“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idles tales, and they believed not. Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all the things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. [Wow, that must have been some Bible study! See http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm to read some of those prophecies which Jesus must have “expounded” to them.] And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
“Be reading ahead, if we’re here, if the Lord tarries a few more weeks, we’ll move into the Book of Acts. [To read a good account of the early Church, taken from both the Book of Acts and secular historic sources, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm ] We’ll have a communion service and move to the Book of Acts. So, let’s pray. ‘Father, we settle our hearts, and Lord thank you for the great privileges you’ve given to us in these last days, Lord, that whether we are finding difficulty in our personal lives or a time of blessing, a time of struggle, a time of growing, Lord, a time of physical pain or heart-ache or Lord, wherever we might be in our pilgrimage and our journey, we know that you’re alive, we know that you’re coming. We know that you’re faithful and just and that your hand is upon our lives. And we wonder, Lord, at your love, why you would ever send your Son to die in our place. Lord, we are amazed at your goodness toward us. And Lord we don’t understand, but we believe that you’ve made us your children, called us your sons and daughters, reserved a place for us in heaven [in the Kingdom of heaven, which will end up on earth, cf. Revelation 21:1-23], incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away. And Lord that you are longing for the day that you bring your children home more than we are. We believe that, Father. So as we have opportunity to gather tonight, Thursday night, Friday night Saturday night, Sunday night, Lord, we look for an outpouring of your Spirit, a great moving in our midst, Lord. Because of who you are, we only expect more and greater things Father, we pray, be with us now, in Jesus name, amen.’
Luke 24, let’s back up to verse 54 in chapter 23. “That day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how the body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” (verses 54-56) “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.” (Luke 24, verse 1) So what a weekend this was for these ladies. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had taken the body of Christ down, quickly added some spices, wrapped him in a shroud, put him in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, rolled the stone in front of the door. The women saw that much. What they did not see was on the Sabbath [and this would have been on the High Sabbath, the First Day of Unleavened Bread, which was on a Thursday for both the years of 30AD and 31AD], when the religious leaders should have been resting, they were badgering Pilate to secure the tomb, and to place a Roman Guard [unit] there, and to put a Roman seal on that tomb, because they remembered what he [Jesus] had said. ‘This fellow said on the third day he would rise again, we don’t want the disciples to come steal his body so that the last situation becomes worse than the first.’ [cf. Matthew 27:62-66] So they were more attentive to the things that Jesus was saying than his own disciples were. And now a seal had been set, a Roman Guard had been placed there. And again, if the women had known that they wouldn’t have even bothered to come. And Matthew, because he had been a tax collector, is the only one who tells us about the Guard at the tomb, and no doubt heard from them first-hand. That’s why he writes their testimony of that morning, when the angel comes and rolls back the stone, and then turns it into a chair, and sits on it. Angels can do what they want. The women had gone home, brokenhearted. Mary Magdalene, Jesus had cast seven demons out of her. We don’t know what her life was like. People assume it was immoral, we don’t know that. Seven demons, what they did to her we have no idea. But unlike some of the disciples who followed and listened to his teaching, she had been the recipient of his miraculous touch, and her life had been transformed. Though she’s not yet born-again in the sense that we’ll see on Pentecost, though her life was change, dramatically by Christ, and she loved him deeply. Imagine what it was like when the sun went down that Saturday evening [three days and three nights after he had been put in the tomb], and at that time from Friday sundown to Saturday evening, the sabbath ended, it must have been that Saturday evening when they began preparing spices, and what it must have been like for those women to sit together and put together the spices that they were going to take as morning came to the tomb, to put on his body, and the thoughts that they must have had and broken hearts that must have been there. And how careful they must have prepared those things. Now they come, it says “very early in the morning.” Mark tells us, as they’re on the way, they’re having a continual conversation. That conversation is about ‘Who will remove the stone for us?’ Now, that tells us they are not expecting a resurrection at all. They haven’t read the chapter, they didn’t remember what he said. They’re headed to the tomb to put spices on the body and do a better job than was the hurried job that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had done, and they’re worried about whose going to move the stone. There’s no thought at all about resurrection. Not knowing the Roman Guard had been there [and run off scared out of their wits just before these women arrived]. Verses 2-3 say, “And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.” Now, Jesus is an early riser [he actually rose from the grave exactly three days and three nights from the moment he was placed in the tomb, which from Wednesday night at sundown would be around sundown that Saturday night, the beginning of the first day of the week, since days begin at sundown in Jewish and Middle Eastern time-keeping]. The angel rolled away the stone, not to let Jesus out, he was already gone. He rolled away the stone to let Calvary Chapel Philadelphia look in, so that we would know it was empty. And Jesus is up and about, very interesting day. It’s the Feast of First Fruits [cf. Leviticus 23:10-15]. Paul will tell us that Christ was the first-fruit of those that have slept, in regards to death, rising from the dead. In the Temple at that time, the high