A NOTE ABOUT THIS TRANSCRIPT
The following sermon transcript does not match the video version of the sermon—it matches only the audio version. Here's a brief explanation why.
John MacArthur routinely preaches a sermon more than once on the same date, during different worship services at Grace Community Church. Normally, for a given sermon title, our website features the audio and video that were recorded during the same worship service. Very occasionally, though, we will post the audio from one service and the video from another. Such was the case for the sermon titled "Losing Your Life to Save it," the transcript of which follows below. The transcript is of the audio version.
Open your Bible, if you will, to Matthew chapter 5 and just put your finger there for a minute. I’m going to come back to that, but it will be a moment. We are at the second stop in a journey. We started last time, I guess we could say this is the first stop, we started last time on a journey to find Christ in the Old Testament, finding the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. That’s what this series is going to be about. For forty years we have been learning the majestic glories of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed on the pages of the New Testament. We have learned His history in the four gospels. We have learned the expansion of the gospel in the book of Acts, the preaching of Christ, the theology of Christ in the book of Acts and as well in the rest of the epistles of the New Testament. We’ve even come to understand the eschatology concerning Christ from the book of Revelation.
So we have had a full New Testament glimpse of Christ, having gone through the entire New Testament verse by verse, line by line. We have beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. We have seen in Him all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and we have found in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And now, having that clear vision of Jesus Christ, we’re going to go back in to the Old Testament to find Him there prophetically…to find Him there prophetically. We have a very clear picture of Jesus Christ from the New Testament which will enable us to see Him where He appears in the Old Testament.
As I explained to you last time, this is not backward, this is the way it has to be. In 2 Corinthians 3:14 we are reminded that if all you have is Moses, a veil is over your face, which veil is revealed in Christ, 2 Corinthians 3:14. If all you have is the Old Testament, there’s a veil over your face, the veil is removed in Christ. So we, seeing Christ in all His glory, have unveiled faces to go back and look at the Old Testament in all of its richness and in particular to find Him there. He will be readily recognizable to us because we have such a clear understanding of who He is.
Our journey then takes us back into the ancient revelation, the first book of the Bible, the Old Testament and it has already begun last week. Now, Jesus Christ is not in every verse or every chapter or every book of the Old Testament, but He is nonetheless the prophetic theme of the whole Old Testament.
Now what I want to do in this little bit of an introduction, last Sunday, this Sunday and next Sunday, is build a bridge for you back to the Old Testament. I want it to be a wide bridge so we can all walk over this bridge with understanding as we enter the world of the Old Testament. I need to lay some foundation for that bridge and show you that building a bridge back is not novel, it is not my invention because it is the Lord Himself who says, “Search the Old Testament scriptures for they testify about Me.” We have been instructed by the Lord Himself to go back and find Him in the Old Testament.
Now in order to do that, we need to begin with four perspectives, four sort of pillars that hold up this little bridge we’re building back to the Old Testament, four ways to understand this study. Number one, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself declared that the Old Testament revealed Him. That, of course, is critically important. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself declared that the Old Testament revealed Him.
Point number two, the disciples and Apostles fully believed in Him because they understood the Old Testament. The Apostles and the disciples fully believed in Him because they understood the Old Testament.
Third point, the Apostles and prophets who preached the gospel preached the gospel of Jesus Christ based on the Old Testament. We see that in the book of Acts and even in the epistles.
And then fourthly, the writers of the New Testament ground their teaching in the Old Testament. Christ then, that’s the first point, declares Himself to be in the Old Testament. The disciples and Apostles believed in Christ because they understood the Old Testament. The early preachers preached the gospel based on the Old Testament. And the writers of the New Testament ground their writing in the Old Testament. That’s the flow we’re going to follow. From Christ to the believing disciples to the preachers and to the writers of the New Testament are going to see how important the Old Testament was to all of them, how foundational it was.
