Saturday, April 29, 2017

April 29

Judges 9:22-10:18; Luke 24:13-53; Psalm 100:1-5; Proverbs 14:11-12

Our pastor recently preached on this portion of Luke's gospel, and I'm going to shamelessly crib from him.  (Thanks, Mike!)  It was such a good sermon and made me think about the encounters Jesus has with his disciples in a new way.

I've heard preaching about the disciples on the road to Emmaus; I've known women who did an "Emmaus walk" as a kind of stay-at-home retreat/spiritual pilgrimage; and I've encountered articles that describe that walk as an archetype of the journey every Christian walks.  Those are all valuable applications of this text, but most of them focus on the disciples and not on the risen Christ.  Jesus is the central player in this narrative and, combined with the subsequent interaction with the Eleven and others, shows us what Scripture is really all about.

Basically, an encounter with the risen Jesus is so significant that it re-writes the disciples' understanding of the whole of Scripture.  Twice in this brief passage, we see Jesus re-framing the Torah, revealing what was truly meant and how he himself is the fulfillment of those ancient words.  And we also see the effect it has on his hearers.  Jesus shows how all of Scripture - and not just the red-letter verses - are about him.

"Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself" (Lk. 24:27).  All of Scripture points to Jesus.  All of the books that we've already read - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy - all help us understand the Messiah.  Those books that are ahead of us - Isaiah and Jonah and Malachi and all the others - all will help us understand the Messiah, too.  It all "concerns" itself with Jesus!  And just verses later: "Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms" (vs. 44).  Wow!  Even the Psalms show us who Jesus is!  And when we read Scripture in this way - when Jesus "open[s] [our] minds so [we can] understand the Scriptures" (vs. 45) - then we can say, like the two walking to Emmaus, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he...opened the Scriptures to us?" (vs. 32)

What does this mean to me, to us?  I've encountered the risen Savior.  Do I let Jesus be who is revealed?  Do I submit myself to this fuller picture of who God is?  How does that change the way I look at God's Word?  Does it gain preeminence over every other writing, or do I give it the same weight and significance that any other moral text or teaching might have?  Do I let it affect and infect the way that I live, following the hard and narrow road of obedience, or do my desires and my specific circumstances influence my behavior?  Do I forgive and turn the other cheek and pray for those who persecute me, or do I hold grudges and spread my side of the story and nurture resentment?  Do I live like the Jesus shown in Scripture, or do I live like myself?

Oh, how I want to re-read all of the Bible in the light of who Jesus is and what he did!  I want my heart to burn while God's Spirit opens the Scripture to me!  I'm a step ahead of the disciples in one sense - I have the New Testament to remind me continually of who Jesus is.  I know the end of the story even when I'm reading (and shaking my head) in Judges.  But I need to remind myself to let that knowledge change my thinking, change my understanding, change everything I ever thought I knew.  And, of course, everything I think I know now, too.

- Sarah Marsh

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you. 

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