priest was waving a shock [sheaf] of grain before the veil and the table of showbread, a symbol of the first-fruits that were gathered, but looking forward to Pentecost, seven weeks later when the Spring Harvest would begin, not knowing what an incredible picture it was that was taking place, that the First Fruits of those who had slept was raised that morning [actually the previous evening] from the dead. And Jesus is out and about. He’s excited. He‘s up. Even got up, and we find out that he, some of you need to learn this, especially if you’re teenagers, he made his bed before left the tomb. We’re told that he folded up the napkin and put it neatly there, his room was all straightened out. And he’s gone. He’s on his way. And what is he doing? What would you do? You’re Jesus, raised from the dead. The day is just breaking, what would you do? Go into Pilate’s bedroom, and say ‘Next time your wife has a dream, listen to her!’ and just go Blam! in your glory, and he’d die of a heart-attack. Would you go to the house of Caiaphas? Or maybe to the Roman soldiers that struck him on the face, and say ‘Prophesy, who hit you?‘ You know, he could be invisible when he wanted to, he could have just gone up to the soldiers and went Smack! and they’d go Huh-aaah! and he could have out of nowhere said ‘Prophesy, who hit you?’ You see, I think of those things, I think of those things because I’m a sinner, saved by grace. I still, I would still be thinking about the beating I took, you know, not revenge, just freaking out people a little bit, just a person here and there. [I’m not as spiritually far along as Pastor Joe, I’d go a bit farther. But Jesus is going to mess with the Jewish religious establishment’s minds in a far bigger and more effective way, by starting the New Testament Church of God right in Jerusalem, just for starters.] But what he does that morning, is he begins collecting his purchased possession, the reason why he’d come and died. They come to the tomb, the stone is moved. They look inside, the body wasn’t there, ‘Body-snatcher, somebody stole his dead body, ‘They are sick, couldn’t leave him alone’, that‘s what they’re thinking, ‘Couldn’t leave him alone, now he’s dead, now they’re stealing his body!’ And all of a sudden there are angels to say to the women, and you can kind of imagine them like seeing Spock on Star Trek, without any emotion, ‘Why are you seeking the living among the dead?‘ And they’re scratching their heads, they don’t understand at all. ‘He told you he’s gonna rise from the dead, he’s God, we’ve known this forever, we’re in heaven, why don’t you listen to him.’ They go running back to the disciples, and it says ‘All that were gathered with them‘, we don’t know who else was there, and tell them that he’s risen. Peter and John, we’ll read that, come running back to the tomb. Mary Magdalene chasing them, she’s tired of running back and forth. They see that the body’s not there, and they see even as the women had said, ‘the body they found not.’ They leave, and Mary Magdalene weeping, stoops down and looks in, and there’s two angels, one sitting on each end, where his body was, like the cherubim on the Mercy Seat. And all of a sudden she hears a voice behind her, saying, ‘What are you looking for?’ And she turns around, and it says that she didn’t recognize him. It was Jesus. Her heart is broken. She thinks somebody’s stolen him. She thinks Jesus is the gardener, it says. He had on a flannel shirt, jeans, you know. She says ‘If you tell me where they’ve taken him, I’ll carry him away.’ I mean, this is love. Mary Magdalene’s gonna take a two-hundred pound man and sling him over her shoulder and walk away with a dead body. And Jesus at that point can’t stand it. He says, in the Aramaic he says, ‘Miriam,’ and just by the way he said it, snap! she said “Rabboni!” and she tackles him, she holds onto him. He’s gotta say ‘Don’t cling to me, there’s other things I have to do this morning.’ And just by the way he said it, you know there was Mary, the wife of Cleopas, there was Mary his mother, there was Mary the mother of James, there’s Mary Magdalene, all these different Mary’s. So, they say his sheep know his voice, he must have had a different ‘Mary’ for each of them. ‘Mary, Mary, Maaary,’ each one of them he must have had a different voice inflection. Just by the way he said to her, ‘Miriam,’ Boom! she knew. Somewhere this morning, he’s finding deniers, people who had denied, Peter who had cursed and said ‘If I know this man, let me be eternally damned’, and he heard ‘err, err, err, err, errrrrr!’ and the rooster crowed, and Peter looked, and their eyes met, and he ran out weeping. Somewhere this morning Jesus has a private interview with Peter. I mean, Peter ran to the tomb. When he saw that tomb empty, and he starts to hear the runours that angels are telling people that Jesus is risen, he’s thinking ‘My name is mud.’ And somewhere Jesus comes. Because the angels said to the women, ‘Go tell his disciples, and Peter, that he’s risen from the dead.’ Imagine how that struck Peter between the eyes. That meant that when the angels were leaving the throne of God, God said to the angels ‘Go move that stone, go tell them that he’s risen,’ and then he said, ‘Oh yea, tell Peter too!’ Because God was worried about Peter. Peter hears on this end, ‘The angels said he’s risen, and Peter, they said to let you know too.’ He must have went ‘Oooooh no...’ And Jesus found him, the one that had denied him. Maybe you’ve denied him. And he’s the same yesterday, today and forever, and I pray that he speaks to you this evening. He spoke with him. He would round up Thomas, the doubter [the boy from Missouri, that has to have everything proven to him in black and white]. He would say, ‘Feel me, touch me’, a week later. He doesn’t say to Thomas, ‘You know what they’re gonna call you, all through Church history, doubting Thomas, you had your chance. You could have believed.’ We don’t find any of that. Jesus is out this morning collecting his purchased possession, he’s collecting his loved ones. You know, it would be like you, if you were risen from the dead, and don’t think there would be a temptation to go freaking out Pilate or smack a soldier, when your children who had been in captivity by some enemy, you could finally go, from death and the grave, and Satan and the power of those broken, you could finally go and collect your own children. I mean, I’d be out looking for Hannah, Josh and Joanna, I’d be out collecting, your Bride, your children. And that’s what he’s doing on this morning.
