One of them – named Cleopas – replied, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem not aware of the things that have happened here recently?” He asked, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet – powerful in deed and word in the presence of God and all the people. And how the chief priests and our elders condemned him to the sentence of death – and crucified him. But we had hoped he was going to liberate Israel. And yet this is the third day after all these things happened. But then again, some of the women with us amazed us: They were at the tomb early this morning – yet didn’t find his body. They returned and told us they had seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. But they didn’t see him.” (Luke 24:18-24)Jesus then says the above-quoted statement in response. Why? Let's look at each of his two statements separately:
"You foolish men who are slow to believe everything the Prophets have taught."This clearly indicates that Jesus stressed the importance of the teachings of the Prophets. Jesus quoted the teachings of the Prophets frequently in his own teachings. An example of this is Jesus' most important teaching, which was a quote taken from Moses (Deuteronomy 6:5):
“ ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)Jesus doesn't simply quote Moses here. He states that this is the "first" and "greatest" instruction. How much more clear can Jesus be? This means that Jesus' teachings didn't simply support the teachings of the Prophets - Jesus was passing on the true teachings of the Prophets. He was the embodiment of the teachings of the Prophets. Why?
Because Jesus is the pure lover of the Supreme Being. He loves the Supreme Being with all his heart, all his soul and all his mind. This is the purpose of Jesus' sacrifice - to illustrate Jesus' pure love for the Supreme Being.
"Wasn’t it necessary for the Anointed of God to suffer these things before returning to His majesty?"Here the Greek word Χριστός is being translated to "Anointed of God." The Greek word specifically means "anointed one" or "anointed of God" according to the lexicon. This directly reflects upon the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach) - which is translated to "anointed" and often followed by "priest" in the Old Testament. This word is also directly translated to "messiah." Here are two examples of the use of this word - God speaking in both:
"I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in My heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before My anointed one always." (2 Samuel 2:35)
"Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so they may serve Me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue throughout their generations.” (Exodus 40:15)So we find it clear from this that the Prophets were each anointed - and they were thus each considered Messiahs. At the time of Jesus, this was the accepted teaching of the Jewish tradition. The question sectarian Jewish teachers had at the time was when the next Messiah (or Anointed of God) would come.
This is also one of the reasons why they were so opposed to Jesus. It was obvious to many that Jesus was the Messiah or Anointed of God that was predicted by some of the Prophets. And Jesus was also coming in line with the Prophets. Because his teachings supported and reflected the teachings of the Prophets - while the teachings of the sectarian Jewish priests had strayed from the Prophets' teachings.
The Jewish high priests at the time were all about authority and rule - they were taking advantage of the Prophets' teachings for their own positions of power. So when Jesus appeared and taught the pure teachings of the Prophets, he was rejected by the sectarian Jewish high priests because Jesus was threatening their authority. Because Jesus was the Messiah the Prophets had predicted.
What about Jesus' suffering as he states above? Why was it "necessary" for Jesus to suffer? Was it necessary in order to cleanse our sins - as many sectarian teachers today preach?
Yes and no. No in that it isn't that Jesus suffered so that any and every self-centered joiner can just do what they want and then wipe their sins off on Jesus as though he is some sort of doormat.
And it isn't that Jesus had to suffer in order to relieve our sins - as many of today's sectarian teachers suggest. The Supreme Being can forgive our sins and offenses at any time. It is not that He needed Jesus to "die" in order to forgive our sins. This fact is proven over and over in the scriptures, as people have been encouraged to directly ask God for forgiveness. Even Jesus suggested his followers ask God to forgive them with the Lord's Prayer. Why would Jesus deceive them if his suffering was their only means of forgiveness?
We must remember that God is God. He has all the power. All the authority. He doesn't need to sacrifice anyone in order to cleanse sins. He can cleanse sins simply with a thought.
But surely, if a person sees Jesus' tremendous love for the Supreme Being, illustrated by his willingness to suffer because of his teachings of love for God, then this will purify one's consciousness. And such purification will have the result of cleansing sinfulness. But this type of cleansing also comes by the grace of the Supreme Being - because it is Jesus' love for God that allows for this purification of the heart.
Some will ask, why then God would allow Jesus to suffer? Why didn't God prevent this from happening to Jesus?
This is because love requires freedom. If God didn't give people the freedom to reject Him and His representative, then how could we freely come to love God? One must have the freedom not to love in order to freely love.
And because God wants us to come to love Him out of our free will, He also allows us to reject Him and reject those He sends to us. This means people also have the freedom to physically harm His representative - as shown with Jesus' crucifixion.
But this doesn't mean God wasn't protecting Jesus. The reality is - as we discussed with the previous verse - Jesus is not the physical body. He was temporarily wearing a physical body - which died on the cross. The person of Jesus - the exalted spirit-person - left that physical body at the time of its death and continued to live in the glorious spiritual state.
This is the eternal spiritual state - the eternal person who returned to the spiritual realm to be with the Supreme Being. This is reflected by Jesus' statement:
"... before returning to His majesty"Indeed, Jesus returned to the spiritual realm to be by the side of the Supreme Being - where he could continue to engage in his loving relationship with God. This is "His majesty." The spirit-person of Jesus thus had complete protection throughout his ordeal by virtue of his love for God.
And should we follow the teachings of the Prophets and Jesus - by coming to love and serve the Supreme Being - we too can return to our pure loving service relationship with Him in the spiritual realm. This is the relationship each of us seek as we search for real love in this world.
The verses above were quoted from the Gospels of Jesus.