"Beginning from Moses and from all the
prophets, He interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning
Himself." (Luke 24:27).
The greatest thing in history and experience,
the greatest thing possible to man, was just at hand with these two men, but all
unsuspected, unimagined and unexpected. No two men have ever been more surprised
at how a journey, a journey without particular purpose or interest, turned out.
Something that was more or less casual, dictated by a sense of the necessity for
getting away from things, having time to think and to try to adjust. Perhaps
little, if anything, more than that was behind this 'walk into the country' as
Mark calls it, this sad walk of seven miles and a little more.
It is upon the tremendous nature of this
eventuality that we want to focus attention, for this twenty-fourth chapter of
the gospel by Luke is one of the most momentous parts of the whole Bible -
indeed, it gathers up the whole Bible and embodies the one inclusive,
comprehensive issue of all the Bible. So it was no small thing. We shall see
that it was infinitely more than just one of a number of appearances of the Lord
Jesus to people after His resurrection. That may have been very wonderful as
something in itself, that He should suddenly appear and just as suddenly
disappear, but it was far more than that. I venture to say that the 'far more'
could spread itself over a whole lifetime in its meaning and significance.
Well then, having made that the keynote, we
went on to say a considerable number of things about this journey and about
these people which circle round this central question and issue, and to those we
shall not make further reference at the moment.
We are going to pass on to the discourse of
this strange Stranger on the country road. "Beginning from Moses and from all
the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning
Himself." You do not expect me to give you that discourse, and you do not
expect me to try to do it in all the Scriptures, and yet we are going to get
that discourse somehow.
The Old Testament a Testimony
to the Crucified and Risen Christ
The beginning is this, that from this chapter,
Luke 24, we learn that the Old Testament is a comprehensive and detailed
testimony. Jesus said it, and you have to dispute the point with Him if you do
not believe it or agree with it. The entire Scriptures of the Old Testament
are a testimony; comprehensive and detailed. That testimony centres in one
Person called the Christ. That Person centres round one thing in two parts:
death and resurrection. And then, finally, that one thing has in itself one
supreme issue: the conquest of death and the triumph of life. To sum that up,
the whole of the Scriptures of the Old Testament bear ultimately upon one issue: the conquest of death and the triumph of Life. You cannot read the Old Testament
with eyes opened, as did Jesus and as did these people when He had opened their
eyes, without seeing that there is one thing all the time at issue, one thing
involved, and it may be in a thousand different ways, but one thing: the
conquest of death and the triumph of Life. This is the testimony. This testimony is
said to be everywhere in the Scriptures.
The Object of the Lord's
Then the Lord Jesus proceeded to divide the
Scriptures up into three sections and to bring out of each section this great
ultimate truth concerning Himself; from Moses, the prophets, and the psalms. And that
does, according to the Hebrew arrangement, comprehend the Old Testament. Now it
is just there, of course, that our difficulty begins. We do not know what data
Christ's discourse employed. We do not know what He took out of Moses and the
prophets and the psalms for His purpose, we do not know the data of His
discourse, but we do know the object of it. That is perfectly clear. While we do not
know the line that He took, we know the end that He reached. We are left without
anything to assure us as to the exact matter which He employed, but we can take
His principle, and I think we can to some degree arrive at His material, by
recognising His conclusion. That sounds a little involved perhaps. You will see
what I mean in a moment.
What was the sum of it all? How did He sum it
all up? What was the end to which He moved? What was it that for Him governed
the whole? Just one statement - "...the Christ to suffer... and to enter
into his glory". That is the issue, that is the end, that is the goal, and He
got that somehow from all the Scriptures. "Was it not necessary for the
Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into his glory?" The suffering -
that clearly meant His death and all that was involved in His death. The glory -
that clearly meant His triumph over death and the nature of resurrection Life.
That is the substance of the Old Testament, that is the testimony everywhere:
suffering in the deadly grapple with death in many ways, glory in complete
triumph over death, its destruction, and the nature of resurrection Life. That
is the substance of it all and these two things were always kept together and
must always be kept together - the death and the resurrection. Each gives
meaning to the other. That is, why did He die? You have no answer to that
question except in the resurrection. Why was He raised? What does resurrection
Life mean? There is no answer to that question except as you understand the
meaning of the Cross, the death.