The Women Are First At The Tomb
“And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?” (verses 2-5) Now it doesn’t describe to us exactly what that means, but the next verse does. These garments are like really shining garments, these are not just clean. ‘They, the angels, said unto them, Why are you seeking the living among the dead? You know, this doesn’t make sense to us?’ “He is not here, he’s risen. Remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (verses 6-8) Well does this mean the angels had been ease-dropping? Were they there all along but invisible, and listening to Jesus? You know, the Bible tells us that the angels long to look into things that concern the heirs of salvation, because no saviour ever died for the angels. The angels were all created in one day. And the ones that rebelled, rebelled, and are lost forever, and hell was created for Satan and his angels. But because you and I were not in Eden when Adam sinned, and the whole human race fell [and came under the indirect influence of Satan and his demons] because of Adam---because God is just, and he says, death came to the whole race through one man, that eternal life and forgiveness also come to the whole race through one man, that’s Jesus Christ. So we have succeeding generation after generation, the angels don’t reproduce. They were all created in one day, they all made a conscious decision, those who rebelled and those who stayed with him. But you and I weren’t there in Eden. And we say ‘It’s not fair, I wasn’t there.’ Well, that’s why he’s provided a way for us, to come and to have all of that rectified, death and the grave. And the angels, it says, look into those things mysteriously. Here was their Creator, and they were there, when the worlds were created, they saw the power and the majesty of God, and yet now they see this same God letting human beings spit in his face, and rip his beard out, and beat him beyond human recognition. You know, the angels were just aghast, completely, though they’re much higher than us in understanding, just wondering at the things that concern the heirs of salvation. And now, Jesus is risen, the price is paid, and they’re saying to these people, ‘What are you doing looking for him here? He’s risen, you won’t find the living among the dead. He’s risen, don’t you remember what he said to you when he was in Galilee? Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men?’ They knew the whole speech. ‘and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ “And they remembered his words,” when an angel reminds you, you usually do, “and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.” (verses 8-9) Now, they used to be called the twelve, Judas is gone, now they’re affectionately called “the eleven.” “...and to all the rest”, whoever they were. “It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.”---and to all the rest---”And their words seemed to them as idles tales, and they believed them not.” (verses 10-11) ‘These are emotional women. After all, if the Saviour were going to rise from the dead, he would come to the a-postles, not to the b-postles. He’d have come directly to us and told us.’ I mean, in that day, a woman couldn’t even testify in court. You’ve come a long way baby. But Jesus would have none of that, he goes to Mary Magdalene, he goes to the women first. They were more courageous, the disciples [except for John] had fled, the women are following. ‘Their words seem as idle tales. Sure girls, calm down, you’re emotional, that’s why we’re the church leaders.’ “Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre;”---John too---“and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.” (verse 12)
Road to Emmaus
Now, we have this record of these two men on the Road to Emmaus, one of them is Cleopas, the other name is blank so you can put yourself in there. It’s the longest single account of resurrection morning, and it’s only given to us by Luke. And when we get to heaven [into the Kingdom of heaven} we’ll get to ask him why. “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus,”---there are hot springs there---”which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.” Now who knows what a furlong is? Stay away from the race track, we knew you were here, write that guy’s name down, stay away from the race-track, you’re a Christian. I know how long one is, I got a note written down, I’ve got a note in my Bible, but learned it from a Bible commentary. [Comment: Atlantic City isn’t far from Philly] I had no idea what a furlong was. Sixty [threescore] furlongs is about seven miles, for the rest of you sanctified believers. I’m just kidding. So they’re walking about 6 3/4 to 7 miles. “And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” (verses 13-16) So here’s these two guys walking, from Jerusalem to Emmaus, about 6 3/4 to 7 miles, you know, they’re taking their time. And they’re communing, and the word “reasoning” there adds a little emotion, some of it is a little heated, over one thing or another, we don’t know what. [Comment: Cleopas was Jesus‘ uncle, his mother Mary’s brother.] But they’re talking of all these things, of the life of Christ, and the crucifixion, and maybe they’d already heard what the women said, we don’t know...so they’re talking about all these things, reasoning among themselves, and the Bible says, “from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Their lives are filled with these things, thinking about these things, and here comes Jesus, and just kind of steps into the picture with them. You know, he can see them, they’re walking, talking, and behind them you could kind of just see a foot come out of the air, see Jesus just kind of step out of the air right into the picture with these guys. And all of a sudden he’s just there. Mark tells us he appeared to two on the Road to Emmaus in a different form. So for some reason, and we’ll talk about it as we go on, here‘s Jesus, and they look, and they don’t recognize him. He