His Story and Burning Hearts

The One Year Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), November 6

imagesThree days after Jesus’ death, two of his disciples walk along the road from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus and discuss the events of that week. They speak of His death, their hope of redemption, and the claims made by some women that the tomb is empty and that Jesus is alive. They don’t believe them.

They are hoping for redemption from Rome, but Jesus’ death has disappointed them. Jesus interrupts their conversation and tells them a story, but due to their spiritual blindness, they fail to recognize Him until He breaks bread with them. They have seen those hands break bread before to feed the multitudes and, most recently, at the Passover supper.

Before breaking bread with them, He tells them a story–His story: “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Lk. 24:27). His explanation reveals the truth about the redemption He has come to bring. He walks the disciples through the Old Testament narrative, highlighting the promises of redemption and the pictures of redemption:

  • Creation Era – After the first couple eats from the forbidden tree, they die spiritually. But God doesn’t leave them in their sinful state. He promises them that a Seed will come from the woman, who will bruise the serpent’s head. He follows that promise with a picture of redemption. He takes an innocent animal, slays it, and uses it to cover their nakedness. The couple teaches their sons about substitutionary atonement. Abel comes to God God’s way, while Cain hardens his heart and kills Abel. Noah demonstrates his understanding of substitutionary atonement when he builds an altar to the LORD and offers clean animals to the LORD. The LORD accepts his offering. Job demonstrates his understanding of substitutionary atonement when he builds an altar to the LORD on behalf of his children, and then at the end of the story when he intercedes for his friends.
  • Patriarch Era – Abraham demonstrates his understanding of substitutionary atonement when he builds an altar to the LORD after arriving in Canaan. God highlights substitutionary atonement when He provides a ram in place of Isaac. God also promises Jacob that “Shiloh” will come through his son Judah.
  • Exodus Era – The Passover, the sacrificial system, and especially the Day of Atonement picture substitutionary atonement. The Tent of Meeting teaches Israel that God is holy, sin is serious, and God can only be approached through the shedding of blood.
  • Conquest Era – Under Joshua’s leadership Israel continues to celebrate the Passover in the land of Canaan.
  • Judges Era – Israel fails to live in light of substitutionary atonement and embraces idolatry.
  • Kingdom Era – Solomon’s Temple is constructed in Jerusalem to point Israel to the solution to sin. David understands his sin can only be covered by blood (Ps. 51:7).
  • Divided Kingdom Era – Israel’s failure to live in light of substitutionary atonement leads to their captivity. In the midst of this darkness, however, God sends prophets to promise the Coming One. Isaiah promises Immanuel from a virgin, the Wonderful Counselor who will reign, and the Suffering Servant who as the Substitute will bear the sins of many. Jeremiah speaks of the new covenant—God’s will written on minds and hearts.
  • Captivity Era – Seventy years in captivity cure Israel of idolatry. God’s prophets speak in these dark times. Ezekiel promises a new heart, and Daniel promises that the Ancient of Days will send the Messiah.
  • Return Era – Ezra restores the celebration of the Passover feast and teaches God’s people the promises of redemption and the pictures of redemption.

Now, in the Gospel Era, His Story burns in their hearts at the telling. Tell His story! Hearts will burn.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Mt. 28:16-20; Lk. 24:13-49; Mk. 16:12-18; Jn. 20:19-21:25):
When do the disciples who walk with Jesus along the road of Emmaus recognize Him? Review the final intimate scene that the disciples share with Jesus in John 13:2-6 and Matthew 26:26. What reason does John give for the writing of his gospel account? What statement does Jesus make that assures believers that Satan has been stripped of his dominion? What are the implications of this statement?H