Week 1, Lesson 4: When Jesus “Shows Up”
Hey study friends, are you encouraged by God’s faithfulness? He is amazing, isn’t He?
Today we will look at God’s ultimate faithfulness as our study leads us to the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
But wait, there’s more! An interesting thing happened just after that fateful Sunday morning in Jerusalem, and we are going to find out what it was. One thing is sure: we will see God’s faithfulness in it! But first things first!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4)
Have you ever stopped to consider that, after living a sinless life, Jesus took on our sin upon Himself in death (2 Corinthians 5:21), was buried to do away with the penalty and guilt of sin and was raised to new life on the third day, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Given that everyone of us is guilty of sin and deserving of death in hell, there is no other explanation than God’s goodness, grace, mercy, and faithfulness to explain the great exchange: our sin for eternal life in Him.
If you have not stopped to contemplate that great exchange, pause here. Meditate on the verses above, then read Ephesians 1. The study will be here when you get done!
When we journey to Golgotha and the Garden Tomb, there will undoubtedly be a new depth of understanding and experience of God’s faithfulness. Gazing upon the place Jesus hung on the cross for us, peaking inside the empty tomb, and imagining what it must have been like that Resurrection Sunday when the women found the tomb empty will strike a deep chord. No more words are needed. The experience will accomplish the mission.
But now to that interesting thing that happened later that Resurrection Day. Luke 24:1-27 records accounts of the empty tomb, and of two of Jesus’ disciples on the road to Emmaus. They had been with Jesus prior to crucifixion, and later heard the women’s report of the empty tomb following the resurrection. But they did not quite get it!
They left Jerusalem that day, perhaps angry, sad, and confused. As they walked along the road, they reasoned with one another, trying to make sense of what had just happened.
Suddenly, Jesus appeared and asked, What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad? Not recognizing Him, one of them replied, Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened in these days?
Can you picture Jesus with a slight smirk asking, What things? Then, as they proceeded to tell Jesus about what happened to Jesus, I wonder if He snickered! (Yes, I believe Jesus had a sense of humor!)
But the reality was they had no faith that the Faithful One who told them He would die and rise again on the third day would actually pull it off! What was Jesus’ response in verses 25-27? Wow…they got a full “law and prophets” sermon, directly from the Risen Lord, expounding on things concerning Himself! In it, He made Himself known through the law and prophets!
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus taught what would supposedly be very familiar to Jewish people? Faithful Jews knew the law and the prophets inside out! They studied it thoroughly, yet it was only head knowledge. Jesus brought it down to heart level in teaching that the law was designed to illustrate the need for a Savior, and the prophets foretold the very event that now confused the disciples! What if they had put their faith in God’s Word, rather than simply making the law and the prophets an academic exercise in understanding?
So, let’s make it personal and jump into the shoes of those disciples. Are churchgoers any different? How many times do we go to church and hear, but don’t “get it” because we lack faith in the One who is faithful? Then, at times, the Faithful One pushes it from our head to our heart through circumstances or special revelation. God’s faithfulness never ends!
Many miss the resurrection message, which the apostle Paul summed up this way: For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
As faithful followers, we learn the application of the law and the prophets, and how He is revealed in them. The law leads us to trust in the Faithful One for salvation, while the prophets help us put our faith in God for what is expected in the future. It seems, at times, we are just like those disciples. Truth stares us in the face, yet we become doubtful and downcast rather than placing faith in the One who is faithful to guide and direct us. While in Israel, our hope is to have the opportunity to see the area of Emmaus and to imagine walking that road as Jesus appeared and ultimately taught those downcast disciples all about Himself. I pray that as Jesus “shows up” for us as well, that we recognize Him!
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