Luke 24:13-35 (spring AD 30, Sunday afternoon of Passion Week)
Jesus was famous, and the events surrounding his killing were widely known. So much so that it was bewildering to Cleopas and his friend that their conversation could have been about anyone or anything else (v.17-18).
“[Jesus] 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.”
(See below for chapter 2 of my book, ’30 Prophecies – One Story’, which gives an overview of one of the first Messianic Prophecies, and is a response to Jesus’ words to the two disciples.)
Not every verse in the Bible says relates directly to Jesus, and not every passage speaks about him, However, he is the thread that runs through the whole of the Old Testament, connecting it all as being a single story about God redeeming a people for himself. The event just before this reading – the resurrection of Jesus – was the culmination of 2,000 years of narrative, plus the early Genesis account from far earlier. Scripture takes us from Abraham, then the 400 years to the Exodus, then the 400-500 years of the Judges, then 400 or so years of the monarchy, then the exile and return, then 500-600 years of almost complete silence from God.
And then – in direct fulfilment of 350+ prophecies, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God.
Ask God to open your eyes (more) to see (more) clearly who God is, the reality of his words in the Bible, and the claim he has on you, at the same time as the promises he has for you.
2: JESUS WAS A PROPHET LIKE MOSES
INCIDENT: God’s instructions to Moses about living in the Promised Land
PROPHET/DATES: Moses, 1400BC
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)
THEN AND THERE
The Israelites were in the desert during their 40 years of wandering when God gave Moses a lot of instructions about how the people should live when they finally arrived in the Promised Land and made it their home. They needed to obey God and not be like all the people around them, God said.
God promised through Moses that he would send a prophet who would speak God’s exact words to the people. It was crucial for them to listen to him and obey him.
Over the next 1,000 years God spoke to his people mainly through angels and prophets, and the people could tell who the real prophets were because when they predicted the future, it came true. When they made a prediction that DIDN’T come through…well, then the people knew they were dealing with a false prophet who was not from God. Also, many of God’s prophets performed miracles, which proved God was with them.
Many of the prophecies were important messages from God for the people then and there. Sadly and often, the people refused to listen and God had to punish them for it, until one day God sent the ultimate prophet – the only person in history who always spoke the perfect words of God. That man was Jesus.
“For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’” (Acts 3:22-23)
“After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”
God’s people had been waiting, not just for a prophet like Moses, but THE prophet like Moses. When Jesus came a lot of people began to wonder….was this the guy? Part of the way through Jesus’ ministry people thought maybe he was, but most had the wrong idea of what to do about it. Jesus did not come to rule over them like an earthly king– he came to save them from their sins. Sometimes Jesus had to just go away into the countryside on his own so they couldn’t force him to become king.
Can you imagine anyone wanting to force you to rule over them? No, me neither. But that’s what they wanted to do to Jesus.
The apostle Peter was thinking about this on the day of Pentecost when he was talking to the crowds about who Jesus was, trying to help them understand that all the prophecies they read about in the Bible came true in Jesus. Even this REALLY ancient prophecy from nearly 1,500 years earlier…the prophecy that came through Moses.
Peter said this because he wanted to remind the people about the last bit of the prophecy: that people MUST listen to what THE prophet said so that they could be saved from their sins by trusting in Jesus.
If you went to the doctor and they took your temperature, you would listen very carefully to what they said next because you know that they know more than you about bodies and illnesses. For example if they said you had an infection and needed to take some medicine, you would do as they told you. So it’s important to listen to your doctor and do what they say.
Jesus knows more than you, me, and everyone else how to be in right relationship with God the Father, so we must listen carefully to what he said and do what he says. How do we know? Because God the Father himself tells us so in the above verses. And the most important, first things that Jesus says we must do is to say sorry to God for being a sinner and ask him for forgiveness.
Do you ‘listen’ to what Jesus says by reading about it in the Bible, and then obeying it?
Do you trust Jesus as much as you trust your doctor?
God, thank you that the prophecy through Moses came true in Jesus. Please help me to obey what Jesus said – especially that first and biggest thing: to ask you to forgive my sins, and to be really sorry for my sin.