Now, be very patient with me while I work this
way toward the heart of this whole matter, for it is just there and by that
means that we are taken back in broad principle to the whole of the Old
Testament. What does the Old Testament contain, right up to the Cross of the
Lord Jesus? This - the inclusive business on hand from Adam to Christ was the
dealing with an invading foreign force into God's created universe. A foreign
force had invaded God's created universe, that is one side. And all that
represents or speaks of the death of the Lord Jesus is related to that; the
dealing with this foreign invading force. The other side, the resurrection, was
the introducing of a dynamic power to counter that force, and that dynamic
power, the invading force, was resurrection Life; this Life which in itself, in
its own nature, is a Life which cannot be touched of death, has in it power and
dynamic, mightier than any force in God's universe. That is the issue all the
way through, the mighty creative forces of the resurrection Life of the Lord
Now have you got the setting, or has it been
too involved? We must have a full basis and background for what will be perhaps
very much simpler as we proceed. The invading force was sin, and death in its
train, sin and death. That was the thing with which Christ dealt in His Cross -
sin and death. The dynamic to overcome that and rule that out and nullify that
is righteousness and Life which are brought into being in the resurrection of
the Lord Jesus. Paul made that perfectly clear when he said - "If Christ hath
not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins" (1 Cor.
15:17). Righteousness is only established in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
Now let us get to a much more simple line of
consideration. I am anxious, though, that you should realise that we are dealing
with immense things. The issue on the Emmaus road was no simple matter at all.
Look at these two on that country road, look at their state, and you will get a
clue to the Old Testament and what Christ was dealing with in His death and
The Difference His Discourse
Made to Two Men
First of all, these men are all broken up,
disintegrated and scattered in themselves. They are not whole, they are not one
piece. They are divided men, each of the two is a divided man himself. If you
spent a little time with either of them you would find that in talking
over things up to this point, in talking of all these things that had happened,
at one moment they would be saying one thing and another moment they would be
saying exactly the opposite. They would be going round this thing, trying
somehow to find a co-ordinating truth; something that would bring them together
and settle them and make them sure... but they are broken-up men, scattered men,
Then again they are despairing men, men who had
lost their hope. "We had hoped...". It is in the past tense. "We had
hoped that it was He...", but that hope has gone, that hope is in His grave,
in His tomb, that hope at the moment is dead, and in its place there is the
awful gloom of despair and hopelessness.
Further, they are perplexed and bewildered men.
They just cannot see any light, see any meaning, see any reason. Their minds are
utterly defeated. For them there is no way out and no way through this
situation. They are men in the dark, and not only in the dark, but without
sight, without capacity or faculty for seeing. Christ summed their condition all
up in one word. Unfortunately the word He used is not translated into this
English word, it is put in other words. Our translation is, "O foolish men."
Of course, the Authorized Version is stronger than that - "O fools." The
Revised is a little more polite - "O foolish men". But He did not
even say that. He said, "O senseless men." That is the word He used. That
is how He summed everything up - "senseless men". Did it not describe
them? It was not an epithet, it was not meant as a discourtesy. It was not in
effect saying "O insane men." "Senseless men"; when He used that
word He covered the whole ground of the effect of the invading evil force, for
when Adam let in that invader, mankind became senseless as to all God's thought
and purpose. He became, firstly, insensitive to the things of the Spirit of God.
He lost his sense of spiritual sight, and from that time was a blinded man.
Paul puts it this way - "the god of this
world has blinded the minds..." (2 Cor. 4:4). You notice it says here - "he
opened their mind." "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of the
unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the
image of God, should not dawn upon them." The invading force had destroyed
the faculty of spiritual sight. Is it not perfectly clear that from the time
that Adam let in that false thing, that man became a disintegrated creation? It
is not very long after that you find how disintegrated the human family is. It was at
one another's throats, no longer a family in love and fellowship. Murder has
come in and disintegrated, and man in himself is disintegrated. You can look at
these men and see how broken up they are and scattered. There is no cohesion in
man after that, and man has lost his hope, his assurance, and goes to work to
try to create one for himself. That is the explanation of the tower of Babel.
Lose your hope in God and you have to somehow manufacture your own hope, create
your own means of assurance. "Let us build us... a tower" (Gen. 11:4).
Well, the whole of the Old Testament is a
revelation of this disintegration of man, this despair and hopelessness of man
in his condition, this perplexity and bewilderment of man, and this dark
blindness of man where God is concerned. It does not need accentuation. We know
in ourselves that until Christ meets us and does the thing which He did with
these men and the others mentioned here, until then we are in that state by
nature; we are insensitive and in a very real sense we are senseless where God
and God's things are concerned. These men were the embodiment of the rest in
conditions brought about by this invading evil force. All these conditions are
just the effect of that.