Now last time I gave you point number one and point number one is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself declared that the Old Testament revealed Him. That’s critical. He said things like, “Abraham rejoiced to see My day.” He said, “Moses wrote of Me.” He said, “David called Me Lord.” As we noted last week in John 5, He said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me for he wrote about Me.” And then we went to Luke 16, remember the story that Jesus invented about the man named Lazarus who was a poor beggar and the rich man who died, and you remembered the rich man being in torment says to Abraham in this story, “Send Lazarus back into the world, back from death and let him warn my brothers not to come to hell.” And our Lord says, “Abraham replied by saying, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses, and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
These are simply illustrations of the fact that Jesus repeatedly said the Old Testament speaks about Him, and about the redemption that is available in Him. Now if you’re in Matthew 5, it’s just a simple statement but a very extensive one in verse 17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets,” that’s simply a title for the Old Testament, “I didn’t come to abolish, but to fulfill and to fulfill it completely until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law,” meaning the Old Testament, “until it’s all accomplished.” He came, listen, in fulfillment of the Old Testament, to fulfill the Old Testament.
Now all of that simply to reiterate to you what we said last time about the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ declares that the Old Testament reveals Him—the Old Testament reveals Him. Now it should go without saying but it needs to be said, and so I’m going to take the moment to say it. That we can trust our Lord’s view of the Old Testament, fair enough? Since we’re talking about the all wise, all knowing, sinless, perfect, Son of God, we can trust His view of the Old Testament. If He says that the Old Testament reveals Him, then that is a true statement—a true statement. Now let me just expand on that a little bit, because I think it might help you in understanding Him from a different perspective than you’ve understood Him in the past.
His story is in the New Testament, but His Bible was the Old Testament. The only Bible that Jesus ever had was the Old Testament. He was gone before any of the New Testament was ever written. His Bible was the Old Testament. And the Old Testament Scripture was constantly on His holy mind. Now as a child He was growing in wisdom in stature in favor with God and man. And as He was growing, He was learning the Word of God, He was being taught the Word of God. He was reading the Scripture. He was absorbing the Scripture. And one thing is for sure, He did not have a fallen mind and therefore whatever He learned He retained. You can assume that He had perfect recall and therefore had committed without even trying the entire Old Testament to perfect memory. He knew the Old Testament.
There were no competing ideologies in His mind because there were no doubts about the Old Testament because He was the Son of God He was free from doubt. Because He had perfect knowledge, He had perfect trust. He had perfect faith in the Father and He knew the Word because it was His own very Word proceeding from Himself as God. So there were no debates in His mind about what it meant, or about whether it was true. There was no confusion in His mind about its significance and its understanding and its meaning. He had a perfect knowledge of the content of the Scripture and He had a perfect knowledge of the interpretation of the Scripture. He knew exactly what it meant and He had a perfect knowledge of the application of the Scripture in every situation. And there were no competing religions in His mind, there were no competing philosophies, there were no competing ideas in His mind. He didn’t have to resolve anything in His mind. He was just fully committed to the absolute truth of Scripture perfectly understood. It saturated His mind. You might say it was hidden in His holy heart and it was dispersed through His entire life. All His thoughts, and all His words, and all His actions were in direct correspondence to the Word of God which dominated His pure mind.
This comes out in His life. For example, as He begins His ministry, we find Him in Luke chapter 4 just launching into His ministry. First thing that happens is He’s led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness, according to Luke 4, to be tempted by the devil. He runs into this conflict with the devil after 40 days of fasting, so He’s at a point of human weakness and perhaps some might say vulnerability. Satan comes after Him with his best shots and you will remember the story recorded in Luke 4 and also in Matthew 4 that Jesus responded to every temptation that Satan threw at Him with a Bible verse because that’s how He thought and that’s how He responded, that’s how He lived His life in perfect harmony with the Word of God. And so from the book of Deuteronomy, the writings of Moses, He quoted three Scriptures that vanquished Satan.
He did essentially what David the Psalmist would want us to do, and what we would need to do from a viewpoint, hide the Word in our heart that we might not sin against You, right? And so, Jesus vanquishes Satan not with miracle power, He doesn’t chase Him away with miraculous power. He grounds His triumph over the evil solicitations of the devil at that crucial moment at the beginning of His ministry in the Old Testament Scripture from the book of Deuteronomy. Which, by the way, critics say is a forgery. So much for critics.
