Introduction: Welcome to Expound our verse-by-verse study of God's Word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Skip Heitzig: Did you catch the news article, Dateline Jerusalem? "On the eve of the annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the one million inhabitants of the city were shocked by the announcement that a body, identified as that of Jesus, was found in a long-neglected tomb just outside the boundary of the city. Rumors had been circulating the last week that a very important discovery was about to be announced. The news, however, far outstrips all of our wildest guesses. The initial reaction of Christians here and around the world has been one of astonishment, bewilderment, and defensive disbelief. We will have to wait and see just what effect this discovery will have on the 2,000-year-old religion.
"To the mind of this unbelieving writer, it appears that Christianity will have to take its place on the same level with the other religions of the world. No longer can its followers claim that unlike other religions the tomb of its founder is empty. Evidently a 2,000-year-old lie has come to an end." That's not an actual article. [laughter] Such a discovery was never made. That is all fiction what I just read. I just want to underscore that, lest you go out and say, "Can't believe the article that just came out." Didn't come out. But if such an article were true, if what I just read was indeed found to be a matter of fact, then according to the apostle Paul in First Corinthians 15, we're believing a lie, were believing in vain and all of our sins are still intact, we haven't been cleansed from them.
The fact is we have eyewitness account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus, there are three credentials of Jesus that sets him apart as unique. Number one, his impact upon history, the kind of influence, the kind of impact, the kind of footprint that Jesus left---though many people have come and challenged and changed and influenced the world, none like Jesus---his impact upon history. His second credential that sets him apart from everyone else is fulfilled prophecy, hundreds of predictions made in the Old Testament, hundreds of years before they were ever fulfilled, before Jesus was ever born, they were made. And, number three, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Those three credentials set him apart from everyone else.
There are many religions in the world. And every religion in the world, except for four, are based upon the postulates, the philosophy, the philosophical postulates of its founders. Only four are based upon personalities: Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Those are the only four world religions based upon a person or personality. Of those four only one claims and maintains the resurrection from the dead, the defeat of death itself by the Lord Jesus. [applause] That is the how Luke closes out his account. According to Luke, "Now on the first day of the week," which is Sunday, by the way. And this should answer the question once and for all---"Why do Christians gather on Sunday?" Because that's the first day of the week. That's the day Jesus rose from the dead. That's why they gathered together in the early church.
And if you are a Sabbatarian and you love Saturday and the Sabbath, good news, we have a Saturday evening service. [laughter] So, "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning"---do you know what that means, "very early in the morning"? It means very early in the morning. It is the fourth watch of the night. It is between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. These women couldn't sleep. You've gotta know they tossed and turned, and as I imagine the disciples did all night. Every noise opened their eyes, because of the events that had transpired before this. "They, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing spices which they had prepared."
Really briefly, it was a Jewish custom to visit the grave like it is an American custom the visit the grave, because the grave is the last contact we make with the individual. We bury them in the ground, typically, and it's not unusual to go back to the graveyard to see the gravestone, to shed tears, to have memories. That is the last contact we made. There the remains of that person is until resurrection. But the Jews had an interesting custom that for three days they would visit the tomb---some superstitiously, certainly not all, but some---because there was a Jewish belief that the spirit of the departed hovered over the tomb for three days. But by the fourth day, since the body had well come into the decaying stage, the spirit of the person left. That's Jewish legend and superstition.
These women had to come the first day of the week, because they couldn't come the day before; it was Sabbath. It was against their law. They were unable to anoint the body of Jesus properly after his death when he was placed in the tomb, so they want to do him the courtesy of doing what ought to have been done in Jewish burial that they were unable to do after his demise on the cross. Notice they are coming with spices. Why? For a very important but fundamental reason: They are not predisposed to a resurrection. They do not expect to find an empty tomb. They do not expect to find Jesus alive. They were not predisposed to a resurrection. That helps prove the resurrection, by the way. They weren't looking for it. They didn't expect it. They were looking for a corpse.
