Can you imagine being in a Bible study with Jesus during His time on earth? I have heard many gifted Bible teachers in my life, but not one can come remotely close to topping Jesus as a teacher of the Word. He is the Word, after all!
Now imagine having Jesus as your Bible study teacher not just for learning about a single passage, chapter or book of the Bible, but instead for all of Scripture. This was the case for two fortunate men on a seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to a town called Emmaus. The Bible reveals very little about these men; in fact, only one of them is named at all. We know Cleopas (the man specifically mentioned) was a disciple of Jesus and that he and a fellow disciple were leaving Jerusalem and traveling to Emmaus after a whirlwind of events that had their heads spinning. Jesus, their rabbi, had been arrested during the night by Jewish authorities, crucified the next morning by Roman officials as though He were a murderer, and hurriedly buried in a nearby tomb. Everything had happened so quickly and unexpectedly that Cleopas and the other disciples were left in a daze.
These two men had no idea that Jesus had risen from the dead. They were unaware His tomb was empty. So it is completely understandable why they would never have expected Jesus to join them on their journey. He was supposed to be dead, after all! And yet even when Jesus walked alongside them, they did not know it was Him. Their heads were so foggy from confusion and distraught, and Yeshua was temporarily disguised; Scripture says "their eyes were kept from recognizing Him" (Luke 24:16).
Luke 24:13-35 gives the amazing account of Jesus joining these two men on the road to Emmaus, but let me take some creative license in retelling the scene. Again, it began when neither disciple recognized his rabbi as He sauntered alongside them and essentially said, "Hey guys, what are you talking about?"
"You've got to be kidding me!" Cleopas answered peevishly, maybe from a lack of sleep. "I know You're an out-of-towner and all, but seriously, have You had Your head in the sand these days, or what?" (I imagine he later regretted saying that.)
Cleopas and the other disciple then began to unpack all the events that had transpired over the previous four days, informing the very one who had been the centerpiece of it all. Although Jesus played dumb at first, it did not take long for Him to unload. After a quick rebuke for their lack of discernment—"You guys still don't get it?"—He uncoiled the red thread running throughout God's Word to reveal Himself. More precisely, Luke says, "beginning with Moses" means He started at the Tanakh's very first book, B'resheet (Genesis), just as we would.
I imagine Jesus started with, "In the beginning God created ..." then paused mid-sentence to ponder how ironic it was that He—the One who created the concept of time and "the beginning" itself—was now having to explain divine history as He stood on the very dust from which He formed these two men's forefather, Adam.
Jesus worked His way through each book of the Torah and then moved on to the Nevvi'im (the prophetic books) and through the Ketuvim (the poetic and historical books and others such as Ecclesiastes, Lamentations and Esther). I have no idea how Jesus walked them through every single Scripture that related to Him in a mere hour and a half, considering that some scholars list as many as 400-plus messianic prophecies in the Tanakh. But by the same token, I do not know how it was possible for these two men to not recognize their rabbi after Jesus appeared to them, talked to them, walked beside them, and hung out with them for so long. Consider the fact that these were no casual followers of Jesus. Disciples in that day literally mimicked whatever their rabbi did, meaning they, out of all people would have been able to spot Jesus in a crowd, much less on a relatively empty dirt road to Emmaus.
If Jesus, in His resurrected body, could walk through walls and teleport to locations far away, then I have to believe He was also fully capable of offering the most thorough revelation of Scripture in record time. I do not know how it was done, just as I do not know what Jesus said; I just know what Scripture says and that He changed their lives after this encounter, as He always does.
The world would be a different place if that Bible study could have been recorded. Sidewalk evangelists and jungle missionaries could save their own pleas and simply replay Jesus' amazing overview of Scripture concerning Him. For Cleopas and his companion, the imprint of this unforgettable revelation stirred them like nothing else could. "Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the way and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" they said emphatically after He suddenly vanished (Luke 24:32). Though Luke adds that "their eyes were opened and they recognized Him" (v. 31), their case of spiritual blindness is not uncommon. Most Jews throughout history have had the same condition, unable to see Yeshua (Jesus) as HaMashiach ("the Messiah"). Likewise, more than two-thirds of the world's population today cannot see Jesus—either by choice or because no one has revealed Him to them. Only Jesus knows the actual number of those who truly follow Him today and those who do not. Paul says, "The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe," and we know that Satan is still responsible for many being unable to see the Light of the world (2 Cor. 4:4).
Jesus, as a Jew, came first to the Jewish people, then to all who would receive Him. (John 1:9-13). This season is a reminder that He came as God's anointed One (the Messiah) to redeem us and deliver us from Satan's power.
Adapted from The Lion of Judah by Rabbi Kirt A. Schneider, copyright 2018, published by Charisma House. This book will help you understand the history of Christianity and Judaism and will equip you to share the gospel with Jewish people and appreciate their Hebraic heritage. To order your copy click on this link.
Prayer Power for the Week of Dec. 23, 2018
As we celebrate Christmas this week take time to read the Scriptures relating to Old Testament prophecies and New Testament fulfillment of the coming of Christ. In the giving and receiving of gifts, remember the greatest gift of all, and thank God for Christ and redemption. Continue to pray for worldwide revival and our own nation. Ask the Lord to give our leaders godly wisdom and protection. Pray for those who suffered losses this year and ask the Lord how you can help. Read Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6 as well as John 1:9-13,
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