FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
December 5, 2014
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER TWO – Part XIII
TWO LAYMEN DISCIPLES TESTIFY TO THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
See Luke 24: 13-33. We may never be called to occupy a prominent place in Christ’s work but if we are earnest and honest believers in Him, we are His disciples with whom He walks and talks with through the Holy Spirit as we walk our personal dark, lonely “road to Emmaus.” But in time, we can also tell a wonderful story of our walk to Emmaus and say, in retrospect, when hindsight is 20/20, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?”
Christ is even now walking and talking with us, though we don’t immediately hear or recognize it, perhaps because of dwelling upon the dark shadow of the cross instead of its glorious, resurrection side! The beloved apostle says: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1: 2-5, N.K.J.V.
Moreover, “As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. Again and again the history of Christ’s withdrawal from Judea has been repeated.”- The Desire of Ages, p. 232. Sin hinders the perception of truth; it enslaves. “The most common manifestation of the sin against the Holy Spirit is in persistently slighting Heaven’s invitation to repent.” DA 324.
Jesus is alive, not dead! “Let us not look at the hellish work of the powers of darkness until hope and courage shall fail. Jesus lives, and we must let our faith pierce the darkness . . . and rest in the light, rejoice in the light of the Sun of Righteousness [Mal. 4:2]. Jesus lives to make intercession for us. While the blackness and darkness are closing about the world, our lives are only secure as they are hid with Christ in God [Col. 3: 3].
Precious Savior! . . . .We will then talk faith, talk hope, talk courage, and diffuse light on every side. ‘You are,’ says Christ, ‘the light of the world.’ (see Matt 5: 14-16). Faith must pierce the darkest cloud.” – E.G. White, That I May Know Him, 284.
The resurrected Christ appeared to two disciples, one named Cleopas, and gave a thorough discourse pointing to the indispensability of the Old Testament Scriptures and prophecies to learn the truth regarding His mission on earth so that: (1) His resurrection and the Biblical truth of the resurrection, when and how it takes place, is confirmed as truth (2) that seemingly insignificant disciples, laymen, and members may realize how important they are in God’s sight (3) their responsibility of disseminating the truth about Christ’s resurrection—which the Jewish leaders denied and used bribery to persuade the first human witnesses of His resurrection to lie against the truth. Matt. 28: 11-15.
One sin leads to another, from briber to the bribed, from deceiver to the deceived, who in turn becomes a deceiver unless he repents. The first human witnesses to Christ’s glorious resurrection before sunrise of the first day of the week were the following: The Roman soldiers stationed to guard the Roman-sealed, borrowed tomb where Christ was buried and the following: Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary,” Matt. 28: 1; Mark 16: 9; the two disciples, Luke 14: 13-33; other women, Matt 28: 9; 34; ten apostles, then with Thomas, John 20: 19, 24-29; eleven apostles and those who were with them. Luke 24: 33; Matt 28: 16; Simon Peter, Luke 24: 34; apostles at the Sea of Tiberias, John 21: 1; apostles in Galilee, Matt. 28: 16, 17; over five hundred brethren, 1 Cor. 15: 6; Apostle James, then all the apostles, 1 Cor. 15: 7; finally, by Apostle Paul in vision. 1 Cor. 15: 8.
A book which I recommend anytime, everywhere, to sinner or saint, simple-minded or intellectual, pauper or magnate, Christian or non-Christian, is The Desire of Ages by Ellen G. White. In the chapter, “The Walk to Emmaus, pp. 795-801, she wrote:
“Late in the afternoon of the day of the resurrection, two of the disciples were on their way to Emmaus, a little town 7 [or 8] miles away from Jerusalem. These disciples had no prominent place in Christ’s work, but they were earnest believers in Him. They had come to the city to celebrate the Passover, and were greatly perplexed by the events that had recently taken place.
They had heard the news in the morning in regard to the removal of Christ’s body from the tomb, and also the report of the women who had seen the angels and had met Jesus. They were now returning to their homes to meditate and pray. Sadly they pursued their evening walk, talking over the scenes of the trial and the crucifixion. Never before had they been so disheartened. Hopeless and faithless, they were walking in the shadow of the cross.
“They had not advanced far on their journey when they were joined by a stranger, but they were so absorbed in their gloom and disappointment that they did not observe Him closely. They continued their conversation, expressing the thoughts of their hearts. They were reasoning in regard to the lessons that Christ had given, which they seemed unable to comprehend.
