Sunday, May 01, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Recognizing Jesus"

“Recognizing Jesus”
Certain of Jesus: The Gospel of Luke
May 1, 2011
Luke 24:13-35

Wasn’t last Sunday glorious?

It was so good to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with those 10 baptisms.

I don’t know about you, but I was so proud of all 10 who gave your testimony-and not the least proud of Robin Joy who was the youngest and therefore the bravest.  She made my Daddy heart and my pastor heart beat so joyfully!

All 10 of you were bold last week in telling your story of faith in Jesus and your belief that He is alive again.

And that’s the story of Luke 24.

Last week, we only made it to verse 12 where Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and some others had gone early on that Sunday morning to anoint the body of Jesus and found the stone rolled away from the tomb and the tomb empty.

And that’s not all they found. The met up with some angels who told them, “He is not here; He has risen!”

And they ran back and told their story to the Eleven apostles who didn’t believe them.

And even though Peter ran to the tomb and saw with his own eyes that it was empty, he didn’t know what to make of it.  He (v.12) “went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”

That’s where we left off last week.

Today’s part of the story takes place on that very same day.  Sunday.

Jesus died on Friday, was in the grave on Saturday. This is the very next day, Sunday.

The third day since Jesus died.

And so far in Luke, no one has seen Him alive.

In today’s story, He will begin to appear to people.

And at first, they won’t recognize Him.

“Recognizing Jesus”

Now, one of many things that I love about this story is that it’s one of those stories where we readers have an advantage over the people actually in the story.

“I know something you don’t know!”

We know that Jesus is alive, and we know that Jesus is actually present before the other characters do.

So, we’re in on the secret.

Luke 24, verse 13.

“Now that same day two of them (that is, two disciples of Jesus) were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.”

There was so much to talk about.

We’ve been studying it for four months. They’ve been living it for a week.

Jesus riding into town on a donkey.
Jesus cleansing the temple.
Jesus preaching every day about the kingdom of God.
Jesus clashing with the Jewish leaders every day.
Jesus meeting with His disciples in the upper room.
The agonizing prayers in the garden.
The betrayal of Judas.
The arrest.
The denials by Peter.
The trials before the Sanhedrin, Herod, Pilate.
The releasing of Barrabas.
The torture.
The mocking.
Simeon carrying the crossbeam.
The soldiers nailing Him and lifting Him up.
The dying.  The long slow dying.
The interaction with the thief on the cross.
The final cry and final breath.
The sky going dark at noonday.
The curtain in the temple ripping from top to bottom.
The burial of Jesus of Nazareth.

And then the disappearance of the body!

There was so much to talk about.  V.15

“As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.”

Why?  I don’t know.

But it sure makes the story exciting.

They were kept (for a little time) from recognizing Jesus for who He truly is.

And that’s how we all are until the Holy Spirit awakens our minds and hearts to realize who Jesus truly is.

The irony!

Here they are talking about Him, and He’s walking right there with them. V.17

“He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ They stood still, their faces downcast.”

I never noticed this before until this week. This question stops them in their tracks.

“What are you discussing.”

They stood still.  Their faces were downcast.  These two people were so dejected, so sad, so tormented by what they thought had happened, that they had to stop.  V.18

“One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?’”

Where have you been?

Aren’t you coming from Jerusalem, too?

It’s like saying this weekend, “Was there some kind of wedding on Friday or something?”
“Well, duh. How did you miss that?  What rock have you been living under?”

Now, remember Whom they are talking to!

I know something you don’t know.

“Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

‘What things?’ he asked.

‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.  The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;  but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.

In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.’”

These two people sound so hopeless.

And they were.

“We had hoped that He would redeem Israel.” That Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament.

But Messiahs don’t die.

And we had heard that He was alive again.  But “but him they did not see.”

They were hopeless.

Because they did not recognize Jesus.

And Jesus, still concealed from their eyes, rebukes them.  V.25

“He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

Jesus was disappointed in His followers.  They deserved this loving rebuke.

They should have known.

They should have been recognizing Jesus:


“How foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe...”

Now, that’s hate, that’s love.  Jesus is disappointed, and He is rebuking, but He is going to teach them. He is patient with them and longsuffering and even gentle.

But that doesn’t mean that He isn’t forceful, as well.

Love can be very forceful.

Especially when it’s love trying to move someone.

“How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe [what?] all that the prophets have spoken!”

“Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ [Yes, He did!] And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

I almost titled this sermon, “Bible Study with Jesus.”

What an amazing Bible study this must have been.

Jesus took Cleopas and his companion [Is that Mrs. Cleopas? I don’t know.  He takes them] on a guided tour of the entire Bible written so far.

And the theme of Bible study is Himself. V.27 again.

“And beginning with Moses [the first five books] and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

Recognizing Jesus in all the scriptures.

Let’s do something.  Let’s all turn in your Bibles to the Table of Contents.

Turn to the front of your Bible to the Table of Contents.

In the Pew Bibles, there are two title pages and then it says across the top, “Contents.”

How many books are there in the Old Testament?  Anyone know?

The Bible is more than a book, it’s a more like a little library.

There are 39 books in the Old Testament.
All of them had been written 400 years before Jesus born.

You can see the list there.

