The Emmaus Explanation

A Sermon Transcript: 

Turn with me please to Luke 24:13-27. Good morning again to those of you who perhaps may be new, my name is Derek Nicksich and I am the student minister here at LifePointe Christian Church. Our lead minister Philip Murdock is currently away, and has asked me to continue our sermon series entitled “The Rescue” … What I would like to do is first draw your attention to Luke 24:13-27, and read our text this morning.

Luke 24:13, “That very day (Sunday, the resurrection of Christ) two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,” and these men are engaged in a very heated conversation. They are discussing what in verse 14 “all these things that had happened” (v. 14). In other words, they are engaged in heavy conversation concerning the last week of our Jesus Christ’s life, including his trials, crucifixion, and burial. They are speaking with one another and trying to understanding the events that have taken place over the past weekend.

Continuing, v. 15 says – “While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”

Now, a seeming stranger approaches these two disciples, and they are so low, so sad, and so dejected from their weekend that they stop short, stand still, and with great sadness look at Jesus and a man named Cleopas responds saying, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” (Luke 24:18). This is a rather nice way of saying, “Not only are you a tourist but you don’t even read your local newspaper.”

They say, “how do you not know all of the things that have been happening?”

And Jesus said to them, “What things?”

He’s just reeling them in. This is all a set-up.

I can just imagine Cleopas pulling the Jerusalem Times from his back pocket, “And they sad to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priest and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”

Cleopas continues saying, “Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 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. 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.”

Jesus now interjects in verse 25, and for the next three verses, this is where I would like us to zero in and focus our time and attention because over the next three verses, Jesus gives these two disciples the Emmaus Explanation concerning the past weekend events. On a dusty road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, in seven miles Jesus will unpack and reveal the preparations for the rescue of humanity that were made beginning with Moses and continuing through all of the Prophets.

v. 25 – And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into this glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

I would like to speak to you this morning from the subject: The Preparation for Rescue, and what I would like to do this morning is work backwards from verse 27 to verse 25.
Would you pray with me?


Heavenly Father, we turn our minds now to your Word and we offer our minds for the transformation that comes through the renewal of our thoughts as they are submitted to the revelation of who you are in all of the Scriptures. We thank you for the preparations made for the rescue of sinful humanity in the pages of the Old Testament, and now we read and believe the words of the New Testament with tremendous gratitude and thanksgiving knowing that they reveal Jesus Christ. Lead our thoughts to the feet of Jesus, our rescuer, ransom, and redeemer. It is in his name we pray, amen.


It was the summer of 1981, and Kim Lineman held the world record for the women’s 1500 meter freestyle. In an interview with her coach, Paul Bergen, he recounted how the 18-year-old was the leading female amateur distance swimmer in the world. The secret to her success consisted of a daily workout regimen varying from seven to twelve miles of swimming per day in addition to countless swimming exercises. One interviewer asked Kim Lineman the question, what is the hardest part of your workout regimen?
The 18-year-old responded, “Getting in the water.”

Texas Monthly, quoted in Reader’s Digest, June 1981.

Perhaps it was the summer, approximately 1,948 years before Kim Lineman became a held the world record for women’s 1500 meter freestyle swimming that two dejected, and dishearteded disciple walked along the road from Jerusalem to a little town named Emmaus. The toughest part of being a disciple for these two men was “getting in the water” that required placing their faith in a person named Jesus Christ. The most difficult part of their daily discipleship program occurred when the man they believed would be the Messiah, the liberator of the Jewish people from Roman oppression was recently put to death by both Jewish religious leaders and governing Roman authorities. With that decisive end to their leader, these two men are metaphorically drowning in deep waters of despair and doubt as they heard the shouts of men and women crying “crucify him” … the same men and women who once hailed Jesus with the words, “Hosanna, in the Highest” …

Unbeknownst to them, Jesus arrives in Luke 24, and the very subject of their confusion and disillusion is within their midst in a resurrected body. However, Jesus disguises himself initially in our text, before revealing his true identity. The reason for this encounter is to bring these two men into a saving relationship with Him.