In that same chapter, no sooner does He come back from being ministered to by the angels, coming out of that 40 days of fasting and temptation, that He launches His ministry. He launches His ministry publicly in Nazareth. He goes into the synagogue and this is how it starts. “He came to Nazareth,” verse 16 of Luke 4, “where He had been brought up and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, He opened the book, found the place where it was written, and He read this, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to set free those who are oppressed.’” And then He added a quote from Leviticus 25:10, “To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” That was the beginning of His public ministry. That was His first time to stand up and He quoted from Isaiah 61:1 and then said this, “He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, sat down and said, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
On the negative side, He vanquishes Satan with the use of the Old Testament. On the positive side, He demonstrates His Messiahship and His purpose for coming and His arrival with the use of Scripture. It was always about the Scripture with Christ—always about the Scripture. All through His ministry He quoted the Scripture, referred to the Scripture, directly/indirectly because it totally dominated His mind. Just in the record that we have in the four gospels, it indicates that He refers to 20 Old Testament persons, 20 different Old Testament persons. He quotes from nineteen different Old Testament books. He is saturated with the Old Testament.
Now, just sit back for a moment and listen, let me give you the big picture. Okay? Don’t try to write all this down, just listen. He refers, our Lord does, to the creation of man. He refers to the institution of marriage. He refers to the history of Noah. He refers to the story of Abraham. He refers to Lot. He refers to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah as described in Genesis. He refers to the appearing that God had to Moses in the burning bush, to the manna in the wilderness, to the Ten Commandments, to the tribute money all mentioned in Exodus. He refers to the ceremonial Law, for the purification of lepers, for the great moral law contained in Leviticus. He refers to the brazen serpent and the law regarding vows in Numbers. We’ve already said that He quotes three times from the book of Deuteronomy. That covers the five books of Moses with which He was very, very familiar. He refers to David’s flight to the high priest at Nob to the glory of Solomon, to the visit of the Queen of Sheba, to Elijah’s sojourn with the widow of Zarephath, to the healing of Naaman the leper, to the killing of Zechariah, all that from various historical books.
And as regards to the Psalms, and the Wisdom literature and the prophets, His divine authority is more deeply stamped on them than even the books of history and the books of Moses as He quotes frequently from them. He says, “Have you not read?” referring to the Old Testament. “Is it not written?” referring to the Old Testament. He says, “The Scripture cannot be broken,” referring to the Old Testament. He says, “The Scriptures testify of Me.” He says, “The Scripture must be fulfilled.” These are constant assertions and the Scripture He’s talking about is the only Bible He had, the Old Testament.
Question concerning the resurrection, Jesus said, “You do err not knowing the Scriptures. God is not the God of the dead but of the living.” Our Lord there attributed the skepticism of the Sadducees to their not understanding the Scripture. As He drew near the cross, our Savior’s testimony to the Scriptures takes on a poignant significance. He says to His followers, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.” That’s Luke 18. He says, “For I say unto you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me,” and He was reckoned with the transgressors, “For that which concerns Me has to be fulfilled.” On the night of His betrayal in the shade of the Mount of Olives, the darkness of the night there, three times the Savior points to the fulfillment of Scripture from the Old Testament. When He’s hanging on the cross, He has seven statements that He makes, three of them are directly connected to Old Testament passages. He was literally saturated with the Old Testament.
Perhaps the strongest testimony of all which Christ bore to the Old Testament, has to do with His resurrection. On the very day that He arose, as we read earlier in Luke 24, it’s the same day He arose, He ends up on the road to Emmaus and comes across these two disciples, this is all by divine plan, and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them all that Scripture says concerning Himself. He went in to Moses, the prophets, and the holy writings—the three Jewish sections of the Old Testament. That’s the same Old Testament you hold in your hand right now.
After this and that same day, He appeared to the eleven. We read that later in Luke 24. And He said, “These are the words that I spoke to you while I was with you, that all things must be fulfilled written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and in the Psalms.” The Jews divided the Old Testament in to three sections; Moses, first five books, the Prophets, all the prophetic books, the rest of the books were called the writings, the Hagiography and the first one in the Jewish canon was Psalms. So when it refers to Psalms, it’s simply identifying the first book to mark that entire section. So that night of His resurrection with those disciples, He opens up the three sections of their Old Testament and it says He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures and said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it is necessary for Christ to suffer and rise from the dead the third day.
