Monday, April 13, 2015

The Promise Fulfilled

My Life Group lesson for this Sunday ...

FIRST THOUGHTS

Have you ever wished to be the proverbial “fly on the wall,” with others oblivious to your presence?

We see it in tales all the time, of princes and princesses dressing as the common folk to walk among them and see what life is like. Celebrities go incognito to hide from the press and stalker fans. Or maybe you just feel unrecognized like that Mindy Kaling ad where she walks through New York as if she's invisible?

Have you ever had a close encounter with a famous person? If so, did you recognize the person at the time?

This week we’re going to talk about how Jesus hid his identity from two followers for several hours as they talked about Him until He was ready to reveal Himself.

UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT

*** Last week we studied Luke 24:1-12, when the women have the resurrection revealed to them. They then raced back to tell the disciples. *** This week we'll talk about the biblical theme of prophecy and its fulfillment. *** What is a prophet? What is prophecy? Consider several insights from just three New Testament verses.

--- Hebrews 1:1— “Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways.”
--- James 5:10— “Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience.”
--- 2 Peter 1:21— “No prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

*** Prophets were active in the history of God's people from its earliest days. Here are nine key insights about prophecy and prophets:

(1) Prophecy was God’s idea, not man’s.
(2) The prophets’ words were actually God’s, not their own.
(3) Prophets were human beings who served as God’s messengers.
(4) The Holy Spirit moved in the lives of the prophets to provide them with their messages.
(5) The prophets faithfully attributed their words to God.
(6) The recipients of the prophets’ messages were other human beings.
(7) God delivered His messages through many prophets over a long period of time.
(8) The prophets delivered their messages using a variety of techniques and styles.
(9) Prophets suffered at times for their faithfulness.

*** Prophecies throughout the Old Testament pointed to Jesus’ life, atoning death, and resurrection. These prophecies not only help us understand the meaning of the events in Jesus’ life but also bolster our faith in the risen Lord.

THE QUESTIONS RAISED (LUKE 24:19-24)

13 Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. 15 And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus Himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16 But they were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 Then He asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged.
18 The one named Cleopas answered Him, “Are You the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” He asked them. So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23 and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Him.”

*** The Road to Emmaus.

--- The disciples weren't Jesus' only followers. Here we see two of them, Cleopas and an unnamed follower as they walked to Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem. This happened the day of the resurrection, and they were talking about the empty tomb and the angels announcement that He was alive.

--- 24:16 says that they were "prevented from recognizing Him."

From Adrian Rogers: “I believe God held back Jesus’ identity from them for a while on purpose. He was soon to leave earth and return to the Father and would no longer physically be with them. What He is doing on the road to Emmaus is transferring their dependence upon His physical presence and moving it to the Word of God. As He opens the Word—the law and the prophets—He is opening their eyes to see Him now not after the flesh, but revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. Do you understand why He did this? He’s going back to Heaven, but He’s leaving the Word. Today we need the same thing. We don’t have Jesus before us in physical form. But we do have the Word of God. The written Word is what we have today to bring Jesus Christ to us and make Him real.”

--- Verse 21 makes it clear that despite the women proclaiming that Jesus is alive, that the tomb was empty and Peter and John found folded linens instead of a dead savior, these followers still had doubts about Jesus being resurrected, that their hopes had been dashed.

After all, He was supposed to be the chosen one (not like Anakin in "Star Wars"). They had expected Jesus to be the political Messiah who would deliver Israel, like the angels proclaimed. They’d been looking for a King, but they thought His mission had been cut short. That misunderstanding led to disappointment. Disappointment led to doubt. Doubt led to discouragement. That can happen to us, when we don’t understand the Word of God. So many Christians get discouraged because they don’t fully understand the Scriptures or believe all that the prophets have spoken.

--- While skeptical about the events of the morning, what they didn’t realize, of course, was that they were walking and talking with Jesus right then!

--- Would they be walking back to Emmaus if they thought that Jesus was actually alive and possibly ready to meet with His followers as they were gathered together around Jerusalem?

THE OLD TESTAMENT FULFILLED (LUKE 24:25-27)

25 He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

*** Jesus was astonished.

--- Jesus called them "unwise" and "slow" to believe! Not only did they not believe the women, they didn't believe the prophecies that pointed to Jesus' resurrection.

--- Jesus taught the two disciples that as prophesied by the prophets, the Messiah had to suffer before He entered His glory, although His followers refused to believe it.

