The biblical scriptures pertaining to the death and resurrection of Jesus are found in all of the Gospels but Luke's account provides for a fascinating and detailed view of these events, particularly in terms of what transpired just after the resurrection. Two stories which are found in Luke 24 are of great interest.
In Luke 24 we see the story of the two men walking to Emmaus, three days after the events of the cross (just after the resurrection of Jesus, of which they were unaware). It doesn't take much imagination to read into their despair, as they mentioned that they had "hoped" that Jesus would have redeemed Israel (Luke 24:21) and seemed disappointed that things didn't work out as they had envisioned - thus the walk to Emmaus.
It was at this time that Jesus appeared to these two men - only Jesus hid his identity from them and appeared as a stranger to them while they continued their journey to Emmaus. It quickly became apparent to Jesus that these two men had no understanding of what had just taken place in Jerusalem - specifically - the events around His life, death and resurrection. Lets see what Jesus had to say (after revealing Himself):
"How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ 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." (Luke 24:25-26).
There are several points to be made from this passage:
Jesus was explaining that the prophetic scriptures were fulfilled by these events. Importantly (especially for "prophecy scoffers") - Jesus declared that these men were "foolish" and "slow of heart" for not having understood the prophecies as pertaining to His death and resurrection.
That is a serious accusation. Jesus clearly felt that the men should have read and understood these prophecies.
Is it any different today? Would Jesus give people in our generation a pass for not understanding today's prophecies as they pertain to the modern day era?
Note also that Jesus declared that the men were "slow of heart". Not slow of intellect. Not slow of brain power. Not lazy. But slow of heart.
Why? It begs the question of "Why do we study prophecy?" Is it an intellectual exercise?
No. It is most definitely a matter of the heart.
We study prophecy because it tells us that we are that much closer to being in the presence of Jesus. Being with Jesus should be an all consuming passion - and fulfillment of modern-day prophecies tell us that it will happen soon.
How can someone profess to love Jesus - but not have any care or concern about that approaching moment of being in His presence?
This is why it is a matter of the heart - as Jesus explained.
Also note what else Jesus said to these two men: "And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself".
For someone who doesn't believe that the prophetic scriptures are important, I would ask them to turn to this particular scripture. Just moments after Jesus' resurrection, He felt it necessary to teach these men "all the (prophetic) scriptures concerning himself". That must have taken hours upon hours. It was obviously of great importance to Jesus.
The next scene described in Luke's account is Jesus appearing before His disciples. So what was on His mind? Below we see what Jesus said to this gathering:
"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 Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.'"
The phrase "Law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms" is a way of stating all prophecies pertaining to Jesus.
As stated in "Signs of the Coming Christ", we can make the following observations about Luke 24:
Lessons from Luke 24:
1) Jesus explains that they are foolish for not understanding the prophecies.
2) Jesus explains that they should understand ALL of what the prophets have spoken.
3) Jesus took significant time explaining the prophecies regarding His coming and most of His last words on earth were about prophecy.
4) Jesus explains that everything written by the prophets must be fulfilled.
In fact, you could push this point to see how Jesus staked His claim as the long awaited messiah based on the fulfillment of prophecy.
And this idea takes us to the next point and that point is described in the title above:
"Prophetic Fulfillment of Jesus' Last Days". This is good time to review the prophecies which were fulfilled during passion week. Just in this one week we see at least 17 specific prophecies which were fulfilled.
The fact that only Jesus could confirm these prophecies screams to the world that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah and Son of God.