They were looking for a dead body with which to anoint. And so they came. "But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb." Now, we're told by the other Gospels they didn't know what they were going to do once they got to the tomb. There's a stone over that tomb opening. It weighs a couple tons. A few women aren't going to budge it, especially since the trough to move it out of the way has to be rolled uphill. There were guards that set a watch over the tomb beside that stone. What are they going to do with the guards? How are they going to get the tomb open? What's interesting is that love doesn't really analyze those kinds of questions. Love just sets out, just goes for it. "I gotta get to that tomb. I've got to anoint his body."
They're not thinking through the logistics. Now, the logistics have been covered, God has gone before them, but it's not what they expect. "They went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments." We know these to be angels in human form. Typically, angels are invisible. Every now and then, for God's own purposes, they show up looking like human beings. Though, the clothing of these two individuals---well, you know, Clorox couldn't get their clothes that bright. [laughter] "Something is up. Look at the iridescence of those garments." They're two men, but we know them to be two angels from the other gospel accounts.
---"in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they [the angels] said to them, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?' " Have you ever heard of angel sightings? Has anyone ever told you their personal experience with an angel? I'm not seeing a lot of yeses. But I have had many people over the years tell me about the angel that helped them change a flat tire on the freeway, or avoided---just the other night a man felt compelled to me to come up to me in a restaurant and tell me that he saw these angels come and push a car out of the way and change the light different colors. And I was looking in his eyes to see if his pupils were dilated, to see if I should look for any other signs of early onset dementia.
You know, I don't discount angelic apparitions, though I am skeptical of angel sightings. I am. They're sort of like Elvis sightings or Big Foot sightings. So, it's like, "Ehh, okay, thanks. God bless you." [laughter] But, of course, this is true. This really happened. And, by the way, here's why we have to be careful---because you don't know. You don't know. He could have actually been a witness of an angelic move. Now, he could have had pizza the night before and that accounted for what he saw, but maybe he saw it. But even more than that, how we treat people ought to be important, because Hebrews 13 says that "Brotherly love should continue. And don't forget to entertain strangers, because some have actually entertained angels unwittingly, without knowing it, unawares."
So if you see someone, be nice to them. "Well, that doesn't look like an angel, no shining garments." [laughter] "I don't like that angel's fashion. I don't think an angel would dress that way." You have to just---you never know. But the angel said, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!" So this angel, though I mentioned most of them are invisible, every now and then they show up in human form, like with Abraham, Genesis 18, three angels---or two angels, one was the Lord, but three beings came to Abraham. And Abraham cooked for them. So they were able to have some kind of interaction with human food, like corporeal beings do, like human beings do.
And interesting to think, "I'm having angels over for dinner tonight." Angel hair pasta would be a good thing to pull out [laughter] on the menu . . . just saying. You may want to have that ready. "He's not here, but he is risen!" Egērthē, is the Greek word, it's one word. It's not, "He is risen," it's one word. Egērthē, he has been raised, a single word that tells a world of difference. The most miraculous thing captured in a single Greek word, egērthē, he has been raised. " 'Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." ' And they remembered his words."
Something struck me just about thirty minutes ago, right before this service. I was going over this again, and I like to go over it several times during the day, but I was going over it again and this showed to me the reason why we do what we do. And why is it important to gather frequently with other believers and go over a section of Scripture and hear a sermon, not just based upon my cool little ideas that I've come up with and have a pep rally, but actually teach the promises of God? Here's why: Right here we have disciples who had forgotten what Jesus promised. They were perplexed because of it. They were upset at it. But then somebody reminded them of Jesus' words, his promise, and they remember, "That's right! He did promise that."
And this is why we need to gather together to encourage each other with the Word, to post on whatever you post on God's truth, not just what you ate for breakfast, and have a time to be reminded of God's promises, so that you too can go, "Oh, yes, Jesus did say that." It could make all the difference, make all the difference. The Word of God can unlock the heart. "And they remembered his words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven." Remember, one of them has defected and has committed suicide; that's Judas. So there are the eleven. ---"and to all the rest." Those are the other disciples, besides these eleven apostles.
