The Week after Easter
Good Morning to the followers of Voices of Hope Evangelistic Team and to all who are reading or listening to this message via Facebook or our Website at: www.voicesofhope.faith. Once again it’s a blessing to be able to share God’s word throughout the world, I praise God for these venues.
If you would take your Bibles and turn to the 24th chapter of The Gospel of Luke we’ll begin there in a moment.
Luke Chapter 24 deals with the week after Easter and I think there's an incredible lesson for us about a burning, emotional, passionate love for Jesus Christ. There's nothing deader than dead belief; a person who knows the truth, who can cross every "T," dot every "I," but can't experience victory.
So, how can we have a passionate, burning, emotional love for Jesus? It's good to have everything right, but I think of a preacher who was preaching and did not use proper grammar as I sometimes fail to do. In his message he was saying, "I've seen this" and "I've seen that." Someone said to him you should be like pastor so-and-so who says correctly, "I have seen."
He knew pastor so-and-so who had that dead orthodoxy belief, and said, "Well, I'll tell you the truth, I'd rather say 'I’ve seen' when I've seen something then to say 'I have seen' when I ain't seen nothing."
I want us to have a passionate love for Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit sign at Pentecost was a tongue of fire and we need to have a burning, passionate heart for Jesus.
Let me give you the background. Jesus was crucified, put in that grave, came out of that grave, and was seen; some of the disciples were convinced, but some of them not fully convinced. They were half-believing and half-doubting. Two of them had taken a journey to a place called Emmaus. They were trudging along, two forlorn disciples, discouraged and burdened.
Let's begin in chapter 24 verse 13, And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14 And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.
15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them.
16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad.
18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, "Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?" 19 And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21 "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.
22 "But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning,
23 and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive.
24 "Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see."
25 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus whose sorrow was turned into joy when they met Jesus on the way and He opened-up to them the Scriptures. Thank You that their hope in Him was restored when they discovered that Christ was indeed their promised Messiah, who died to pay the price for their sin and rose again the third day, so that all Scripture would be fulfilled. I pray that I would be careful not to fall into the trap of letting outward circumstances affect my inner trust in You. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
First I want us to see what I'm going to call the discouragement of a confused heart.
These two disciples were discouraged. They're trudging along, half-believing, half-doubting. They've heard the story, but they were let down in body and in spirit, and Jesus could tell by their countenance that they were discouraged. They were sad, and we're going to see that their discouragement and their sadness had a source. It was a misunderstanding.
That misunderstanding led to disappointment. And disappointment led to doubt and doubt led to discouragement. So, what was their misunderstanding? They had been looking for a political Messiah. They were hoping that Jesus would come and redeem Israel and it did not happened. Notice in verse 21, "But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel."
Obviously, they were looking for a political Messiah, a King, and now their King has nails for a scepter, a cross for a throne, and His Kingdom had limited to the narrow confines of a tomb.
What had happened to the Kingdom? The prophets had prophesied a kingdom. The poets had pictured a Kingdom. The angels had pronounced and announced a kingdom. And Jesus had preached the Kingdom. And they were saying, "Lord, this is wonderful, Messiah is here. Israel is going to be redeemed."
But it didn’t happened; what had happened to these people is that they did not know, as Paul Harvey would have said, the "rest of the story." They'd only seen part of the story, and they did not understand that Jesus was turning Calvary into Easter and Pentecost was coming.
Just like sometimes we don't understand when we're going through our own Gethsemane and Calvary that He's going to turn our hurts to hallelujahs and our Calvary to Easter and our tears to pearls. We only see a part of the story.
These two disciples were sad because their sadness was rooted in misunderstanding and unbelief and Jesus actually called them fools, if you'll look there in verse 25, it's a very interesting verse where He says to them, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken."
Now they believed part of what the prophets had spoken, but they did not believe all of it, they did not understand it all. And so what you have here is what I want to call the discouragement of a confused heart.
When we get confused, and don't understand the Word of God, that can lead to discouragement. I have met in my ministry so many Christians who get discouraged because they don't understand the Scriptures and they don't believe all that the prophets had spoken.
Now let's move from there and talk not only about the discouragement of a confused heart but let's talk a little bit about the discovery of a challenged heart. Jesus meets them and challenged them with the Word of God.
First of all, Jesus sought them. Look if you will in verse 15 of this same chapter, "And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near..."
He's done that so many times to me and you. Jesus just caught up with them. He did not seek them out to condemn them, or even to condone them. But what He did seek them for was to claim them and to comfort them. Just as the Lord Jesus sought us when we were lost and we loved Him because He first loved us.
Now these men evidently were already believers, although they were discouraged. If Jesus would seek us when we were just out and out sinners, surely He will seek us when we're saved and away from Him. Every Christian is known and every confused Christian has found Jesus seeking them.
But not only did Jesus seek them, He caught them. He sought them and He caught them. He drew near to them and I'm so glad that He did; but here's the incredible thing, He taught them. He opened the Scriptures to them and He opened their eyes. Look if you will in verse 27 and see what the Lord Jesus did for them. Notice He says,
"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them."
