April 16, 2020 Thursday
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that 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 him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
This week after our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection in Easter (which, by the way, happens each Sunday—one of the joys of being protestant is celebrating 52 Easters each year!), I’ve been focusing on implications of the incarnation. The incarnation is important to the resurrection, or maybe we should say that in the opposite direction: that the resurrection is important to the incarnation, because the resurrection validates both Jesus’ incarnation and ours. Not that God’s work needs validation, but in God’s grace we receive validating signs in his work.
On Tuesday, I said that God had made creation “good” (6x in Genesis 1 followed by 1 “very good”) and that sometimes Christians don’t consider how God made us to be good at all. We see the problems of the world caused by mankind and see those as evidence of the badness of our physical form—like Plato’s thought that man’s spirit is good, but the body is bad. This simply isn’t the case. The dichotomy in NT between the evil “flesh” and the good “Spirit” is best understood as the evil of the fall which plunged our minds into continual sinful thoughts and blindness. The good “Spirit” isn’t our spirits alone but rather the work of the Spirit (capital S=the Holy Spirit) on our spirits (lower case s=human spirits) and these two wage war in this life against each other.
In this incarnate existence we suffer from that strife within. One way we do so is in our relationship to Jesus, particularly in his perfect revelation of the Father. In Luke 24 Jesus explains that all of Scripture pointed to him to Cleopas and the disciple without a name (cue America’s “On a Horse with No-Name”). He showed them particularly that his mission had to include dying and being raised! His work was to pay for the sins of his people, but for his people to understand that, Jesus had to reveal it.
God’s revelation of himself is the greatest grace we could ever receive from our heavenly father when we consider all that self-revelation includes. If God’s self-revelation only included his holiness and our sinfulness, it would be a much different world indeed. But that’s not what we find in Scripture. We find a Father who loved his people enough to sacrifice his Son. And a Son who extended grace upon grace in laying down his life and taking it up again. Along with the Holy Spirit who is the gift believers receive through the work of the Son. All of this is part of God’s self-revelation and is the source of the hope within us, and should give us great comfort today, and tomorrow, and forever. Rest in Jesus, be content with God’s self-revelation in his Son.