"It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them." Keep in mind who we're dealing with. We're dealing with apostles. We're dealing with men of God who walked with Jesus, who heard him predict his death and resurrection. It happened. They're perplexed. They don't believe it. The women came and saw the empty tomb, the angels. They come and testify to the rest of these guys, and it's like, "Oh, come on. You're making this up. These are idle tales." Again, this is a proof of the resurrection, not a disproof of the resurrection. The apostles actually were predisposed not to believe that Jesus was alive. They had to be convinced. They had to see him themselves.
Now why did what the women said seem like idle tales to them? Well, again, they didn't expect it, number one. But, number two---I hate to say this, but I want to be honest---women weren't trusted. According to Jewish law, a woman's testimony was invalid. Listen, you want to know how bad it is? Two hundred years later a man by the name of Celsus, C-E L-S-U-S---Celsus, he has a library in Ephesus, a huge one. You can see it to this day. Celsus wrote to the early church father Origen and spoke about the resurrection from the dead as the "gossip of women." So he dismissed it altogether as "You can't trust anything a woman would say." And, yet, we have an empty tomb. The skeptics that I have read about the resurrection never deny an empty tomb.
Those who don't believe Jesus rose from the dead, they don't believe---or they have no problem believing and they don't deny that there was indeed an empty tomb. But how they explain the empty tomb is quite fascinating. Some believe that the disciples stole the body of Jesus. Well, I would say to that, if I were in a conversation with somebody who told me that, "Well, based on the historical records we have of the disciples, they were in no mood to move a two-ton stone, tackle a Roman guard between ten to sixteen armed men who were sworn to protect the tomb at the point of their own death. So I doubt that. We know they were in no mood to steal a body, because they were locked in an upper room. Peter had denied. They all fled the scene.
"According to the historical record, that doesn't fit your explanation of the empty tomb, that the disciples stole the body. Try something else." "Okay, well, then if it wasn't the disciples that stole the body, the Jews stole the body." Well, that wouldn't really make sense if the Jews stole the body, because once the early church starts spreading the message "He's alive! He's alive! He's alive," all the Jews who stole the body have to do is habeas corpus, produce the body. They go, "Nope. Sorry. Here it is. We took it." Theory number three: wrong tomb, they went to the wrong tomb. There's a lot of tombs in Jerusalem. It's early in the morning. These women have tears in their eyes. They can't tell one tomb from another. They just simply went to---it's a case of mistaken identity, wrong tomb.
Well, if that's the case, then you have the women going to the wrong tomb, Peter and John going to the wrong tomb, other disciples going to the wrong tomb, the Sanhedrin going to the wrong tomb, the angels going to the wrong tomb. [laughter] And if everybody goes to the wrong tomb, it's easy to fix---find the guy whose tomb it is, ask Joseph of Arimathea. He won't get it wrong. He knows where his property is. So that doesn't work, does it, wrong tomb? Here is a very popular theory: the swoon theory. I know you've heard about that. The swoon theory says Jesus was on the cross, but he didn't really die. But he came really close and it looked like he was dead. So they took the barely living Jesus, who looked dead but was still slightly alive, and they put him in a tomb.
And the spices from the burial cloths and the dampness of the tomb served to revive his body and he walked out. Now, I just have to say if a person holds to that, I have to doubt his ability to think logically at all. Because you're telling me somebody who has faced a Roman scourge, and spikes through the wrists and the feet and a spear through the heart, who's had a crown of thorns and a beating, that he, first of all, survived that? But even if he did survive that, that being without medical attention for a couple days in a damp tomb is going to help him rather than kill him all the way? You thinks that's going to help him? Your theory is he's going to be revived, and then be able to unbandage himself, and move a two-ton stone from the inside by himself, and then take a walk? [laughter]
You see how ridiculous it gets. You'll see it on National Geographic. And, oh, they make it sound so erudite and so brilliant, and you'd have to be an idiot to believe anything else. You have to be an idiot to believe it. [laughter] But I don't want to cast stones. [laughter] "But their word seems to them like idle tales, and they did not believe it. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb"---this is so Peter---"and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened." Now this is Luke's account. Luke doesn't tell what John tells us. John tells us that Peter and John---John would say this---raced to the tomb and John beat Peter. John tells us that he beat Peter. He wants you to know, "We both ran---I beat him. In that resurrection marathon, first, second." [laughter]
But I think Luke, the Greek historian, doesn't want to offend leader of the early church. He leaves that detail out of his narrative. Not important to him. "Now behold, two of them were traveling"---who were the "them"? Disciples. The antecedent is up in verse 10---or the---there were the women, and there were the apostles. They're followers of Christ who are taking a walk. "Two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem." Emmaus means hot springs, warm springs. I've been on the Roman road that takes you right from Jerusalem through Emmaus. And these guys were walking. It has been a trying last week for them. They're at their lowest point. They're bewildered. They're confused.
