Inside View Nov/Dec 2022
Many believers today see no value in studying prophecy, particularly end-times prophecy. They say it serves no purpose and is difficult to understand and a waste of time. To them I ask, “How well do you know your Jesus?”
Soon after Jesus arose from the grave, He joined two disciples on their seven-mile walk to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13–35). “But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him” (v. 16).
As they walked, Jesus heard them struggle to make sense of the events of the previous three days. So, He questioned them. Their response revealed they had the widespread knowledge of His arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection; yet the Lord still called them foolish.
They had pinned their hopes on Jesus to redeem Israel and bring in the long-awaited Messianic Kingdom. But three days earlier, Jesus died; and that morning, they were astonished when women in their group found His tomb empty and said they saw two angels who claimed He was alive.
“O foolish ones,” Jesus said, “and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (v. 25). They should have known the Messiah had to suffer before He could enter into His glory.
These two had followed Jesus, heard His teaching, seen His miracles, and knew the prophecies about Him. They should have understood the events. Not only had Jesus warned His disciples three times that He would go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed, and arise after three days, but there also was ample disclosure in the prophets that the Messiah would suffer and die.
Jesus pointed out that they did not know Him nearly as well as they should have known Him. So where did He take them to teach them? “Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (v. 27).
Here is the simple truth: To know Jesus well, we must know all that the prophets said about Him. It’s not that the disciples were unfamiliar with prophecy. They concluded He was the one who would deliver them from bondage to Rome because they recognized He possessed the qualities of the Messiah, spoke God’s words, and performed miracles.
Where they fell short was in not embracing the difficult things in prophecy. They readily accepted the conquering-son-of-King-David aspect, but they ignored the suffering-son-of-Joseph aspect.
This failing is, after all, human nature. We tend to embrace the agreeable and eschew the disagreeable. But Jesus taught His disciples that to know Him well requires studying and embracing everything, not just the pleasant parts.
A few hours later, the Lord appeared to the 11 apostles. They, too, struggled to believe what they were seeing and to accept that Jesus was physically raised from the dead. So He reminded them why everything had to occur that was written in the Law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets concerning His suffering, death, and resurrection.
Many of Jesus’ disciples today struggle with the same affliction. They embrace the pleasant but ignore the unpleasant. They refuse to read Revelation because it is dark and difficult to comprehend. They look forward to the glorious day when Jesus returns and takes them home, but they don’t want to think of God’s impending wrath before He returns.
The danger, however, is that ignoring the difficult prevents us from knowing Jesus well and understanding God’s full plan for the ages. We end up not understanding important events, such as the judgment of the nations and the return of Christ to Earth to rescue Israel, defeat Satan, and restore the Millennial Kingdom.
Were Jesus to join you today on your journey, would you know prophetic Scripture well enough to recognize Him and understand not only what He already has accomplished but what He will yet do? I hope so, because otherwise, you don’t know your Jesus as well as you should.