About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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This Section - Chapter 24

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ch. 24:1-12   ch. 24:13-35    ch. 24:36-49   ch. 24:50-53

The Resurrection (ch. 24:1 - 12)

The Sabbath was now over and the women came to the tomb with their spices and perfume very early in the morning on the "first day of the week", our Sunday. The word "week" is not actually in the Greek text. The text simply says that the women came on the "first day", meaning, the "first day after the Sabbath".

When the women got to the tomb "they found the stone rolled away from the tomb". The stone was not a big round ball like rock. It was like a wheel, round and flat. It could be moved easily back and forth, from side to side, because it was in a groove in the ground. But Luke said that it "was rolled away from the tomb". Some suggest then that the stone was actually out of the groove and a piece away from the tomb. This suggests the possibility of the stone being blown out of its grooves.

The women are astonished at the fact that the stone is rolled away and the body of Jesus is no where to be found. What they did see in the tomb was the grave clothes that Jesus was wrapped in. They were also astonished by two angels that suddenly appeared. Matthew and Mark counted one angel in their account. There is a good chance that Matthew and Mark are making the point that "one angel only" spoke to these ladies, while the other remained silent. Their emphases might have been on what was said by one of the angels, and not how many angels there were.

The angels appeared as men, as angels always do in Scripture. No where in the Bible do angels appear as woman or little children.

One angel asked the women, "why do you look for the living among the dead"? This is an interesting way to put it. Where else would these ladies go to find the body of Jesus other than where they last saw Him, and that was in the tomb? But the words of the angel emphasize the point that Jesus was alive. No one had stolen His body as later reported.

In verse 6 we read the words that have been echoed down through history, "He is not here, He has risen"!

The angel reminded the women what Jesus had told them "while He was still with them". He told His followers that He’d be delivered into the hands of sinful men, would be killed and would rise the third day. They then did remember these words. Thus it is with prophetic words. We often don’t understand them until the time of their fulfillment.

In verse 9 Luke tells us that these women went back to the Eleven and told them what they saw. Luke mentions this telling of the Eleven twice. The verb tense in the Greek says that these women had to continually tell the Eleven. It is clear then that Thomas was not the only doubter in the group. The rest had a hard time believing these ladies at first.

Luke tells us some of the names of these ladies. He mentions, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Joanna. What Luke doesn’t say is that these women actually met Jesus on the way out of the place where the tomb was. We sees this event in John’s gospel.

Luke specifically says that the apostles did not believe the women, "but Peter got up and ran to the tomb". Maybe Peter had some doubt at first but the doubt did not linger long. Impetuous as Peter was, we see him get up, probably pretty quickly and "run" to the tomb.

There might have been more to Peter running to the tomb based on his impetuousness. He had gone through a lot with Jesus, especially in his denial. The Holy Spirit worked in the heart of Peter during his time of repentance and after a fleeting doubt Peter understood that there was something to these women’s report.

Peter sees for himself the empty tomb and the grave clothes just lying there. Luke tells us that Peter wondered to himself how this could happen. What a roller coaster ride Peter and the others have been on.

On The Road To Emmaus (ch. 24:13 - 35)

This section describes the visitation of Jesus to two disciples on their way to Emmaus, where they appeared to live. Jesus suddenly appeared a couple of steps behind them and caught up to them as they were speaking and questioning each other about the event of the day, namely Jesus’ resurrection.

These two men did not recognize Jesus as He was talking to them. Luke says that this was kept from them. This seems to suggest that God had closed their eyes and understanding at that point to who Jesus was. In Mark 16:12 it says that Jesus appeared "in another form". This might suggest that when Jesus appeared to people after His resurrection that He looked different. This difference may have been in how He was dressed, not in such things as his height, weight, or facial appearance. Yet on the other hand, "another form" seems to suggest more than that. As yet, I am not sure just what ‘another form" means. I’m not sure anyone does

While these two men were discussing the death of Jesus, Jesus asked them what they were talking about. The two men could not believe what they had just heard. All of Jerusalem knew about the death of Jesus and here this man was asking them about this. They actually stopped walking and "stood still, with downcast" faces and questioned the man. They thought that He must have been some visitor to Jerusalem and somehow did not hear of the events of the last few days.