just kind of steps into their picture, as they’re walking, and they’re unaware that it’s Jesus with them. Now, by the way, the Bible says he’s the same, yesterday, today and forever. How many times in our lives, you know, if here’s Jesus stepping in a physical form and they look at him and they don’t recognize him, they don’t realize Jesus is walking with them---how many times in our lives is Jesus in the form of the Spirit walking right with us, and we don’t recognize that it’s him? And he’s asking us questions and he’s saying stuff to us, and we’re just reasoning and talking, walking along, and we don’t realize it’s him, right there with us [read John chapter 14, verses 16-18, 23, 26, and John chapter 16, verses 7-8 and 13]. And these men are hopeless, we’re going to find that out. And maybe you’re in some hopeless situation this evening, hopeless as far as human beings are concerned. And Jesus just kind of steps right into their life. He’s right there, and they look and they don’t recognize him. [Man, that’s happening with a few people I know and love right now, kind of freaky to be transcribing this, and seeing it happen right before my eyes with a few I love dearly.] Their eyes are “holden” as it says. Now I think that they were “held” for us. Because what Jesus is going to do, is he’s going to take them to the Scripture. I mean he could have just stepped into the picture and went ‘Hey!’ and they could have turned around and went, he would go Voom! in his glory and freaked them out. But what he does, I’m assuming, he steps in, looks like a person, they start talking to him, goes through this conversation, and he’s going to take them to the Scripture. And I believe that he did that for us. Because the overwhelming vast majority of Christians through the history of the Church [Body of Christ] will believe in Jesus because of his Word [i.e. what’s written in the Bible, they start to understand it], and not because they were eye-witnesses. [Some are from Missouri though, and need a miracle or two in the beginning, just to kick-start them spiritually. But many in the unbelieving world of humans today see miracles and it doesn’t do them a bit of good, just like the Israelites following Moses around in the Wilderness.] And he will reprove their faith, in regards to how they responded to his Word. And I believe it was for you and I. The same way when he was tempted in the wilderness (cf. Matthew 4:1-11), he answered the devil with the Word, I believe he did that for us. Here, he steps into the picture. “And he said unto them, What manner of communication are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” (verse 17) He knows, they must have really looked bummed out. Now these guys are probably thinking, ‘Oh great, we want to be alone, it’s been a rough weekend, now we got some guy, you know.’ and Jesus is saying ‘Hey guys! What are you talking about? Mind if I butt in? You guys look so bummed out, what’s going on?’ They must be going, ‘Oye vey, Lord we just wanted to be alone.’ ‘And one of them whose name was Cleopas,’ he probably changed his name after this, ‘answering said unto him, Are you the only guy in Jerusalem that doesn’t know what happened this weekend?’ I know, after this he probably, on his way back to Jerusalem, saying to the other guy, ‘You know, I can’t believe I said that. Do you believe I said that to him?’ You know, Jesus steps into the picture, ‘What are you guys talking about, you look so bummed out?’ “And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou the only stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?” (verse 18) ‘Can it be possible you don’t understand?’ Because the apostle Paul would say to Herod Agrippa and Festus, ‘These things were not done in a corner, everybody knew about this.’ And Cleopas looks at him, and we don’t know the tone of his voice, ‘Are you the only one, what are you, from outer space? You really the only, you must be the only guy in all of Jerusalem that doesn’t know what’s going on, what happened, the things that happened this weekend.‘ And I love, in verse 19, there’s divine humour, Jesus says to him. “And he said unto them, What things?” Now I know that humour is divine. Just glance around the room. [laughter] Now, obviously he knew what things happened in Jerusalem that weekend. But he’s asking them a question for their benefit, not for his, he doesn’t need the information. When he said to the woman at the well, ‘If you come to me, I’ll give you water to drink, and if you drink of it you’ll never thirst again.‘ ‘Well how are you going to give me this water? You don’t even have anything to draw the water with?’ and they go into this conversation, and Jesus answered, ‘Well, go on and get your husband, bring him back.’ Now he knew she didn’t have a husband. She said, ‘I don’t have one.‘ He said, ‘Oh really, that’s because you’ve had five, and the guy you’re living with now ain’t your husband.’ And she said, ‘Sir, I perceive that you’re a prophet.‘ Here, Jesus is setting them up for the Bible study. “What things?” he asks. Now he’s going to listen to them tell him what happened in Jerusalem to Jesus (as he often listens to us tell him everything he already knows). ‘Lord! I can’t pay the gas bill! My budget, I’m gonna freeze, winter’s coming, and El Nino left and La Nina his cold sister came, and now I can’t pay the bills.‘ You know, he listens to us tell him everything he already knows, so graciously. I love this, he says to them ‘What things? What are you guys talking about? I haven’t been in Jerusalem this weekend, I hadn’t heard.‘ ‘Well, might as well clue him in.’ “And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.” (verse 19) I can imagine what admiration they said it with, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet in our age.