Luke 24 - The Christ Must Suffer
Luke 24 – July 28
Today we conclude the book of Luke, but we are not concluding the writings of Luke. He is also the author of the book of Acts. The two work together to display the work of Christ in seeking and saving the lost. Most of Luke 24 is exclusive to this gospel account. Verses 13-53 are found nowhere else. The way we are going to approach this passage is to answer 7 questions that come to my mind as I read it.
- Who are these two disciples?
Luke tells us that one of them is named Cleopas. It is very possible that the other disciple was Cleopas’ wife, although we do not know that with any certainty. (The argument in favor is that Mary the wife of Clopas is mentioned in John 19:25. It could be the same woman who was traveling on the road to Emmaus.) We don’t know anything about them for sure except what is found in this passage. However, that doesn’t mean that we are completely ignorant of their lives. For example, we see that they are able to give an accurate description of all of the things that happened to Jesus. They had been following Jesus. They were paying close enough attention to know about the conspiracy of the high priests. They had the facts, but they missed the point.
- Where are they traveling to?
They are making the seven-mile journey to Emmaus. If you pay attention, verse 28 says that they reached the village and invited Jesus in for a meal. Later on, we see that they were so overjoyed with what they had seen and heard that they got back up and walked seven miles back to Jerusalem. (vs. 33)
- How were they feeling?
There are two key things to notice. First, when they are describing the death of Jesus, Cleopas says, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.” (vs. 21) their hope is past tense. It seems as though their hope had been dashed. It seems that their understanding of the crucifixion was the end of the road for Jesus and His kingdom. Secondly, after hearing the women’s testimony of Jesus’ resurrection, they still chose to leave Jerusalem and go home. This is likely an indication that they did not believe the report. That is also probably the reason Cleopas tacked on that last line, “but him they did not see.” (vs. 24) They seem downcast. They seem disappointed.
- How does Jesus correct their thinking?
After hearing Cleopas’ dullness regarding the purposes of the cross, Jesus mildly rebukes the two of them saying, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Even though the English has an exclamation point, don’t view this as Jesus shouting or being harsh with them. It appears to me that this is a gracious correction that was willingly received by these bedraggled and distraught disciples. Jesus does the most loving thing He could do. He revealed the truth through the Scriptures.
- What did Jesus show them from the Bible?
John 5:39 teaches us that Jesus is the point of every Scripture. If you join us in September for the Tuesday night Bible studies, I am going to start off with a short series of Jesus in every book of the Bible before jumping back into Genesis. However, the particular focus of this discussion was to prove that the Old Testament teaches that the Christ must suffer. “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Jesus was systematically walking through the Old Testament to show them all of the various references, allusions, prophecies, and sacrifices that prefigured or pointed to the cross.
- Why did these two disciples not recognize Jesus?
This is a mysterious element to this passage. The explanation is without a doubt supernatural. Jesus was functioning in a way that our bodies don’t. For example, in verse 31 it tells us that as soon as they realize that He is Jesus, “He vanished from their sight.” We can only surmise that Jesus intended to conceal His identity for a few hours so that He might have the ability to preach about Himself from the Old Testament before they rushed back to Jerusalem to spread the news.
- What caused these two disciples to recognize Jesus?
Just like Jesus did at the last supper, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. I would venture to guess that Jesus had probably included the Passover meal as part of His explanation of why the Christ must suffer. When Cleopas and the other disciple saw the breaking of the bread and heard the blessing they immediately understood the identity of the one across the table from them. They then expressed how the teaching of Jesus caused their hearts to burn within them. They could not help but get back up and make their way back to Jerusalem to tell the others what they had seen and heard.