I don’t know if you are planning something? It may be what you will eat in the next few days, where you will go on holiday, or something even further in the future. Sometimes these plans may not come to fruition because of things outside our control. Today, we will see how Jesus life, death and resurrection fulfilled a plan revealed hundreds of years before and devised by God before time began.

Three times in Luke 24 he records people being told that the death and resurrection of Jesus was predicted in the Old Testament. First angels tell this to the women who had gone to the tomb to anoint His body, verse 6. Then Jesus tells the men on the road to Emmaus, verse 27. Finally, in verses 44-45, part of today’s gospel, Jesus does this again.

Which Scriptures did Jesus use on that day? We can’t be sure but here are some suggestions. There are many others, but we have a limited amount of time!

The sacrifice and resurrection of the Messiah are throughout the Old Testament. Psalm 22, written by King David a thousand years before Christ, paints a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross.

The first verse was uttered by Jesus on the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? “(Mt 27.46, Ps 22.1)

It describes how the people mocked Christ, “7. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. 8 ‘He trusts in the Lord,’ they say, ‘let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’ (Psalm 22:7-8; Mat 27:41-43),

It foretold how they cast lots to divide up his clothes, “They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. “ (Psalm 22:18;Mat 27:35),

It describes how his bones were out of joint. “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. (Psalm 22:14),

Psalm 22 says “Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22:16) These wounds which were shown to Thomas later (John 20:27).

Psalm 22 ends by saying God's righteousness would be declared to "a people that shall be born" (Psalm 22:31). This links with Jesus telling his disciples in today’s reading, Lk. 24. 46 “The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

Next, we turn to Isaiah 53, one of the “Servant Songs” written over 500 years before Christ’s death and resurrection, which prophecies about Him.

Isaiah 53. 3. 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. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgement he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

There are so many parts of this passage that refer to Jesus. Some have suggested it refers to Israel, but it clearly refers to a person who would be rejected, suffer, be punished for others’ sins, be killed with those who were wicked and be raised from death.

No bone of Jesus was broken on the cross, John 19.33. Psalm 34 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

The bones of the sacrificial lamb used in the Passover were not allowed to be broken, Exodus 12. 46  It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. John the Baptist linked Jesus to the Passover by declaring that He is “the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”, John 1.29.

The Bible contains typology. Typology is a special kind of “prophetic symbol”. A type in the Bible is a person or thing in the Old Testament which points to a person or thing in the New Testament. So the Passover points to Jesus the Passover Lamb who would be sacrificed once and for all so many people would escape death. This contrasts with the Passover lambs in the Old Testament that were sacrificed repeatedly to remember the deliverance from death and slavery for a relatively small number of people, the Israelites.

The book of Hebrews, written for Jewish Christians shows that Jesus is a better type of prophet, sacrifice, priest and King than those found in the Old Testament.

Jesus is also a type of Jonah. Jesus said, Matthew 12. 40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

The death and resurrection of Jesus was no accident. It was God’s plan to put people right with Him before the beginning of time, before Adam and Eve sinned. Ephesians 1. 3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,”

This tells us that by God’s grace, His undeserved favour, He reveals to believers what He has done for them in sending Jesus and enables them to respond by trusting Him. It is based on His choice, not our cleverness, our goodness, or anything we have done or possess or can do.

Job looked forward to Jesus, chapter 19.25 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;

 Our Epistle today told us 1 John. 3. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Believers can look forward to this Scripture being fulfilled. That one day we can look forward to having perfect resurrection bodies like Jesus and that we will see Him and be with Him in paradise for ever. If you know this for yourself you can rejoice, knowing that God is in control and has chosen you to be with Him in glory forever. If you do not know this in your heart now, then ask God to reveal Himself to you in Jesus and give you the gift of trusting in Him.


4/5/03 Year B Easter 3 : Luke 24:36-48

This passage is about the presence of Jesus.

1) with his disciples.

They thought they were seeing a ghost or spirit, verse 37

Jesus shows his scarred hands and feet, invites them to touch him, tells them he has flesh and bones, verse 39.

He also eats a piece of fish, verse 43.

This shows us that Jesus' resurrection was a bodily one - contra liberals.

Without the bodily resurrection there can be no Christianity.

The bodily resurrection authenticates the teaching of Jesus and the claims of Jesus about his person, his life and his death.

Someone once said, 'Our friends will bring us to the grave and leave us there, but God will not.' The bodily resurrection of Jesus gives a confident hope that the same thing will happen to His followers. The Bible tells us this. The Bible's teaching about Jesus life, death and resurrection has already come true. Therefore, we can be sure that it's teaching about the return of Jesus to gather up resurrected believers will also take place.

The first appearance of the risen Jesus provoked alarm in the disciples, verse 37. This turned to joy and amazement tinged with disbelief when Jesus showed his hands and feet, verse 41.

Yet Jesus greeting in verse 36 was 'Peace be with you.'

When we are convinced that Jesus is risen we can know his peace. A peace that has conquered death. A peace that can weather the storms of life because we have a certain hope that God is in control, and that our eternal destiny is in His hands. A peace that comes from the knowledge that there is more to life than what we can see, hear and touch.

Those first disciples were confused, fearful, uncertain. The resurrection of Jesus and the power of His Spirit transformed them into preachers who boldly spoke of a certain hope. As the disciples of Jesus today we can know His peace and his power in our hearts to enable us to live and witness for him.

The presence of Jesus...

