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Getting the Big Picture (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
April 2, 2021 4:00 am

Getting the Big Picture (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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April 2, 2021 4:00 am

After Christ’s crucifixion, two disciples struggled to make sense out of life as they traveled from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The tomb was empty and all seemed hopeless. Where was Jesus when they needed Him most? Hear more on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The death of Jesus's done disciples stopped them in their tracks. They could not make sense of what had just happened to how they respond when the darkness of Good Friday crept in and they were seemingly left with nowhere to turn Alister back identifies their basic problem today on Truth for Life. Chapter 24 and verse 13. Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that it happened, as they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them what are you discussing together as you walk along the students. Still, their faces downcast. One of the main clear pass asked him how you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days.

What things he asked about Jesus of Nazareth, he replied he was a prophet powerful in word and deed before God and all the people the chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death and crucified him, but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us went to the tomb. Merrily this morning but didn't find his body became and told us that they had seen a vision of angels. Who said he was alive then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him.

They did not see. He said to them how foolish you are, how slow of heart to believe all of the prophets have spoken did not the Christ 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, a man, you may want to keep your Bible open their father we pray now that is return to your word, turning to you. The Lord of the word, we ask that you will be our teacher and that in hearing we may understand and and understanding. We may believe and obey, for Jesus sake. We ask it. Amen. What we have just read together at least part of one of the best loved of all the resurrection narratives Luke. Unlike Matthew and Mark and John does not introduce us to a variety of resurrection appearances. He chooses instead simply to focus primarily on this one. Appearance and to deal with it in significant detail.

He does soap, presumably because in this account we have aptly summarized.

Essentially, all that was going on in the hearts and minds of the followers of Jesus on this first Easter Sunday afternoon and that was a violent struggle if you like between whole and fear, trying to make sense of life in light of all the events through which they had gone, particularly in light of the experiences of the last few hours and Luke gives to us this wonderful little story addressing for has this peculiar challenge in the lives not only of these two individuals, but in those whom they represent is worth mentioning just in passing that in this one. Respect the agitation of these individuals is representative of the kind of intellectual and emotional struggle that is performed in the minds of men and women all the time summer here this morning and if you are honest you have been trying by a variety of measures to try and salvage some kind of meaning and purpose out of line you thought when you were a high school student that it would all fall into line with graduation and then perhaps this college degree would do it or that particular area of apprenticeship to which you had gone maybe married majora committed perspective on singleness or whatever it might've been in here you are along the journey of your days. And if you're honest, it is bouncing between faith and fear you're not sure that you have a grasp of why you even exist and when the songs that are still familiar, come on the radio, at least on the easy, easy listening channels you find yourself saying, while I can understand why the Moody blues, for example, in the early 70s and the words, why do we never get an answer when were knocking at the door with a thousand different question in the refrain I'm looking for someone to change my life. I'm looking for a miracle in my life are from Broadway. What is it all about Alfie is just for the moment we live.

Somebody said to me last night that he was planning on ending the day with a few good beers and his favorite pizza while I says I like quite an end to the day. Yes, he said some of my friends and said to me you may die doing that and I said to them what a way to go beer and pizza and good nights of presumably is asked the question what is it all about Alfie.

Is it just for the moment we live and answered yes or perhaps he and others like him have embraced the stoicism of the 60s, and Paul Simon gazing from my window into the streets below on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. I am a rock. I am an island in a rock and feel no pain and an island never cries.

Don't worry about me I am okay or perhaps a non-Arab thing that Shakespeare from high school or college literature, we find ourselves reading again those words is, is this really life is Shakespeare writing a fluttering candle, a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing I say to you again that these two individuals bouncing between faith and fear are not so far removed from either geography and history would suggest if we do not find ourselves in this category.

Rest assured that many amongst whom we will spend time this coming week are exactly their and we have an opportunity, and learning from the Bible to be able to speak in turn to others about the Bible know essentially what this passage affirms in relationship to that is that life does have meaning and that meaning is found in Jesus. Now, to the extent of that is true of these verses. It is equally true of the whole Bible. There is no surprise in that a tall, but that is not the emphasis that we are discovering from the passages we go through this morning.

I essentially have two points to make for you. One is to identify the basic problem and the other is to understand the big picture. So it's very straightforward. Basic problem big picture while it started with a basic problem. What is this basic problem for these two individuals that summarized in their words in verse 21, at least part of verse 21 when they say we had hoped that he was the one we had hoped that he was the one past tense.

With that in mind, let's go back and just follow the storyline as we read it there in verse 13 we identified with the timeframe.