After His resurrection in the 40 days before His ascension, He set His seal on the Law, the Prophets, and the rest of the writings that make up the Old Testament, the three-fold division of that Old Testament. He stamped His approval on the whole Old Testament. And in the book of Revelation, if you look at the book of Revelation in chapter 1, you find a vision of Christ and it says, “Fear not—He speaks—I am the First and the Last. I am He that lives and was dead and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen, and have the keys of hell and death.” This is Christ describing Himself as the risen Lord, the First and the Last, He is alive, He was dead, He is now alive, He has control over death and hell. And by the way, that is taken directly out of Isaiah’s prophecy.
In the third chapter of Revelation He says this, He says that “He that as the key of David,” that’s Himself, “opens and no man shuts and shuts and no man opens.” He has absolute authority, that’s the key of David, and He takes that right out of Isaiah again, Isaiah chapter 22. So even in appearing to John in a vision in the book of Revelation, our Lord confirms the authority of the Old Testament revelation about Himself and says that He is now the risen exalted Christ who fulfills the prophecies of Isaiah of His own exaltation. He has the keys to hell and death. He has the authority to reign as the promised seed of David. It’s all about the Old Testament.
Now with that in mind, I want you to turn to Luke 24, to that account on the road to Emmaus because it’s so instructive and encouraging. Remember, these are disciples of Jesus, they’re not numbered among the Eleven, they’re two followers of Jesus who believed in Him and followed Him. There were a lot more than the eleven. On the day of Pentecost, we remember there are 120 in Jerusalem, so they are in confusion. They believe He’s the Messiah. They believe He’s a prophet, they say that. They affirm that He is a prophet mighty in deed and Word in the sight of God and all the people. So they’ve put their trust in Him as this great prophet and they must have some sense that He’s the Redeemer because verse 21 says we were hoping it was He who was going to redeem Israel, that is the Messiah. So they put their Messianic hope in Jesus and now they’ve become very confused.
What has confused them is in verse 20, “The chief priests and rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death and crucified Him.” They don’t have any place in their theology for that. That doesn’t fit in their theology, a dead, crucified Messiah rejected by the leaders of Israel and executed by Gentiles in Gentile-occupying invaders, that just doesn’t fit their Messianic theology. So now the death of Jesus Christ has sent them into confusion—confusion. Well we know it did the same for the disciples, right? Peter turns in to a denier. The disciples all flee, strike the Shepherd, smite the Shepherd and the sheep are scattered, the prophet said. And that’s exactly what happened. There’s confusion, there’s unbelief. Yes Peter made the declaration, “You’re the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Yes they have put their faith in Him, but doubt and confusion starts to enter in and that becomes the subject of their discussion.
Down in verse 25. The Lord is going to solve their dilemma. They have very, very clear knowledge of His death. They have somewhat hazy knowledge of His resurrection. The words floating around some women came to the tomb and He wasn’t there and they talked to some angels and they just don’t know what’s going on exactly. They know for sure He died, they don’t know that He rose. And for sure they don’t know how this can possibly fit their Messianic picture. They don’t have a dead Messiah in their picture. They have been trained and taught and raised in a Judaism that saw Messiah as a conquering hero, as one who would come and vanquish all the enemies, establish His glorious rule in Jerusalem and extend it across the globe. And that’s not happened. Instead He’s dead and they don’t know if He’s risen as He said He would because they say it’s the third day and so far we don’t have any news about anything happening.
So how is Jesus going to move them from doubt to faith? How’s He going to get them from confusion to confidence? How is He going to have their faith rock solid on Him as the Messiah and Redeemer of Israel and the world? Answer: He must give them an accurate understanding of what? The Old Testament—The Old Testament. So He said to them in verse 25, first an indictment, “O foolish men and slow of heart,” foolish, anoetos, dull—dull. It isn’t that they’re obstinate; it isn’t that they’re rebellious. They’re just dull. Slow of heart, bradus means kind of stupid, block-headed, thick-headed. It’s more unwillingness than rebellion. It’s an ignorance born of an unwilling spirit. The idea of Messiah being rejected by the leaders of the nation which is His nation, the idea of Messiah being rejected by His own people, the idea of Messiah then being arrested by His own people, and crucified, de facto by His own people who get the Romans to actually do it, but it’s their will, just does not make sense and they don’t want to hear it.
Let me give you an illustration of this. If you go back in to the sixteenth chapter of Luke for…or of Matthew rather for just a minute, you’ll remember an occasion in Matthew 16 verse 21, verse 21 Jesus is talking to the disciples and He’s getting them ready for what’s coming. So this was probably not stated once, but many, many times leading up to His arrest. Jesus began to show His disciples. He began to show His disciples which means this was initiating a new series of lessons and statements that were repeatedly made. He began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and be raised up on the third day.