‘ “And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.” (verses 20-21) “trusted”, it’s past tense, “had trusted”, some of your translations say “we had hoped”, that gives you the sense of it. ‘We had hoped that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel. And beside all this, as if this was not bad enough, today is the third day since these things were done...‘ “Yea and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and they found not the body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.” (verses 22-23) And you can just see the other guy chuckling as Cleopas tells Jesus this. ‘Ah, this Jesus of Nazareth, he was really something.’ and you could see Jesus saying ‘Really?’ ‘Ya, a great prophet, in word and deed, powerful, huh? Ya, ya, you know I can‘t believe you don’t know about him. And we had hoped that he had been the one to deliver Israel.’ ‘Huh? did he seem like a deliverer?’ ‘Ya, he seemed like a deliverer, and now our rulers put him to death, and now these women have come, and you know how they are, and they’re telling us ‘oh, angels, and you know that the angels are saying he’s risen from the dead...’ “And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.” (verse 24) Saying to Jesus, ‘The body’s missing.’ Jesus is saying, ‘Really? That’s terrible’ because the body’s standing right in front of them talking to them, can’t find him, body’s missing. Jesus is there, ‘Oh really? Wow, what a mystery.’
What is Belief, Faith?
“Then he said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? ” (verses 25-26) Now look, ‘Oh dull’ is the idea, or he might say in our jargon, ‘You guys are dense’...today if you say to somebody ‘You fool’ it has a different connotation. In the Bible “the fool says in his heart that there is no God”, and that could be the most brilliant person in the world. It could be a professor at M.I.T. Or a fool was someone who couldn’t receive instruction, it had a different connotation as to where they stood in regards to the Living God and his Word. But this is different when Jesus says this, he’s saying, the word means to be “dull”, and he’s saying ‘Oh, you guys are, you know, dense, you’re so thick, and slow of heart to believe, not what the women have said,’ he didn’t blame them there, ‘slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.’ “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” Now, he challenges them about the Word [i.e. the Bible and what’s written in it], “Slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken...” You know, ‘Who is it that you do not believe the word that was spoken?‘ Romans chapter 10 tells us “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” So you and I this evening have not been deprived of anything that would help us believe with a greater faith than these two men on the Road to Emmaus. Faith comes by hearing, and it speaks of the attitude of the heart, and hearing by the Word of God. Because look at the children of Israel. You know, you would think ‘Hey man, if I could follow of pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night for forty years, you could count on me. If I could go through that Red Sea when it parted, I’d never grumble,’ and yeah, he’d be walking through there saying ‘Oh Lord, please don’t let this Sea cave in, I see a shark swimming there, Oh Lord, Oh Lord.’ You would think, ‘Oh if I saw manna fall from the sky, or if I saw Moses strike the rock and water flow out of it, or if I saw you walk on the sea, or if I saw you raise the dead or heal the lepers.’ None of that helped them [or gave them faith in God], here they are, disbelievers. And Jesus said, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” You know, Jesus tells us of a rich man, and a poor man named Lazarus. He doesn’t say it’s a parable [but it is in reality]. Lazarus dies, and goes to Abraham’s bosom. It says the rich man dies and goes to Hades. While he’s there he’s crying out. And he says ‘Father Abraham, send someone to dip there finger in water and touch the tip of my tongue, because I am in torment here.’ He said, ‘No, you had a life filled with good things, and those good things were your god. And you had no concern for God or for man, but only for your own prosperity.’ And now, this poor man, Lazarus, who had nothing, but who believed, has been carried here to paradise. ‘And you’re there, there’s a great gulf between you. There’s no way anybody can cross over that.’ And then the rich man says, ‘Well, Abraham, Father Abraham, send someone to warn my brothers, still alive, that they don’t come to this terrible place.’ And Abraham says, ‘Well they have Moses and the Prophets [i.e their Bible], and if they won’t believe Moses and the Prophets, neither will they believe [even] if someone rises from the dead.’ And the remarkable thing was, this very morning when Jesus rose from the dead [he actually rose just around sundown the previous evening], and the angel came and rolled away the stone, the soldiers, these were not Cub Scouts, these were battle-hardened warriors that weren’t afraid of anything, fell down like dead men and shook. Now that’s a scared dead man if he’s shaking. When you see a dead man shake, he’s scared. And then they run to the priests, not to the governor, you have an experience like that you need to find a priest. And the priest gives them money, and says ‘Don’t tell anybody, about the angel, about the empty tomb. If anybody asks, you say that someone came and stole his body.’ But listen to what the priests are saying. They have the testimony of battle-hardened warriors who were coming saying something supernatural happened, and an angel rolled away the stone and his tomb is empty. Jesus said, ‘If they won’t believe Moses and the Prophets [i.e. their Bible] neither will they believe if someone is raised from the dead.’ And now Jesus is saying to them [the two on the Road to Emmaus], ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe God’s Word.’ It is the Word of God [the Bible] that will change your life. