, to be able to confidently describe the actual meaning and purpose of God’s plan through the Christ) And now the moment the reader is waiting for finally comes: something will cause them to realize that this stranger is Jesus himself, resurrected from the grave!

    When a simple hospitable meal reveals the resurrected Lord (vv. 28-31)

    So as they approach their destination (Emmaus), Jesus again pretends, this time like he’s continuing on. But Jewish hospitality kicks in, and they urge him to stay because it is probably later afternoon or already evening. (Heb 13:2 continues this Jewish hospitality into the NT church: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” The NT reader should remember episodes like Lot in Sodom, entertaining men who were actually angels.) Was this again a test of some kind?, because it turns out that these two are not just hosting an angel, but the Lord himself!
    Once Jesus agrees to stay and they sit down for the meal, Jesus assumes the role that would normally have been for the host, and he takes the bread, prays the blessing, and distributes it. (While this does sounds strikingly like the Lord’s table, we do well probably not to overstate the connection bc there is no cup present.)
    But it is at this point that (passive voice again: their eyes were opened). God opens their understanding and they recognize him. Imagine their astonishment: ‘Oh my goodness, it’s been Jesus all along. … It’s all true!’
    Having accomplished what he intended to do in this interaction, Jesus immediately vanishes. (Again, Jesus has a real material body, but now not subject to our limitations—a glorified one.)
    Luke closes the relating of this event with what I believe holds the keys to the account:

    When realization brings reversal (vv. 32-35)

    (dramatic U-turn, displayed in their immediate action, but representative of their entire lives)
    Did not our hearts burn within us? Confirming to one another, ‘even before we recognized him, weren’t we becoming convinced by the scriptures that we should have believed in Jesus’ resurrection, just as he said?’
    The witnesses change direction to go report the news. They had left Jerusalem confused and dejected, disappointed and disillusioned. Now God has confirmed the risen Christ, and they are compelled to return and report to the others what has happened.
    And they do so immediately. I imagine they walked faster on the return, probably cutting their travel time down to 1:30 or 1:45… IF they even walked at all. Running, they could have made it back in an hour. These dudes would have been exhausted this day!: Having walked 7 miles away from Jerusalem, briefly resting over an evening meal, then booking it back to where they had just come from. … And not worried about the increased dangers on the road if darkness has now fallen.
    When they arrive back, they find the eleven and many others gathered together after other reports coming out of this day, hearing even further confirmation before they can spit out their own news: “the Lord is risen indeed!, and has appeared to Simon.” (This is in reference to Simon Peter, who was also called Cephas, 1 Cor. 15:5)
    Finally, these two disciples share all the details of their story, first with what happened on the road (with this incredible stranger opening the Scriptures and proving that it was God’s plan for the Christ to suffer death but be vindicated in resurrection). And then that “he was known to them in breaking of the bread” = at the meal. It wasn’t until their eyes were opened at the meal that they recognized him, and then he just disappeared.
    And all these confirmations of the risen Christ are not yet the end of it. We’ll see next time that Jesus will appear to the group gathered this very night!
    Conclusion: [sermon title again]
    For now, we conclude today by reminding ourselves why Luke is so keen to tell this episode in such detail. This appearance in particular gives a vivid picture of our unbelief, even for the disciples who were already being told he was alive, but then also of the dramatic reversal of our understanding and our direction when Jesus reveals himself to our hearts.
    Here’s why all of this matters to you today, similar to what we said at the outset:
    The resurrected Lord has authority to reverse the course of your life & eternity, placing you on the only road of restoration to God. And it is His power that keeps you... and grows you... and uses you for his purposes.
    When the Holy Spirit convinces you the Lord was crucified and rose again, you are transformed from confusion to comfort, from disappointed & disillusioned to persuaded & determined, from having drooping heads to strengthened hands. “Christ is risen indeed,” and that reality reverses our eternal destiny and even our present direction. Instead of hurtling our way to hell, instead of straying aimlessly in our own strength away from God, we are transferred by God into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have forgiveness and redemption and purpose and hope and power for a new life in Him. To him be all the glory for reversing our fate by the power of the crucified and risen Christ, Amen.
    For Further Discussion:
    What ‘chance meetings’ in your past do you now attribute to the providential working of a sovereign God? Should you view relationships God has given you as ‘chance meetings’ or as something more? (Eph 5:15-16)
    Explain the blind disbelief evidenced by the disciples after the resurrection. How is that a pervasive issue for all mankind in responding rightly to what God has done and is doing?
    How does Jesus being the point of OT Scripture confirm and strengthen your faith? Discuss the balance between God himself through Jesus as the ocean at the end of every stream in the Bible versus slavishly imposing “Jesus on every page” to every text of Scripture.
    Think and talk about the big picture. How does faith in the crucified and resurrected Lord reverse… the inevitable consequence of Adam’s sin on every human being. (for making salvation possible - Rom. 5:12-19, for confirmation of our future hope 1 Cor. 15:42-54)
      • Luke 24:13–35ESV

    • Receive The Glory

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