He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.Luke 24:25-27 NIV
After Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to a pair of his disciples as they were returning home from Jerusalem. These two disciples had placed their hope in Jesus. A hope that appeared to have been dashed with his crucifixion. They had heard rumors of a resurrection, but were not convinced. Instead, they were going home. As far as they were concerned the dream was over.
They did not initially recognize Jesus when he joined them on the road. They just assumed he was a traveler along the road who was unaware of the happenings in Jerusalem that weekend. Jesus inquired as to what they had been discussing, and they shared with him the events of the week, as well as their disappointment.
And then Jesus took over the conversation and took them through their Scriptures, proving to them that the Messiah would have to suffer the things they had seen. That would have been an amazing Bible study, led by the one who knew it best. And knew not just what people thought it meant. But knew well what it was actually saying, since he was a part of its writing.
Understanding the Old Testament
I know many want to look at the Hebrew Scriptures as just the story of Israel, and read it largely apart from its fulfillment in Jesus. But Jesus clearly did not view it that way. He understood the Hebrew Scriptures as being ultimately about him and what he had just accomplished. And I have found that when I read those texts with that in mind, that they become much more than just the history of an ancient nation. A nation that God had covenanted with. And who ultimately fell short and followed Adam and Eve into exile.
We do not have the transcripts of this Bible study on the road to Emmaus. But we do have the Scriptures themselves, and the Holy Spirit to guide us into the same truth. For too long I neglected what we call the Old Testament. Seeing it as just connected to the Old Covenant. But learning to see Jesus throughout it has made it come alive, and much more valuable, to me.