Texts, Contexts and Pretexts

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” Luke 24:25 NKJ

I was recently asked about this verse by a sincere faithful member of the church. Her concern was that she was reading this scripture to say that those who believed the prophets were foolish. And taken alone one might see from where she was coming. She exclaimed to me that she believed the prophets. And of course I do as well. So what of the passage? Let us take a closer look.

A wise man once said that a text taken out of context becomes a pretext. Which simply means words taken out of their context leads the reader to false conclusions. Another way of saying this was suggested by a gentleman who gave a lecture entitled “Never read a Bible verse.” Of course he went on to suggest the idea of a singular verse was to be emphasized. That is, never read a single verse or lift a single verse out of its context. Certainly one must be careful to observe the surrounding verses or the context of any passage.

This is a much needed principle in our look at Luke 24:25. In the context, Luke 24 begins with the resurrection of the LORD on that Sunday morning. Verses 13 and following are details concerning the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. The scripture tells us that the Risen LORD approached the two travelers. By Divine intervention they were not able to recognize Him. Jesus then begins to have a conversation with them.

In the course of their conversation they express their astonishment at the events that have transpired. Specifically, they mention the women who had gone to the tomb and found it empty. And finding no body, there were only angels who proclaimed that the LORD was alive. They found this to be incredulous and some of those with them had gone and found the tomb just as the women had proclaimed. They couldn’t believe it and had to see it for themselves.

So Christ then chastises them with the statement found in verse 25. He begins by calling them foolish. O foolish ones! Note the reason He called them foolish was NOT because they believed in the prophets. In fact it is just the opposite! It is because they DID NOT believe. Had they believed in the prophets, the events of the day would not have been so hard to believe. Actually they would have expected Him to be raised on the third day. A belief in the prophets would have made that an expectation rather than a surprise.

Christ further describes them as slow of heart. One translation refers to them as slow of wit and dull of heart. He rebukes them for not having the knowledge, understanding and faith to believe all the prophets had spoken. Again, if they had believed the prophets there would be no surprise at the resurrection of the Savior.

Christ did not leave them in such a state however. Verse 27 states that He beginning with Moses and all the Prophets explained in detail all the things concerning Himself.

Thank you LORD for your faithful word!

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