Now watch this.
"And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight."
First, in verse 32, we're going to notice that He opened the Scriptures. "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" Underscore that, it's so important! "Our hearts burned when He opened to us the Scriptures."
But it was not enough for Him to open the Scriptures. Go back up to verse 31, "And their eyes were open and they knew Him."
There are two things that the Lord has to open to us when we're confused and discouraged.
First of all, He has to open the Scriptures. Secondly, He has to open our eyes. Both are absolutely necessary. Light without sight is no good and sight without light is no good. It takes absolutely both.
So, why is it that God engineered it that they would not know who He was? Was there something about His likeness that was changed because they had known Him, they had seen Him, yet they did not recognize Him. Why does the Bible say that this was "holden from them" or kept from them?
Look in verse 16, "But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him."
That doesn't mean that His form was changed, but something happened to them. God doesn't let them recognize Him. God, in some way, distorts their vision. He does not give them insight. Why did God do that? Why didn't He say, "Look, here I am—Believe!" Why?
Good question, glad you asked. Jesus is getting ready to go to heaven and what He is doing is the same thing, you and I need; we don't have Jesus before us in physical form, we have the Word of God. What He is doing is putting their dependence not upon His physical presence with them, but upon the Word of God. He's opening to them the Word, He's opening them the scriptures, He's opening to them the prophets and He is opening their eyes to see Him not after the flesh, but to see Him by the Holy Spirit in the Word of God.
And so, now we're seeing this transition. He's going back to heaven, but He is leaving the Word, the written Word is what we have today to bring Jesus Christ to us and to make Jesus Christ real to us. It is significant that it was the Word and not the physical sense that made Him real to them.
They didn't say, "Oh yes, we recognized Him. That was really Him. We saw Him!" No. They said, "We knew Him because He opened the Word to us." That's how they knew Him. They knew Him now through the Word of God.
He challenged them through the Word of God. I want us to notice the sermon that He gave to them. The method was to open the Scriptures and open their eyes.
Now notice the message. Look in verse 27, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, "
That's just the Old Testament way of saying the first five books of the Bible written by Moses and then the prophets, that's just the way He speaks of a major portion of the Old Testament. So He's just saying, "Going back to Genesis 1:1," "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."
Look at it carefully, it doesn't say "He expounded to them all the things concerning Himself in the Scriptures." That would have been fine, but that's not what it says. It says "He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
Okay, what does that mean? It means that Jesus is in all the Scriptures, and not that He is in some of the Scriptures—not all of the things in the Scriptures—but in all the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself.
The New Testament had not yet been written, so He started in Genesis—that's Moses, Genesis, Exodus, then Deuteronomy, etc.—and then He just continues in the prophets to speak to them from the Scriptures. What are the Scriptures about, the things concerning Himself.
If you read the Bible and you don't find Jesus, you missed it. Go back! Standing somewhere in the shadows you will find Jesus, He'll be there in prophecy, He'll be there in precept, He'll be there in parable, He'll be there in poetry, He'll be there somehow. Jesus is there in the Bible and He Himself said and challenged the people of His day when He was talking about the Old Testament, "Search the Scriptures, for these are they which testify of me."
I've been preaching long enough to know that the Bible becomes a wonderful book when you find Jesus in it. Whether it's the Old Testament or the New Testament, you find Jesus somewhere and really, there's no lasting joy without Jesus. He is the One that you need and God has engineered that you're not going to have joy without Jesus and you're not going to know Jesus really apart from the Scriptures.
Too many people are writing Dear Abby when they ought to be opening their Bible and reading, finding out what is in the Word of God.
Now, He's walking with them. They're on the Road to Emmaus. That's about seven and a half miles, so how long would it take them to walk seven and a half miles? About two hours? So it's a two hour Bible conference, maybe they stopped a little bit, three hours, whatever. All the way now He's opening to them the Scriptures. How would you like to have a tape recording of that? That seven-mile Bible Conference.
I would love to have a tape recording of that, of Jesus starting in the Book of Genesis and going through the Old Testament and saying, "Here's Jesus, Here's the Messiah; but He didn't say "Here I am" because at that moment they still didn't realize who He was when He was talking about Himself. All of the Scripture is about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Fulfilled prophecy is such a wonderful thing. Did you know that there over 333 precise details prophesying Jesus in the Old Testament? Centuries before Jesus was born, His birth, His career, His teaching, His suffering, His resurrection, His glory, His ascension, His Second Coming, that was all prophesied.
Jesus is the only person ever born in this world Whose ancestry, Whose birth-time, Whose forerunner, Whose birthplace, Whose birth-manner, Whose infancy, Whose manhood, Whose teaching, Whose character, Whose preaching, Whose reception, Whose rejection, Whose death, Whose burial, Whose resurrection, Whose ascension, were all written before He was born.
Don't pass by that. Can you imagine anybody painting a picture of an individual, having never seen that individual, nor having never been born yet and paint that picture in striking unmistakable detail. But then can you imagine not one person, but twenty-five artists participating in the same picture, and then when that individual comes there it’s that exact likeness.
