This Sunday is Easter Sunday, the day Jesus was raised from the dead three days after being killed as a criminal, also in fulfillment of the prophecies about Him. I love the account we read from Luke chapter 24.
Last week we talked about Palm Sunday. Jesus came riding into Jerusalem humbly, on a young colt, not as the victorious King the Jews expected. Yet they praised and worshipped Him in fulfillment of the prophecies.
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.
5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?
6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
8 And they remembered his words,
9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
Jesus knew what was coming for Him, He even told the Apostles about it ahead of time.
And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” ~ Luke 9:21-22
“Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” ~ Luke 9:44
These angels are here to remind the disciples of Jesus’ words and to testify that it had happened just as Jesus said it would. If you are a believer in Jesus, you also have that testimony!
The New Testament teaches that God sent the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…. He will glorify me” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit …. opens our eyes to see the self-authenticating glory of Christ in the narrative of his life and death and resurrection. He enables us to see Jesus as he really was, so that he is irresistibly true and beautiful. The apostle stated the problem of our blindness and the solution like this: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6). ~ Pastor John Piper
Even King David believed and foretold Jesus’ resurrection, and the Apostle Paul saw Jesus after His resurrection, he believed, and then he spoke in his testimony about it:
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—
23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,
31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
~ Acts 2:22-24, 29-32
Others will also testify of His resurrection
10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,
11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.
18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,
23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
24 Some 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 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,
29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
These disciples don’t recognize Jesus at first. Though they’ve been told that He has been raised from the dead, somehow they can’t see the miracle of Him standing right in front of them! Luke tells us “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself”. The whole of the Bible points us to Jesus as the Savior of the world. Here we see that Jesus is able to show them the Old Testament scriptures that point to Him. Yet, even as He is doing so, they are still unable to see the risen Savior. It reminds me of how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of those around us, and yet they can’t recognize Him. He is doing miracles in their lives, for their good and His glory. Yet they don’t seem to see or understand that it is God working.
Suddenly, we see a transformation that happens when “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him”! What a beautiful thing it is when that happens today! It brings joy to my heart when a unbeliever is beautifully transformed as the light of Christ dawns on their dark heart, and they choose to believe on Jesus to be saved. Or a believer that has strayed far from God has suddenly had his or her eyes opened to see and remember of who Christ is. These disciples remind us that God does these miracles, He opens minds and hearts to reveal Himself.
As we read the Bible, learn the Scriptures, and testify of what God has done in our lives, God uses what we’ve learned and our testimony to reveal Himself to others around us.
32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Sometimes the work of God can be frightening or startling. That’s our human flesh, our doubt, our lack of faith. That is simply human. Jesus responds to their fear with “why?”
God has done miracle after miracle after miracle after miracle in my life. I have no reason to fear. I’m still afraid.
I’m afraid of the future. I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid for my family. I’m afraid of evil. I’m afraid of crime. I’m afraid of my bank account. I’m afraid of what others think. I’m afraid I’m dumb, boring, ignorant, pompous, self-righteous, angry, abrasive, and sinful.
Yet Jesus assures me. He shows me how powerful He is just as He assures the discipes.
39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
He shows us in the Bible that He has risen from the dead. We have many eyewitness accounts of His resurrection. Why should I be afraid? I have a Savior God that does miraculous and wonderful things!
Jesus Eats with the Disciples
41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
43 and he took it and ate before them.
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
48 You are witnesses of these things.
49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Here we see Jesus remind them with His words that He was to suffer, die, and rise again “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations”. He explains the Scriptures to them and in doing so, “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”. As we read God’s word, the Bible, God does the same for us. It’s important to read and study both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Both of them point to God’s eternal plan for us and they point to Jesus Christ. If we read only one of the other, we don’t see the whole picture that God has given us. Jesus gives us that example, right here in Luke 24 and also throughout the New Testament, as He uses the Old Testament in His teaching.
50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
~ Luke 24:1-53
The Gospel of Luke begins it’s story in the Temple in Luke 1, and Luke also ends his gospel account in the Temple here in Chapter 24. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Temple. God shows us again and again throughout His Word that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah – and the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan.
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
The temple was designed by specifications given from God early in the Old Testament. God uses His entire Word to testify of Himself. We have that testimony as well! We can be witnesses, just as the disciples were, of a risen Savior.
Hallelujah, He is risen! He is risen indeed!