And so between Luke 24:25-27, Jesus will reveal three reasons that the rescuer of mankind is none other than the man put to death only days before this encounter on the road to Emaus. Jesus will present three reasons that He is the redeemer, that He is the Messiah, and that He is the rescuer of humanity to these confused, saddened, dejected, and doubting disciples. Jesus will shine a bright light into the mist that clouds their hearts with unbelief, indicating the true identity of their redeemer is none other than Jesus Christ Himself.

In order to do this, Jesus begins by giving Cleopas and his companion the Emmaus Explanation concerning God’s divine rescue plan that all of the Scriptures proclaim, beginning with Moses in Genesis until the prophet Malachi.

According to Jesus, the first reason He is the rescuer of humanity is because: The Scriptures proclaim him.

Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Would you not have loved to have been a part of that small group bible study?

This is Jesus preaching on Jesus. That’s as good as it gets. He is the greatest expositor who ever walked the earth teaching on the greatest subject in the universe. This is the living Word expounding the written Word. Where did Jesus begin? He showed them the preparations of the rescue of mankind in all of the scriptures.

Jesus begins to interpret to these two men that all of the Scriptures point to the rescuer, and he identifies the rescuer as himself. Notice he begins with Moses, the author of the first five books of the Old Testament, and then all of the Prophets (from Joshua to Malachi).

That is to say, in that short time on the road to Emmaus, Jesus proceeds to put his arms around the Old Testament and say it is all filled with me. There is perfect unity and harmony from Moses to Malachi, all thirty-nine books shining one singular beam of light upon the hill of calvary illuminating a man on a cross. Jesus lays a firm foundation that no one prophet contradicts another because they all speak with unity and clarity, and they all speak of him. 

Jesus says the Scripture are necessary because there is one central theme, one unifying subject of these writings that ties them all together. Though Christ may not be the subject of every text, he is the central subject of every book.

Paraphrasing the 17th century English minister Matthew Henry, “You cannot go far in any part of scripture without meeting something that has reference to Christ, some prophecy, some promise, some prayer, some type or other. A golden thread of gospel grace runs trough the whole web of the Old Testament.”

Furthermore, not only does the Old Testament alone declare the gospel of grace, but the entirety of Scripture proclaims the same golden thread. Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.”

Dr. Steven Lawson summarized all of the Scriptures like this, 

The Old Testaments says Jesus is coming.

The Gospels declare Jesus is here.

Acts proclaims him.

The Epistles explain him.

Revelation says, he is coming again.

Even the bookends of Scripture (Genesis and Revelation), the first and last verse of the Bible point us to the centrality of Christ. The first words of the Bible declare God created the world, and we know Jesus was there as the agent of creation.

John 1:1-3 declares Jesus is the Word who was not only with God but was God in the beginning and all things were made through him, and without him nothing was made.

Colossians 1:15-16 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.

The last words of the Bible declare, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Revelation 22:21).

One could say the Bible is a hymn book. It’s all about him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and it is on the road to Emmaus that Jesus gives the first reason He is the rescuer of humanity, because the Scriptures proclaim him. Jesus only interpreted Genesis to Malachi because the written word of the apostles had not yet been recorded. Though Jesus only opens up the Old Testament to his disciples, we understand the primacy of Scripture because Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” That is to say, preaching Jesus Christ and Him alone is the means that brings faith to those who hear.

This explains why Jesus opened the Scriptures to these two men on a seven mile journey, because all of the Scriptures point to him as the Rescuer, and because faith comes from hearing about Christ.

Notice they knew the Scriptures, and they even knew the Rescuer was the main subject of Scripture. They knew that Israel looked forward to a redeemer, and they were counted among those hoping and yearning for a savior. In other words, they wanted the Messiah to break the yoke of Roman oppression and reestablish the theocracy of Israel.

