ALIVE AGAIN Luke 24
“Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” (Luke 24:26)We share today the glory into which the resurrected Christ has entered.
The Gospels report several incidents where Jesus brought the dead back to life. This was not resurrection, but resuscitation. In resuscitation biological life is restored. But the individual remains mortal, and must experience biological death again. On the other hand resurrection is not a restoration of biological life. It is a transformation of the individual; a transmutation from mortality to immortality. The resurrected never again die, but live forever with the Lord. The resurrected are not subject to suffering or pain, or to the limitations that restrict mere men. Christ entered into the glory of the resurrected life when He burst triumphant from His tomb.
The first day of the week angels told awed women that Jesus had risen (24:1–8). Peter and John hurried to view the empty tomb (vv. 9–12). Jesus revealed Himself to two followers He met on the road to Emmaus (vv. 13–35). He met with all the disciples and “opened their minds” to the Scriptures (vv. 36–49) before being taken up into heaven (vv. 50–53).
Understanding the Text
“On the first day of the week” Luke 24:1.
From the very beginning of the church, Christians have held services on the first day of the week rather than the seventh. The Sabbath (Saturday) memorialized Creation and God’s rest. The first day (Sunday) celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, and our victory over sin in Him. Each Sunday as we worship let’s commit ourselves to live in the newness of life that Jesus brings. “Then they remembered” Luke 24:2–8. It was only when the women saw the angel and were reminded by him that Jesus had promised to rise again that they remembered. If they had remembered earlier, how differently they would have felt during the nights and days Jesus’ body lay in the grave. If they had remembered earlier, they would have come to the tomb with hope and expectation. When a loved one dies, those who are left behind always grieve. But if we remember the empty tomb—and what it promises to us—we will come to the graveside of our believing dead weeping tears that glisten with the promise of joy. Jesus arose. And so will we. Many believe that the first-century tomb shown here is similar to that in which Jesus lay. The track in which a massive stone rolled (24:2); the low cut door at which Peter stooped (v. 12); the tiny window through which dawn’s light fell on the empty graveclothes (v. 12); all fit the details of the Gospel account. And the Garden Tomb lies near a mount that some identify as Calvary. Whether or not this is like the actual tomb is unimportant. What is important is that Jesus arose! “You are witnesses of these things” Luke 24:36–49. Later Jesus appeared to the 11 disciples. Seeing His hands and His feet, hearing His familiar voice, every doubt was overcome, and His disciples believed. It was then, after faith had come, that they were able to understand the Scriptures. Verses that had been familiar suddenly were filled with a meaning they had not grasped before. And then Jesus said a strange thing. The disciples were to “be witnesses” to all the things the Scripture had predicted would happen. They were to confirm the Word of God by testifying to its truth! In one sense, of course, nothing you or I can say can confirm or detract from the Word of God. God’s Word is truth, whatever men say about it. Yet in another sense we do bear witness to its trustworthiness. The 11 Jesus chose would preach the prophecies, and then would say, “I saw them fulfilled.” Even as today you and I share the Gospel and say, “I know it’s true. I have seen God’s promises fulfilled in my own life. I have experienced God’s forgiveness, and seen Jesus Christ change me.”
Downcast Disciples (Luke 24:13–35)
That Resurrection morning, as two of Jesus’ disciples trudged along the dusty road to Emmaus, a town about seven miles from Jerusalem, their faces were downcast. Mournful and gloomy, they undoubtedly made dreary companions that Easter morn. Yet when Jesus joined them in the guise of a stranger, the two disciples revealed they had a host of Resurrection facts! They even told the friendly Stranger about the empty tomb. Yes, some of their company had talked with angels, who said Jesus had risen from the dead. Yes, two disciples had gone to the tomb, and found it empty. But they hadn’t seen Him. So as these disciples trudged along, their faces sad, their hearts burdened, mourning the triumph they thought a tragedy, Jesus traced the Old Testament passages which predicted the Messiah’s death and foretold His resurrection. And even then the two disciples couldn’t shake their gloom. Downcast disciples. Downcast disciples, walking along the road with Jesus by their side. Downcast disciples, mourning as though their God really were dead rather than with them, and triumphantly alive. If you think that this is strange, think for a moment about your own life. Have you forgotten what the two on the road to Emmaus didn’t know? Do you find that you have a downcast mood that slips up on all of us now and then. But when it does, that’s the time to remember the lesson of the road to Emmaus. Our feelings do not fit the facts! We’re not alone anymore. Jesus lives, and our resurrected Lord walks our road with us. When we focus our attention on Him, and realize how close beside us He is, that downcast mood will be replaced by joy.
Resurrection means the risen Christ is with you and me today.
“The Lord who took on our life had to die to give us His divine life. But death could not keep Him, so He rose again on the third day. My deepest rejoicing is in the living Word of God assuring us of the victory of Jesus over death, for I know that the little Child who was born in Bethlehem had to suffer before I could be saved. I cannot therefore be grateful enough to Him. I pray that I daily may know Him more and more, that I do not harden my heart when He speaks to me, that when He clearly speaks to me, I may obey Him, and that above all I may adore Him as my God and Saviour. “If we love Him above everything else in life, He will give us power to master our problems, overcome our fears and rise above every temptation and every sin. And then we shall be granted a foretaste of life eternal even in this mortal life.”—Charles H. Malik