Isaiah 53:3-5 - He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

*** Jesus schooled the followers on the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah in what must have been one of the greatest Bible studies ever.

--- How would you like to have a recording of Jesus going through the Old Testament, saying, “Now, here’s Jesus. Here’s the Messiah. Here’s the Messiah in this passage. And here’s another one.”

Without Jesus, the Old Testament is

--- a book of unexplained ceremonies that won’t make sense
--- a book of unfulfilled prophecies
--- and a book of unattainable standards

If you try to live by the Old Testament without the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot make it.

*** QUESTION - What are some reasons that people today give for not believing in the resurrection? What Bible passages would you use to help someone move closer to belief and to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior?

THE MESSIAH REVEALED (LUKE 24:28-32)

28 They came near the village where they were going, and He gave the impression that He was going farther. 29 But they urged Him: “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30 It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight. 32 So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”

*** The followers' hospitality.

--- The disciples got to their destination late in the afternoon, and even as this Stranger was going to keep traveling, they urged him to dine with them and stay overnight. They probably wanted to hear more from Him as well.

*** Jesus revealed His identity.

--- After a day of traveling with Him, the followers were now ready to believe what they couldn’t believe that morning.

--- When Jesus took the bread, blessed it and gave it to them, He peeled away their doubts. They realized why were their hearts were on fire on the road as Jesus explained the scriptures to them.

*** QUESTION - What might Jesus reveal about Himself to you at a meal? During the Lord’s Supper at church? During a time of reading the Bible?

THE RESURRECTION PROCLAIMED (LUKE 24:33-35)

33 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, 34 who said, “The Lord has certainly been raised, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

*** The disciples hightail it back to Jerusalem.

--- Now that they believe that Jesus has returned, they can’t wait to share the good news, the greatest testimony in history. They couldn’t even wait until the next morning to get back and let their grieving and confused friends know what happened.

--- The Eleven were already discussing their good news, that of Jesus appearing to Peter.

--- According to the law of Moses and Jesus’ own teaching, crucial testimony needed to be established by two or three witnesses (see Deut. 17:6; Matt. 18:16). With the arrival of Cleopas and his companion, that requirement was met.

*** QUESTION – Think of something that excited you so much that you had to immediately share it. Now understand the excitement of the two disciples. What has Jesus done in your life that excites you and compels you to tell others about the gospel?

TAKE AWAY POINTS

My project at work this week was to make a Standard Operating Procedure for the directors. This includes a checklist to run through before a show starts:

Mark show and rundown in iNews.
Load show on switcher:
--- Stillstores are correct for the specific shows.
--- Call up e-mem that sets the show (98 for the morning show, 00 for the evening show).
--- Auto Recall is lit.
--- Holds are cleared.
Show is loaded in XClyps 1B. Run animations to make sure they are working.
Correct graphic is set for XClyps 1A.
Load correct backgrounds and graphics in XClyps 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B.
Duet 2 is on with the time/temp bug playing.
WeatherFeed is running.
Ticker is loaded as needed.
TDOT is running.
Studio Countdown monitor is counting down breaks.
Correct sources on the Aux Panel are feeding the Ham, Tree and rolling monitors.
Weather center monitors are being fed the correct sources from the Aux bus.
Show has been mon-loaded.
Camio responsibilities are taken care of (Graphics are on the correct show and playing; CAW has been started and the correct show is reserved; Duet 1 is running.)
UpConverters are on the sources you need.
Correct lights for the anchors.
Live shots are up.
Audio checks all microphones and live shots.
Camera operators are in place and cameras are set up in the right spots.
The teleprompter is loaded and on the correct show.
Print rundowns, hand them out to all who need them.
Scripts have been printed by the producers and given to all who need them.
The foot pedal is running the timer.
All anchors and meteorologists are in place.

The Bible provides a list of prophecies about Jesus as the Messiah. If you see a list it seems authoritative, that there is a good reason to go into all that detail. For my job it means a show may run smoothly. For the Bible it means we can point to Jesus Christ as the One, the son of God, the focus of some 300 prophecies.

*** We are all on a journey of faith and Jesus is walking with each of us. Think about where you are on your journey.

*** Think about any questions you would have asked Jesus along the road to Emmaus. Now get into some quiet time reading the Word, and when you pray, ask those questions.

*** The Bible is our source of truth about the resurrection and everything that pertains to Christ. We should use it every day to equip us to speak to people who don’t know our living Lord.

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