Notice these two disciples understand the need for rescue. It is important to note you cannot be rescued until you know you need rescuing. They know that the world is not how God desires it to be. They know that the Scriptures beginning with Moses and ending with Malachi all proclaim man’s need for rescue. They know the Scriptures say there is only one origin of the world, and only one diagnosis of man’s problem. They know the Scriptures declare there is only one design of the family, one standard of morality, and one way of salvation before one final judgment. They know that all of the Old Testament Scriptures are written with comprehensive and perfect precision, and the NT would merely become an extension of that revelation. Yet, here these two men remain darkened, doubting, and discouraged.

Their perspective remained clouded and they needed still further clarity. Though they knew all of the facts of the previous days, and though they knew the desires and hopes of their people within the written pages of Moses and the Prophets, they had missed the clear preparations for rescue that revealed the identity of their Savior in Scripture, but still remained unclear to these two disciples. Though Jesus had laid the foundation that the Scripture pointed to him, he now presents the second reason why He is the rescuer.

Luke 24:26, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

The second reason that Jesus is the rescuer is because suffering prepared him.

Now, it is important for us to recognize that the distance from Emmaus to Jerusalem is seven miles. The average time for a person to walk one mile is seventeen minutes. Jesus has less than two hours to address this second reason. So he transcends the mountain peaks, or the high points, of the Scriptures concerning himself and his suffering.

These disciples had misunderstood that the savior would have to suffer and endure tremendous pain and turmoil before entering into glory. They had misunderstood that suffering of their rescuer was necessary, for it would be the preparation for their rescuing. The basic problem of these two disciples was believing all that the prophets had written about the Messiah. Most of the Jews viewed the Messiah as a conquering Redeemer but they did not see Him as a Suffering Servant. As they read the Old Testament, they saw the crown but not the cross. They saw the glory, but not the suffering.

However, according to Jesus, suffering was the necessary means by which the Messiah would enter into his glory. In other words, suffering was the gate by which Jesus would walk through in order to enter again into heaven’s grounds of glory.

Jesus himself says it is necessary for the Christ to suffer before entering into his glory. To clarify this, he begins to interpret all of the Scripture to these men regarding his suffering, mentioning the high points of Scripture, foreshadowing the coming arrival of the rescuer of humanity. Perhaps our Lord began in Genesis 3:15 where we find the first mention of the gospel.

God is the preacher in the garden of Eden, and the congregation is the serpent named Satan. God declares the offspring of Eve will bruise the head of this serpent, while Satan will only strike the heel of her offspring.

Genesis 3:21 tells us God clothes Adam and Eve in garments made of skin, requiring the death and skinning of animals to clothe the guilt, shame, and sin of Adam and eve.

Genesis 4 says the Lord has regard for Abel’s blood sacrifice of the firstborn lamb of his flock.

Genesis 22 tells us of Abraham’s test of faith when God commands him to offer his only beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. Moments before acting in obedience to God’s request, an angel stops Abraham and miraculously a ram is behind Abraham, caught in a thicket, and taken as a substitute offering for Isaac.

In Exodus 12, we find the enslaved Israelites are instructed to slay lambs without blemish and slay them, taking the blood and painting it on the doorposts and lintel of the houses in which they eat it. The blood was a sign for the people of Israel and when the angel of death saw the blood, He would pass over the people of Israel so that the tenth and final plague on an unbelieving nation would not befall them.

The entire levitical priesthood and sacrificial system established in Leviticus points to the premise that something innocent must die on behalf of those who are guilty.

Deuteronomy 21 declares that a man who hangs on a tree is cursed by God.

Psalm 22:1, the Psalmist David writes the same words a cursed man would utter on a tree in the gospels of Matthew and Mark, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The psalmist continues saying he is scorned by mankind and despised, encircled by evildoers who have pierced his hands and feet (v. 16). He says, “I can count all my bones – they stare and gloat over me; They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (Psalms 22:18).

Matthew 27:35 says, “And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.”

Psalm 41:9, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”

John 13:18, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’

Isaiah 53:9, “His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”

Luke 23 recounts Jesus being crucified on a cross with two wicked men, but after his death, a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea requested the body of Christ and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid.

Isaiah 52:13-14 speaks of the glory, but also speaks of the suffering of the rescuer, “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man. And His form more than the sons of men.”

