One of my favorite memories from last year’s trip to the Holy Land is walking a portion of the road to Emmaus. Our guide, a Christian Jew who knows both the Jewish Scriptures and the Israeli landscape better than I know my living room, divided us into small groups for our brief Emmaus jaunt. He instructed us to share Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah with each other as we walked. It was a rich time meditating on Old Testament promises of Christ along the very road where Jesus unpacked them for two disciples (Luke 24:27).
Usually when I’ve thought of Luke 24 I’ve responded this way: “Man, I would have loved to have heard what Jesus said that day.” You’ve probably had the same thought, or at least heard a preacher say it.
But here’s the thing: I don’t think we’ve missed it. Not the content, at least. We know essentially what Jesus said. It’s been recorded for us by (or under the watch of) the disciples who spent three years living with Christ and who were taught Old Testament Messianic prophecies by Him (Luke 24:44-45). Luke 24:44 indicates that the truths shared on the road to Emmaus were a regular part of Jesus’ teaching, not a one-time event. And Luke 22:45 says that He taught them yet again after His resurrection, at which time He “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” about Old Testament Christology. These students from Christ’s typology class are behind the Gospels, which repeatedly connect the dots between prophecy and fulfillment for us. They’re behind the preaching in Acts, which so often cites Old Testament promises of the Savior. They’re behind the Epistles, which almost certainly utilize arguments and allusions from the Old Testament more than we realize. So it’s likely, for example, that the book of Hebrews with its non-stop type/fulfillment theme is a sort of “syllabus” from Jesus’ Emmaus lecture. Epistles essentially equal Emmaus. And then some!
Sure, it would have been amazing to hear Christ Himself teach about how the Law, Poetry, and Prophets foretold of His life, death, and resurrection. But it’s thrilling to know that I have precisely the information He wants me to have in the inspired and sufficient Word. Christ’s lectures weren’t lost. They were brought to the disciples remembrance (John 14:26), and they’ve been shared with us in the inspired New Testament. Grace.
(HT: Joe Tyrpak, who recently connected Emmaus and the NT Epistles in this sermon/lecture on biblical theology—a “Eureka!” moment for me—and Dan Phillips, who recently brought my mind back to Luke 24 with this blog post and made this very point about the Gospels in a follow-up comment. Thanks, fellas.)