Summary: Trying to understand Jesus without the Scriptures is futile, and comprehending Scripture without Jesus opening our understanding is impossible


Luke 24:36-48.

What a scene met the two from the Emmaus Road upon their return to Jerusalem! The dejected church was now declaring its Easter message: “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.” To which they added their own testimony of the risen Lord (Luke 24:33-35).

At that moment Jesus Himself appeared among them, and spoke the “Peace” (Luke 24:36). Was He a spirit, suddenly appearing in a room with closed doors? Faith and hope and anticipation were momentarily eclipsed by fear and uncertainty (Luke 24:37). How like the church!

Into our uncertainty the Lord speaks words of reassurance (Luke 24:38), and presents us with the evidence on which to ground our faith (Luke 24:39-40).

Whatever we may understand of the risen body of our Lord, it was both real and material. Flesh and bones (Luke 24:39-40), and the ability to eat (Luke 24:41-43), were added to the ability to converse, and to pass through walls (Luke 24:36). It is wise not to become too curious here, but to receive by faith what we may not otherwise be able to understand.

By now the doubts of most were dissipating. They did not fully understand, but now they marvelled with joy (Luke 24:41). Jesus opened the Scripture to the gathered assembly (Luke 24:44-47) - and by the time He had finished the only one who still doubted was the one who had been absent from the meeting. But that is another story.

Easter had been a hectic, confusing day: but, in our text, Jesus pointed the disciples first to His own words, and then to the Old Testament Scriptures in order that they might put some meaning on all that had happened (Luke 24:44). This is where we must always begin: with Jesus, who is both the key and the fulfilment of Scripture, and with the Scriptures themselves. Trying to understand Jesus without the Scriptures is futile; and comprehending Scripture without Jesus opening our understanding is impossible (Luke 24:45).

“It is written,” begins Jesus, “that the Messiah should suffer and rise” (Luke 24:46). He was giving them - and us - new reading glasses to read already familiar passages and verses. From now on we see these old things as in a new light.

Not only this, but the church’s commission arises out of the Old Testament. Jesus continues, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). If we search the Scriptures, we will find that that was always the plan.

Then we have the link with the New Testament: “you (all) are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48).

Now at last the church finds a meaning in the events that led up to the resurrection of Jesus. The risen Lord opens up the Scriptures so that we may see the reason for it all. He gives us a sense of purpose in evangelism. He establishes the witness of the Apostles through the writing of the New Testament (Luke 24:44-48).

And He promises to endue His fledgling church with resurrection power with the coming of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49). The power that is at work within us is the same power by which Christ was raised from the dead! May God bless us to use it for His glory.

As we continue to worship and serve Him in this world, may the Lord bless us with continuing understanding of what He has accomplished for us. May we fulfil our mission in the power of the Spirit and see fruit for our labours in this present ‘waiting’ time. And to His name be all the praise and honour and glory.