Today, we’re going to look at one very important thing in understanding the resurrection. It’s the story of the disciples on their way to Emmaus. This is the chapter that best explains the “first resurrection,” the resurrection where “I who died of sin now live again.” You must understand this very deeply. This is recorded in
[Luke 24:13-16] That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
Here, two disciples were going to Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. Only one disciple’s name among these two was recorded. His name was Cleopas, and the other disciple is unknown. These men were likely very fervent believers. It seems they devoted their entire lives to the Kingdom of God. But their dream was suddenly dashed, as Jesus was arrested and executed. Thus, we see them returning to their hometown, crying tears of sorrow, full of misery and despair. Emmaus was located to the west of Jerusalem. They were heading west as the sun was setting. At that moment, Jesus suddenly joined them, walking between the two disciples. It was not too dark that they could not recognize Jesus. On the contrary, reflecting the sun’s rays, their three faces must have shone bright as the sun. Yet the two disciples were not able to recognize Jesus. Why not? What was being conveyed through this incident? We should solve this question today on Easter. It’s said that their eyes were kept from recognizing Jesus, but how could this happen? Everyone, as we look at this Word on Easter today, I hope you will understand this Word of the Bible more deeply. This could be our situation now, as we walk the path of faith. The situation where the eyes of the two disciples were kept from recognizing Jesus could be our situation exactly.
[Luke 24:17-18] And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
Jesus joined their conversation by asking, “What are you talking about?” Then Cleopas replied, “How come you don’t know about these big events that happened?” The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was a very big event that caused a serious commotion in Jerusalem.
[Luke 24:19] And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.
Based on these words, we can know just how sincerely these disciples believed in Jesus. They understood Jesus very well. They said that Jesus was “mighty in deed and word” and “a prophet.”
[Luke 24:20-21a] And how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21a But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…
[Luke 24:21b-23] …Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
Here, the two disciples heard that some women went to the tomb but didn’t find Jesus’s body there. According to John 20 and Matthew 28, the women first went to the tomb of the Lord. Those who met the resurrected Lord first were these great women. What was in their hearts? They had tears in them. (Of course, the two disciples on the way to Emmaus would have also had tears in them.) And the women said, “I will take His dead body and wrap it with dignity and respect, even though it’s been miserably torn and bloodstained.” Of course, you have heard this story many times already.
Notice that the two disciples had already heard from the women’s testimony that Jesus was resurrected. Three days had already passed since Jesus resurrected, but then why were these two disciples leaving Jerusalem to go back to their hometown? (We might be asking ourselves this question.) These two disciples believed that Jesus was mighty, and that He was the Lord who would save His people as their redeemer. And so, they had followed Him. And Jesus was resurrected after three days as prophesied, but then why were they leaving Jerusalem? What made them fall into despair and go back to their hometown? Why did they do it? It was because they failed to see Jesus.
Everyone, now we love the Lord. And we treasure the Word of the Lord very much. But do we meet the Lord? Can you see the Lord? Isn’t our situation the same as these two disciples?
“They did not find his body” They didn’t see Jesus. That’s why they were in despair. They felt too sad, and all their hopes were dashed. That’s why they gave up and said, “Now I am going back home.” And thus, in the passage, we find them making their way back home. Then the Lord spoke to them.
[Luke 24:25] And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Jesus called the disciples “foolish.” Because they were slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken. Instead, they should have believed it with their heart. It’s very important to believe with the heart. (Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.) It’s important to believe with the heart, but what should they have believed?
[Luke 24:25-27] And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Jesus explained the things regarding Himself through all the Scriptures of Moses (the Law) and all the prophets (the Prophecies). What is the cross? That is God’s plan for saving mankind. The climax of His plans was the cross of Jesus. The Son of God came to the earth because He so loved the world; He laid down His life to save poor souls who cannot save themselves but are enslaved to sins—in other words to set free the poor souls. He humbled and emptied Himself; He loved us to the end. And He became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, to atone for our sins. All these are written in the Law and the Prophets.
In the books of Moses, what is the Law? What does the Old Testament law say about redemption? It talks about the Day of Atonement. In Leviticus, this law about atonement was recorded.
[Leviticus 16:1-7] The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died, 2 and the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. 3 But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on. 5 And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6 “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting.
Here, it mentions a scapegoat. If there was no ram available, then a goat was used; if available, then a ram was used. A scapegoat also means the little lamb, Jesus. The little lamb Jesus was hung up as a scapegoat.
