In All the Scriptures
While preparing last week’s Easter Sunday message, something struck me. It is the part about the report of the day of Jesus’ resurrection when Jesus suddenly joined two men walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
We will remember that Jesus just appeared to the two men as they walked and that the two men explained to Him. The men did not know it was Jesus who had joined them, but the two men explained to Jesus why they were sad. They were sad because Jesus, the one they had hoped was the Savior, had been crucified and buried. That morning there had been a report that the tomb in which Jesus had been buried was empty. The report included the news the tomb was empty because Jesus had risen from the dead. But, the men had told their companion, that did not make sense.
At that point, the companion took over the conversation. He began, as it is recorded in Luke 24, with the statement that it was necessary for the Savior to suffer just as Jesus had suffered. Then it is recorded, “Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. ‘
What struck me are the words, “all the Scriptures.” Which got me thinking. From Jerusalem to Emmaus was about seven miles. At most, the walk would have taken two hours. That was certainly not enough time for Jesus to recite the entire Old Testament to the two men, which means He must have highlighted, from all Scriptures, specific passages that foretold the Savior. Things that had happened to and with Jesus.
What passages did Jesus highlight? I did a bit of research on that. What I found are some suggestions about what passages Jesus could have chosen to share with the two men.
It seems there are a few hundred verses Jesus could have selected. We of course will not go over each of them. But some will be mentioned in this message, first, to prove to those of us who already believe in Jesus that our faith is well-founded, but second, to do what I can to convince any who do not yet believe in Jesus that He is the Savior and is therefore worthy of being accepted.
On Easter afternoon, Jesus shared with two men walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus various Old Testament passages about the Savior. Passages that had been fulfilled by Jesus.
Again, the passages Jesus might have selected number in the hundreds, so it could be some others Jesus brought to the attention of the two men, but the first one He might have mentioned, simply because He no doubt went mostly in order through the Old Testament, might have been Genesis 3:15.
God was in the Garden of Eden. He spoke shortly after a serpent had convinced Eve to sin against God. God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed.”
What did that have to do with predictions of a Savior? This. When God provided the Garden of Eden for Adam and then Eve, everything was designed to be absolutely perfect. There was food to eat and water to drink. The vegetation was lush and there were gems just laying on the ground, adding their beauty to the place. There was no sickness. The animals were helpful.
And there was this. God was there with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He and they talked together every evening.
The Garden of Eden was a wonderful place to be. However, Eve was tricked by the serpent - by Satan - into sinning. Eve then tricked Adam into sinning. The result was God’s anger, which led to God throwing Adam and Eve out of the Garden.
However, God still loved the first two people He created. He would love those who would be born to Adam and Eve and all the generations after that. According to Genesis 3:15, there would be enmity - opposition and dislike - but in the verse is at least the implication that someone - a Savior - would be needed to bring reconciliation between God and people.
Concerning future generations, Jesus might have presented to the two men walking to Emmaus Genesis 22:17-18 and 49:10
Genesis 22:17-18 records God speaking to Abraham. God promised Abraham that because of his obedience to God - his faith in God - God would cause him to be the father of a great nation. A nation of so many people they would be as many as the stars in the sky and grains of sand on a seashore. God added that through that family - Abraham’s family - people would be blessed. All the nations of the world would be blessed. That again at least implies the coming of a Savior to bring reconciliation between God and people.
In Genesis 49:10, God was then talking to Jacob, a descendant of Abraham. A man who had many, many sons, including Judah, from whom a special person was to come. A man who would have a scepter, which was a symbol of power and rule.
Remember, Jesus might have asked the two men on their way to Emmaus, that Jesus came from Judah? Could it be, Jesus might have added, that Jesus’ heritage is a clue He was not just a great man, but the one who had been destined to be the Savior?
However, at the end of Genesis, that one was not yet ready to appear. His coming would happen later. But, Jesus said, how about Exodus 12? He might then have explained that passage to the two men.
Exodus 12 tells of a wonderful miracle performed by God while God’s people were waiting to escape slavery in Egypt. The miracle was the tenth in a series of miracles, by which God proved His power over the Egyptians, who had been holding God’s people as slaves for many years.
The tenth miracle was the saving of the first born of God’s people from death. One night, all the first born of the Egyptians died, that happening by the hand of God. But the plague did not affect the people of God. Those who did the following. The day before the plague, each family, some working together if they were small, followed God’s instructions to kill a lamb. A sacrificial lamb. They took the blood of the sacrifice and put it on the doorposts and the tops of the door into their house.
Each family that did that survived the death, but do we get it? Did the two on the way to Emmaus get it? A sacrifice was needed, the blood of which would put people safely with God. Again, at least the implication was that such a sacrifice would be needed for all mankind to be saved from sin that first made its way into the world in the Garden of Eden.