Micah 5:2 declares the birth place of the savior, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

In Luke 2, a man named Joseph, from house and lineage of David, returns to the city of David, called Bethlehem to be registered with his wife Mary, betrothed to him, and yet pregnant with a child through miraculous means.

The prophet Zechariah 11:12-13 writes, “I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.

Matthew 26:15, Judas Iscariot says, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him.

We could continue recounting numerous prophecies predicting a coming Messiah, and all of them fulfilled in Jesus Christ but the importance for us to know is the necessity of suffering that would become the means, the gate, by which the Messiah would enter into glory.

As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “Before being exalted by God, given the name above ever name that ever knee will bow to and every tongue will confess as Lord, Jesus humbled himself by taking on human form and becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Before the exaltation, the glory, and the name above every name… Jesus humbled himself and suffered on the cross where he died.

This also explains why Jesus would so strongly rebuke his own disciple Peter. Mark 8 tells us Jesus begins to teach about how the Son of Man must suffer many things, saying it is a necessity for this to happen, and the suffering will lead to rejection by the elders, chief priests, and scribes culminating in the death of the Son of Man. Then, three days later he will rise again, to which Peter is astounded and takes Jesus aside in order to rebuke him, to correct his theology concerning the rescuer. Jesus turns back from Peter, looks at his disciples and back at Peter and begins rebuking him saying, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Peter’s words were an attempt by Satan to thwart the things of God. The devil attempted to thwart the divine preparations made for the rescue of humanity by attempting to use a disciple named Peter to question and contradict the necessity of suffering that their rescuer would endure before entering into his glory.

Suffering prepared him. Suffering prepared Jesus for the glory after the cross.

Suffering is difficult for us to understand and I would like to offer just three quick insights in regards to suffering in our own lives.

Suffering is a battleground.

Wherever suffering is found, a battle for your soul is underway. The book of Job shows us two ways to respond to suffering. The first is to curse God and the other is to praise Him, even in the midst of suffering.

After God allows Satan to test Job by destroying his family business, killing his children, and then inflicting Job with painful sores from head to foot… Job’s wife looks at her husband and says, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die. But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Suffering is a battleground for your soul.

Suffering equips you for ministry.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:4 that God “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” When we experience the battleground of our soul, and remain steadfast under trials. When we see God’s faithfulness despite our pain and affliction, we then become a living and walking testimony to the goodness of God. He comforts us in our affliction, so that we in turn comfort others in their affliction, with the same testimony of faithfulness.

Suffering prepares us for more glory.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:17–18, “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Suffering is the gate by which we as Christians are tested, equipped, and ultimately prepared for glory. Suffering is the gate by which we pass through in order to enter into glory.

Look at Luke 24 again. Jesus has just told the disciples all of Scripture points to him. He has walked these two men through the mountain peaks of a suffering servant who is crowned a conquering redeemer after the cross. He now has the disciples staring at a gate of suffering barring the way between the rescuer and the glory of heaven, and he unveils the key that locks the gate, that unlocks the garden of glory in heaven. To these two unbelieving and doubtful men, Jesus reveals the key of faith that unlocks the gates of glory.

Luke 24:25, “And he said to them, “foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”

The third reason Jesus is the rescuer is because Faith purposed him.

Jesus has already established that all of Scripture points to him. Jesus has just concluded that the Messiah was predicted to suffer before he would enter into their glory, and so the reason these disciples are fools, slow of heart, dejected and doubting is because they have not believed all that the prophets have spoken through the written words of Scripture concerning Jesus Christ. They have no faith that the man they witnessed days before hanging on a tree a tree was the rescuer of humanity. Jesus rebukes these men because they are standing in front of the gate of suffering guarding their path to glory, and the key needed to surpass the barrier before them is none other than faith in the man walking beside them. Your faith in Jesus Christ is the key that surpasses any gate, obstruction, or hindrance to the glory of the gardens of heaven.

