Luke 24:13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.
These were disciples of Christ, but were not his apostles. One was named Cleopas (Luke 24:18), and the other may have been his wife. They were disheartened and confused since they did not expect Jesus to be crucified. They also heard a rumor that he had risen from the dead. What could this possibly mean?
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 (Luke 24:15-16). Jesus looked normal enough that they would have recognized him, if they were not actually kept from recognizing him. Before Jesus revealed himself fully, he wanted to have a Bible study.
Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
We can imagine their amazement as this stranger turned their attention to what the Bible said about the Messiah. From passage after passage, Jesus explained what the Scriptures said about himself. He had been reading the Bible this way for most of his life, and was able to make it clear to them.
Perhaps they began with the promise that Messiah would crush the devil’s head, and die in the process (Genesis 3:15). They surely discussed the words of Isaiah: he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). Likewise, Zechariah: They will look on me, the one they have pierced (Zechriah 12:10). Perhaps they finished with the words of the Psalmist: you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay (Psalm 16:10). This was the most amazing Bible study they ever had.
To understand the Bible well, we should ask what any given passage teaches about Jesus Christ. We may not find him in every verse, but if we zoom out far enough, we will see that Jesus Christ is the central message of the whole Bible.
In the country of Peru, there are a series of trenches that cover several miles. For many years they were thought to be ancient irrigation ditches. But in 1939, they were seen from the window of an airplane, and it became clear that they were drawings of animals. In a similar way, when we get an overview of the Bible, we see that it’s all about Jesus Christ. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me (John 5:39), he said.
Luke 24:28-29 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 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.
It is not clear why Jesus continued on as if he were going farther, unless (like us) he prefers to stay where he is wanted. If so, we should always be mindful of his presence, and treat him like an honored guest.
Luke 24:30-35 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. . . .
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.
If this was not exciting enough, Jesus himself appeared and said, Peace be with you (Luke 24:36). They truly needed peace, since they were hiding behind locked doors, afraid of the Jewish leaders (John 20:19). And now they thought they were seeing a ghost! (Luke 24:37). So Jesus showed them his hands and feet, and ate some fish in their presence (Luke 24:39-43). He wanted them to know that he was truly alive, and that his body was the same one that hung on the cross.
Jesus’ resurrection body had some improvements, but it was the same body that he had before. Likewise, our resurrection bodies will not be completely different than the ones we have now. They will, however, be very much improved (Philippians 3:21).
Luke 24:46-47 He told them, This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name . . . .
Jesus was not crucified and raised from the dead to leave us in our sins. That is why repentance has been an essential part of the Christian message from the beginning.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38), preached Peter. And God commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30), said Paul. And, I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance (Acts 20:21), said Paul again.
But people don’t like to repent, so it is often left out of popular preaching. We want salvation without repentance; forgiveness without repentance; and eternal life without repentance. But Jesus will have none of it. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near (Matthew 4:17), he said.
These verses speak of initial repentance leading to salvation. This takes place at the beginning of the Christian life, when a person turns from their sin in order to follow the Savior. The problem is that Christians still sin—sometimes badly. Do they need to be saved all over again? No.
After initial repentance, Jesus invites us to repent every day of our lives. This is clear from the Lord’s prayer: Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:11-12). As surely as we need daily bread, we also need daily forgiveness. This is not initial repentance leading to salvation, but daily repentance leading to ongoing fellowship with God. Repentance is not easy, but the rewards are endless.
Reflection and Review
What is the main point of the Bible?
What was Jesus’ body like after his resurrection?
What is the difference between initial repentance and daily repentance?