Sermon - Christ Beginning to End
Meditation: John 5:39
Creed: Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 18, 19
Scripture Text: Luke 24:13-49
My text today is from Luke 24.
If you are familiar with Luke’s Gospel, you will know this passage puts us back on the Sunday of the Resurrection.
These events took place after the women discovered the empty tomb and then Peter and John raced back to confirm that yes, the tomb was indeed empty.
Please stand for the reading of God’s Word.
Join me in verse 13…
 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,  and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.  Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”  And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.  But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.  Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,  and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.  Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”  And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Please be seated.
We are going to pause here, but we will return to Luke 24 if you want to keep your Bibles open.
It seems fitting that today’s sermon begins with a text about Easter Sunday. We celebrated Christmas last week and for the last month we’ve been drawing from the prophet Isaiah as we anticipated the birth of the coming Savior who came to save his people.
Today is the first Sunday of 2022.
A new year.
A new beginning.
A fresh start.
A chance to do something different.
A chance to do something better.
If you are like most Americans, you probably made some New Year’s Resolutions.
Maybe you resolved to be a better spouse
or a better parent.
Maybe you resolved to lose some weight
or finally get your finances in order.
Maybe you resolved to read through the Bible this year.
If you made these or any other God-honoring resolutions this year I want to commend you. Those are noble goals and I pray that the Lord will mold you and shape you in the coming year.
First Review of Passage
My sermon today is titled Christ from Beginning to End.
As I already mentioned, Luke retells the events of Resurrection Sunday. First, in verses 13 through 27 we have the Emmaus Road account. A seven mile journey and possibly the greatest theology class ever given. Two men walking, one named Cleopas, meet the risen Lord Jesus, yet they don’t know it because God prevented them (verse 16) from seeing Jesus as he is. As they walk, the two men tell the stranger the story of Jesus, his life, trial, death and now disappearance of his body.
More importantly they tell Jesus their sorrow as they walk out of town towards Emmaus. Verse 21 “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”
Jesus responds in verse 25… “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Hear that again.
Jesus interprets in all of Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Mind you this is the Old Testament we are talking about.
Yes, that Old Testament with all the laws, the rituals, the blood, and all generations of peoples recorded that likely derailed your last attempt to read through the Bible somewhere in the book of Numbers.
Returning to the text, we have Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in verses 36 to 49.
Notice what Luke records in verse  “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Again, Jesus is clearly and without reservation saying that everything in the Old Testament, everything in the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh is about him.
For those of you familiar with the Hebrew Bible’s three-fold division of law, prophets, and writings will see yes, Jesus really is saying that all 39 books of the Old Testament are about him.
Some of you know me better than others. Some of you may only know that I serve as a Ruling Elder here at Trinity. Some of you maybe wondering why am I, Eric Wallace, a Ruling Elder, even giving this sermon.
That’s ok, I understand.
It has been a number of years since a non-Teaching Elder has delivered the sermon here at Trinity. It is a privilege to exhort and encourage you from God’s Word today. Jeff and Jake, thank you, for giving me this opportunity. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me.
I grew up in St. Louis. Yes, for those wondering I was a massive Cardinals baseball fan.
I grew up in a Roman Catholic home and church, attended a parochial school, St. Margaret Mary, regularly attending Mass 2-3 times a week during the school year.
Thanks to the Catholic missal I grew familiar with the Scriptures and particularly the Gospels. I look back at many Good Friday services where the drama of Jesus’ trial was recited and the congregation together said crucify him as the passage was read.
It was here that I believe that the Spirit began to move in me and help me to understand that Jesus Christ truly died in my place for my sins.
Yes, He was my Savior, but I needed to live a good holy, moral life. And reading the Word for myself, well still wasn’t regularly encouraged.
As the Lord led me out of the Catholic church I found myself reading many dispensational works. Who remembers The Late Great Planet Earth?
It was the early 90s. Israel. The Mark of the Beast. War in Iraq, could Armageddon be near? I read a lot of Daniel and Revelation. Would we be raptured before the tribulation comes? Who would be Left Behind? I searched the bible looking for clues.
After a few years I moved on to life application. The bible provided basic instructions before leaving earth or so the song said. I heard sermon after sermon giving me life tips and practical application from the bible.
• Want a better marriage? – Ephesians 4.
• Better kids – Deuteronomy 6.
• Need less anxiety – Philippians 4:6.
• Want a better life, try the prayer of Jabez.
• Want to lose weight, try the Daniel Diet.
• Want to make America great, try 2 Chronicles 7:14.
I’m sure I could add many more examples without much effort.
The answers to all of life’s problems seemingly could be found in the bible if you know the right chapter and verse.
Or maybe you don’t believe the Bible at all and merely see it as good moral instruction like Aesop’s Fables or Chinese proverbs. You find it useful in the right circumstance, but so are Buddhist prayer beads.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? For some of you it may be in your past. For others it may be in your present. We have a tendency to use the Bible in ways that God never intended and in doing so, often find answers that God didn’t give.