Jesus is saying that they are all about Him.

What’s the first one.


What do you think Jesus said to these two about Him in Genesis?

He said that the Messiah would have to suffer and then enter his glory.

Is that in Genesis?

You bet it is. 

Starting in chapter 3.

In Genesis 3:15 as God is explaining the curse to the serpent, He says, “And I will put enmity between you [serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring [snakish people] and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Jesus’ heal was struck at the Cross.

But in dying and rising again, He was crushing Satan’s head!

And we could go on about the rest of Genesis.

About Noah’s ark and salvation through watery judgment.
About promises made to Abraham that are Yes in Jesus.
About Isaac, Abraham’s beloved son being offered as a sacrifice.
About Jacob, and a stairway to heaven, a way between God and man.
About Joseph, who goes down down down to come up up up to achieve God’s purposes.

But let’s move on to the next book.  What is it?


Is Jesus in exodus?

The Passover.  The blood on the dooposts so that God’s people are spared the wrath of God because of the blood of a lamb?
The Red Sea Rescue!  Crossing over by faith from Egypt’s bondage to freedom.

I think that Jesus is in Exodus.

What’s next?  Leviticus.

Ever tried to read Leviticus?  That’s one to get bogged down in.

This year’s adult class at Family Bible Week is going to study the book of Leviticus.

Because Jesus is there.

Just look at the sacrifices in Leviticus and you’ll see all kinds of things about the Cross.

The book of Hebrews gives us tons of insight into what’s going on in Leviticus.

Jesus is there.

I’ll bet He showed them as they walked on the road to Emmaus.

What’s next?

Numbers.  It wasn’t that long ago that we studied Numbers together.  Jesus is there, too.

Here’s one of my favorites.  Just as the serpent in the wilderness with lifted up, so the Son of man must be lifted up!  That’s the only time that you can call Jesus a snake and get away with it.

And anyone who looks at Him will be saved.

Anyone who recognizes Jesus in all the scriptures will be saved.

He’s in the book of Numbers.

Even the mercenary prophet of false gods, Balaam saw Jesus in the book of Numbers.

He says, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city.”

I think that’s Jesus.

What’s next on the list?  Deuteronomy.

Is Jesus in Deuteronomy?

All over the place.

And in Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and so on.

Prophets, Priests, Kings, Judges, the temple.

All of these things and more pointed to Jesus.

To His sufferings and His glory.

Why didn’t they see it?

That was THE fatal mistake of the Pharisees.

Jesus said to them, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40).

What a Bible study this would have been!

To be with Jesus and hear how the whole Old Testament was about Him.

We didn’t get to the Psalms. The Psalms are quoted in the New Testament over 400 times.

They are about Jesus.

And the Prophets.  Isaiah 53 is not the only place where Jesus is in the Old Testament–it’s just probably the clearest.

“Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

Yes, He did.

Because “we all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

If you have not trusted in Jesus yet, I urge you to do so today.

You have gone astray.
You have turned to you own way.
But your iniquity was laid upon Jesus.

“He was pierced for [your] transgressions, he was crushed for [your] iniquities; the punishment that [can bring you] peace was upon him, and by his wounds [you can be] healed.”

That’s what the all the Scriptures say concerning Jesus.

Come to trust Him.
Put your faith in Him.

And rejoice.

And get busy studying all of the Scriptures to know Jesus better.

I don’t know how long they talked.  Emmaus is (v.13) about 7 miles from Jerusalem, so they might have had quite a long Bible study.

But they reached town, and these two didn’t want it to end.  V.28

“As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. [I think He’s having fun with them.] But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them.”

I know something you don’t know!  V.30

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”


Recognizing Jesus: #2. IN THE BREAKING OF BREAD.

Can you imagine this moment?

They have this stranger with them, probably in their home, and He’s been explaining the Bible like they’ve never heard before.

And then He takes bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them?

Does that sound familiar?

It’s just like Jesus!

And I wonder, just wonder–it doesn’t say–is that when they saw the scars in His hands?

When He was handing out the bread?

“Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.”

And He was gone again.

But they knew then that it was all real!

Jesus is alive!

They saw Him with their own eyes.  They got it.

The Bible is true.
The promises are fulfilled.
Jesus is the Messiah.

Messiahs do die.  But they also come back to life!

And it was enough to get these folks who had just walked 7 miles to walk 7 miles back!  V.32

“They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ [It’s Him!] They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.”

I love how verses 33-35 run together.

These two run to Jerusalem and before they can tell them what happened to them, the Eleven have to tell them what happened to them.

Jesus really got around that day!

He appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden.
He appeared to Simon.
And to the Eleven (minus Thomas, of course).
And He appeared to Cleopas and Mrs. Cleopas.

And next time, when we open Luke again, Jesus is going to appear right here at this meeting in verse 36.  V.34

“It is true!  The Lord has risen...” 

Recognizing that Jesus is actually alive is the greatest thing in all the world.

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple
The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar
Jesus and the Sadducees
Jesus' Turn
Jesus and the End of the World
The Plan for Jesus to Die
Jesus' Last Lessons
Arresting Jesus
Judging Jesus
Crucifying Jesus
Burying Jesus
Jesus Is Risen