Luke 24 is a firm favourite with me as I have this pursuit, to have my understanding opened up. It seems that common experiences about the death of a loved one, we begin to see signs, and we begin to understand that what we experienced with them was not a chance coincidence. Many saints of God have left their mark. None like Jesus however, who was the focus of a political hope, a political aspiration. I have written about this passage many times, in other series, but here we are because this is part of the Resurrection story, part of our Passover series.
Why we have our eyes closed to Jesus’ approach, we have seen Him with the ambitions of our hearts…they are shattered at the Cross
The scenario after the account of the Resurrection and the account of the women, it seems the men in the focus of Jesus’ attention are slow on the uptake. They are down, depressed and broken. The fact is Jesus approaches these two, on the way to Emmaus, and their eyes are completely closed to recognising Jesus. They are oblivious that this is the Risen Lord. And on many occasions in our lives, how many times when situations do not go the way we need them, when sometimes sickness, death and calamity come. Our sentiment is “We had hope that it was He…(Jesus)” and yet that hope is shattered. Now lost they are conversing along the way. When this apparent “stranger” approaches and asks what they are conversing, it is obvious that Jesus was the person most of the nation were talking about. It appears that opinion concerning Him being the Messiah, died there on the Cross too.
There was a vision that Jesus was wanting to confound, hence their ignorance. They were in the possession of Scripture knowledge, which showed explicitly a Suffering Servant in His Messianic mission. Yet somehow through the trauma and resentment of Roman oppression they had had their vision of the Messiah distorted. It was no longer merely a Divine King, but He had now morphed into a political figure, fulfilling political aspirations. How we can do this with main tenets of the Gospels. We allow our subjective experiences to morph truth concerning the Person of Jesus Christ. If today we see the oppression of cost of living, we can appeal to the Jehovah Jireh part of the Message, in Genesis 22, without giving its true context in the walk of Abraham before God, the extent by which Abraham was to obey God and how much he trusted God to provide a Lamb to substitute his son Isaac. He had already provided, since the Foundation of Creation, in the Person of His Own Son. How we can skewer the Scripture to our own agenda, and distort the Person of our Messiah. The problem is that Jesus approaches near to the Church and our eyes are closed. God allows Churches to close, ministries to give up their activities, because God is allowing the skewered vision of Jesus in their theology to be shattered. The Cross has always to be applied in all time and in every situation. The Cross is where all things of God begin. And where all things of men end. We have to remember this, as we walk before Him.
When Jesus opens the Scriptures He is contextually placing the Cross at the centre of God’s purpose, not as an end but as a beginning.
As Jesus responds to them, their question concerning Jesus, who they had placed firmly as one of the prophets, Jesus rebukes them, for their lack of revelation of the Word. Starting from Moses, who clearly spoke about a Deliverer, a Saviour, who would do for them as he had done for Israel. Jesus ties up the 1st Passover, and places His own death neatly on the same level, the same purpose, the same results, but wider than before. He shows them how central to prophecy was the Cross to what God is doing eternally. He shows them whilst their hopes had been shattered, their hearts were elevated way above the confusion, and their hearts burned with new hope.
Jesus wants to do this in an age where much disease, destruction and death spreads over the earth, indiscriminate who they touch, yet when Jesus comes near to open His Word to us, He is lifting us from our small vision, our small hope, our small ambition. He shows us that we have not seen the overall picture. It is very important that we just don’t have Scripture knowledge but that the Spirit comes and shows us how the pieces fall!
We must place what is at the centre of Passover, which is the Lamb. The Lamb was sacrificed before Israel left Egypt, in the 1st Passover. In the 2nd Passover, Jesus is the Lamb, sacrificed for us all, before we leave this “spiritual Egypt”. And in the 3rd Passover we see the Lamb manifest also as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
In Revelation 5, we see John transmit to us the closed book, there was no-one worthy to open its seals. John wept, because he knew that the book was fundamental in the affairs of men. The angel comforts him, “Do not weep, for the Lamb has overcome death and has been found worthy to open the book, and its seals.” In the complete work of Jesus He transitions to be also the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Kingly Christ becoming manifest in the end days to triumph over evil, and the Blood not only redeeming saints, but removing satan. The Book is the Word, opened in its prophetic fulfilment for all creation. In it are the judgments and the rewards, in it are the final wages of every good and evil work. Jesus has to place this eternal vision in these 2 disciples on their way to Emmaus.
Lifting the bread of covenant Jesus is lifted in their eyes from Prophet to Lord of all, and they behold Him!
If we have a perspective of Jesus that is below the standard for which the Father placed Him, we are most blind. The disciples invited this stranger to dine with them and spend the night with them.
They see Him because He open their eyes, at the Table. The Eucharist/Communion Table is where He must constantly open our eyes more and more to Him. The whole liturgy must be centered around who Jesus is! And when they saw Him, not just with their physical eyes, but also with their spiritual perception, He disappears from sight! He has completed the work He needed to do in them, to place in them the truth of His Death, so that they behold Him with Eternal Life.
In Matthew 16 Jesus tells Peter that he would have the keys of the Kingdom, they are grounded through the revelation about the Person of Jesus. This would form a foundation that would last. The “Gates of Hell” is all that which has tried to undermine the Church until now. All the false ideologies, heresies, errors, falsehoods. Yet the true Church will overcome everything if it keeps this vision not only of the Crucified Lord, on the Cross, nor the Resurrected Lord, only, but also the Ascended Lord. These are the pillars which the revelation of Jesus stand. And with them, no matter what the devil tries to do to destroy the Church he cannot because it is not founded upon a law, a book, nor a code, it is founded upon the finished work of the Messiah.
For these two disciples of Luke 24, Jesus was no longer relegated to a Prophet’s tribute, no He is Lord of all, risen, and is overcoming the world. This is the same faith that 1 John 5:4, that faith overcomes the world. Faith in a person!
When Jesus comes near, we know something will shatter, something shall elevate our minds, and something will complete our purpose. He came to give a Kingdom vision to the disciples, that the Romans would not be able to break, however oppressive they became. He came to demonstrate this Kingdom by receiving of the Father the Holy Spirit, so that by nature we would also become sons, and workers of the same power that He demonstrated. These sons would reflect the Son in every way, and shall judge the world with Him.
Today allow Jesus to come near, no matter what trial you face, no matter what sickness you suffer, no matter what bankrupcy you have experienced. He is coming to lift you over these to embrace Him in His eternal vision!