We have all watched a movie with a mysterious plot, only to find that the solution to the problem was actually evident throughout the film. When we look back with the solution in front us, we can see how it should have been so obvious. It is moments like this that we can sympathize with those who lived the days following Jesus’ execution.
The Messiah, the anointed of God, hung on a cross. It just didn’t make sense, and those who were not disciples of Jesus were sure to point this out. Summing up this position perhaps, is a little bit of wall graffiti dating back to the time of the early Church. The image is of a man standing in front of a crucified man who has, quite unusually, a donkey’s head. The text underneath the image says it all, it reads, Alexamenos worships his god.
This is the context in which Jesus asks a question of two travellers as they make their way to the town of Emmaus (Luke 24:13). His question, what are you talking about as you walk along? carries with it some of the challenges that these two disciples are already wrestling with. How does any of this make sense? Jesus’ response is to go back to the Old Testament and to show these two how the end of the story can actually be found within its entire narrative.
It was St. Jerome, the great Biblical scholar and translator, who said, Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ, and he was right. But the reverse is also true: ignorance of Jesus is ignorance of the Scriptures. As more and more Catholics become New Testament Christians only, it is imperative that we let Jesus be our guide and interpretive key. Start reading the Old Testament, you will be glad you did.