It must have been the Bible study to end all Bible studies. To be
sure, this Bible study has been going for a while now, having
begun in earnest when Jesus introduced himself in the language
of Isaiah 61 in his first sermon (Luke 4:16-30) and continuing
through Jesus’ last words in Luke 23:46, “Father, into your
hands I commend my spirit,” quoting Psalm 31:5. Throughout
Luke, clearly the scriptures of Israel are key to making sense of
the life and death of Jesus.
Some of this the two men might have put together on their
own. The mention in verse 21 that “it is now the third day since
these things took place” seems almost too obvious; Jesus has
told them what was to happen on the third day (9:22; 13:32;
18:33). But this event is about more than merely connecting a
few dots: All scripture testifies to Jesus.
This is the second of three appearances of Jesus in this
encounter on the road to Emmaus. First, Jesus is present—
though unrecognized—in the disciples’ disappointment. Ultimately,
as we’ll see tomorrow, Jesus is made known to them in
the breaking of the bread. Here, Jesus is revealed in the scripture—
even as his presence in front of their eyes remains hidden
The challenge for us, then, comes in reading scripture with
the expectation that it is a space in which we can encounter the
risen Christ. The Bible resembles a building—a cathedral or
museum—a space in which the artifacts of God’s people, crafted
over the course of millennia, testify to Jesus the Messiah. But
Christ goes beyond the building’s theme; he inhabits this space
as a place to encounter us. The questions to us: How regularly
will we enter this space, and do we come expecting to encounter
the risen Lord?
Pray that the Bible will be a place where you encounter Jesus.
What is the Easter message, and what are we to do with it? Two dimensions of the responses to God’s act of raising Jesus stand out. First, repeatedly the texts speak of public worship. Second, the texts speak of changed lives. In 1 Peter 1 the Resurrection effects a new birth marked by obedience to the truth and mutual love. The two responses—public worship and transformed lives—are not separate from each other in the texts. One leads to the other and back again.
• Read Acts 2:14a, 36-41. What of Peter’s words that follow speak to the heart of the good news: “God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified”?
• Read Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19. The psalmist declares that he will pay his vows to the Lord “in the presence of all [God’s] people.” As the author notes, what story will you tell about God’s work in your life?
• Read 1 Peter 1:17-23. When have you witnessed God’s guid- ing hand at work in your life, not only in pleasant times but also in disappointment and darkness?
• Read Luke 24:13-35. When have you participated in a Bible study that offered such illuminating results? When have you experienced the inbreaking of God’s life at the table of Jesus Christ?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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