So this brings me to my main point this morning.
The Bible is about Christ from beginning to end.
the Word of God,
a Word from God,
is the revelation of the triune God
revealing the person
and the work of Jesus Christ.
As we’ve already seen, Jesus says this very thing two times in Luke’s gospel. He says it again in John 5
 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me
Steve Lawson explains it this way…
- The Old Testament says He is coming
- The Gospels say He is here
- The book of Acts proclaim Him
- The Epistles explain Him
- and Revelation says He is coming again
The literal beginning and end of the text of the Bible are about Jesus.
 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Where’s Jesus you say?
Paul writes in Colossians 1…
 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
The last verse of the Bible: Revelation 22:21
 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
The very bookends of the Bible are Jesus Christ.
Now some of you may already be thinking ok Eric, the Bible is all about Jesus. We can agree with that, so let’s wrap this up and be done with it.
To quote Lee Corso, “not so fast, my friend”
I’m arguing something much more. We need to approach the Bible on its terms.
It is Christ-focused and Christ-centered telling the story of redemption.
The Bible is a revelation from the triune God revealing the Second Person of the Trinity, his person and work.
If you are familiar with the Westminster Confession, that should resonate with Chapter 1 paragraph 1.
If we miss this point, not only do we risk misusing Scripture we run the risk of theological error. Sometimes small and at other times disastrous. It’s hard to think of a major heresy that doesn’t revolve around the person and work of Christ.
by 40 different writers
over 1,500 years
yet it has one consistent storyline running all the way through,
and it has just one ultimate author
As Peter writes “but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Hebrews 1 begins
 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Do you struggle to believe some of the stories told in Genesis?
Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark and the Flood, the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah.
When Moses came down from the mountain with God’s Law on those two tablets, the Israelites he had left down below didn’t know the triune God. They made a golden calf proving as much!
So Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit, set about writing. Through the stories of creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Joseph he explains who God is and what he had done for them.
He also revealed how they should live in sight of their God and in light of their exodus.
Today, the Bible serves us in the same way.
As Paul tells Timothy
 …from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The Person and The Work
When you sit down to read Harry Potter, you should expect to learn about Harry Potter. When you watch the latest Spiderman movie, you should expect to learn about Peter Parker. Why would we expect anything different from the Bible?
We’ve already established that Jesus taught the Scriptures are all about him. But how exactly? What did Jesus share with the disciples as they journeyed those seven miles?
Type and Shadows
Jesus explained how he was present in type and shadow throughout the Old Testament.
He probably started with creation and explained that
 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
He probably explained that Adam, Melchizedek, Isaac, Moses, David, Jonah, the Tabernacle, the Temple, to name a few were all types of Christ that point to him and reveal his true character and saving work.
For example, Adam represented all men and fell into sin. Whereas Christ secures eternal life for all men found in him.
The mysterious Melchizedek was a priest and king without beginning or end that blessed Abraham. Jesus is our eternal prophet, priest, and king who blesses the nations.
David is one obvious example. The shepherd boy. The warrior. The king. A man after God’s own heart.
Christ is our Good Shepherd. He is our mighty warrior. The King of Kings. The God-man with the heart of God.
Pause with me for just a moment and think back about David the warrior, the boy who slayed the Giant with those 5 smooth stones. How many of you have been encouraged to slay the giants in your life from the example of David? That wasn’t the point!
The story of David slaying the giant and saving his people is supposed to point us to Christ and his work in saving his people from our giant problem – sin.
Much more could be said about types and shadows, but we don’t have time today.
One word of caution, these types and shadows are not some esoteric thing and they generally aren’t hard to find. I’m not talking about crazy stuff like numerology here. The New Testament authors regularly point to them. Just think back to the Hebrews series we did.
In the account of another type of Christ, we see God making a covenant with Abraham. A covenant that promises land, a great nation, a great name, and a great blessing to all the families on earth.
Basically, a “covenant” is an agreement or contract between two parties to fulfill obligations made one to another.
Covenants are another structure that we can follow to see Christ and his work in the Bible.
In the garden, God made a covenant with Adam. The covenant of works or the Adamic covenant as this is known. God promised to give him eternal life—if Adam were to obey Him perfectly in taking dominion over the earth and in not eating the forbidden fruit.
We all know the story:
Satan shows up,
Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit.
They are thrust out of the garden and out of the presence of God for eternity.
God seeks after Adam and Eve, clothes their nakedness. He promises to crush the head of the serpent who brought sin into the world.
There in Genesis 3:15, we see the covenant of grace.
The first mention of the good news to come. A promise to make right all that had gone wrong.
A promise of a seed to come.
You can follow this unfolding covenant and the promise of a seed to come through the Old Testament like a scarlet thread.
A thread that leads you through the drama of God’s plan of redemption.
A thread that reveals in the New Testament what was concealed in the Old Testament.
