Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
He Interpreted to Them All of Scripture - Easter Morning - April 5, 2015 - Text: Luke 24:13-35
Our text is Luke 24:13-35: “13That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18Then 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?” 19And 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, 20and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21But 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. 22Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23and 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. 24Some 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.” 25And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29but 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. 30When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32They 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?” 33And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.” This is our text.
He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! This morning as we celebrate our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His resurrection, we get a wonderful sermon from Him and a bold and gracious example of how we too might boldly, with His authority and promise to be with us, share the good news of His life, death and resurrection to others.
The whole of Scripture, the whole of the world focuses and centers on Christ. Jesus Christ is the focus of all things. All things focus on Jesus. In the Old Testament, in the beginning, in the book of Genesis, after God created the world, after man disobeyed and brought God’s curse on the world, God promised to send a Savior. The whole Old Testament points to that Savior, Jesus. Some have even suggested, and I believe it, that the events of the Old Testament were laid out in accord with God’s giving of the New Testament, in other words, God directed the events of the Old Testament so that we might be given the gifts of the New Testament.
Throughout the Old Testament, the patriarchs, that is our great church fathers, the great men of faith of the Old Testament always point to Jesus. The call of Abraham pointed to Jesus. The confirmation of the covenant to Isaac and Jacob, pointed to Jesus. The call of Moses pointed to Jesus. All the prophets, judges and kings pointed to Jesus.
Indeed, the whole nation of Israel, the children of Israel point to Jesus. Jesus was born as the embodiment of the nation of Israel. This is true because Jesus was born to do what the nation of Israel could not do. Jesus was born to do what we and all people of all times could not and cannot do. Remember, God’s demand has been, is and always will be perfection. We are to be perfect and yet, because of the curse, we are born in and live in imperfection.
The Old Testament pointed to Jesus and Jesus came into this world, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the human woman, the Virgin Mary. Jesus was born as the embodiment of Israel and all people for that matter. Jesus was born to fulfill all the promises concerning the coming Christ, and He did just that, being born of the line of King David even in the town of David, the town of Bethlehem. Indeed, all the promises and prophecies concerning the Messiah, in Hebrew, the Christ, in Greek, the Savior were fulfilled, completely in Jesus.
Jesus came as the embodiment of Israel and all people. He was conceived and born without sin. There was no sin in Him and He obeyed all of God’s laws perfectly, fulfilling the complete demand of God, to be perfect. Jesus accomplished and fulfilled the demands of God on all people, thus He was the embodiment, doing for all what we could not do.
Jesus lived perfectly for us, in our place, as our substitute. He had to be and was truly human so that He could substitute Himself for us. He lived perfectly for us in our place and then He who had no sin, He who knew no sin took our sins upon Himself. And He suffered. He suffered the complete punishment for our sins, eternal spiritual death, hell, for us in our place. He suffered and paid the price for all sins for all people for all times and He died. Yes, in Jesus, our God died. Jesus died and when He died His body was placed in the tomb and His soul, God Himself descended into hell to declare victory over Satan before He rose. On the third day He rose defeating sin, death and the devil.
During Jesus earthly life many of the people as we are told, those who had eyes could not see and ears could not hear or understand, indeed while Jesus was alive there was confusion concerning His identity. Was He a prophet? Was He simply a good man? Was He simply a good teacher? Or was He more? Was He the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior? Of course this confusion was also part of God’s plan because if the world had known who Jesus was they may not have crucified Him so that He would not have been able to accomplish our salvation.
Yet, after Jesus fulfilled all righteousness, after He lived, suffered, died and rose, and especially after He ascended and sent the Holy Spirit, He opened the eyes and ears of all the faithful so that seeing and hearing they may believe. Indeed, as Jesus showed Himself to be alive for those forty days, He opened their eyes and ears to hear and believe. And after He ascended, after Pentecost and the sending of the Holy Spirit He continued even more opening the eyes, ears and hearts of many people through the preaching of the Word of God.
In our text for this morning we hear Jesus explaining how it all fit together. As they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty, so it is much easier after looking back on these events to see how well they fit together, how they all pointed to Jesus, how all history points to Jesus.
And so, even today we are better able to look back and see how all of history is focused on Jesus, the pivotal point and focus of time. In the Old Testament people were looking forward to the Christ and in faith in the Christ to come they were Christians and they were saved by God’s grace through faith given to them by God. Today we point back to Jesus, we believe Jesus is the Christ and so we are Christians and we are saved by God’s grace through faith given to us by the Holy Spirit.
And yet even in our world today there continue to be too many people who cannot see nor hear, because they do not and will not believe in Jesus. Too many in our world today continue to refuse and reject Jesus as the Christ. And yes, even among us Christians, day in and day out, week in and week out we continue to refuse and reject Jesus and the gifts He has to give. We refuse and reject our Lord and His gifts when we absent ourselves from the means of grace, from those means He has of giving us His good gifts and blessings. That is when we absent ourselves from reading God’s Word, having personal and family devotions, being in divine service and Bible class as often as offered, we are refusing and rejecting Jesus.
And yet, Jesus continues, He persists in coming to us in giving us chance after chance after chance, at least while we remain alive in this world and until He comes again, at which time it will be too late. Yes, Jesus continues to come to us today to give us all the good gifts and blessings He has to give. He comes to us to give to us faith, forgiveness, life and salvation won for us on the cross. That is why we come to worship every Sunday so that we might celebrate His resurrection and be given the gifts He has to give and because we worship a living God. We worship our God who defeated sin, death and the devil. We worship our God, Jesus who is the focus of all time.
Jesus is the answer, really, no matter what the question. Jesus is the focus of the Old Testament. All the Old Testament pointed to Him. Jesus is the focus of the New Testament. All the New Testament points to Him. Just as the people of the Old Testament were Christians, believing in the promised Christ to come, so we in the New Testament are Christians, believing that Jesus is the Christ who lived, suffered, died and rose for us. Just as the Old Testament Christians were saved by faith in the coming Christ, we are saved by faith in Jesus, the Christ. And just as the Old Testament Christians were saved by grace, by no effort of their own, we too are saved by grace, by the faith given to us by the Holy Spirit giving us faith, by Jesus earning and giving us forgiveness by God’s rich, undeserved grace for us. And so we rejoice, we celebrate, we give thanks. We say, to God alone be all glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen. He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Amen.