As they talked of the events that had taken place, Jesus longed to comfort them. He had seen their grief; He understood the conflicting, perplexing ideas that brought to their minds the thought, Can this Man, who suffered Himself to be so humiliated, be the Christ? Their grief could not be restrained, and they wept. Jesus knew that their hearts were bound up with Him in love, and He longed to wipe away their tears, and fill them with joy and gladness. But He must first give them lessons they would never forget. [See Luke 24: 17, 18]
“Strange that the disciples did not remember Christ’s words, and realize that He had foretold the events which had come to pass! They did not realize that the last part of His discourse would be just as verily fulfilled as the first part, that the third day He would rise again [the glorious side of Calvary!]. This was the part they should have remembered. [But] the priests and rulers did not forget this. On the day‘that followed the day of the preparation [the Sabbath], the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.’ Matt. 27: 62, 63. But the disciples did not remember these words.
“’Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Chris to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ Luke 24: 25, 26, N.K.J.V. . . .Beginning at Moses [the first 5 books of the Bible], the very Alpha of Bible history, Christexpounded in all Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Had He first made Himself known to them, their hearts would have been satisfied. In the fullness of their joy they would have hungered for nothing more. But it was necessary for them to understand the witness borne to Him by the types and prophecies of the Old Testament. Upon these their faith must be established. Christ performed no miracle to convince them, but it was His work to explain the Scriptures. They had looked upon His death as the destruction of all their hopes. Now He showed from the prophets that this was the very strongest evidence for their faith.
“In teaching these [two] disciples, Jesus showed the importance of the Old Testament as a witness to His mission. Many professed Christians now discard the Old Testament, claiming that it is no longer of any use. But such is not Christ’s teaching. So highly did He value it that at one time He said, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.’ Luke 16: 31.
“It is the voice of Christ that speaks through patriarchs and prophets, from the days of Adam even to the closing scenes of time. The Savior is revealed in the Old Testament as clearly as in the New. It is the light from the prophecies past that brings out the life of Christ, and the teachings of the New Testament with clearness and beauty. The miracles of Christ are a proof of His divinity; but a stronger proof that He is the world’s Redeemer is found in comparing the prophecies of the Old Testament with the history of the New.
“Reasoning from prophecy, Christ gave His disciples a correct idea of what He was to be in humanity. Their expectation of a Messiah who was to take His throne and kingly power in accordance with the desires of men had been misleading. . . .Christ desired that the ideas of His disciples might be pure and true in every specification. They must understand as far as possible in regard to the cup of suffering that had been apportioned to Him. He showed them that the awful conflict which they could not yet comprehend was the fulfillment of the covenant made before the foundation of the world was laid. Christ must die, as every transgressor of the law must die, if he continues in sin. All this was to be, but it was not to end in defeat, but in glorious, eternal victory. Jesus told them that every effort must be made to save the world from sin. His followers must live as He lived, and work as He worked, with intense, persevering effort.
Our Traveling Companion. “Thus Christ discoursed to His disciples, opening their minds that they might understand the Scriptures. . . But little did they yet suspect who their traveling companion was. They did not think that the subject of their conversation was walking by their side; for Christ referred to Himself as though He were another person. They thought that He was one of those who had been in attendance at the great feast, and was now returning to His home. He walked as carefully as they over the rough stones, now and then halting with them for a little rest. Thus they proceeded along the mountainous road, while the One who was soon to take His position as God’s right hand [at His ascension], and who could say, ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth,’ walked beside them.Matt. 28: 18.
“During the journey the sun had gone down. . . . As the disciples were about to enter their home, the stranger appeared as though He would continue His journey. . . Abide with us,’ they said. He did not seem to accept the invitation, but they pressed it upon Him. . . Christ yielded to this entreaty and ‘went in to tarry with them.’
“Had the disciples failed to press their invitation, they would not have known that their traveling companion was the risen Lord. Christ never forces His company upon anyone. He interests Himself in those who need Him. Gladly will He enter the humblest home, and cheer the lowliest heart. But if men are too indifferent to think of the heavenly Guest, or ask Him to abide with them, He passes on. Thus many meet with great loss. They do not know Christ any more than did the disciples as He walked with them by the way.” (Continued next week)