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Thursday November 1 – The big picture (1): Jesus on the road to Emmaus

This month we will be asking and answering the question of our mission as the church of Jesus Christ. Why do we exist as churches? What is our purpose? To answer that question, we will be walking through the story of the Bible as a whole, from Genesis to Revelation, tracing the theme of God’s mission to bless the nations through Abraham’s family, fulfilled in Jesus as the Light of the world. It is this theme of the mission of God that gives the church her mission.

We’ll do this in several parts, after introducing the theme with the words of Jesus in Luke 24:

  1. We will trace the theme of God’s mission in the story of Israel
  2. We will see how Jesus fulfills that mission in His death and resurrection
  3. We will see God’s promises for the future of our mission
  4. We will be challenged by how this story gives us our mission as the church
  5. We will look at several ways we can be challenged to carry out that mission

Many of the ideas in this devotional were inspired by lectures given by Michael Goheen, largely based on his book A Light to the NationsFor those who would like to dig deeper, that book is highly recommended, together with The Mission of God by Christopher Wright.


And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. – Luke 24:27

Scripture reading: Luke 24:13-35

This month, we are going to ask the question of the mission of the church by looking at the story of the Bible as a whole, from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible is one large book that tells one story and so it is helpful to get an orientation to the “big picture” of the whole story before diving in at the beginning.

To get that big picture of what the Bible is about, we begin with the words of Jesus when He appears to the disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. The story begins immediately after the resurrection of Jesus (in fact, it might be helpful to read verses 1-12 as context). When Jesus appears to the disciples, they are sad because they know Jesus died and they do not recognize Him. Their sadness is understandable: if the One they thought was the Messiah is dead, then He must not have been the Messiah!

But Jesus tells them they should have expected the death and resurrection of the Messiah and He tells them why:

“And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!'” (v. 25).

Jesus says that the whole Old Testament “beginning with Moses and all the prophets” spoke of Him!

This is the key to reading the Bible: the whole book is about Jesus, promising and proclaiming Him. That is the beauty of Scripture and the glory of Christ.

Suggestions for prayer

That God would give us the wisdom to see Christ in all of Scripture and that in seeing Christ we would grow to love and trust Him more.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Nick Smith is pastor of the United Reformed Church of Nampa, Idaho.

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