Jesus might have mentioned to the two men Numbers 21:8-9, which are verses that tell of something that happened on the way from Egypt. After the death plague, the people of God had been allowed - they had been encouraged - to leave. But on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land, one day the people became angry.
Anger on the part of God’s people happened many, many times, but that time, as the people complained about not having food or water - which they did have, but I guess not to their liking - as they complained about God and about Moses, God became fed up and sent fiery serpents among His people.
The serpents bit many people. Those who were bit died.
The other people of God became scared. They right away prayed to God, admitting their sin of complaining and asking Him to take away the serpents.
God spoke to Moses, telling Him to make an image of a fiery serpent. To make the image out of bronze. Moses was then to set the image on a pole and have everyone who was bit look at the serpent on the pole. All who would look at it would live.
I will admit I do not comprehend that. My problem is that earlier, God had told His people to not make any images of anything, yet in this case, that is exactly what He told Moses to do. Which he did. Which saved a lot of the people of God.
I do not comprehend the passage. However, it was at least implied that the one who would come to save all people would be raised on a pole, which had happened to Jesus when He had been crucified.
Do we see where Jesus was going with His conversation? Sin had come into the world. From that time on, a Savior was needed. The Savior would come from Abraham and from Judah, which was Jesus’ heritage. The Savior would be put on a pole. Everyone who would look at Him - which, by the way, we can do spiritually even now - everyone who observes, sees, believes in the saving power of Jesus, would be - will be - saved.
Jesus may have mentioned to the two men many predictions of a Savior found in the Psalms.
Including Psalm 16. In that Psalm is found a wonderful description of the Savior. The description is that the Savior would give counsel to His people, He would give refuge to His people, He would be with His people always, He would save His people from Hell. The Savior would, therefore, be worthy of praise.
Psalm 68:18. In that passage, the promise is that God is willing to help His people in any dangers or problems they would face. The promise did not include times of peace and happiness all the time, but He would be available to help. Even in times of trouble, the Savior would be the one to cry to for help.
Back to Psalm 22. Tthat Psalm predicts what the Savior would suffer. He would be forsaken, His hands and feet would be pierced, His garments would be divided among His tormentors and gambled over.
Do we notice how Jesus’ explanation was beginning to change? At first, He spoke in general terms of a Savior being needed and from whom the Savior would come. Now He began to speak in terms of how Jesus Himself could be identified. That had come earlier with the identification of the Savior coming from Abraham and Judah. Jesus had done that. But did the two men remember that Jesus had been crucified, and that He had said on the cross, “My God, My God, who have Your forsaken Me?” Did they remember that Jesus’ hands and feet had been pierced?D id they remember Jesus’ garments had been divided and gambled over?
Did the men get the hint? Just because the one they had hoped was the Savior had died did not mean He was not the Savior. The suffering Jesus had endured had been prophesied in the Old Testament.
Jesus added more proof about Jesus being the Savior.
Isaiah 7:14. In that passage, the prophet Isaiah predicted the Savior would be born of a virgin. Jesus had been born of the virgin Mary.
Isaiah further predicted the Savior would be named Immanuel, which means God is with us. Guess what Jesus was. He was God with us to bring us salvation.
Isaiah 9:6-7. Isaiah also predicted the Savior would come as a child. That is how Jesus had come. He had not come as a grown man. Not a grown leader militarily or governmentally. He had come as a child.
In addition, the Savior was going to have wonderful titles. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
I wonder if Jesus listed just some of the ways He had fulfilled each of those titles. Hw He had indeed counseled people on how to live. How the miracles He had performed had shown power over nature itself ? How Jesus was even more loving than an earthly father, so often forgiving His followers, giving them more and more chances to be obedient. How He had, over and over again, taught how to be at peace, not with the world, but with God. A peace needed because of sin that had entered the world back in the Garden of Eden.
Was it a good idea to follow the Savior? Yes, as Jesus might have explained from Isaiah 40:11. He would and will feed His flock like a shepherd. He would and will carry lambs in His arms. Jesus had done that with children.
Jesus did and will gently lead the young. It was predicted the Savior would do that, even though it would cause great suffering. Which, the two men knew, Jesus had endured. Isaiah 53:1-12. The Savior would be despised and rejected. That had happened occasionally during Jesus’ ministry. That had reached to the extreme the day of His crucifixion.
The Savior would bear our griefs and carry our sorrows. He would be wounded and bruised. He would be seen stricken. All that, too, was the case on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.