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” (verse 26) [Comment: What this is saying is, if you don’t believe God’s Word, and that God is real, and thus his Word, the Bible is real, then even if you saw a miracle, even if you saw a person raised from the dead, you’d still be an unbeliever in your heart and mind. The human mind is a strange thing in this regards, as it is totally illogical and can disbelieve real hard and solid evidence in order to maintain its own preconceived notions and beliefs. Just in case none of you have noticed, by the very way this world is, full of evils, such as crime, wars, atrocities, genocides, and roving famines and disease epidemics, this is not presently God’s world, it is Satan’s world. Presently Satan and his nasty demons are in unseen control of all life on this planet called earth, except for those whom God has called to be his children. Satan broadcasts an unseen bias of disbelief over all in this world who are not called by God, and that bias will actually cause a person to disbelieve solid evidence when seen, in order to maintain their own set of preconceived notions and beliefs. As Spok in Star Trek would say, “That is totally illogical.”]
Best Bible Study Ever---Who Is Jesus?
“And beginning at Moses”---the Torah, the first five books of the Bible---”and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Now, imagine what that Bible study was like. And I imagine those guys started walking slower, and slower, and slower. They must have been saying ‘Really? Yea, never saw that!‘ And Lord must have been just going through the whole process of every glimmer of his own life through the Scripture, every morning and evening sacrifice, and the Passover evening when the blood was put on the doorposts and the lintels making two crosses, and then the lamb slain between them, and the sop and the basin. You know, all the way along as you follow all the incredible pictures and the beautiful things, Moses, the Law-giver can’t lead the Children of Israel into the Promise Land, but Joshua, that was his name, Jesus, Joshua [Hebrew Yeshua ] he’s the one that brings them into the Promises of God. Just all the way through the Scriptures he’s talking to them about himself. And then through the Prophets, you know, the things we see in Zechariah, “They shall look upon him whom they have pierced” it says. Just the remarkable prophecies. Imagine Jesus teaching Isaiah 53, imagine Jesus [Yeshua] teaching about himself. They beat him beyond human recognition, ripped out his beard, spit in his face, “But who hath believe our reports, and to whom is the arm of the LORD been revealed?” Imagine, I would like to have those tapes. Those would be good tapes. [To read a good study that goes through some of what Jesus must have presented, log onto: http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm . Naturally it is not as complete as the one Jesus gave these two guys, but it is pretty comprehensive.] And I’m sure those guys were amazed. We’re going to find out what’s happening as the Lord is speaking to them. And he could have done it, he could have revealed himself in many different ways. But he chooses to speak to their dullness, their unbelief, through his Word. And it’s interesting, because he says, “Fools, slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” You know, the world tells us that we’re fools because we believe in Jesus. Jesus says ‘The unbeliever is the fool, the unbeliever is the one who is thick, the unbeliever is the one who hasn’t taken hold of the light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.’
Jesus Breaks Bread With These Two, And Then Disappears!
“And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.”---listen to that, so they come to the village, here they get to Emmaus, and the guys say ‘Now tell us one more time...and what did it say there in Zechariah?‘ and Jesus said, ‘Well, I’m still headed down the road.’ He’s making believe he’s going to go further. And it says, look, “But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” That means there’s a little bit of urging, ‘No, no, no, why don’t you say with us!? It’s getting dark! Robbers could get you. It’s dangerous out there.’ And he’s saying, ‘Oh no, I have to go’, and they’re constraining him, they finally go ‘Oh please, come with us.‘ ‘Alright, ok.’ I mean, there’s divine humour throughout this. I am amazed how honest the Scripture is. “They constrained him, saying, it’s toward evening, the day is far spent.” So, “he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.” (verses 28-30) He takes the place of the host, they had invited him. You know the Word says ‘Any man who opens, I’ll come in and I’ll sup with him.’ They invited him, and he came in, and he takes the place of the host, and it says “he took the bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.” You know, I think, what was in his heart, as he sits with these two. And how many times before had they seen him break bread? [Cleopas was Jesus’ uncle] And as he broke bread did he think of the New Covenant, ‘Father, my broken body, I’ve endured the cross, the shame, the glory, Father these two are mine.’ Did he think of his own suffering and his own passion as he’s breaking the bread? And all of a sudden he’s made known unto them in the breaking of the bread. “And their eyes were opened, and they knew him” (verse 31), did they see the nail marks in his hands? Did he have a favorite way of saying grace? That’s what he’s doing, he’s breaking the bread, and he looks up and he says ‘Father, thank you, for life.’ They must have heard familiar words, they must have heard something. And it says “And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.” (verse 31) So he’s saying grace, their eyes are closed, he’s saying grace, all of a sudden they open their eyes, the know the voice, and they look at him, their eyes are opened, and he vanishes, the bread goes Ba-bump!, falls on the table. And they must go ‘Aaaahh! aaaahh! I mean, just a Kodak moment. Would you have liked to have a photograph of these two guys, with the bread laying there in front of them? Incredible.
