Theme: Resurrection and Redemption
From these lessons we see that the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ were necessary in order for us to have the one true Redeemer who would deliver His people from their sins.
Scripture: Luke 24:26
We ask the question, “If sensible people like that, who had seen Christ die, and who had no anticipation of a resurrection whatsoever, came to believe in the resurrection, as they most certainly did, what is it that convinced them of the resurrection?” There is only one answer. It was the resurrection itself. Christ really rose. They weren’t prepared to believe it. They didn’t anticipate it. They wouldn’t have invented it, but He arose. He surprised them. He came and they saw Him and there was no denying the fact that He was there. Because they knew that was true, they went out from that place with a gospel that literally transformed the world.
They say something else, too, that gives us a clue to the meaning of the gospel. When they’re expressing their disbelief, they say, “We had hoped that it was he that would’ve redeemed Israel.” It’s interesting they use that word, “redeemed.” What was it that Christ had come to do, after all? He had come to redeem His people. He, himself, had said it. You could’ve said to them, “Don’t you understand that that’s what Jesus came to do?” They would then say, “You’re misunderstanding what we mean. We don’t mean that kind of redemption. What we mean is someone that would redeem the nation, that is, get us free of the Roman yoke.”
Perhaps that’s the reason why they didn’t understand His spiritual teaching. They were so focusing on the kind of materialistic deliverance that was also characteristic of their contemporaries. Perhaps that’s why people don’t believe today. It’s not that we don’t want deliverance, not that we don’t want redemption. We all have things we’d like to be delivered from. Some of us would like to be delivered from a bad work situation, or a habit that’s got us down, or the limitations of our personality, or a speech impediment, or a weakness of the mind, or some such thing. There are all kinds of things we’d be glad to be delivered from, but not from sin, which is what Jesus came to do.
You see, we want God to give it to us on our terms. We want our kind of deliverance first, and after that, we’ll consider whether we’re interested in His kind of deliverance. God isn’t the kind of person with whom you can bargain. Christ came to deliver from sin, and after that, the other things followed. So they missed it because they were interested in their materialistic concerns and not the concerns of their master.
What happens at this point is that Jesus begins to reveal Himself to them. He does it in a very interesting way. Three times over in this chapter it said that He opened something to them. In every case, it’s connected with the Scripture and the Scripture is the first thing that’s opened.
In verse 32 they ask each other after Christ had revealed Himself to them in the breaking of the bread, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road, and opened the Scriptures to us?” That is the first thing Jesus did after He asked them why they were depressed. He began to talk to them about the Scriptures.
I wonder if we understand the importance of that? That is the first thing God always does. He opens the Scriptures to us. How are you going to know God today? God is not here to be seen. He is not here to be examined. He doesn’t submit to a test tube analysis. God is to be known in Jesus Christ. How is Jesus Christ to be known? Jesus Christ is not known by our imaginations, as we invent in our minds what we think He should be. The only Jesus Christ there is, the only Christ who can be known, is the Christ of history. The only record of the Christ of history, infallibly accurate by the guarantee of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is the Christ that we find in the pages of this book. It’s as simple as that. If you would know God, you must know Him in Christ, and if you would know Christ, you must know Him in the Scriptures. There’s no sense pretending that you know God, that you’ve experienced God, that you have the answer to life’s riddles from God’s point of view unless you know the Bible.
So as Jesus began to reveal Himself to them He did not say, first of all, “Look. Here I am. It’s me, Jesus. Look. I’m the one that’s risen from the dead.” Not at all. He said, “You’re foolish not to know that these things should happen.” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them out of the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Explain the difference between the redemption that Jewish people in the first century were waiting for and the redemption that Jesus was actually bringing.
What is the first thing Jesus opened to these followers? What did he show them?
Reflection: Even in the church, what are some things that can get placed ahead of the Bible when it comes to determining what Christian belief and practice should be?
Key Point: If you would know God, you must know Him in Christ, and if you would know Christ, you must know Him in the Scriptures. There’s no sense pretending that you know God, that you’ve experienced God, that you have the answer to life’s riddles from God’s point of view unless you know the Bible.