April 19, 2022
If you have your Bibles or your smart device this morning, I invite you to turn to Luke 24. Unlike Jesus’ birth, all four gospels give an account of His resurrection, and while I wouldn’t say one is better than the other, we are giving our attention this morning to Dr. Luke’s account.
In this last chapter of Luke’s gospel, it focuses exclusively on Resurrection Day. However, it can be easily divided into three scenes that are noted by three different times during that day: the morning, the afternoon, and the evening.
- The Miracle in the Morning, Luke 24:1-12
1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” 8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
Verse 1 clarifies that we are talking about Sunday morning. Jesus was crucified on Friday and laid in Joseph’s tomb that same day. He was there in the grave Friday night, Saturday, and until early Sunday morning.
A group of women made their way to the tomb early in Sunday morning to anoint His body with spices to combat the odor that they expected to find because they thought He was still dead. According to verse 10, these women included Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James. This would have been Jesus’ aunt.
They were also accompanied by other women. However, they are left unnamed.
When they arrived, the stone had been rolled away. Matthew’s gospel tells us that there had been a localized earthquake that had dislodged the stone, and an angel rolled it away. However, keep in mind that Jesus was already resurrected meaning that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out but to allow the witness to come inside and see.
Verse 3 tells us what they found. Jesus was not there even though they were fully expecting to find Him there.
Verse 4 introduces two angels. Of course they were majestic in appearance, and the women responded accordingly in verse 5.
The angels then asked the women why they were looking for the living among the dead. They also reminded them of what Jesus had prophesied, and they made this historical declaration, “He is not here, but is risen!”
Jesus had told them this was going to happen. However, they couldn’t wrap their minds around what they had a hard time believing.
By the way, did Jesus tell them this in advance. Yes, He did on multiple occasions.
Luke 9:21-22, 21 And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
Luke 9:43-44, 43 But while everyone marveled at all the things which Jesus did, He said to His disciples, 44 “Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
Luke 11:29-30, 29 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.
Luke 18:31-33, 31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
The women then left the tomb and returned to tell the men what they found. As you know, they didn’t believe them, and Peter had to see for himself as described in verse 12.
All three of our scenes this morning offer an invitation for you. You may be here, and you’re doubting the supernatural of the resurrection. I invite you this morning to believe that Jesus was literally resurrected from the grave never to die again.
In these twelve verses alone, we have multiple proofs. The first is obviously the empty tomb. The second is Sunday worship. The third is fulfilled prophecy. The fourth is female testimony. The fifth is changed lives. This Peter, who had denied Christ previously, preached in Acts, and thousands were saved by repenting and believing in Jesus.
- The Appearances in the Afternoon, Luke 24:13-29
13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. 17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” 18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” 19 And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” 25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. 28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.
Beginning in verse 13, we see what is often called the road to Emmaus and the first of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances on Sunday afternoon. Verses 13-18 speak of these two eye-witnesses, and one of them was named Cleopas. Perhaps it was he and his wife.
However, initially, they didn’t recognize Jesus because God didn’t allow it. That is what verse 16 says.
Jesus asked them why they were sad. Obviously, they were still under the impression that Jesus was dead. They had heard the report of the women and even saw the empty tomb, but they hadn’t seen Jesus alive.
While still not recognizing them, Cleopas asked how Jesus had not heard of His awful death. Evidently, it was common knowledge in Jerusalem since it happened.
Verse 21 tells us that these earliest disciples were hoping Jesus would empower an immediate and earthly kingdom. Even after Jesus explains how the Old Testament had prophesied all that had happened, they still didn’t recognize Him.
However, they wanted to hear more and kept Jesus from moving on. Verse 29 says that Jesus stayed with them for a while.
The afternoon appearances invite you to experience the resurrected Christ. Don’t just believe that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive. Put your faith and trust in Him as Lord and Savior of your life.
All of God’s word is true. The resurrection confirms this truth, and I invite you to be saved this morning by admitting that you are sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and call on Him to save you.
- Encouragement in the Evening, Luke 24:30-53
30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. 36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence. 44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” 50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
It is now evening, and Jesus sat down with this group of disciples and shared a meal with them. Evidently, this triggered memories of Thursday night or even of Him feeding the thousands. Verse 31 said they knew Him, but He then vanished.
In a mysterious way, Jesus resurrected body could be seen and heard, and He could eat. However, He could also defy time and space limitations and move at will.
Because of what they had seen and heard, they had to tell others. Therefore, they went back to Jerusalem from Emmaus and told the other disciples that they had witnessed the resurrected Christ.
In verse 36, Jesus then joined them in Jerusalem. In order to calm them and prove that it was really Him, because they were scared, Jesus offered for them to touch Him and feel Him. He then asked them for some food, and He ate fish in their presence.
Beginning in verse 44, Jesus encouraged them in the evening with these three truths. First, the Bible is true, and you can trust it. All of what is happening has been prophesied and is being fulfilled.
Second, the gospel is sufficient, and the gospel is clear. Jesus died because we are sinners, but He was raised and offers eternal life to all who believe. That is our message.
Third, the Church is Plan A to evangelize the world. In verse 48, we are witness to these things, and this is the message to share with the world. Furthermore, you will have the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, to empower you for the task.
This encouragement in the evening gives our last invitation to do our job, to fulfill our responsibility. The isn’t a better way to evangelize the world. There isn’t another way. Brothers and sisters, we are God’s predestined way. Now, let us be found faithful.
Sunday and chapter 24 and Luke’s gospel end with Jesus ascending and His followers worshipping and praising God. May we be found faithful in doing the same.