*PROPHETIC FULFILLMENT OF JESUS LAST DAYS:
1. Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey:
Given: Zechariah 9:9.....fulfilled: Matthew 21:5-7
2. Jesus betrayed by a friend:
Given: Psalm 41:9.....fulfilled: Mark 14:17-18
3. Jesus betrayed for 30 pieces of silver:
Given: Zechariah 11:12.....fulfilled: Matthew 26:14
4. 30 pieces of silver to be used for the "Potter's Field":
Given: Zechariah 11:13.....fulfilled: Matthew 27:3-5
5. Jesus accused by false witness:
Given: Psalm 109:2.....fulfilled: Matthew 26:59-60
6. Jesus stood silent before His accusers:
Given: Isaiah 53:7.....fulfilled: Matthew 27:12
7. Jesus beaten and whipped:
Given: Isaiah 50:6.....fulfilled: Matthew 27:26
8. Jesus hands and feet pierced:
Given: Psalm 22:16.....fulfilled: John 19:37; 20:27
9. Peter's denial of Jesus:
Given: Mark 14:30.....fulfilled: Mark 14:66-72
10. Jesus garments divided:
Given: Psalm 22:18.....fulfilled: John 19:23
11. Jesus mocked as He died:
Given: Psalm 22:7-8.....fulfilled: Matthew 27:39-40
12. Jesus cried out to God at the cross:
Given: Psalm 22:1.....fulfilled: Matthew 27:46
13. Jesus offered vinegar on the cross:
Given: Psalm 69:21.....fulfilled: John 19:28
14. Jesus bones not broken on the cross:
Given: Psalm 34:20.....fulfilled: John 19:32-33
15. Darkness would cover the earth while Christ crucified:
Given: Amos 8:9.....fulfilled: Matthew 27:45
16. Jesus burial in a rich man's grave:
Given: Isaiah: 53:9.....fulfilled: Matthew 27:57-60
17. Jesus resurrected in 3 days:
Given: John 2:19-21.....fulfilled: Acts 10:40
Some authors point to the fulfillment of these prophecies and declare it a "fingerprint" which points to Jesus and only Jesus who could and did fulfill these prophecies.
Author Grant Jeffery, who conducted a similar exercise - looking at fulfilled prophecies pertaining to Jesus and estimated that the odds of such prophecies having this specific fulfillment are approximately:
1 chance in 480,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
As stated in his book "The Signature of God", Mr Jeffery says the following:
"Regardless of the size of the estimates for probability you assign to these individual predictions, you will be confronted with a combined probability so staggering in its magnitude that it will be impossible to convince yourself that these things occurred by chance."
Perhaps more importantly, the apostle Peter put things in perspective regarding Jesus death and resurrection. Lets recall Peter - who had only days earlier denied his relationship with Christ - who - like the other apostles was cowering in hiding - in fear prior to Jesus' resurrection.
Then, after seeing the resurrected Jesus, this fearful, hiding individual was suddenly and boldly declaring to the Roman soldiers (and anyone else who would listen) that Jesus is indeed the Messiah: This same Peter, who had been in hiding behind locked doors - completely fearful of being arrested and put to death - suddenly loses all fear and suddenly has no concern of the Roman soldiers and what they could do to him.
What happened to suddenly give Peter such boldness in proclaiming the gospel?
We can easily see what happened in 2 Peter 1:16:
"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty"
In other words, Peter saw the resurrected Jesus with his very eyes. And as a result, changes from a scared, cowardly individual who was in hiding - to someone boldly proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God without any fear whatsoever - despite the strong possibility of experiencing a gruesome death just as Christ had experienced.
Only that level of assurance - having seen a resurrected Jesus - could Peter have alleviated these fears and subsequently boldly proclaimed the Gospel to anyone willing to listen.
And similarly - we can never forget the promises assured to us. Not only the promises of salvation - made possible by what Jesus did on the cross - but also the promises given to the prophecy watchers who have such a deep love for Jesus that we care enough to watch the signs of His coming:
"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8)
We will all stand before Christ - and that moment appears to be rapidly approaching.
And when that moment does arrive, we can stand before Jesus and tell Him that we loved Him enough to care about His coming. It mattered to us. It mattered enough to watch the signs diligently - daily - because we desperately want to be in His presence. Our love dictates such. The signs tell us that we will be with Him soon. In His paradise. The paradise that He created just for us. Our eternal home.
We now turn to the very last words in the Holy Bible:
"He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.'
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people.