“Did not our hearts burn within us… while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).
I love that line in the Bible! Can you imagine walking several miles with Jesus, listening to Him teach the Old Testament… about Himself?!
Today we’ll read the story of how two disciples encountered the resurrected King on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
For the sake of keeping this article brief, I won’t post all the scripture text here today. But please read first in your Bible the story in Luke 24:13-35.
Here’s the central part that I’ll focus on today:
Luke 24:25–27 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (ESV)
What can we learn from this passage?
It seems clear enough that the followers of Jesus did not get the message that Jesus must suffer and die then be raised on the third day. Jesus, before He died, had clarified to the disciples that His primary mission included suffering and death. Still, they did not seem able to comprehend that as a necessary step for the Messiah, especially with their current view of the Scriptures.
When Jesus appears to Cleopas and the other unnamed disciple, He listens to them as they puzzle over the reports of Christ’s resurrection, but He chides them for not understanding how these things fit with the revelation of the Christ in the Old Testament. Jesus says that the message of Moses and all the Prophets was all about Him!
Sometimes we may be guilty of avoiding the Old Testament for how strange the stories are or for how many details are constantly repeated in sections of the Law in Exodus through Deuteronomy. We tend to not grasp the link between those times and teachings with the Lord Jesus that we see revealed in the New Testament. Yet Jesus Christ teaches that He Himself is the key to unlocking all the richness and glory hidden in the Old Testament. Pastor Michael Barrett in his book Beginning at Moses, teaches,
The Pentateuch, the first five books with all their religious rituals, prepares the way for the perfect Priest to stand between God and people as the perfect sacrifice for sin. The Historical Books draw attention to the perfect King, who would come to rule His people and subdue His enemies. The Prophets anticipate the perfect Prophet, who represents and reveals the only true and living God to humankind. The Poetical Books put it all together with the Christ as the great theme for worship and praise. What an authoritative clue for interpretation this is!1
- Christ-centered Bible teaching and preaching is a rich blessing, and we can be thankful for pastors, Bible study leaders and children’s class leaders who teach Jesus Christ as He is revealed in all of the Bible. I’m particularly grateful for the Gospel Project that my kids participate in through our church. They recently learned about prophecy in Daniel, but the link to Jesus Christ was there in every lesson!
- Teachers, we who know the Bible through years of study: do “our hearts burn within us” as we see Jesus in each text we prepare to teach? Do we worship Him through our times of study? Or have we settled into a rhythm of joyless preparation in hopes of simply fulfilling a duty or perhaps getting the approval of others? I recommend this resource for you to aid you in your study and worship of Christ.
- Everyone, do you see that it was necessary for Jesus to suffer, die and rise from the dead for you and your sins? The work Jesus accomplished was God’s plan all along to bring you back into His family.
Lord Jesus, our hearts burn within us whenever we hear You preached and taught in the Bible. Thank You for helping us know You. We praise You for suffering and dying on our behalf. We glorify You that You rose from the dead, leaving in that grave all our sin forever. Thank You that You stayed true and faithful to Your mission, even to the point of death. Amen.
- Michael Barrett, Beginning at Moses: A Guide to Finding Christ in the Old Testament (Ambassador International, 2nd Printing 2001), 14.