Notice it says, "And they talked together of all the things which had happened." They had been talking about the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, about Judas Iscariot, the betrayal, the arrest, the crucifixion. They're talking about all that. They're processing it, which I have discovered people who are in grief need a chance to vent, to process, and they'll say almost anything. You have to be ready for it. You have to be unshockable when you're dealing with people who love someone who has died and they're grieving, and you're just with them, the ministry of presence. You're just there with them. So they're out taking a walk together and they're discussing all of these things. Again, they're not expecting a resurrection. They're not expecting what's about to happen.
"So it was, while they conversed," verse 15, "and reasoned, that Jesus himself drew near and went with them." I love this picture. I love it because Jesus said, "Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am." There's two gathered in his name talking about these things. Jesus just walks up next to them. But watch this: "And he said to them, 'What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?' " Do you think Jesus asked that because he needed the information, because he didn't know what they were talking about, that he didn't know why they were sad? Of course he did. But this is a typical Jesus way of drawing it out of them. "I want you to tell me. I want you to confess to me what you're thinking, what you're feeling."
"And then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to him"---now before I tell you what he said, before we read it together, according to church tradition, Cleopas was Jesus' uncle. We don't know that to be true. It's simply church tradition. It's a long-standing church tradition that Cleopas was the brother of Joseph the carpenter of Nazareth, and that the other unnamed disciple in the story is none other than the author himself, Luke. Again, we have no way of telling that. It's just an old church tradition. As far as we know for sure there's just two disciples and we know the name of one of them, and that's Cleopas. "And the one who was [that name] answered and said to Jesus"---now listen to what he says to Jesus.
" 'Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have you not known the things which happened in these days?' And he said to them," Jesus said to them," 'What things?' And so they said to him, 'The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.' "Now they didn't recognize him. Why didn't they recognize him? Well, there've been a lot of books written about this. There's been a lot of theories. It's funny how people love to theorize all these reasons why. "Well, why didn't they recognize him?" And it's not the only time. Some of the women thought he was a gardener the other accounts tell us. I'm sorry---yeah, that he was a gardener. So they didn't recognize Jesus. They thought he was a gardener.
When Jesus goes up to Galilee and calls to the disciples from the shore who are fishing, he says, "Children, do you have any food?" And they looked and they didn't recognize it was Jesus. So some had these theories that, "Well, he did suffer a lot, and they probably beat him up pretty badly so that his visage was marred. That's what Isaiah 53 says. Maybe he just was---didn't look like the old Jesus." But the answer is told to us in the text. We don't really have to write books or read them that have those kind of fancy explanations. Look what it says. It says, verse 16, "But their eyes were restrained"---it's a Greek word that means to take possession or lay hold of. They were kept supernaturally not allowed to recognize Jesus who walked up to them, which begs the question, which is . . . ? Why?
Why was it important that they didn't recognize Jesus? Can I give you a couple ideas? Number one, this would keep them honest. "Hey, what are you guys bummed out about?" If they would have known that was Jesus, they would have never said verse 18. "Are you the only stranger here? Where you from? Don't you even know what's happened lately?" They never would have said that if they knew that was Jesus. He wants them to tell him what they're thinking, what they're feeling. He wants to read their hearts. He's very interested, by the way, in our conversation of him. I won't do it now, but after tonight's study, go home and read Malachi, chapter 3, where it says, "Those who spoke about the Lord often, the Lord inclined and heard; and a book of remembrances was written before him about them."
