♪ [music] ♪ – [D.A. Carson] Anyone who has read the
gospels including the Gospel of Luke carefully knows that no one really
expected the Messiah, the King of kings to be crucified like a
condemned, disgusting criminal. And therefore similarly,
they didn’t expect him to be raised from the dead. When you read the gospels
you discover that Jesus had predicted his resurrection on several occasions.
But Jesus was known for sometimes saying enigmatic things. I imagine the apostles
sometimes stroked their chins and muttered “deep, deep,” and figured
out they’d understand it someday, but they didn’t understand it when he
spoke it. Indeed, even when Jesus was in the tomb they didn’t have
a category for a crucified and then resurrected Messiah.
And the proof of that is that after Jesus has been placed in the tomb,
he’s now already dead, he is buried, the apostles themselves are not saying,
“Oh, yes, I can hardly wait till Sunday,” they still don’t have a
category for a resurrected Messiah. And they are surprised when the first
reports come in, the reports from the women seem too hard to believe.
And when you read all of the accounts of the resurrection appearances in the
New Testament, 10 or 11 of them, one of the things that stands out in all
of the early appearances is how he was not expected. But then as you read more of
these resurrection experiences, there are other themes that are stressed
as well. One of them in Luke’s gospel, is how all of these things fulfill the
Scripture. Even after Jesus’ resurrection, he is underscoring the fact that he had to
be crucified and this resurrection is his vindication. This is the demonstration
that this was God’s plan. After all, it was common Old Testament theology that
anyone who is executed by being hung up on a tree, on a pole,
is under the curse of God. For him to be resurrected is a way of
saying well, actually at this juncture, he’s not under God’s curse,
this was God’s plan, he’s vindicated. And so when you read the account of Jesus’
appearance to the two on the road to Emmaus, you find Jesus saying to them
when they say that they had hoped that Jesus was the Messiah but now he’s dead.
They have no category or no hope. He says to them, “How foolish you are,
how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah 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.” One wonders what Jesus said, what things he pointed to.
One can guess pretty accurately I suspect. They are the very things that Luke points
to himself as he records all of Jesus’ utterances during the days of his flesh
and his gospel. And as he expounds in the book of Acts all the things that those
early Christian preachers said. They would point for example to the Passover account.
They would point to the day of atonement when the blood of a bull and goat had to
be offered up before God in the Most Holy Place. They might well point to
Isaiah 53 the account of a suffering servant. I imagine they pointed
to Psalm 69 where David is presented. Despite the fact that he was King.
He is presented as the one who was betrayed by his own familiar friends and
despised by all people. And Jesus as great David’s greater son
fulfills these patterns. And ultimately, is vindicated by God himself,
resurrected, brought back to life. But one of the loveliest elements of this
account where Jesus displays himself to the two on the road to Emmaus occurs
after they get to Emmaus. Jesus makes as if he’s going to go farther
on and they prevail on him to come and join them for a meal. As hosts,
they should be the one that actually break the bread but
Jesus comes to the table and he takes the
bread and he breaks it himself. The text says that “their eyes were
opened.” Why? We can’t be quite sure, did they see the wounds in his hands?
Or maybe they remembered what the apostles had told them about what Jesus had
said on the night that he was betrayed, how he had taken the bread at that last
supper and broken it and said, “This bread is my body broken for you. Do
this in remembrance of me.” So, as he took the bread and broke it,
it all came flooding back in one fashion or another maybe remembering the apostle’s
words and seeing the broken scars. This bread that spoke of Jesus’ body
battered, the cup that spoke of Jesus’ blood, shed that we might be forgiven.
And their eyes were opened and they saw. So, far from Jesus being a condemned
criminal he was vindicated by his Heavenly Father and then he disappeared from their
view. And so today when we come to what we variously call in our traditions Holy
Communion or the Lord’s table or the Eucharist, we take the bread again and
we remember that it was because Jesus’ body was broken and his blood was shed
that we are forgiven. And he himself was vindicated by the resurrection and in this
resurrection existence calls us to share resurrection life with him.
And that is the heritage of Jesus’ resurrection that bears fruit in eternal
life in us right now and will bear fruit in resurrection
existence for those who have put their faith
in him on the last day. ♪ [music] ♪