Now He said that to them we don’t know how many times He said that to them. And yet these guys on the road to Emmaus are having trouble with the idea that the chief priests arrested Him and crucified Him and we thought He was going to redeem Israel. But He had been saying that.
To show you how hard it was for them to accept it, verse 22, Peter takes the Lord aside, “Come here, Lord, come here, come here.” Probably wiggled his fisherman finger at Him. Pulled Him aside, began to rebuke Him. And that’s the moxie I would say, or chutzpah if you’re Jewish. Take Him aside and said, “Lord, God forbid it, this is not going to happen, this will never happen to you. You’re reading the wrong book or you’re reading the wrong plan. You’ve got the wrong blueprint here. This is not going to happen.” Even when He said it, even when He repeated it, they refused to hear it. But they were on lock down in their Messianic theology. There was just no way to break it up, it was in concrete. So Jesus turns and says to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan, you’re a stumbling to Me, and here’s your problem, you’re setting your mind on man’s interest, not God’s. This is the problem. They wanted a Kingdom. They wanted glory. They wanted elevation. Witness James and John going to Jesus with their mother to get to sit on the right and the left hand of the Kingdom. They were looking for the big payoff. They wanted to win the theological Messianic lottery. They wanted to be enthroned. That’s what they were after. That was man’s interest. This idea of death had no place in their system and he that is convinced against his will is unconvinced still.
So their anticipation of Messiah made them hard against the truth of His death. Back to Luke 24. So this is leading to confusion. They’re scattered. They’re confused. They can’t figure it out because they can’t accept what Jesus said about His death. It just doesn’t fit their preconceptions. Which is a good illustration of life. Sometimes I tell young pastors, “Don’t expect them to buy what you’re saying for a long, long time, no matter how convincing you are. And if you need a model for that, take Jesus. Never a better teacher, never more clear, never more powerful, never more correct, and they refused to believe what He said even though they understood it exactly.
So, He says to them, “You’re fools, you’re slow of heart because you don’t believe in what the prophets have spoken.” Your problem is, you have confusion because you don’t believe what the Old Testament says. Isn’t that amazing? That’s…that’s the point that I said was going to be the second point. The first point is that Jesus declared the Old Testament to reveal the truth about Himself. The second point is this, the Apostles and disciples came to believe fully only when they understood the Old Testament…only when they understood the Old Testament.
Was it not—verse 26—necessary for two things to happen? Christ to suffer these things. That’s the first thing. And second, to enter into His glory. Was it not necessary? Isn’t that what the prophets, what…and that simply refers to the Old Testament…look at the Old Testament, wasn’t it necessary, a divine necessity for Christ to suffer these things? Isn’t blood atonement all over the Old Testament? Isn’t it everywhere in the Old Testament? Weren’t the priests basically butchers. Isn’t the whole Old Testament just literally saturated with blood? And yet no sacrifice ever satisfies? And doesn’t the Old Testament communicate substitutionary death and a sacrifice, and an atonement to satisfy God for sin? And yet there’s never a final one? Just repeating and repeating, and repeating. Doesn’t the Bible tell you that God slew an animal to cover Adam and Eve? Doesn’t the Bible tell you that God rejected Cain’s offering and established blood sacrifice as the only symbol of atonement? Aren’t there sin offerings and blood sacrifices through the whole history of Israel, including the Day of Atonement as well as the Mosaic provision for a morning sacrifice and an evening sacrifice? The bloody death of animals substitutes fill the whole history of God’s people. What’s not clear about that? What’s not clear about that?
In order for Abraham to save his own son, an innocent sacrifice had to be offered in Isaac’s place. What’s not clear about that? Blood sacrifice is the only way. Even in the books of Moses, Leviticus 17, “The life of the flesh is in the blood and I’ve given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls.” It is the blood of…it is the blood, rather, by reason of the life that makes atonement. It is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.
Every Jew knew that, that sin brought death and that God would provide a substitute. The substitute was pictured but the substitute had never come. They knew that none of their works, none of their own achievements or religious activities could take away their sin. But at the same time, they knew that there was no final, sufficient sacrifice who would ever come forward. There was no perfect sacrifice. But all of that pointed to the Messiah.