It's a beautiful passage of how God is very interested in what you think about him and what you tell others about him. He listens. He pays attention to that. So he comes up and he walks up to them and he sort of forces their honesty at this point. And there's a second and more important reason they don't recognize him: Jesus doesn't want them to recognize him anymore by sight. And why would that be? 'Cause he's going to leave. He won't be there. They won't see him anymore after this. He'll be here forty days ministering and then he's gone. So he wants them to get used to not getting the revelation of him by sight, but the revelation of him by hearing. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
So he's going to reveal himself to them, not like, "Ta-da!" [laughter] "Oh, it's Jesus. He just unrestrained our eyes." No. He's going to reveal Scripture to them and they'll recognize him by the Word of God. Watch this, it's powerful, and it's very, very relevant to where we are. So the guy says, "Are you the only stranger here in Jerusalem? Don't you know the things that have happened?" And I love this. There's a touch of humor in it. "What things?" Everything that has happened in Jerusalem was about him, and he says, "What things?" Again, he wants them to say. He wants to draw them out. Matthew 16, "Who do men say that I am?" So, now they're talking about, they're talking about . . . "Well, who do you say that I am? I want to hear from you now."
"So he says, 'What things?' And they said, 'The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth' "---now watch this. Notice the past tense references. They refer to Jesus not in the presence tense. They don't believe he's alive. They think he's dead, so everything's past tense. ---" 'who was a Prophet.' " Well, he was more than that, but to them now he's just---he " 'was a Prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and to be crucified. And we were hoping that it was he who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, beside all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us.
" 'And they said they didn't find his body, and they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.' " Okay, so back to that point I just made. They're referring to Jesus in the past tense, not the present tense. He is dead, not alive, in their minds. He's standing next to them, but they think he's dead. "We hoped in him." "We were hoping." "We had hoped," one translation says. In other words, we're not hoping in him. Don't you understand when Jesus died and was put in that tomb and the stone was sealed over it, all their hopes were buried with him. All their dreams had died and were buried.
"It was a good run. It was a good ride. We learned a lot. We had our hopes up." Do you understand that they had expectations of Jesus and all those expectations at this point had been let down because of his death and burial? They expected a King. They expected a glorious King. They got a crucified King. They expected a roaring Lion of Judah; they got the gentle, meek, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. They're voicing that. Their expectations, their hopes are past tense. Verse 25, "Then he [Jesus] said to them, 'O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter in his glory?' And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself."
First of all, he begins with a mild rebuke: "O foolish ones." And I believe Jesus said it with a tone of voice---it wasn't, "You fools!" I think it was, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that prophets have said." That was their problem. They believe some of what the Scriptures said, but they didn't believe all that that prophets said. They didn't believe the part of his death and resurrection predicted by the prophets, predicted in the Old Testament. They believe just the good parts that they wanted to. Sounds familiar? I know a lot of Christians that are slow in heart to believe all that the Scripture says. They have a certain few things they like, and so they kind of make God in their own image.
Or they believe this, but they don't believe what the Bible says about divorce or what it says about heaven or about his second coming. And if you're slow in heart to believe or to know---if you're slow to know, then you'll be slow to grow. You need to be quick to latch onto all that the prophets have spoken. And this is why we go through the Bible: so that we can be reminded of it, we can put it all together, we can get the big picture. This verses ties to that verse. It all makes sense now. It's that enlightening that happens because of it. So, do you believe all that the prophets have spoken or do you hold to what I would call a Dalmatian theology? You know what that is? A Dalmatian theology is a theology that believes the Bible is inspired in spots. "Oh, that spot? Yeah, that's the inerrant Word of God."
