Jesus the martyr…or Jesus the King

Marcel Bulliard
Originally published on April 7, 2020

Jesus the martyr…or Jesus the King

The Road to Emmaus
Invariably, whenever I am thinking about what would make a good Bible study, or perhaps a good sermon, I land on the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24. This section of Scripture contains a beautiful, but random, Easter story. I should qualify that last statement; nothing is random from God’s point of view.

On the afternoon of the day of Jesus’ resurrection, two of His disciples (not apostles) were beginning a sad, seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus. We know nothing about these two men, other than one’s name was Cleopas and that they had been following Jesus. In stealth mode, Jesus came alongside them on the road and initiated a conversation. Using the most contemporary translation possible, Jesus asked, “Why so sad?”. The two men were shocked that anyone could be unaware of the past week’s events, namely the execution of Jesus. They expressed great distress that He had been killed, but chalked it up as just another Godly man who was martyred for His faith and His work. They were aware of Resurrection rumors, but that would have been too good to be true.  

Jesus, His identity still obscured, began to instruct them from the Old Testament. He explained to them that their Messiah would come as a suffering servant, be executed as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, be raised from the dead and later return to His rightful place in Heaven. Perhaps this teaching restored their hope or perhaps it just heightened their curiosity. As the two men neared the village of Emmaus, near dusk, they invited this learned stranger to have supper with them and to spend the night.

During the meal, Jesus took bread and wine to re-enact the instruction He had given His disciples when He established the sacrament of Communion. At that moment, the scales fell from the eyes of the two men, and they realized that they had been with the risen Jesus all afternoon. Instantly, Jesus vanished from their sight. Overwhelmed by the truth they had been taught and the truth they had seen, they returned to Jerusalem to encourage the Apostles with evidence of the Resurrection.
3 (of many) insights from this passage of Scripture:

1. If you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through Scripture, your heart too will burn with excitement and conviction.

2. God has instituted events, given us symbols and surrounded us with reminders as to who He is and what He has done.

3. Jesus was not killed for what He believed; He was not a martyr. He gave up His life voluntarily, to satisfy the law by paying the ultimate price for the forgiveness of sin, all sin. His Resurrection loudly proclaimed His victory over death and over Satan. His ascension to His rightful place in heaven, with His promise to return, is the manifestation of His identity, King of Kings.

During this strange time of pandemic and quarantine, don’t allow yourself to feel the hopelessness that the two travelers to Emmaus initially felt on that first Easter Sunday. Instead, believe that our Lord, the King of Kings, will faithfully deliver on His promises to us. Jesus constantly urged His followers to fear not, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. He promised, and the Apostle Paul reiterated, that true prayer produces a peculiar kind of peace, a peace that surpasses human understanding. So, in this difficult time, pray for courage and peace, knowing that Jesus is constantly re-shaping His Kingdom and His people.

Marcel Bulliard