JESUS OPENS THE SCRIPTURES
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark chapter 16 as we continue looking at the events of resurrection morning. Last week we saw the women come to the tomb very early in the morning, followed by Peter and John. Now, as we continue on in Mark chapter 16 we are in the middle of the day and we are going to meet up with two men, disciples of Jesus, who have an encounter with Jesus as they are traveling. So lets pick-up the story in Mark chapter 16, beginning in verse 12.
1. There is not much information that is given to us here in Mark regarding this incident. All we are told is two men, disciples of Jesus, were traveling from Jerusalem to another country, we are not even told where. And as they traveled down this road the Lord appeared to them, and they went and told the other disciples, but they refused to believe.
2. Now this could be a very short study if that was all the information we had, but it isnt. Luke gives us much more of the details of this event and thus, we will continue our study in Mark by looking at Luke chapter 24 and see what the Lord has for us as we study through this incident.
1. These two men had been in Jerusalem, they had witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus, their Lord. And now they are returning to Emmaus, which is about 7 miles northwest of Jerusalem. And on their journey they were discussing all that had transpired in Jerusalem, and they were devastated over what took place.
1. As they are traveling together, they are trying to figure out what happened, they didnt understand why this all took place. And in their despair, in their confusion, in their seemingly hopeless situation, who shows up? JESUS! I believe that is important for us to understand. There may be times in your life that things seem to be falling apart around you, and you feel you are all alone. Understand this, you are not! Jesus is right there with you. It is as Isaiah 40:10-11 says, "Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." That is what the Lord wants to do, to carry you in His arms if you will let Him. And that is what these men were going to find out on their journey.
2. The second thought here is that unbelief will keep us from seeing what God is doing. Jesus said that He was going to go to Jerusalem, to be put to death by the religious leaders, and on the third day He would be raised from the dead. It was now the third day and yet, because of their unbelief, they were discouraged, and didnt see Jesus! Unbelief hinders the work of God. Remember when Jesus went home to Nazareth, and they rejected Him. They knew Him as a child, watched Him grow, and now He claims to be the Messiah. They could not handle that, and they did not believe. And Matthew tells us "Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief." Matthew 13:58. Unbelief will hinder the work that God wants to do, it will prevent you from moving forward. Again, these men were going to find that out.
1. Now dont get the idea that Jesus did not know what they were talking about, He did. Then why did He ask the question? Because He wants us to think about it, to go over these things in our mind. Too often we dont think about what we are fearful about or hopeless about. We lose perspective, and Jesus wants us to get that perspective back again. Also, Jesus is showing us that He is concerned for these men whose countenance is very sad over all that has transpired three days earlier.
1. Here we are told one of the names of these two men, Cleopas. And really, what Mark tells us and what Luke tells us is all we know of them. And yet, the lessons they learned are given to us that we too may learn them.
2. Now this is kind of funny because they accuse Jesus of being the only one in town who didnt know what was going on. The reality is, He was the only one in town that did know what was going on and He is going to share those things with these men, and many others.
3. Once again Jesus shows His concern for these men and wants them to explain to Him what happened, and they do. They recognized Jesus as a man sent from God who was put to death by the religious leaders. And in the next verse you will see why they felt so sad, not only because Jesus, their friend was put to death, but the hopelessness of their situation.
1. They were "hoping" that Jesus was the one to set them free from Roman persecution, to redeem Israel. But now all this happened and they lost all hope. Notice they were "hoping," past tense, and that hope has faded and they are heading home in despair. Three days have passed since all this transpired, He is dead, and now it was too late, or so they thought.
2. Hopelessness is a terrible condition to be in. It will weaken you. There was a study done many years ago in California with wharf rats that illustrates this point perfectly. In this study they found out that if you put the wharf rats in water that after about 16 minutes they would drown. So they then put these rats, the live ones, in water once again, but after 15 minutes they took them out of the water, dried them off, fed them, and then they put them back in the water. And they did this several times with them. Do you know how long they lasted this time? Not 32 minutes, but 32 hours! Imagine that. Why did it happen? HOPE! They had hope that they would be rescued again, and it encouraged them to go on. People today are hopeless because they, like these men, have forgotten what God has said! Trust in His Word, it will lift your spirits and get you refocused! Just a little hope can carry you a long way.
1. Not only did Jesus say that death would not hold Him, but here is the physical evidence. They did not believe the report of the women, what they said they saw. They did not believe the tomb was empty, at least not that He rose from the dead. If the tomb was empty it was because someone stole the body of Jesus. And these women, they were just emotional and they must be wrong. Again, do you see how unbelief blinded their eyes from seeing what God was doing!
1. Can you imagine the Bible study that Jesus gave? He begins in Genesis and takes these men through the Old Testament. Why? Because the book is all about Him. The Psalmist said "Then I said, Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me." Psalm 40:7. Also, Jesus said in the New Testament the very same thing, the very same thought. In John 5:39-40 we read "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life."
You see, you must have faith in the Word of God, for it is the Word of God that points us to Jesus. In Genesis 3:15 we see the promise of the virgin born Messiah. In Genesis 22 we see Abraham and Isaac act out the sacrifice that the Son of God would make on that very mountain some 2,000 years later. In Isaiah 53 we see the suffering servant, a picture of Jesus. In Psalm 22 we see the crucifixion given from the viewpoint of the person hanging on the cross, what Jesus was going to do and say as He hung on the cross. And you can go on-and-on and see Jesus come shining out of the pages of Gods Word. And Jesus spent the afternoon with these men in this intense Bible study as they walked to Emmaus.
2. Faith is important in our lives. What are you putting your trust in? What are you believing in? Paul said in Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." If you dont, you are lost! I like the way that Pascal put it. He said "Human knowledge must be understood to be believed, but Divine knowledge must be believed to be understood." We must be spiritually taught these things, sensitive to the Holy Spirit as he opens our eyes to these things. Paul, in I Corinthians 2:11-14 tells us "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1. Jesus spent a good part of the day with them, and it is now around 6 PM. And as they reach their village, Jesus was going to continue on, but they asked Him to say with them. And if you seek the Lord, He will not forsake you. He will meet your needs and satisfy your hunger. The Lord wants to fellowship with us! And thus, Jesus comes home with them.
1. As they were communing with Jesus, fellowshipping with Him, their eyes were opened. What opened them? Obviously God did, but I think what opened their eyes, jarred their brains, is when Jesus picked up the bread, blessed and broke it, giving them the bread to eat! How did that open their eyes? I think they saw the nail prints in His hands and they knew then, their Messiah was alive!
1. Today we have Pepcid, Tagamet, Prevacid, Prilosec, Maalox, Mylanta, Tums and-so-on to help relieve heart burn. But these men did not have normal heart burn, but holy heart burn as the Lord reveled Himself to them. That is a good heart burn!
2. In Jeremiah we read of Jeremiah getting sick and tired of speaking the truths of God and then being persecuted for it. People refused to listen to him. But we are told in Jeremiah 20:9, "Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name. But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not." You can not keep in the things of God when the things of God are moving you, burning inside of you.
1. Do you know what the best evidence is that we understand Gods Word, that we have met the risen Christ is? That we are sharing it with others! Unbelief had left them sad, hopeless, but now, belief has given them joy and a heart to share that good news with others. If you have no compassion for the Lord, why not? You see, whatever you are compassionate about, you will share it with others, be it girls or boys or sports or whatever. I pray it is Jesus!