Then, "You can't really take that literally." If you have a Dalmatian theology, you'll live like a dog. [laughter] You won't have stability. You won't have security. It takes away the stability of a person, because he doesn't really know from one day to the next which of those Scriptures to really believe or not. Do you know, do you know that Jesus refers to the Old Testament Scriptures about sixty-four times in the aggregate of the four gospels, and he quotes from or alludes to twenty-seven books of the Old Testament? And when he speaks of the Old Testament, you know how he speaks of it? It's "the Word of God," spoken by God and it "cannot be broken." Now if---if you don't believe that, spoken by Jesus, why should you believe anything else Jesus said?
If you can't trust what he says about the Bible, how can you trust that there's going to be heaven, that there's paradise prepared for you? Do you see the dilemma you get into? It's very crucial what you believe about this Book. And ask yourself, "Is what I believe about this Book the same thing Jesus told me to believe about this Book?" Because if I keep saying, "Oh, I believe in Jesus. I'm a Jesus follower," but you don't believe what he told you to believe about it, there's a discrepancy there somewhere. And that is a Dalmatian kind of theology. He says, "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and entered into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures things concerning himself."
Oh, I wish I had an MP3 of that sermon. First of all, it was a Bible study given by Jesus. Second, it was a prophetic Bible study given by Jesus. He began at Moses. Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. What did he go through? I imagine he began with Genesis 3, the Seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent. I'm sure he touched on Genesis 22, Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah. I am sure he talked about the fulfillment of Levitical sacrifice. I'm sure he spoke about the tabernacle and its fulfillment in him, the way it was situated. He, perhaps, stopped at Numbers, chapter 21, the serpent being lifted up in the wilderness. He went through the Psalms: Psalm 2, Psalm 16, Psalm 22---all prophetic of the Messiah.
He cruised by Isaiah the prophet, "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given." Isaiah 53, "Wounded for our transgressions . . . crushed for our iniquities." Ooh, I would have loved to have heard Jesus give a prophetic Bible study about himself. "Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and [Jesus] he indicated that he would have gone farther. But they constrained him." Now, this is not unlike Jesus. When he was walking on the Sea of Galilee, walking on the water---do you remember? It says, "he would have . . . ," it looked like he was going to walk right by the boat, until they recognize him, he goes, "It's a ghost!" "No, that's Jesus." But---and I'll be quick about this---what it tells me is that our Lord doesn't force himself on anyone. He waits to be invited.
He acts like he's going to keep going, and if you don't invite him, he will. But if you constrain him and go, "Lord, hang out with us a little longer. Stay with me. Abide with me." "I'd love to. Thought you'd never ask." So, "They constrained him, saying, 'Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.' And he went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as he sat at the table with them, that he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew him; and he vanished from their sight." I'm---if I'm---I'd pause, I'm going, "Great, as soon as I finally figure it out, bam! he's out of there." Watch this, please, this is to me the heart of it all. I could---and I have done many sermons on this, but I'll watch myself, but I could go on all night with this.
Verse 32, "And they said to one another, 'Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us on the road, and while he opened the Scriptures to us?' " Do you know what they're saying? They're not saying, "Hey, didn't our hearts burn with us as we looked at him?" Well, they did look at him, but they didn't know who he was. And they didn't say, "Didn't our hearts burn within us as we spoke to him?" No. The really burning of the heart came when they stopped talking and they listened to him talking. And as they listened to him, he didn't tell them anything they didn't already know. Am I right? They had heard these Old Testament Scriptures growing up. They knew these things all their life. They were familiar things. But it was a new application of old truths. They grew up on this stuff.
They heard this, they didn't go [yawning], "Oh, I've heard that Bible study before. I've heard this taught before, even better than this." They didn't do that. Though they had heard it before, they never heard it like this. "Our hearts burned as he brought things we knew about in our past, familiar truths, and made them come alive, so we understand them and we know how it applies to him." That was the heart burn. May God give you all heartburn. [laughter] May he give us all spiritual heartburn where we hear him speak. Some of you need a good case of heartburn. Some of you are looking for some new, exciting experience and some new revelation from God, and what you really need is not a new revelation, but a new application of the old revelation.
