Week One: The Anticipation
Day 1: What Was Said in All the Scriptures
As we will see in our readings this week, there was great anticipation among the Jewish people about the coming of the Messiah—the one they believed would save God’s people from hundreds of years of slavery, oppression, and persecution, and fulfill God’s promises to them. Often, we, as Christians, skip over the Old Testament and miss huge chunks of our story that can deepen and enrich our faith.
In our passages today, which tell of two encounters between Jesus and His disciples after the resurrection, we see that Jesus pointed His disciples (and points us) to the Old Testament so they could truly understand who He was and why He came. Notice what Jesus says about Himself in today’s passages.
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had 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?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they 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 they 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. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came 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 they did not see Jesus.”
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.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
- What do you understand Jesus to be saying about Himself and the Old Testament Scriptures in these verses?
- Why do you think it was important for Jesus’ disciples to know that He was fulfilling what was written about Him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms?
- What impact does the fact that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament Scriptures have on your faith in or relationship with Jesus?
- How might your perspective, prayers, and practices around Christmas change as you consider Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms?
Jesus, my Savior, thank You for who You are. Thank You for fulfilling all of God’s promises and demonstrating God’s faithfulness. Remind me of this truth today as I go through my work, engage in my relationships, and seek to love as You do. Embolden my prayers with the reality that God is faithful and at work in my life, my community, and my world on this day. Amen.
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