The Old Testament is loaded with testimony to the fact that the Messiah is going to have to be that final sacrifice. And second point, to enter into His glory. Glory—yes, they got that part. They got all the parts about glory, all the parts about the elevation of Messiah to the point of exaltation, reigning and ruling in Jerusalem, extending His Kingdom throughout the world and forever. They understood that part.
So how were they going to get the suffering and the glory connected? Verse 27, “Beginning with Moses and with all the Prophets, and in all the hagiographa, the third part, He explained to them the things concerning Himself.” Boy, would I love to have been there for that lesson. He went in to all the sections of the Old Testament, from Moses to Malachi, 39 books, and He taught the things concerning Himself. He traces His coming, His suffering, His resurrection, and His glory through the whole Old Testament. This is Christ the expositor, expositing the only Bible He ever owned, ever had, ever read, explaining the things concerning Himself in all the scriptures. He grounds them in the Old Testament prophecies of Messiah which then become the foundation on which their faith can stand.
What did He say? What did He talk about? Where did He go?
Well, let me make some suggestions, you can just listen. If I were to do a survey of things that He might have used, I would say maybe He started in Genesis 3:15 when He identified Himself as the seed of the woman, who would be bruised—who would be wounded, meaning His death, but He would crush the serpent’s head. Maybe He went to Genesis 3:21 and said that when God killed an animal, and used the skin of the animal to cover the guilt of Adam and Eve, that was a picture of the fact that He would be the sacrifice to provide the covering for sinners. Maybe He went in to Genesis 4:4 and said that the true sacrifice, the acceptable sacrifice offered by Abel was a picture of His acceptable sacrifice to come, a sacrifice of blood and death. Maybe He went to Genesis 6, 7 and 8, the story of the Flood and said that He is the true ark of safety who delivers His people through the waters of judgment. Maybe He went to the eighth chapter of Genesis verses 20 and 22 to show that He is the one laid on the altar after Noah came out and offered a sacrifice to God, a picture of Him.
I’m sure He went to Genesis 22 and said that the ram caught in the bush who substituted for Isaac was a picture of Him. I’m sure He must have gone to Exodus 12 and asked, “Who do you think the Passover Lamb is?” A Passover Lamb slain, blood painted on the doors at the great deliverance, the redemption of Israel from Egypt is a picture of Me. He is the Passover Lamb. John the Baptist said that, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” He must have gone to the sixteenth chapter of Exodus and said, “I am the true manna,” because that’s what He says in the sixth chapter of John. Maybe He went to the opening seven chapters of Leviticus, marched right through all the sacrificial offerings that are there, the burnt offering, the peace offering, the sin offering and said they all picture Me, they all picture Me. In fact, He would probably have said what the writer of Hebrews said, that His sacrifice is infinitely superior to all of those sacrifices which had to be repeated and repeated and repeated.
I’m sure that all references to atonement in the Old Testament He demonstrated, pictured Him. He may well have gone into the seventeenth chapter of Exodus or the twentieth chapter of Numbers and identified Himself as the rock that was smitten in the wilderness from whom the water came. Christ is that rock. Certainly He went to Deuteronomy chapter 18 where Moses predicts a Prophet that will come and says that, “I am that Prophet who will come.” Maybe He stopped in Deuteronomy 21, 22, and 23 to say that He is the one who being hanged on a tree would be cursed by God. I’m sure He must have stopped at Psalm 22 because Psalm 22 begins this way, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And Psalm 22 describes the crucifixion of the One who will be a reproach, who will be scorned, sneered at, His bones out of joint, His strength gone, His hands and feet pierced, His clothes divided up by lots as He hangs in death, Psalm 22, a graphic picture of the cross. He must have gone to Psalm 69 and told them that He would be the One who would be given vinegar to drink. And gone to Psalm 40 and verse 7, the One who says, “Behold, I come and the scroll of the book it is written of Me. I delight to do your will, O God, Your Law is within my heart.” That describes Him. That’s all He delighted, in doing the will of God and the Law of God dominated His heart.