This is the entire reason why Jesus took them through the Scriptures beginning with Moses and ending in Malachi, because they pointed to him as the rescuer. This is the entire reason why Jesus traversed the mountain peaks of the prophecies that predicted the suffering of the Messiah, and explained that it was necessary for the son of Man to suffer because his suffering would be the gateway to his glory and our glory. This is the the third reason why the rescuer would come, because faith purposed him. The sole reason Jesus Christ came to the world was to rescue humanity through faith in Him.

Jesus said in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think in that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”

John 6:40 says, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

The apostle Paul in Romans 10:9, “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:11, “For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10:13, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

In other words … Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” That is to say, preaching Jesus Christ and Him alone is the means that brings faith to those who hear because faith is the key that unlocks the gates of glory, guarded by suffering.

These two men understood what the Scriptures said. In fact, you and I can understand what the bible says, and you can even know what the Bible says, but knowledge alone creates pride (1 Corinthians 8:1). Instead, Jesus reveals the final reason He is the rescuer of humanity is that all who would believe in him might be saved. Faith purposed him. Faith was the reason behind why the rescuer had to come, so that those who would believe in him would be saved. They needed rescuing from their sins.

Just as He is concluding his conversation with these two men… they begin drawing near to Emma’s, and they urge Jesus to stay with them.

He agrees and there is a peculiar moment where He takes some bread, blesses it, and gives it to them, and the text says “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight” (Luke 24:31). Then they turned and said to one another, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Notice their eyes are opened to the reality that their rescuer sits before them at the dinner table. In that moment, faith enters into their hearts. Their hearts were prepared knowing that all of the Scriptures pointed to Jesus. Their hearts began kindling flame as they heard from the beginning of Moses to Malachi, how the suffering rescuer was preparing to save his people at the cross. Finally, the light of the world is revealed to them, penetrating through the mist that clouds their hearts with unbelief. Clarity dawns and the true identity of their rescuer is revealed as the one who traversed seven miles with them and then sat down to break bread together. The light of the world illuminating their hearts, and kindling the flame of faith in Christ who is the suffering messiah, conquering redeemer, and rescuer of mankind . The Scriptures pointed to him. Suffering prepared him. Faith purposed him. The Old Testament looks forward to him. The Gospels declare He is here. Acts proclaims him. The Epistles explain him. Revelation says, he is coming again.

Do you read the Old Testament and see the gospel thread of grace running through it? Do you read the New Testament and see the gospel thread of grace running through it?
Do you want your hearts to burn as well?
Do you want your eyes to be opened to the rescuer predicted, pointed to, and prepared through suffering? Do you want to be saved from the sin that has separated you from God?

Believe upon Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your rescuer. Believe in Jesus Christ, sent on a mission of Salvation and redemption. Jesus Christ, the rescuer of humanity who entered the world born of a virgin, who lived the life we could never live and died the death that we fully deserved. Believe on Jesus whose perfect righteousness could be credited to our account because He shed his blood to make atonement and covering for our sin. They took him down from the cross and on the third day he entered into glory.

Believe in the one who Paul said to the Corinthians, “we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” Whom Paul said, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

Faith in Christ opened their eyes and melted their hearts of doubt. Faith in their rescuer was the key that unlocked the gates of glory to these unbelieving, saddened, and dejected disciples.

The Scriptures prepare our hearts for faith in Jesus. The sufferings of Christ prepared Him for glory, and our sufferings in life prepare us for glory. Faith in Jesus is the key that unlocks the gates suffering and gives us access to eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord, our rescuer and redeemer.

Scripture proclaimed him.

Suffering prepared him. Faith purposed Him.

His suffering preceded his glory so that his suffering would become our glory, so that all who would believe on his name, Jesus Christ and his name alone, would be saved because Jesus is our rescuer. That, Jesus says, is the Emmaus Explanation. 


Father, we are so thankful for rescuing us through your Son Jesus Christ. We are thankful for the unity of the Scripture boldly proclaiming a rescuer is coming. We are humbled and in awe of the the rescuer experiencing suffering on our behalf, pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities, that the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed. We are grateful that our faith in the rescuer rescues us from our sins, from eternal punishment and separation from you. Thank you for rescuing us through Jesus Christ, whom we believe and obey, amen.


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