Jesus’ Journey From The Cross: Luke 24:13-52
Pastor David Fields, April 8, 2018
I. Jesus Reveals and Rebukes Wrong Interpretive Approaches to the Scriptures
“He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” – Luke 24:25
It is possible to misread the Scriptures and to miss God’s intended purposes through them. How does that happen today?
- Reading without an awareness of our cultural blind spots
- We can ask ourselves: Who benefits from this reading? Does it challenge me? Why or why not?
- Reading alongside a community of people from other cultures will help reveal and challenge our blind spots.
- Reading texts out of context – especially the larger context of the whole storyline of the Bible, that reaches fulfillment in Jesus.
II. Jesus’ View of The Scriptures And His Place In Them – Luke 24:25-27; 44-45
- The Bible is telling one grand narrative – a narrative of universal intent (the true story of history, and that has a bearing on every person’s life).
The Old Testament is not a complete work, but a story in search of an ending. But how would this long, expectant story come to its climax? What would its fulfillment look like? Imagine the Old Testament as a painting, stretched across the canvas of history.
The way the painting is finished – the event of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection – now must shape how we see the whole.
We can only read the Old Testament in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ – since it is brought to its climax in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
2. Jesus’ own life, death and resurrection are the climax of this story. Jesus fills full the meaning of the Scriptures (24:25-27; 44)
3. Jesus, through the work of the Holy Spirit, illuminates our minds and helps us understand. Then Jesus “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45).
III. Learning To Read With Jesus – Luke 24:46-49
- Our reading of the Scriptures is Messianic – focused on God’s coming King (v.46)
“He told them, “This is what is written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day…”
Jesus is present in the Old Testament in the sense of promise.
In Part Two of Luke’s story – the book of Acts – Luke shows how the apostles made use of the Old Testament to show that Jesus was in fact God’s promised Messiah – and that their audience needed to see that Jesus’ suffering and death where not signs of his failure, but the central element of God’s way of defeating the real enemy – not the Romans, but evil, sin and death itself (see the Extra Note below for some examples).
2. Our reading of the Scriptures is Missional – it moves from theory to action; as we respond to the message of the text, we enact God’s new creation with the Holy Spirit’s help.
“The Bible is a kind of project aimed at the kingdom of God, that is, toward the achievement of God’s purposes for good in the whole of God’s creation.”
– Richard Bauckham
God’s authority is functioning through the Scriptures in accord with his missional purpose “…to liberate human beings, to judge and condemn evil and sin in the world, to set people free to be fully human….This is what authority is there for. And when we use a shorthand phrase like ‘authority of Scripture’ that is what we ought to be meaning. It is an authority with this shape and character, this purpose and goal.”
– N.T. Wright
The Table as the Place Where Jesus Reveals Himself
- Hospitality – in our homes, and our world
- Openness to God’s work – Trust that God can reveal God’s self as God chooses
- Jesus still meets us at the Table – because he promised his presence through the work of the Holy Spirit
- The Table sends us running too – running to tell the world that Jesus is alive and that we have met him!
In the sequel to Luke’s Gospel, Luke continues the story of Jesus’ mission through the work of the church in the power of the Holy Spirit, in the book of Acts. The way that Jesus speaks of the Scriptures in Luke 24 is how his followers end up using the Old Testament in their preaching and ministry. Here are a number of examples:
- Acts 2: Peter, on the day of Pentecost, makes use of Joel 2:28-32 to describe the gift of the Spirit and Ps 16:8-11 and Ps 110:1 to speak of Jesus as Messiah.
- Acts 3: Preaching in the temple, Peter uses Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, 19; Gen 22:18; 26:4 to explain that Jesus is God’s Messiah.
- Acts 4: Peter’s defense before the Sanhedrin uses Ps 118:2
- Acts 4: The believers pray with the words of Ps 2:1,2 to speak of Jesus after Peter and John are released from prison
- Acts 7: Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin recites the story of Israel from Abraham (Gen 12) to the Exodus (Exodus 32) and through to the time of King David. He speaks of the prophets “predicting” the coming of God’s “Righteous One” – that is Jesus.
- Acts 8: Philip interprets the meaning of Isaiah 53 as referring to the Messiah, Jesus, to the eunuch from Ethiopia
- Acts 13: When Paul preaches to Jews in the synagogue, he reasoned that Jesus is God’s promised Messiah from Ps 2; Is 55; Ps 16.
- Acts 14 and 17: When preaching to Gentiles (non-Jews), Paul did not use direct quotes from the Old Testament, as that would not have any cultural authority, but he speaks of God by drawing on the teachings of the Scriptures about who God is and how God has sent his Son Jesus.
Life Group Discussion Questions:
In what way have stories – children’s books, novels, movies etc. – had an impact on how you view the world or your own life and relationships?
- Read Luke 24:13-35. What elements of this story stand out to you or challenge you? Why?
- How does Jesus’ interaction with the two disciples in this event clarify the meaning of the Scriptures for you? How might it challenge or enhance how you interact with the Old Testament in the future?
- In his sermon, Pastor Dave spoke of the Bible as a “narrative of universal intent” – meaning, that the Bible is telling a story that is the true story of the world and all humanity. Why might that understanding of the Bible be difficult for people who are not Christians to accept?
- It has been noted by philosophers, starting in particular with Jean-Francois Lyotard in his book The Postmodern Condition (1979), that metanarratives, or “grand stories”, are inherently oppressive since they are absolute claims that oversimplify the world and use their story as a way of gaining control over people. Richard Bauckham, however, argues that the Bible, though forming an overarching story, should not function in this way for some of these reasons:
a. Though the Bible has been used as a tool of oppression that can only arise as a distortion of its message.
b. Metanarratives try and explain and oversimplify all of reality, but the Bible never makes this claim. It speaks truthfully about God and God’s plans for the world, but it speaks clearly about the reality that there are still mysteries (See Romans 11:33). God knows all, but Christians do not, and therefore, we don’t have a proud position of saying we have all the answers.
c. Metanarratives claim to be able to solve all the world’s problems. Though the Bible speaks of how God will one-day right all wrongs, this isn’t a redemption that human beings can bring about on their own. We can work for justice and healing, but ultimately, redemption is God’s work.
d. Perhaps most important, the Christian story is one, not of oppression of others through force or coercion, but of self-giving service and sacrifice for the sake of others. The central storyline of the Bible is that God comes to humanity, even taking on human flesh, lives a perfect life, and then dies a horrible death, not for his own sins, but for his enemies. And then he calls us to emulate this same kind of self-giving love for others (see Philippians 2:1-11 for Paul’s sketch of this story and its implications).
Why do you think it is so important for the rest of the world to see the Christ-like ways of Jesus’ followers if we are going to announce that this story if true for everyone? How will that transform the witness of Christians in the world? (see Luke 24:46-49)
5. Reflect further on this notion by considering this quote from the missionary and theologian, Lesslie Newbigin:
“The question of the relation of the biblical story to the whole story of humankind is a question that has to be answered in action. The Christian confession about the meaning and end of history can make good its claim, over against other interpretations of human history, only through actions in which this confession is embodied in deed – and in suffering.” – The Open Secret
Take time to pray that we, as a community, would emulate the self-giving love of Jesus as we go about our mission of announcing that Jesus is Lord of all. Take time to pray for the city of Kamloops – that our neighbors would come to know God’s love and forgiveness.