apr 3 // Day 40
As the two disciples reach Emmaus, they kindly invite Jesus (still a friendly stranger to them!) to stay with them for the night. As they sit down for a meal together Jesus takes the bread, blesses it and gives it to them, just as He did at the Last Supper. This is of course the image of His broken body, His death on the cross. And it is when they take in the broken bread that their eyes are opened to see Jesus for who He really is. Death has been defeated! The King is on the move, breaking into a world of sorrow with new life, joy and possibility.
Then, as quickly as He is revealed to them, He disappears from their sight. Still, bursting with joy and excitement, they marvel at what has just happened – “were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (v32) They immediately make the seven-mile journey back to Jerusalem to share the news with the Eleven.
Again the breaking of bread is mentioned, and we must not lose the significance of Jesus being revealed to them in this. This is a story about how it is hard to see Jesus for who He really is. How could God’s power and love be revealed through this man’s shameful execution? How could a humble man become King of the universe through weakness and self-sacrifice? It is hard to make sense of it all. But this is the message Luke wants to communicate. It takes transformation of our imagination to see it and embrace Jesus’ upside down Kingdom.
Luke emphasizes what we as followers of Jesus can all too easily forget – that our study of the Bible is not to puff us up with knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but to align our heads and hearts; to bring together understanding of Scripture with the passion to apply it – that our hearts would burn within us as the Spirit opens God’s Word to us.
The gospel of Luke ends with Jesus appearing to His disciples and sharing a meal with them. Luke tells us they think He is a ghost, so He spends time showing them His resurrected body is real – He invites them to come close, to touch Him; to see the crucifixion scars on His hands and feet. (v39-40) He eats with them. (v43) This is no ghost! He has passed through death and come out the other side – a walking, talking piece of new creation. Mourning and fear are replaced by indescribable joy. (v41) Everything written about Jesus in the Scriptures has been fulfilled. (In Acts 1v3, Luke tells us there were more appearances like these spread over 40 days, and then Jesus returns to heaven.)
Then Jesus tells them He is going to equip them with the same divine power that sustained Him, so that they can go and share with the world His message of repentance and forgiveness of sins. After this Luke tells us that Jesus was taken up into heaven. In the Old Testament the sky represents the place of God’s throne, above everything. This is Luke’s way of showing the reader that Jesus is enthroned as the divine King of the whole world, “seated at the right hand of the Father.” (Ephesians 1v20-21; Colossians 3v1; Hebrews 1v3)
The disciples stay in Jerusalem worshipping God and waiting for this new power to come. And so the gospel ends where it began, in the Temple, with worship of the living God, revealed in Jesus, at the heart of this new Kingdom life. Why not continue reading Luke’s account of the disciples as they carry out their mission in the book of Acts?
Thank you for journeying with us through Luke – Happy Easter – HE IS RISEN!
Thanks for joining us today! Remember you can use the tools we’ve provided in the Reading Plan to help you engage with each passage of scripture.