Luke 24:25-27 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

The above words came from the newly resurrected Jesus. He spoke to two disciples traveling to Emmaus. Likely they were going home after an event-filled Pentecost in Jerusalem. They went with great expectations because of Jesus' successful recent activities (Lazarus' resurrection; his triumphal entry; his public teaching in the temple area). They returned home confused, bewildered, and directionless.

They knew Jesus was dead. They heard he was resurrected. Yet, they were grieved. Things occurred so suddenly! They knew Jesus was God's mighty prophet. They hoped he was God's means to redeem Israel. When Jesus joined these sad men on that road, they were amazed he was unaware of all that happened in Jerusalem the past few days.

How ironic! These men who knew Jesus by sight, who knew Jesus received his power from God, who hoped Jesus was Israel's redemption, did not understand God's redemption. They heard Jesus' resurrection occurred. Yet, it meant nothing. How could God possibly use a man raised from the dead to deliver Israel from her enemies? His resurrection was fine, but it could not solve their problems or meet their needs.

Jesus, unrecognized by them, called them foolish. Beginning with Moses he explained the Scriptures concerning him to these men. They, who had God's redemption "figured out," learned how little they knew. Their concern was Israel's redemption. God's concern is the world's redemption.

The essential key to understanding redemption is understanding God's intent in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. No faith in Jesus' death and resurrection always means no understanding of redemption. There was no substitute for faith in the resurrected Jesus.

All my life, with other Christians, I have played the human game, "If only..." In the 60's I worked in a congregation with pitiful children's educational facilities. "If only..." In the 70's I was in foreign missions. There was nothing--no secretaries, no offices, no machines, no literature, and in many instances no Bibles. "If only..." In the 80's I was part of a congregation whose facilities were too small for worship or education. "If only..." In the 90's change was rampant throughout our society. Transition took a toll on a church living in the past. "If only..." After 2000 I am part of a church who dares to seriously examine itself. Self-examination through scripture takes a toll. "If only..."

Always, in every decade, there are relevant "if onlys." Always in every lifetime there should be faith in Jesus Christ. We always will need the material. Yet, the material never will substitute for faith in the resurrected Jesus as the Christ. People with much less and much more can live by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus once asked, "When the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 20 June 2004

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