[Leviticus 16:8-28] And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel. 11 “Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. 12 And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil 13 and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die. 14 And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. 15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16 Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. 17 No one may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19 And he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel. 20 “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. 21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. 22 The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness. 23 “Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting and shall take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the Holy Place and shall leave them there. 24 And he shall bathe his body in water in a holy place and put on his garments and come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 And the fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar. 26 And he who lets the goat go to Azazel shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. 27 And the bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp. Their skin and their flesh and their dung shall be burned up with fire. 28 And he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.
All the sins of the people were laid on the head of the goat. And it was sent into the wilderness. Then ferocious beasts caught and tore it apart; the goat then bled to death.
That was the path of the cross, the redemptive path of the Lord who took away our sins. We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19). So, what should we do? Let’s look at Hebrews 13.
[Hebrews 13:11-13] For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.
The author of Hebrews says to go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach that He endured. What this means is to follow the path that the Lord took. It means: let us go, too. This path is the “path of atonement.” There is the “life of condemnation” and “life of atonement.” When we condemn each other, the community breaks apart. So, we should remember that the way of the Lord was the “way of atonement.” The Lord carried all our iniquities. What kind of sin did we have? The whole humanity was under eternal punishment that no one can escape. But the Lord became a scapegoat and took that path—to break the fateful chain of our sin so that we could become free.
Jesus said that He interpreted the situation to the disciples through the Law and the Prophets; now let’s look at the Prophets. We will read Isaiah 53. The Lord must have clarified this more in detail.
[Isaiah 53:1-9] Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
This is the prophecy of the Suffering Servant. We studied this often before. So, I will not go into details.
These two disciples on the road to Emmaus knew that the Lord was the savior/redeemer, and that He was a great prophet. But what blinded them? What was the reason that they were slow to believe, and their hearts were cold? What was the reason that they were in despair?
Because they did not understand the deep meaning of the cross; they did not know the meaning of the teachings of the Law and the Prophets in depth. They could not understand the deep meaning of the Lord’s suffering for us properly and thoroughly. So, they became dull. And their hearts were closed. But the Lord accompanied them and taught them one by one. He taught them, “This was not death. This was a sacrifice. It was not just a mere death. It was love to redeem all of you.”
We remember the prayer of the Lord at Gethsemane. [Mark 14:36] And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus prayed, “May your great plan of redemption be done—not by my will, but Yours.” The Lord humbled and emptied Himself, and He became obedient to the point of death as He beheld the redemptive plan of God to save men because of His love. Thus, these disciples came to deeply understand this love of the Lord, and their hearts burned.
[Luke 24:28-31] So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
Here their eyes were opened. It is recorded that this happened “when He took the bread and broke it.” This recalls Jesus’ saying that “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” [John 6:51] “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” In the Jewish tradition, business ends early on Fridays. And they bake bread. Thus, the sabbath is observed beginning on Friday evenings. At that time, the family gathers altogether, and then the father breaks bread and distributes it to the family. Through this ritual, the family reaffirms that they are “one body.” This was an essential experience in the weekly life of the Jews. Consequently, these two disciples were Jews. So, when Jesus broke the bread, their hearts were lit up within them and burning. The disciples came to understand that the cross of Jesus was the same as the bread being broken. “Each Friday, when the bread was broken and we ate, that bread brought life to us. In the same way, when the body of Jesus was torn, and He shed His blood, that brought life to us.” The disciples realized this. They learned that the event of the cross was not meaningless nor a failure. They understood that the love of the Lord—carrying the cross of atonement for us and becoming our scapegoat—was not a failure, but a victory. The Lord accomplished the grand redemptive plan of God for mankind. What were the last words of Jesus on the cross? “It is finished (John 19:30).” Jesus finished it all. Then He prayed, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46),” and then He breathed his last.
What is faith? Faith is to know the amazing redemptive acts of God’s love for us. It is to know the great redemptive event through the Son. And it is to receive that love deeply into our hearts. That is faith. These two disciples became to have this faith inside them. When their hearts were opened and burning with fire, their eyes suddenly opened. All which had veiled their eyes became opened, and they recognized Jesus.
[Luke 24:31] And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
They saw the living Lord. After the table fellowship, they opened their eyes and recognized the Lord. Their confession would have been the same as that of 1 John 1:1, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life (1 John 1:1).” They heard the words of the Lord, saw Him, and touched Him with their hands.
Everyone, when do we meet the resurrected Lord? When we break bread, we meet the Lord. The Word is living bread. When we diligently preach the Word, we meet the Lord. We break bread during Holy Communion. We, Protestants, always break “invisible bread,” the Word of God. The preaching (studying) or proclamation of the Gospel is called Kerygma. When we proclaim the Word, we see the Lord and meet Him. We meet the Lord in faith, too. Furthermore, our church becomes the body of Christ.
Today, we’re going to look at one very important thing in understanding the resurrection. It’s th...