It is the same day same day as that which has been described in the preceding 12 verses with all of the activity of the empty tomb, and two of them are going to a village to village called Emmaus which is about 60 stadia stadia being 11 km a kilometer being 5/8 of a mile, hence the NIV gets us to 7 miles from Jerusalem and the individuals we are told are talking and they are not talking to themselves. They are talking with each other and their talking with each other about everything that had happened. I want you to notice that little phrase everything that had happened, they refer to it again in verse 18. Are you the are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened.

I point this out to you to remind you that here in the gospel records where dealing with history were not dealing with invention. This is not the description of a methodology that was invented a few hundred years after the existence of a person called Jesus of Nazareth. That is, of course, what liberal scholarship wants us to believe that the kind of thing you get routinely in Newsweek and Time magazine whenever the religious festivals come around.

They go out and ferret somebody in whose voice on is the notion that what we have in the gospel records is nothing other than human invention and there is a gap between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith and the notion is that since we cannot know anything about the Jesus of history. The only thing we have to go on is the Christ of faith in the Christ of faith is an invention of the early church. Give me a someone nice and palatable, in whom we might believe your sensible people and you need to take that and then go to the Bible and say no. Does the Bible is the record of Scripture concurrent with that kind of idea does it challenge it in the kind of phraseology that is used here speaks to the reality of Luke's desire in writing his gospel to make it the result of careful investigation to provide an orderly account in order that we might have certainty in regarding the things that he conveys and for Luke. There is no doubt in his mind that the Christ of history and the Jesus of faith are one on the same and what we have here is the record of what had happened. Now when it says they were talking with each other about everything that it happened. I'm sure that the primary reference is to the immediate events that would be most obvious wouldn't the things that are rising in the community. The questions that are on people's lips. Where did Jesus go if he is not in the tomb, what was happening there in the crucifixion.

Why did he shout and made these amazing statements wasn't an amazing when he said to the individual. Today you will be with me in paradise. I wonder what he meant by that. I wonder where he went. I wonder if the thief on the cross went to the same place and back. They may track.

I wonder if he is really the fulfillment of the things that he said and to the extent that they were familiar with the gospel record this story of the life of Jesus. They may have gone all the way back in the reckoning to Luke chapter 4, and you can turn there for just a moment. If you wish to see it because in Luke chapter 4 we have the record of Jesus. Going back to Galilee and going to Nazareth and then Nazareth goes to the synagogue. It was his custom to do that. I hope that your custom to come routinely to evening worship and to the celebration of communion certainly was the custom of Jesus to do this and he was given the opportunity to read from the scroll from the Bible from the Old Testament and he read from Isaiah, and having read about the spirit of the Lord in on the servant of the Lord because he has anointed me to preach good news to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. Recovery of sight for the blind to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, having rolled up the scroll, giving it back to the attendant, he sat down and everybody waited to hear what his sermon would be and he began his sermon with a fantastic introductory sentence on that they would never have reckoned on a tall today. He said this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing the people said you mean to say you are the Messiah, are you saying for a moment Jesus from the Carpenters workshop that you are the one in whom there is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah.

Here in these two as they had the discussion to the extent that they may have referenced that kind of thing. If not, that express instance may have said to one another, fulfillment he finished it is finished.

I mean, for the time we followed him and we knew that his sermons were terrific and his miracles were brilliant, but it's all come to a crashing halt. His dad mean they knew that the Messiah when he came would overturn the pagans that he would restore the temple that justice would be established, they may be sent to one another you in on the great day of the feast. We thought that he would finally stand up and say this is that in reference to the cleansing of the temple.

20 and when in many of gone in and cleaned it out and said this is a house of prayer that we might have anticipated then that this was the forerunner of the pipe of the temple would be reestablished at the pagans would be overturned and the injustices the prophet Amos said would would roll down like a vast and overwhelming river budgeting standard. They may have anticipated that is all over now because he's dead, and even the accounts from the women. They didn't know what to make of them. It's all they were inexplicable they were worrisome and I want you to notice that here as we confront this basic problem it is a conversation between two individuals whose hopes were dead and buried in the determinates that's how it comes across. We had hoped that he was the one he's clearly not the one where having this discussion about going back and forth and so on. In verse 15 tells us that as they talked and discussed these things in their animated interaction. They are joined by a stranger now. I hope you notice that it doesn't say that they didn't recognize him, they didn't recognize it but that's not what it says it says that they were From recognizing I find are very helpful because of it. It simply said they didn't recognize him.