Spiritual Heartburn, A Sign of God’s Calling
And verse 32, listen to what they say. “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” Some of us, I’m including myself, need a good case of heartburn. Not the kind that I normally give to myself. Their heart did not burn while they spoke with him, ‘Did not our heart burn within us as he spoke with us.’ Now let me tell you something, I can say a lot of prayers, and I can shoot off a lot of fast ones, and sometimes they need to be fast. One time my car died and rolled across a railroad track and was just making it across when it started to go Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, and I looked and saw the lights, I had to pray a fast prayer. I don’t remember, there weren’t many words to it. ‘Oh!‘ was the primary part of the prayer, [laughter] and the Lord rolled me across the tracks. But I can say a lot of prayers, and I can do a lot of ‘Lord, do this, Lord help me here...’. and I can tend to very easily get from that place and run right on my way and feel like I’ve talked to him, and I have, Christ has opened the way, by his blood, for me to talk directly to God the Father. But it is vastly different when he speaks to me. It is vastly different when all of a sudden I recognize his voice, and the tears begin to flow, and I am humbled, and I think ‘Oh God, how many times do I run, how many times am I too busy, and like the two men on the Road to Emmaus, all along you were there, you were trying to speak to me, saying, ‘What are you so sad about?’ And I didn’t even know you were there...and you listen to me, and you listen to me, and you listen to me, and how few times do I stay still and listen to you and to hear your voice?’ [What he’s saying is we’re like little children, chattering away to God in prayer, but seldom stopping to listen to what he has to say to us. And don’t think that Pastor Joe is some kind of emotional wuss, he’s a big, masculine guy I wouldn’t like to meet in a dark alley if I didn’t know it was him.] Or how it makes a difference if I’m sitting alone reading the Word, and all of a sudden, a word or a verse, or a portion of a verse or a passage just explodes and comes alive, and my heart is overwhelmed, and I think, ‘Lord, you’re here, you’re speaking to me.’ And maybe you’re here this evening and you’re saying ‘You know, I feel so far away, I feel like, I don’t feel his presence.’ Well they were looking at him and didn’t feel his presence. He was standing next to them talking out loud and they didn’t feel his presence. Do you know where Jesus is, if you’re a believer?---when you don’t feel his presence? He’s standing right next to you, waiting for you to settle down, ‘Oh I don’t feel your presence, etc.’ He’s waiting for you to settle down so that when he overwhelms us with his presence, that it’s I believe, the context of a dialogue, not a monologue. It isn’t like a Santa Claus give him your wish list and run out of there, it’s those times when we stay still, and all of a sudden he’s speaking to us, when our hearts begin to burn, and there’s life, and we realize. I remember the second I was saved, that’s what happened, his Word all of a sudden became life, became life, and there was a person there. And all of a sudden it wasn’t a religion, it was a relationship. It wasn’t a system of beliefs, it wasn’t nailing down doctrine [“doctrine” is a word for a “Bible teaching” on any particular subject, i.e ‘heaven, hell, baptism, etc.], and being so right that your dead right (i.e. spiritually dead, dead orthodoxy). All of a sudden, all of a sudden I remember a living Saviour, alive, conscious in and of himself, Sovereign, loving, reaching out, washing over my life, like wave after wave after wave, setting me free, washing me from my entire past. ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he spoke to us in the way?’ And you know what? I am constantly in need of that experience over and over, of a fresh filling of his Holy Spirit. I don’t want to burn out at 48 and die a cranky old man, I want to be like Jesus, I want to keep growing, I want the next twenty years of my life, if he tarries, to be twenty times more productive than the twenty years that are behind me. I want my relationship to be deeper and more real than it’s ever been. And I know you feel the same way. And I think ‘Lord, how wise, you give us the longest record of resurrection morning, and it’s a view, taking your Word, and setting it before these men, and then giving it to us, after you disappeared,’---somebody was there, an angel no doubt, taking note of the conversation, because Jesus disappeared, and we still have what they said after he disappeared. ‘Did not our hearts burn within us?’ And you imagine Luke at some point, the good physician, sitting down with these men. ‘OK, I’ve heard the story, you were the two guys.’ ‘Yes, that’s who we are. Cleopas, that used to be my name, I change mine, I can’t believe I said ‘Are you the only guy in Jerusalem that don’t know what’s going on?’ After I said that and found out who he was, I changed my name, but yea, that’s me.’ ‘What was it like, what did he say? And you didn’t recognize him?’ ‘Our eyes were holden. And we told him about the women. And he said ‘You guys are so dense’, and he started to open the Scripture to us, and as opened the Scripture we walked slower and slower, and our hearts began to burn, and something in our hearts that was stirred and it was real, and then he said he had to leave. And we said, ‘No, no, eat with us, eat with us,’ and he finally said ‘ok’, and we sat down at the table, and before we could do anything he took the bread, and he began to bless it, and he all of a sudden became the host, and all of a sudden what we had seen so many times in our discipleship with him was in front of us again, and we looked and it was him, and he disappeared. And we realized our hearts had been burning because of his Word that he spoke to us.’ “Did not our hearts burn within us while he spoke with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.” (verses 32-35) Now evidently Thomas is not there. Now I’ve got news for you, they made better time going back than they did getting to Emmaus. They found “the eleven.” Now evidently, Thomas is not there. It’s just they’re affectionately called “the eleven.” If he’d have called them “the ten” we’d have been totally confused, so “the disciples” is the idea. They found “the eleven” gathered together, “and them that were with them, saying,” to the two that came back from Emmaus---“The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.” So they’ve got record now of that conversation. “And they told him what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.” And all of a sudden Jesus will stand in their midst, and we’ll have to finish this next week.