Maybe He stopped in Isaiah chapter 50 and verse 6 and said of Himself, “I am the One who gave His back to the smiters and His cheeks to those who plucked His beard and covered His face with spit.” And maybe He went to Zachariah 12:10, “And I am the One…He said…who was pierced and when they look at Me, they’ll be opened a fountain of cleansing for sin.” And I’m pretty sure He went to Isaiah 53, aren’t you? And told them He was the One wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities, chastised for their peace. He was the Lamb led to slaughter.
And He may have even pulled in some of the details. Or Psalm 69:9 which says, “He would be hated for no reason.” Or Psalm 41:9, that He would be betrayed by a friend. Or Zechariah 11:12, that He would be sold for 30 pieces of silver, which He was. Or Zechariah 11:13 that the money would be then taken and thrown on the temple floor and then used to buy a Potter’s Field, all of which was said of Him and all of which came true.
Maybe He took them back in to Isaiah 53:7 and reminded them that when the sheep was slaughtered, He wouldn’t open His mouth to defend Himself and He had done that. According to Matthew 27:12, He didn’t answer. Maybe He looked later in Isaiah 53 at that verse that says He would be included with the criminals, numbered with the transgressors in His death. And there He was with a criminal on each side of Him. Maybe He took them to Psalm 34:20 which says, “Not a bone of His body will be broken,” and none was because He was already dead. Maybe He went back in to Isaiah 53 and pointed them to the fact that He would be buried with the rich and He ended up in the tomb of a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea. Surely He went to Psalm 16 because Psalm 16 says that when He dies, His body would not decay. He would not suffer corruption, but He would be raised from the dead, Psalm 16:10.
His ascension is in Psalm 68. His coronation is in Psalm 2 and Psalm 110, and those are just samples. The lesson must have been a staggering lesson, sweeping lesson. And He gave it to those two--two men. How could they have been so ignorant when there’s so much there? How could they have been so foolish when the Old Testament was so much about Him?
Sometimes it can get boring sitting in a class. I don’t think that one was boring. I don’t know how long it last, but I will tell you, a fire was being lit inside of them, the likes of which they had never experienced because everything was making sense—everything—everything. He went inside the Old Testament to explain Himself. He went deep down into the details of the Old Testament to clarify their vision of Him. And their eyes were opened. Their eyes were opened. For the first time in their lives, they understood the Old Testament, and it is at that moment that their faith found its inviolable, immovable foundation.
The Lord was alive from the dead and so was the Old Testament. That same day, seven miles away, meanwhile back in Jerusalem, the eleven are gathered together and these guys are so excited that they just bolt, though it’s late. They say, “It’s so late, Jesus, don’t travel, come stay with us for the night.” But they’re so excited, they bolt for Jerusalem. They arrive there. And they have to tell the disciples, the eleven who are gathered, what has gone on. They are probably a little bit disconnected as they’re trying to get it all out. And then, pick it up in verse 36, “While they were reporting their story, Jesus appears and says, ‘Peace be to you.’ They were startled, frightened, thought they were seeing a Spirit. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, why do these doubts arise in your heart?’” Well we know the answer to that, why were they troubled and why did doubts rise in their hearts? Because they didn’t yet understand—what?—the Old Testament.
You would say, “Well they saw Him, wasn’t that enough?” No. “So He says to them,” let’s take it a step further, ‘See My hands, My feet. It’s I Myself, touch Me, see. Spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones as you see that I have. And when He had said that He showed them His hand and His feet.” Was that enough? Verse 41, “They still couldn’t—what?—believe.” Didn’t Jesus say that? Listen, in Luke 16 He said this, “If they do not believe Moses and the Prophets, they will not believe though someone rises from the dead.” So here is a risen Christ standing in front of them and they can’t believe it, because they are so locked down to their understanding of Scripture. Until their understanding of Scripture changes, they’re not going to understand the resurrection of the Christ who stands right in front of them, whose hands and feet they’re touching.