There are about six billion people on the face of the earth, not all of them have telephones, but let's say that all of them did. And I wanted to contact my son but I don't know his number. I don't know the area code where he lives. Nor do I know the digits in his personal number. Suppose I pick up the phone and began to dial some numbers at random. What do you think the probability is that I'm going to reach him? Just pick it up, dial any numbers, and do you think he's going to say, "Hello, Daddy!" Do you think that's going to happen? What are the chances? What is the probability that I would get every number right in a phone number?
Well let me tell you how we're going to dial Jesus. If you were to start, for example, in the Book of Genesis, you're going to find out that Jesus the Messiah is going to come from a certain race.
Genesis 3:15 says He's going to be the seed of a woman. So right away we know it's not some angel or some other creature that is going to redeem us. So we dial the first number correct.
And then we get to Genesis 9, the descendants that have come out of the ark, and we know that Jesus is going to be a descendant of Shem, a Semite. So here is the Messiah, He's going to be of a race and He's going to come from a section of that race. Not all the peoples of the world are going to bring the Messiah.
Now, we've got to dial the next number. He's going to come out of a nation of that section of that race, so we read in Genesis 12 that He's going to be a descendant of Abraham. But then we find out that Abraham has a number of descendants, so there has to be a tribe of that nation, of that section of that race.
The Messiah now has to come from the Tribe of Judah. But we haven't got all of the numbers yet, so we have to dial another number because He's going to come from a family of that tribe, of that nation, of that section of that race, and He's got to be of the house of Jesse.
But we're not finished yet; we've got to dial another number. Not all of the descendants of Jesse, but there has to be a particular woman. Isaiah Chapter 7 says she is a virgin. So you've got a virgin from that family, from that tribe, from that nation, from that section, from that race.
But not just any woman; she has to be a virgin and not just a virgin in any place, but she has to be a virgin in Bethlehem of that family, of that tribe, of that nation, of that section of that race. And she has to give birth to a baby, but not just at any time, she has to give birth to a baby at a specific time prophesied by the prophet Daniel in Daniel Chapter 9. And so if you just keep dialing these numbers, and pick up the phone, and on the other end is Jesus, the Son of God.
You see, the Scriptures—when Jesus took the Scriptures and He opened them and began to show them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself; He's willing to open the Scriptures to us and He opens the Scriptures and He opens our eyes. Now, let me just before I pass onto the final thing, say that the prophecies concerning the Second Coming of Jesus are going to be fulfilled just as literally as those concerning His first coming, Same Scriptures.
Many missed the blessing of His first coming because they did not understand the Scriptures or they did not believe them. "Oh fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken."
I don't want to hurt your feelings, but there's something wrong with your mind and something wrong with your heart if you don't believe the Bible. Jesus would say to you, you're foolish and your heart is very slow if you don't understand the Scripture. The world is not through with Jesus but this world is through without Jesus. He is coming again.
Okay, we've talked about the discouragement of a confused heart. We've talked about the challenge of a confronted heart. And now, I want us to think about the declaration of a convinced heart.
Notice what happened to these people. Look if you will in verse 28. After Jesus had been with them, "And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him..."
Do you know most of us have about all of God we want? Hear me, most of us have about all of God we want. If we don't have any more it's because we don't want any more.
There are many times in the Bible where our Lord looks like He wants to get away from us. When Jacob was wrestling with the angel, the angel said, "Let me go." Well good night, you know that Jacob couldn't have held onto an angel if the angel really wanted to get away; the fight was fixed. The angel said, "Let me go." Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." That's just what the angel wanted to hear.
A Syro-phoenician woman had a demon-possessed daughter. She said, "Master, do something for my daughter." Jesus said, "I just come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. I can't take children's bread and give it to dogs." Can you imagine him speaking that way? She said, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs get the crumbs." He said, "Woman, great is your faith." Great is your faith. There are so many times, it seems, as if the Lord is trying to get away, but what He really wants us to do is press on; we have about all of God we want.
"Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." And so in verse 29, they constrained him, "... saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent."
He was glad they said that.
"And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them."
They'd seen Him do that before.
"And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
"And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread."
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."
I want to stop here, these disciples are now gathered together and they're talking about these things. Cleopas and the other disciples come to a new conclusion and here's the conclusion that I want us to come to, He has risen indeed.
They said, "Hey, it's real! It is real. The Lord is risen indeed!" And they immediately went back to Jerusalem with this news to shout it, to tell it, to sing it, to share it, and you might as well have told the sun not to shine as to tell these people not to witness about a risen Savior.
I think most of us reading or listening to this message need to have our eyes opened because the Bible has been opened, our hearts need to be set aflame and we don't need a dead orthodoxy. We need a living faith. He is risen indeed!
Father, bring the message to our hearts and may we, dear Lord, see You no longer with the eyes of the flesh, but Lord with the spiritual eyes. That You open the Scriptures, open our eyes, open our hearts to Your Truth. Thank You, Lord, that You've given us the Word and continue to show us in all the Scriptures the things concerning Yourself. Amen.
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read it below.
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