2) In the Bible. Just as he had opened the minds of the men on the road to Emmaus earlier that day, Jesus opens the minds of the disciples to understand that what was happening was part of God's plan revealed in the Bible.

This involved the past, the present, and the future. In each case Jesus used the Old Testament to show that this was part of God's plan of salvation.

We also know from the gospels that Jesus had told his disciples that he would suffer, die and be raised to life on several occasions, but they never fully understood what he was saying until after this had happened and Jesus explained this to them.

The Past.

Jesus said that the Christ 'will suffer', verse 46. He was talking about what he has suffered two days before as he hung on a cross. This suffering included the physical suffering of a long, painful execution devised to be as painful as possible to discourage onlookers from transgressing. It was a commonplace sight until about 330 AD when the Romans outlawed it because it was so barbaric.

Jesus also suffered the rejection of people whom he had come to help. The religious leaders conspired with the crowd to crucify him.

Death on a cross was shameful and humiliating. To the Jews it was a sign of being cursed by God. And Jesus was cursed by God on the cross. Jesus was cursed with a punishment that he did not deserve. He was separated from God because he received the punishment that sinful humankind deserve. He who had no sin was made sin for us so we can be free.

Jesus was killed by men because he followed God. He was separated from God because he identified with men.

We can read of the suffering that he endured in the Old Testament. Isaiah 53 is one example. Another is Psalm 22:1-8,12-18. This starts off with the words quoted by Jesus as he hung on the cross that express his isolation from God.

The Present.

Jesus said the Christ will rise from the dead on the third day, verse 46. The first day was the Good Friday, the third that Easter Sunday.

This resurrection was apparent to the disciples because the risen Jesus was standing before them, talking to them having just eaten some fish. Jesus was to continue appearing to over 500 people over the next forty days. The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus establishes it beyond reasonable doubt.

C.S.Lewis wrote, 'Jesus has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because he has done so.'

Psalm 118:17-24 may have been one of the Bible passages that Jesus referred to. Some of it will be familiar because it is quoted by Peter in his first letter.

17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
18 The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
2 1I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
23 the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The Future.

In verse 47 Jesus outlines what is going to happen. There are five elements to this.

- Firstly there will be preaching. This will be based upon the Scriptures and the personal experience of the disciples. This will happen because the disciples have been witnesses of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, verse 48.

cf 1 John 1:1

God may not call and equip all of his people to be preachers or evangelists. But he does call us all to be witnesses. To tell in word and show in deed that we have a personal relationship with the risen Lord Jesus. That we know his resurrection power in our lives.

- The preaching will include a call to repentance. This is referring to a conscious turning away from following the ways of the world. Rejecting selfishness and following the way of the crowd. Turning to follow the teaching and example of Jesus. Asking ourselves 'What would Jesus do?' cf. badges with 'W.W.J.D.' on them.

Living life this way will go against many of our instincts that have built up over the years. It will not be easy for us. It will need the power of God's Spirit working within us to put to death what is wrong and to give power to live for Jesus.

The prophets were persecuted for proclaiming the word of God. Jesus was rejected for following God's ways. He warned his disciples that they would also be rejected and persecuted for following him. A life that shows the fruit of repentance will be radical and will threaten others. True faith will show itself by changed lives.

Do we follow the ways of Jesus, or the way of the culture in which we live ?

- The preaching will include the offer of the 'forgiveness of sins'. Those who repent and turn to Jesus will receive forgiveness for the sins. This offers a new start with God. Replacing a wrong relationship with Him marred by sin with a right relationship through sins that have been forgiven.

Jesus has died in our place, receiving the punishment for our sins. Therefore, God does not see each of us with our sin, but sees us with the righteousness of Jesus.

It also promises us a new future because this forgiveness will follow us to eternity when we can look forward to being in the presence of God where there will be no sin, and no effects of sin. No more crime, injustice, starvation, suffering, sickness, disability, death or mourning.

- The preaching will be 'in his name', verse 47. When an ambassador acts in an official capacity he/she is acting on behalf of their government and is acting with the authority of that government behind them. So when they speak, the government speaks.

In a similar way the preaching that demands repentance and offers forgiveness should be with the authority of Jesus. He demands that people turn to him. He grants forgiveness of sins through his life, death and resurrection. It is only through Jesus that we can receive the forgiveness of God. Jesus said, ' I am the way the truth and the life, no-one can come to the Father except through me'.

Unfortunately we have people in the church who preach backed by their own intelligence, or by church tradition. These things are powerless in themselves. Only preaching that is in agreement with Jesus' teaching can provide a true Christian faith.

Oswald Chambers wrote, 'It is a shallow nonsense to say God forgives us because he is love. The only ground upon which God can forgive us is the cross.'

- The preaching will be ' to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.' verse 47. The first preaching of the gospel occurred on the day of Pentecost. Since that day it has spread and continues to spread throughout the world. Around the world thousands of people are turning to Jesus every day in fulfilment of Jesus' words nearly two thousand years ago.

We are here today because people have, over two thousand years been preaching the gospel of repentance and faith that is rooted in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This was all part of God's eternal plan that he disclosed through the Old Testament, some of which was written over a thousand years before the birth of Jesus.

This should lead to wonder and gratitude towards God for what he has done for us in His Son. We can follow and worship the Lord Jesus full of the confidence and faith that this can give us. We can also look to the future return of Christ with equal confidence, because this is the only prophecy that has yet to some true.