Despite all that, Isaiah had predicted, the Savior would not open His mouth to defend Himself. Remember? That is exactly what happened during the trials Jesus faced in the hours leading up to His crucifixion.
As the two men and Jesus drew near to Emmaus - the men did not yet realize who was talking to them, but as they drew near to Emmaus, Jesus might have added the words of the prophet Micah. In Micah 5:2 is the prediction - the prophecy - that the Savior who was, at that time, hoped for, would be born in Bethlehem.
Jesus might have asked the two men if they happened to remember where Jesus had been born. The answer was, “In Bethlehem.” That was one more proof the one they had hoped was the Savior must have been - must be - the Savior.
Then, as the three who had been walking crossed the city limits into Emmaus, I wonder if Jesus quoted to them Malachi 4:2 and 6. “For those who accept the Savior there will be healing. They will leap as energetically [at least spiritually] as calves from a stall.” There will be greater family love.
And finally, one more possible passage. Actually an entire book might have been mentioned. The Book of Jonah.
In one of His teachings, Jesus had referred to that Book, stating that just as Jonah had been in the belly of a whale for three days, but then had returned, so it would be with the Savior. Yes, the Savior would die, which Jesus had done, but on the third day, He would be raised from the grave.
Remember, Jesus must have asked the two men as they neared the completion of the walk? Remember that this is the third day following the death of the one they had hoped was the Savior. Could it be the tomb was empty because what Jesus Himself had predicted for Himself had come to pass?
What a conversation. Actually, a one-sided conversation during most of the walk. As mentioned, Jesus might have asked the men some questions. They might have had some questions of their own. But Jesus did most of the talking.
That continued until they arrived at the house of the two men, who asked Jesus to spend the night with them. Part of that was for Jesus’ safety. It was night by that time. It was not a good idea for anyone to travel alone at night. Also, I suspect the men might have hoped to hear more from Jesus.
The men asked Jesus to stay with them for the night. Jesus agree to the offer. Their hospitality included an evening meal.
Remember what happened? During the meal, Jesus took some bread and broke it. The instant He did that, maybe because the nail holes in Jesus’ hands suddenly became visible, the men recognized who their traveling companion was. As it is worded in Luke’s Gospel, their eyes were opened, but immediately they knew they were in the presence of Jesus who was no longer dead. He was very much alive.
At once, Jesus disappeared. Even with the shock of that, the men became very excited as they asked themselves, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road? While He opened to us the Scriptures?” As He took them through a very clear explanation.
Sin did enter the world. From that time on a Savior was needed. A Savior who would come from Abraham and Judah. A Savior who would be a sacrifice. A Savior who would be raised on a pole. A Savior who would be able to counsel and help and give refuge. A Savior who would be born of a virgin in the little town of Bethlehem and be given a name meaning God is with us. A Savior who would be a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. A Savior who would be mistreated, even to the point of being put to death. A Savior who would rise from the dead.
Imagine the joy of those two men when they realized that everything their traveling companion had said about the Savior, including His resurrection, Jesus had accomplished. Not one prediction was missed. No longer were the men sad. Now they were filled with joy. Jesus was once again alive. He was the Savior they had hoped He was.
In their joy, the two men returned to Jerusalem. They returned that very night. There they explained to Jesus’ disciples what they knew.
As they did that, they had another opportunity to see Jesus alive. The Savior appeared to them and the disciples, once again proving He was and is the Risen Savior.
* * * * *
On this Sunday after Easter, the explanation of Jesus being the Savior is still valid, so once again the question needs to be asked. Do you believe in Jesus? That He is the Savior? That Jesus fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy about the Savior? Not only the ones mentioned in this message, but every other one as well. Do you believe He is everything the Old Testament said about the Savior? Do you believe He is willing and able to give you everything He promised to His people?
If not, please change that. Even now be like the two who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Recognize Jesus for who He is. Accept Him and tell others about Him. Do not be sad. Be joyful that Jesus is who He claimed to be, which is the Risen Savior.
The closing song for today is a hymn that will remind us of the joy of doing what the two men did, which was to tell others about Jesus. Let’s be thankful we know who He is. Let’s show our thankfulness by telling others about Him.
I Love To Tell the Story. Verses 1 and 3.
I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love;
I love to tell the story because I know ’tis true,
It satisfies my longings as nothing else will do.
I love to tell the story!
’Twill be my theme in glory -
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story - ‘tis pleasant to repeat
When seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet;
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy word.
I love to tell the story!
’Twill be my theme in glory -
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and His love.
Everything in the Old Testament about the Savior - that one was needed, what He would do, what would happen to Him, where He would be born, how He would die, and that He would rise for the dead - Jesus fulfilled. He is the Risen Savior. May that fact encourage us, His people, now and always. Amen.