I would be intended to say that is weird to me. I mean how can you not recognize even though you didn't expect to see them there. Even though his resurrection body had different characteristics to the one that he took into the tomb. Even given that you would anticipate that he would be enough about this person that you would recognize and so Luke with his eye for detail points out, they were kept from recognizing what Luke is doing. There is something very important, namely pointing out to us and pointing out to his readers that we cannot see the risen Christ, although he is walking with us unless he wills to disclose himself.

Think about some of us were brought up in Christian homes, our fathers read the Bible routinely at the end of the meal we were taken to church we attended Sunday school.

We moved if you like in the company of Christ, but we didn't recognize some of you come routinely to Parkside church, but you do not recognize humane and wonder why it was MAB that God has Free recognize in order that when you do, it may be so clear to you that this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in his eyes.

In other words, that your own skepticism your own diffidence your own sense of I don't know about this is all swept into God's economy as he brings you to the point of a great new long and you see this is Christ's, as opposed to, you know, I know there is a Jesus arrive. I know that my children sing the songs about America. I know they bring the pictures over the Sunday school when I going to come up the stairs, but I need to just get in the car and get on with my life I don't I don't recognize Jesus and were kept from recognizing any speech to them. He just asked the question, what are you discussing together as you walk along the topic of the day, essentially saying what's happening was everyone talking about what we talk about today a fair opening line isn't happens all the time people say on elevators and in airport terminals and on buses and bus stops. So once the word on the street you know once what's happening. They say excuse me, are you just a visitor to Jerusalem, you don't know the things that have been happening there in these days and hours were talking about what everybody's talking about it really mean this past week visiting in place on Monday.

Their response would have been what you didn't see the halftime show. Jesus comes back is and so was everybody talking about so were you drunk or talking about Jesus of Nazareth. I love the irony in this, don't you. It has a touch of John's Gospel about it happens all the time and John these little ironies. Luke doesn't do very often but is perfect here so we have Jesus talking to them asking them what they're talking about. They're talking about him, but they don't know he's E is in him who that whatever it is all right is fabulous. A child reading this is a bedtime story get this very quickly faster than some of his intellectual adults reserve the child was daddy is that mean that he is right. Wow, this is a great story and it is a great story. So are you talking about talk about Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is never very interesting and so was it was the word well. His sermons were fantastic, terrific sermons, we were sick and tired of the scribes and Pharisees. Their stock was boring. It was horrible the same old stuff week after week, but when he spoke, people listened. People began to follow him and believe in him we have done the same thing and his miracles we see lame people get up and take their beds and walk blind people see we saw the transformation of a little Jeep called Zacchaeus came scattering down the tree and finally come out of his house and his whole life was turned upside down all yes Jesus of Nazareth. Fantastic sermons, wonderful miracles. There is no question that he was a prophet. He was a prophet but the chief priests and our rulers, the Jewish authorities handed him over to be sentenced to death in the crucified, and our hopes for liberation.

Verse 21 all came to a grinding halt.

We had hoped he was going to be the one to redeem Israel is now the third day since all this to place that doesn't really seem to be any indication of the fact that he is who he claimed to be the women have gone and the story is out about the Angels and so on. Some of our companions actually went to the tomb. They found it just the way the women said by the him they did not see that when you read this is not difficult to catch the perplexity in their voices. The disappointment, the sense of hopelessness that permeates the account.

That's the basic problem the disciples had a complete sense of hopelessness without Jesus were seeing that in the Scriptures listing to Alistair Begg on Truth for Life with the message called getting the big picture.

Today's teaching helps us imagine what it must've been like for Jesus disciples in those first days after his crucifixion.

All they'd hoped for had been lost, but the resurrection of Jesus changed everything.

That's our focus this weekend as we celebrate Easter the fact that we have a risen Savior. Today I want to recommend to you a book that affirms this truth. The book is called alive of the resurrection of Christ changes everything. We live in a world where many people dismiss, the resurrection is a myth, but the truth that Christ rose from the grave is the very heart of the gospel. The author of this book walks through the Scripture to demonstrate how the resurrection is foreshadowed in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. He explains how the reality of the risen Lord, changes our lives forever. So whether you're looking to deepen your understanding. Convince others of God's truth. We want to invite you to request a copy of the book alive.

When you give to support the mission of truth for like you can donate online at or call 888-588-7884. If you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book alive. Write to us the truth for PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 Bob Lapine.

We hope you have a blessed resurrection Sunday.

Alister continues his message Monday explaining where so many of Jesus followers have gone wrong. Hope you can join us Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

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