Jesus is the promised seed to bless Abraham and the nations. Jesus is the promised descendant of David who would reign on the throne, over the people of God eternally.
But remember that agreements are between two parties. Who exactly is keeping the terms of these covenants?
None other than Jesus Christ himself. The second person of the Trinity agreed to take on these covenant blessings and curses before the very foundation of the world.
In an intra-Trinitarian agreement, the members of the Godhead covenanted among themselves to redeem a people for God from among Adam’s line.
So Jesus agreed to come and take on flesh. To become the eternal God-Man.
To live a life of perfect obedience.
To fulfill all those laws.
To succeed where Adam failed.
While at the same time taking the punishment we deserve.
Taking the curses due on himself.
To suffer separation from God to secure our place with God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
…so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Look back again to Luke 24 starting in verse 46 “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
The disciples missed these prophecies, but we shouldn’t. They are present from the start and we know how the story plays out.
Again look at Genesis 3:15 where good news is first promised. It says “he will be bruised” in the course of his saving work.
All of that shed blood. From the animals killed for their skins to clothe Adam and Eve, to blood on the doorposts, and all the blood from the sacrifices. It all finds its purpose in telling us that the Christ must suffer and die. Isaiah’s suffering servant in chapters 52 and 53 describe his crucifiction in great detail right down to the lack of broken bones.
The Bible also foretells Christ’s resurrection. Jesus himself says it’s in the story of Jonah and the whale in Matthew 12. So there’s much more to the story of Jonah than just fish slappers.
What about us?
So what about us? Where do you and I fit into all this?
We are quick to seek our own glory and often fail to recognize the severity of our problem. Our rebellion against a Holy God must be satisfied.
In his book Christless Christianity, Michael Horton speaks about an approach to God and the Bible that reduces God to "a supporting character in our own life movie” rather than individuals becoming “new characters in God’s drama of redemption”.
We are natural-born rebels. Children of Adam with hearts of stone desperately wicked and prone to wander.
Before the foundation of the world, our great triune God made a covenant among themselves to gather a people out of this rebellion. A people chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and perfected by the Spirit into a bride for the Son.
A bride united to her bridegroom. Recently Savannah Gorman was married. In the coming months, Haven Freeman, Autumn Sonju, and my own daughter Emma will all be married as well.
Look at what happens when you marry:
• Its identity changing: you take on a new name with all the rights and privileges and/or consequences that come with it.
• It’s family changing: you form a new family with new relationships.
• It’s life-giving: new creation is often the fruit of the union.
What is true of brides is true of you Christian.
• You have a new identity: Your identity comes from the Second Adam. You have access to all that Jesus Christ has secured for you in his perfect life of obedience to God.
In 2nd Corinthians Paul says
 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
• You have a new family: First, you have been Adopted by the Father as a son.
Paul again from Galatians 4:
He sent his Son…
 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Second, you are part of the church, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, Abraham’s offspring, and the Israel of God.
You are no longer on your own. You are part of a new family, being brought into this His family.
• You have new life: You have been born again from above, born of water and spirit.
As Peter says
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
This is the story the Bible tells, the work of redemption, the forgiveness of sins, proclaimed to the end of the earth for the glory of God.
Acts tells us…
 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Return again to Luke 24 with me.
When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
God opened their eyes and they saw Jesus. One of the reasons we take the second commandment so seriously is that our eyes are so easily led astray.
We have no idea what Jesus looks like. We know Scripture says he is rather unremarkable in appearance.
The scandal isn’t his looks, but his person and work.
No, we have been given the eyes of faith to see Jesus in the Word of God. We have been given ears to hear the good news.
 …faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Confessional Presbyterians generally don’t place a lot of stock in experiences, but having your heart burn after seeing Christ in the Scriptures sounds pretty good to me.
When was the last time your heart burned after seeing Jesus Christ in His Word?
When was the last time you went to the Scriptures expecting to find Jesus foretold, proclaimed, and exclaimed?
When was the last time you went to the Bible looking to see how Jesus perfectly obeyed every single one of God’s commands his entire life when you can’t even do it for one day?
When was the last time you went to the Word in gratitude for the Savior that took on your sin and reconciled you to God?
When was the last time you saw the promises of God and realized that they are fulfilled in Him?
When was the last time you stopped to ponder the benefits of your union with Christ?
Let me help you with a few…
Justified, Sanctified, Adopted.
Objects of His intercession.
Brought into the church, the Body of Christ.
Baptised as a sign and seal of this union.
Truly fed from the Body and Blood of Jesus.
I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there.
Friends, I want to encourage you to read your Bible this year and every year.
I want to encourage you to seek Jesus Christ in the Scriptures as you read.
I want to encourage you to see Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, as the God-Man who came to Seek and Save the Lost. The lamb who was slain to give his life as a ransom for many.
I want you to see who you are as a new creation in Christ and as a member of his body, the church.
I want you to seek after Christ not for knowledge, but to truly know him. As John says,
 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.