Jeremiah said---God said through the prophet Jeremiah, "Stand in the way and see, and ask for the old paths, wherein is the right way, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls." Go back to the old way, the old truth, "the way, the truth, the life," the Scripture, the Bible. Get that. Get a fresh application of the old revelation. That's what gives you heartburn. " 'As he opened the Scriptures to us?' And so they rose that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, 'The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!' And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread. Now as they said these things, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, 'Peace to you.'
"They were terrified and frightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit," a ghost, something without a body. It was just a vision, an apparition. "And he said to them, 'Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones like you see that I have.' " What they thought they saw was a noncorporeal being, a spirit being, an apparition, a vision. Jesus, proving that he---that this is not anything but physical resurrection, that he is corporeal, that he has mass, that he has weight, that it's a human body. It's his body raised from the dead---not resuscitated, raised. He asked for food.
"And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, he said to them, 'Have you food here?' And they gave him a piece of broiled fish," that's a good, healthy diet, "and some honeycomb. And he took it and ate it in their presence. And he said to them, 'These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me.' And he opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures." Do you know that verse 45 is a prayer that I pray every single week of my life. "Open my eyes, Lord, that I may comprehend the Scriptures."
It's a good prayer to pray, similar to what David said in Psalm 119, "Open thou my eyes, that I might behold wondrous things from thy law," thy Word. "And he said to them, 'Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of my Father upon you," that's the Holy Spirit. The continuation of this story will be Acts, chapter 1, also penned by Luke. "The Promise of my Father," he'll make reference to this. " 'But tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.' And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifted up his hands and blessed them."
Why did I pause and say distinctly the word "Bethany"? Because---and you can remember this when you come to Israel with us in the future---on the Mount of Olives you'll see on the very tip a church called the Church of Ascension where supposedly Jesus ascended into heaven. There is, what they claim, a footprint in the rock, and so Jesus left his footprint when he left. So, again, I'm skeptical of these things, but you'd be amazed how many people go in there and kiss it and take pictures of it and selfies, and, "It's the deal. That's it! That's it! Look at the footprint." But if you go outside the church, they'll also show you another church, also the church that Jesus ascended into heaven from, and another one, depending on which church tradition and denomination you belong to.
What's funny to me is that Jesus didn't ascend into heaven from any of those spots. Oh, it was from the Mount of Olives, but not those spots on the Mount of Olives. The Bible says Jesus went "as far as Bethany." That's also on the Mount of Olives, but on the downward slope, opposite Jerusalem, toward the Dead Sea. That's where he went up. That's the place he hung out with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. That's the place he ascended. So, once again, if people would just learn to read Scripture, they would save a lot of money on their church buildings. "Now it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy." What a worship service that must have been.
"And they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen." When Jesus reveals himself to you, he'll set your heart on fire. And when Jesus sets your heart ablaze, you know what happens? You'll worship. I'm convinced that one of the reasons people do not engage in a worship service, (it's more for them just about observation than actually being a part of it and inclusion in the service, they're sort of looking around, they're not really singing, they're not---they're just watching) is they need heartburn. They need the Lord to reveal himself to them, so that their heart is on fire. And even if you've walked with the Lord for years, yes, it can be a controlled burn, but it ought to be a blaze.
And when your heart's on fire, you're a worshiper. Nobody has to tell you, "Come, come on, let's worship." You'll do it. First chord, "I'm there! I'm singing to God. I'm talking to the Lord. Lord, don't go further. Stay with me. Abide with me." Well, as I pray, I'm going ask the communion board to come up and we're going to distribute it to them and then they're going to pass it to you.
Thank you, Father, for the gospel of Luke for us. It's been a long journey as we have traveled through long and many chapters penned by a first-century historian who sought out the facts, who got his sources right, who lined them up and compared the sources and gave an orderly account to his master Theophilus, as it was superintended by your Holy Spirit for us to have, to read, to be inspired by. Set our hearts aflame. Reveal yourself to us as you have in your Word tonight, so by a witness, by your Spirit in our hearts, set our hearts on fire that we truly might be not just churchgoers, but Christ worshipers, in his name we pray.
Closing: If you've missed any of our Expound studies, all of our services and resources are available at expoundabq.org.