Can we prove it? Look at it the other way. See
them going and see them returning. See the turn that was taken in the road
literally and historically when the Lord Jesus came in resurrection power and
reality into their experience. As they went, they went, as we say, in pieces. As
they returned, they are no longer like that. They are girded with one
all-captivating reality: He is alive! There is nothing more integrating than
that, nothing more gathering up of the scattered parts than the knowledge of
that in an experimental way. They are girded. I venture to suggest that no man
ever 'hopped it' for seven and a half miles as they did, and you do not do that
unless there is something that has got hold of you, that has girded you
together and brought you together, you do not do that if you are in pieces. You
know how you go along when you are in pieces. They rushed back to Jerusalem to
break in upon those gathered together, intending to declare at once what had
happened, but before they could get it out, the others were telling them the
same thing. Not only were they integrated, but as a company they were on one
thing, one experience. Before they could open their mouths, those in Jerusalem
said, "The Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared to Simon." Then they
got their story out! Nothing of despair about that. There may be some wonderment
and amazement, but there is no bewilderment in that sense with that company.
They were all at sea for want of some girding truth, some girding reality. Are
they men in the dark any longer? No, they have seen Him, and what a
You see what Satan brought in and what Adam let
in, and what Christ has dealt with and ruled out. And what an opposite He has
established in this great dynamic force, the power of resurrection Life, and
that to be an experience. What is it all? Not just parts of some great
happening, bits of a story, but one consummate, all-inclusive thing: victory
over death and what death means, and the establishment of a deathless life. That
is the heart of the whole matter. It is that when entered into - blessed be God,
many of us know something of it, that it can be entered into - that, entered
into as a living reality, is the heart and sum of the whole Bible. That is the
testimony, and when we have said all that, we have not started with Moses and
all the prophets and the psalms. That was the issue.
I am not saying that He put it as I have put
it, that He said what I have said. I am saying that He went to the heart of the
matter and got the inclusive principle. He led the whole of the Scriptures up to
this point: that Christ suffered, was raised again, and entered into His glory.
That is the end at which He arrived by the use of the Old Testament throughout
in all its parts. How He did it, I repeat, I do not know, but that is where He
brought them. That satisfied them, that answered all their questions. They were
asking why it should have happened, why He should have died. Here is the answer,
and it is an adequate answer. He, by His death and resurrection, gathered up and
met triumphantly the whole of that terrible invading force with all its
consequences in the realm of the creation. He dealt with that and vanquished
that. Dying, He destroyed death. By dying, He slew death. You who know your
Bibles will be able to call up from everywhere in your New Testament this
glorious testimony. "Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and
immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Tim. 1:10). Life and
incorruption were brought to light through the Gospel. Then this Life must be
something other than and different from the life we have by nature.
You say, 'What do you mean by Life? I am alive,
I am a biological creature.' But that is not what he is talking about. This Life
is a different, transcendent Life, and, as it is called, incorruptible Life, and
that certainly is not the life that we possess. Death, what do you mean by
death? You may answer back - 'Why, you who are speaking about this destruction
of death will before long be in the grave.' Ah yes, that may be, but that does
not nullify the truth that there is a Life possessed by children of God that is
a graveless Life, a deathless Life. If you have ever watched the death of a real
unbeliever, and the death of a saint, you know the difference. It is not death
with a child of God. But oh, it is so much more than I can explain! I am simply
saying that these two words, life and death, are not just what everybody thinks
they mean. They are immense things.
Death is a spiritual thing, death is a
deadly thing in every realm, death is an evil thing. Say what you will in your
artistry and your poetry about death being a friend. It is no friend. The Bible
says, "The last enemy that shall be abolished is death" (1 Cor. 15:26),
and death is an enemy. Try to sublimate it, if you like. No, death is an evil
thing, it came from Satan, it is the fruit of sin, it is destruction. But Christ
has destroyed it, and over it has established this other Life which will not see
death. Do not think that the death of the body is the end of death. No, no -
death is not just physical. Death only affects the body and carries it with it.
Death is much bigger than the body. Life is a spiritual thing. Oh, it is much
bigger and better than this life that we have in the body. Thank God there is a
lot to be said about that if the Lord enables us in these chapters, this
marvellous thing with which we are occupied.
I am not going on to the discourse, although I
started thinking that we might. We are occupied, not with the discourse itself and material and data, but we are occupied with the issue of it which is the issue
of the whole Bible, and the issue - may God bring this home to us in
these days in which we live, bring this home to many a heart as a bedrock
foundation, a great governing reality - the testimony of God concerning His
Son which is given to us is absolute victory over death. That testimony
accounts for everything of conflict, pressure, suffering, and everything else.
That is the provocative thing, and when I have used that word, I have launched
myself upon the discourse, because the representation of the testimony in the
books of Moses is Abel, the man who provoked hell.