"Then opened He their understanding..."
Jesus had explained to His disciples that "first He must suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation" (Luke 17:25) before He would come in glory to triumph over His enemies.
He told them in Luke 18:31-33 that He would be delivered unto the Gentiles, mocked, spitted on, scourged, and put to death; but on the third day, He would rise again.
Interestingly, in the following verse, the Bible tells us that the disciples "understood none of these things" (Luke 18:34).
You see, the disciples had been hoping and expecting that the "kingdom of God should immediately appear" (Luke 19:11). They didn't understand that there was a greater plan than that which they perceived. There was a greater purpose that had to be accomplished; and to their confusion and dismay (and later on, even to their disillusionment), Jesus explained that, before there could be glory and victory, there must first be suffering and sacrifice.
We today understand, looking back, that if the Lord hadn't suffered and sacrificed His life on Calvary, there would have been no salvation--not for the Gentiles, nor for the Jews, nor for us, nor for the Twelve. "Thus it behoved (i.e., was necessary) Christ to suffer..." (Luke 24:46).
But at the time, they didn't understand.
So often, we become confused and dismayed about the suffering we face in this life. We look around and see the wicked prospering; we are told by so-called Bible teachers that if we have enough faith God will bless us with prosperity and ease; and we have it settled in our minds what we sense God should do. Moreover, in all of this, we face suffering, affliction, loneliness, persecution, betrayal, mockery, wrongful chastisement, abandonment, struggle...and sometimes even death.
After Jesus rose from the grave, He showed Himself unto His disciples, and in Luke 24:45, we read, "Then opened He their understanding..."
Upon seeing the risen Christ, all of a sudden, the disciples finally understood!
The suffering was temporary!
The suffering was necessary!
And the subsequent victory was glorious!
Let us remember that the Lord's plan for our lives often follows the pattern of His own life.
There will be suffering. But afterward, it will come to pass that we will rejoice in triumphant victory!
"And it came to pass...they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen." (Luke 24:51-53)