The resurrection of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ took place over two thousand years ago and is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian church; yet throughout history its validity has been the subject of much dispute. It is believed that there are at least eleven common objections and theories held by skeptics about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth:
- Jesus was a mythological figure;
- Jesus was just a man;
- Jesus followers made it all up;
- The witnesses were unreliable
- The physical resurrection of Jesus was not that important to the early church;
- The New Testament is not reliable;
- The resurrection is not important;
- The eyewitnesses hallucinated;
- Jesus did not die on the cross;
- Jesus body was stolen;
- Everyone that went to the tomb was wrong.
These are the distorted views that Satan has used to blur the minds and understanding of those who seek to establish faith in Jesus Christ. It is therefore the responsibility of the Christian Church to biblically refute these views and objections; especially during this season. The apostle Paul in validating the authenticity of the resurrection wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). If the resurrection is a myth, our faith and forgiveness of sin is absolutely a lie. Let me also mention that the evidence presented in this presentation is among many others in the Scriptures.
In Luke 24:13–36, the geographical location is Emmaus, which is believed to be between seven to 40 miles from Jerusalem. The events found in this passage do not merely validate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but serve to solidify the faith of two disciples/followers of Jesus at a very crucial moment in their spiritual journey. It is my hope that it will help us in moments when our faith in Jesus is also put to the test.
The entire chapter deals with the resurrection; however, verses 13–34 deals with followers of Jesus to which we can identify in our quest to serve Him. As we attempt to unpack the passage, we found two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus talking about the events of the season: the arrest, suffering on the cross, the death, and burial of Jesus Christ. They were re-living the events of the cross even though the resurrection had already taken place. On the road to Emmaus, the Lord joined these two disciples who were talking about Him in the abstract past. They were talking about an historical Lord; they did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead like He said He would. The events of the cross were so traumatic and indelible on their minds it totally obscured their faith and hope in the resurrection.
Significant in the discourse is the question Jesus asked them in verse 17; this is what is known as a rhetorical question. Of course Jesus knew what had happened, how could he not? He was the subject of the discussion, so why ask? Could the phrase in verse 19, “.. which was a prophet,” possibly present some clue to why Jesus acted as if He did not know what they were discussing? As we shall see, His response would seem to suggest some degree of deviation in their faith concerning Christ being fully man and fully God. In their minds, Jesus was only a prophet that did mighty deeds but is no longer Lord. He had been crucified and he is dead. Jesus recognized that the fundamental of their faith was shaken. Their witness was tainted with skepticism and doubt. They no longer had much faith in what this prophet had to tell them. What is tragic is the fact that Jesus was in their very presence but they could not recognize Him; they even made mention of the women’s report of the empty tomb, but they still did not believe (v. 22). This indeed was a tragedy!
Jesus therefore took the time to remind them of the Scriptures concerning His suffering, death, and resurrection, and told them that they should have believed what the prophets told them. There is a valuable lesson to be learned here; there can be no gray areas in the Christian belief system concerning the validity of the resurrection. You cannot believe and not believe!
I like the way Pascal puts it, “Human knowledge must be understood to be believed, but divine knowledge must be believed to be understood.” Our faith and belief in the Word must transcend all emotions and skepticism. There is a subtle and satanic trap of our day to discount the inerrancy and integrity of the Word of God. In verses 25–27, Christ clearly states that a man is a fool not to believe in the Word! Belief in God’s Word is the only sure anchor against the storms of uncertainties and doubt.
The ultimate evidence and purpose of the resurrection (vv. 28-34) climaxed with at least two important Christian traits:
Fellowship: These two men were total transformed from doubt and frustration to fellowship and reconciliation with Christ. A true understanding of the resurrected Christ will ultimately result in fellowship with Him. Christ shares true fellowship with those who believe in Him. No wonder the apostle cries out, “That I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10).
Illumination and Proclamation (v. 36): Only the Spirit of God can open our eyes to God’s Word. Immediately after their eyes were opened they went back to Jerusalem to confer with the eleven saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”
In this passage, it is easy to seetwo disciples of Christ who struggled in their belief and faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus joined them on the Emmaus Road, walked with them, and took them through the process of understanding divine truths. Their eyes were opened. Jesus fellowship with them; and they finally proclaimed, “He is risen.”
Like these two disciples, our journey with Jesus often takes us on the Emmaus road where we are overwhelmed by doubt, unbelief, and frustration concerning the very premise of our faith in Jesus Christ. May we therefore learn from this message that God is always true to His Word. We can rely on what it says and the resurrection is a reality.