How Can the Bible Relate to Us Today?

A Contrast between People’s Plans versus God’s Plans [Luke 24: 13-35]

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A Lead-in to the Encounter on the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24: 13-35


We as humans often try to make plans for God when God has other plans in mind. We expect God to do things in a certain way, and sometimes we try to tell him what to do. However, God has his own plans – and fortunately, a sense of humor.

Our children’s least favorite phrase from my lips was, “Well, there are two schools of thought.” And in the case of the Messiah, there really were two schools of thought. Just to be clear for your information, the term “Messiah” is Hebrew. The same meaning in Greek is where we get the name “Christ.” Both mean, the Annointed One – a term that has religious meaning coupled with Jewish expectations.  Since we’re talking about Jewish expectations, I will use the term “Messiah.”

The Jewish religious leaders and the people in Jesus’ day had their expectations as to the Messiah and how he was going to fulfill prophecy. They had their plans for the Messiah. However, God had his own plans – and those plans will always take precedence over humanity’s plans. For example:

Expectations & plans religious leaders and people had for the MessiahHow God fulfilled those expectations with his own plans
The Messiah was going to be born in the City of David, the Jewish capital of JerusalemJesus was born in the TOWN of David, Bethlehem
The Messiah was going to be born to a family of social standing, a princely family, traced back to the great King DavidJesus was born to a simple carpenter and his pregnant betrothed, engaged but not yet formally married. A delicate situation and a bit of a social scandal. But yes, he was from the line of the great King David
The Messiah will be born into a rich family in keeping with their social status.Jesus was born in a barn and his first bed was the barn animals’ feed trough!
The Messiah was going to be a political leader & free Israel (the province of Judea during the Roman Empire) from the oppression of the power of the RomansJesus was a religious leader with a message to free those oppressed by the power of sin and outward religious rules
When it was time for Israel/Judea to be freed, the Messiah was going to ride into Jerusalem on a beautiful white horse with his soldiers marching behind him & the people celebratingJesus rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey with his ragtag followers stringing along behind him. But the people still celebrated.
Upon his victory, the Messiah will take his place in Jerusalem as King of Israel, much like or greater than King David. Those loyal to him would be appointed to positions of honor, power and wealthJesus was arrested and put to trial overnight in a secret sham trial by the religious leadership. Then he was handed over to the Roman government to try because Rome forbade the religious leaders of Judea to condemn to death & execute. Prior to his execution, he was whipped and beaten. The long-awaited and prophesied Messiah, the Christ, was convicted by the Romans out of expediency to keep the peace in the province of Judea. He was crucified on the disgraceful tree prophesied in the Scriptures (the Old Testament), the cross.
The followers of Jesus had also bought into their society’s expectations about the Messiah. They dreamed of glory, high positions in the new government and riches. Do you remember the mother of the brothers James and John coming to Jesus to ask for her sons to be in places in honor on his right and his left? Do you recall also how Jesus taught that their treasure is in heaven? Now you know why.  
John Myklebust, M.Div., M.S.W.

For the followers of Jesus, their dreams of freedom from the Romans, glory, position & riches died with Jesus’ last breath. Their leader and friend had died. Their plans were destroyed. They were broken in spirit. There was nothing left.

The disheartened Eleven (the Twelve Disciples, minus Judas who had betrayed Jesus and killed himself) gathered in Jerusalem along with other believers to grieve and to ponder their next steps, if any.

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