I want to challenge you this evening, and I’m challenging myself. I got out this afternoon for awhile in the Park, and just sat. I try to study here, but it’s just bananas here, it’s a busy place. [I’d say, since Pastor Joe started up Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia 30,000 now attend there. I would suspect he’s broken a lot of that number into satellite churches around Philadelphia, but at least 5,000 or more attend at the Philmont Avenue building, a remodeled old meter factory.] Now I don’t know, just something happens when I get alone, and I love to read in sunlight. And when I pulled up I saw somebody from church there, they walked right by me and I waved to them, but their eyes were “holden”, just looked at me and walked away. Somebody I know. And I thought, ‘Lord, you’re giving me study time and that person didn’t even recognize me, maybe they didn’t even see the van.’ And then I sat there reading that, it says “there eyes were holden”, and I thought ‘Wow, Lord, you set up a date, you and me.‘’ And I’m kinda just getting settled down there, open the Word, and here comes some guy carrying a big camera over his shoulder, he comes walking up the steps at me, and I just kind of looked at him, and he turned around and walked away. I don’t know what I looked like, he thought ‘I’m not welcome here,’ and he just kinda. But I had a great time. [I miss that, when I first became a believer, I lived on Belmont Hill with forest, woods all around me, and I used to go out into the woods, miles and miles of woods, and pray. At the far end of those woods the US Army anti-aircraft battery used to be set up, and when they pulled out and left, that’s where I found that fulminate of mercury detonator canister the size of a Hunts Tomato Paste can, colored olive green, and tried throwing it at a rock, but it veered away from the rock just before it would have hit it, leaving me and Bobby Patkin scratching our heads. We were about 9 years old when that happened. Yes, angels are real. Just cause you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not on duty, watching over you or your kids. Boy do I miss having deep woods I can walk through like that, and be alone with the Lord.] And I can study and study and study for hours, but it is those moments and minutes and segments of time, fifteen, twenty minutes, half an hour, it’s those times when he speaks, and his Word becomes alive, and the tears flow. That’s what keeps me alive and keeps me going, and it stirs my heart. And I encourage you this evening, if you’re far away [from the Lord], look, you may be far away because of compromise, maybe you’re living in sin, maybe you’ve compromised, maybe you’ve denied him. Well, you know what? He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. Peter denied him, and he collected him. And you need to do like that woman taken in adultery, Jesus said to her, “Go, and sin no more.” (read John chapter 8, verses 1-11). And if he’s speaking to your heart, if the shoe fits, wear it. He loves you enough tonight to begin to coddle you and draw you, and maybe his Word is burning in your heart. Maybe he’s speaking to you. Maybe you’re hopeless tonight, like these two men. Maybe you don’t know Christ, you’re without hope in the world, and you don’t know what’s going to happen to you when you die. And I want to tell you something, at the end of the evening, if you’re heart is burning, if there’s something going on there, it’s him speaking, you know, to your heart, making his Word alive to your heart. It’s something that still happens today. The Bible tells us, he’s the same yesterday, today and forever. Maybe you’re just brokenhearted like Mary Magdalene. Maybe you’re a doubter like Thomas. He had no trouble gathering all of those people, because he had paid the price in full, to the uttermost. Blood-bought doubters, blood-bought deniers, blood-bought hopeless people, blood-bought people with broken hearts, he gathered them all. I’m going to have the musicians come...[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Luke 24:1-35 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]
To read a good study going through many of the prophecies and Scriptures Jesus must have given in his Bible study with the two on the Road to Emmaus, log onto and read: