Where would you go if you had a time machine?
That’s a fun question and an interesting conversation starter. Over the years I’ve asked that question to many a freshman college student and I’m almost always disappointed. Almost universally they answer with a destination within the last 50 years. I’d want to go back and visit creation or the flood, or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so I could tell Adam to kill the serpent and save us all a lot of trouble!, or the destruction of the temple during the Babylonian captivity, or see Nebuchadnezzar eating grass like an animal, or, or, or…the list goes on.
In Luke 24, Jesus took Cleopas and his buddy in a time machine of sorts – He took them back to the Old Testament. Why did he do that?
Luke 24 is one of my favorite chapters – as two disciples were walking to a village called Emmaus they were intently debating the disappointing recent events concerning Jesus, whom they had hoped would deliver Israel from Roman occupation (misplaced expectations always produce disappointment). As they were walking along debating with each other, Jesus joins them (although unrecognized) and asks them “What are you talking about?” The text says “They stood still. Looking sad” (Luke 24:17). They respond, “Are you the only visitor that doesn’t know the things that have been going on?”
Now for the most ironic statement of all time. Yeah, of ALL TIME.
Jesus - God incarnate, creator of “all things” (Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:2), the Lamb of God sent to take away the sins of the world, the Only One who was foreordained from the beginning of time to atone for our sins, He who just days ago was handed over, condemned, and crucified for the sins of the world….He says… “what things?”
After the disciples explain their dashed hopes, Jesus takes them to school. Literally. “Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures” (24:27). The Old Testament does speak clearly about Jesus and His saving work – that’s why Jesus chastises these disciples and calls them “foolish people.” We can and should see Jesus in the Old Testament.
This is where I’d go if I had a time machine. I’d join this little classroom on the path to Emmaus. I’d love to hear Jesus, God in the flesh, explain how the first 5 books of the bible (“Moses”) and the rest of the OT speak clearly about Him.
I wonder what would surprise me. I wonder what passages of scripture I’m misunderstanding. I’m wondering how long it would take!
It occurs to me that the gospel is not an afterthought, not an add on, not “Plan B” because things got sideways in the OT and God had to respond by sending Jesus to earth to fix everything. Jesus, his birth, his life, his death and his resurrection were all planned from the beginning. God had anticipated our sin, and in His love planned to reach out and seek us out “even while we were yet sinners” (Rom. 5:8).
Maybe the suffering I’m experiencing is also planned for His kingdom purposes? Hmmm.
Enjoy Walking with the Savior Today, John