So He says, “Let’s take it another step. Anybody got some food?” They’re so full of joy and amazement, they can’t filter all this, so they gave Him a piece of broiled fish and He took it and ate it. He was trying to show them that He’s not come kind of apparition, not some kind of vision, not some kind of sort of collective esoteric experience. He said then in verse 44, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you. I told you, I told you, didn’t I? I was going to be arrested. The chief priests, the scribes, the elders, they’re going to take Me, they’re going to crucify Me. Third day I’m going to rise. I told you all of that. And all of that—He says in verse 44—all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses the Prophets and the Psalms,” the Psalms referring to the third part because the third part, all the writings except the Law and the Prophets start with Psalms in the Jewish text. So it has reference to that third section. He says, “All that’s written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled,” and here He repeated what He had done in Emmaus. “He opened their minds to understand the Scripture.” I love that. I love that. That’s what all of us meager human teachers try to do, open your mind to understand the Scripture, Christ the expositor, Christ the ultimate expositor. “And He said to them, “Thus it is written,” and He went back, I think, through the whole litany of things that He had said to those two guys earlier, that Christ must suffer, arise again from the dead. You get the suffering part, we went over many Scriptures, the resurrection part is there as well. It’s implied in all the passages that speak of glory, all the passages that speak of His death, and all that speak of His glory assume a resurrection, but is specifically referred to in a number of places, Isaiah 53; Psalm 16; etc.
So Christ would suffer, rise from the dead the third day. And repentance and forgiveness of sin would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem and you’re witnesses of these things. What a lesson. So here’s my second point again. The disciples of Jesus believed in Him because they understood the—what?—Old Testament…the Old Testament. They put all the historical pieces with all the prophetical pieces and it had to be Jesus. They saw the full picture of the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now Jesus did it on the road to Emmaus in a few hours. He probably did it that night in a few hours, could take us years. Who knows? But we go slower and we’ll see how it works.
Somebody asked me, “What’s your objective in doing this? What is your objective?”
Here’s my objective, let’s go back to verse 32. “They said to one another after their eyes were opened and they recognized Him and they understood everything, were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road? While He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Understanding the Bible creates a burning heart. Burning with what? Gratitude, joy, exhilaration, hope, confidence, faith, enthusiasm excitement. The better you understand Scripture, the more joy you have because the more you understand God’s marvelous purposes for you in Christ the more joy it produces. The burning heart is sheer joy, it’s what catapults them..verse 33…out of that place, they go all the way back the seven miles to the eleven and they start trying to unload this experience on these guys who can’t quite figure it out because it’s just way over the top. And this is sort of the second level of guys, so they’re not, you know, important people from the perspective of the Apostles themselves. They’re trying to unpack all of this because their hearts are literally on fire with joy.
And then if you want to pick up from there, you go to the very last words of Luke 24, the very end of the book, oh He takes them out to Bethany and lift up His hands and blessed them and while He was blessing them, departed from them, was carried up into heaven. The Ascension. Then this, “And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with—what?—great joy.
So what’s my goal in this? I want you to have joy. I want you to have great joy that produces verse 53, they were continually in the temple doing…what?...praising God…praising God. Clarity with regard to Scripture. Knowledge of Scripture. And particularly clarity and knowledge of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in the full picture of Him that’s presented Old Testament and New Testament, He is the express image of God, the exact reproduction of His person, the fullness of God and seeing Him in all His glory produces joy unspeakable and full of glory. We want you to worship with greater joy and greater exuberance, and greater gratitude with all your powers because you see Christ in all His glory.
So, our first point, Jesus declared that the Old Testament revealed the truth about Him. The Apostles came to affirm and complete faith in Him and His work only when they understood the Old Testament. I have two more points, and we’ll cover them next Sunday, okay? All right, let’s pray.
This is beyond description for us, an experience of blessing, profound blessing. There is no thrill like this, nothing the world has to offer, no accomplishment, no achievement can even come close to having a grasp and an understanding on the full glories of Christ. How marvelous, how wonderful, how blessed are we, how undeserving and unworthy that we should be given this revelation. And we should be able to understand it and to see Christ for all that He is and to love Him for that and to look on His glory, focus on His glory and be changed into that image by the Holy Spirit. Make Christ all glorious to us in every aspect. Open up the Old now to us in the days and months ahead that we may see Christ magnified, exalted. Our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord, our Sovereign and the One with whom we will spend eternity, our Bridegroom, we pray that in the knowledge that we have of Him we will find our rest and our comfort and our peace in the midst of turmoil and confusion, our hope, our settled convictions for Christ is enough, He is all in all, He is sufficient, more than. Thank You, Lord, for what You’ve done in us by Your plan and purpose. Thank You, O Christ, for who You are and Your mighty work on our behalf, and thank You, blessed Holy Spirit, for bringing all these things into reality in our lives through Your power.
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