These men were very sad, thus the use of the word "downcast" to describe their faces. They were also confused because they had heard the news from the women about Jesus’ resurrection and couldn’t figure it out.

Luke tells us the name of one of these men, namely "Cleopas". Cleopas then began to explain to Jesus that the one they were discussing was Jesus of Nazareth. He was a great prophet of God, who worked powerfully before God and people. They hoped that Jesus would "redeem" Israel. The word "redeem" means more than to simply save or deliver. It means to purchase. These men understood that Jesus of Nazareth would purchase for them their deliverance. Did they think this deliverance was national, or spiritual? It is hard to say. Most Jews believed that their Messiah would set them free from foreign domination.

The confusing part of this story to these men was what the women had found at the tomb. They stated that some men went and checked out the women’s story and they found it to be true.

Jesus began His response in verse 25 by saying, "how foolish you are…" These two men must have been really taken back by these words. Here they thought they were speaking to some stranger, knowing nothing about what had just happed in Jerusalem, and that they tried to help Him understand, and now He calls them foolish. These men were already in a state of confusion and now they hear these words. They might have well been a little upset with Jesus and thought He was the foolish one.

I am sure that if they were upset with Jesus that their feelings changed. Jesus began to speak to them about the Messiah from Scripture. He told them how the Messiah would have to suffer death and then enter His glory. This had to be one really interesting sermon for these men to hear, but yet, they did not recognize Jesus for who He really was.

In verse 28 and 29 we see the three men approaching Emmaus. Jesus acted as if He were going to keep walking but by now it was late, and these men must have been really intrigued by Jesus so they invited Him in for a meal.

So Jesus and the two men reclined at the evening meal. Remember, Jesus was the guest. Normally one of the two men would have served Jesus, but Jesus took the bread and divided it, blessed it, and gave it to these two men. As they took the bread, their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus for who He was. This was clearly a revelation from God. It took place as they took the bread. Was this the first recorded Communion Service? It is hard to say. We should be careful not to make more out of this than what should be. Still it is ironic that it was in the giving of the bread that their eyes were open. This was not the only time this happened after the resurrection. We will see more examples. There was something special happening when people ate with Jesus after the resurrection.

After this, Jesus suddenly disappeared. This was the new Jesus. He was not limited to time and space. He appeared to have an earthly looking body, but He could appear and disappear at will. Is this what Jesus looks like in Heaven today? Upon passing through the clouds in Acts 1 did His body change into another form that we don’t know of? This is hard to say as well. It is only my guess, but I think that Jesus has the same body today in Heaven, although it is quite possible that as He appeared to these men after His resurrection, the body He was seen in was only temporary, just for the moment in order for people to see and communicate with Him. The theological word for this is called "anthropomorhpic", meaning that God takes on a visible human figure for a temporary moment of time in order to speak with man.

We see in verse 33 that these two men still had more questions after Jesus disappeared. They confided in the fact that "their hearts burned in them as He opened up the Scriptures". It is this same burning that people feel when the Holy Spirit first comes to them and speaks to their hearts about the need of repentance and faith. The convicting power of the Holy Spirit is often referred to as a fire within one’s heart.

Now these men had just walked 7 miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus which surely would have taken a few hours, and now they get right up and walk back. The exhilaration of this experience gave them the energy to return to the Eleven and report what they had just experienced. When they got there they were told first that the Lord had appeared to Peter. In response they told the Eleven how their eyes were opened when Jesus broke bread with them. How these men and women must have felt is beyond our imagination.

Jesus Appears To The Disciples (ch.24:36 - 49)

Luke records that as these very disciples were speaking about these things, Jesus suddenly appeared in front of them. He said, "peace be with you". Once again, amazement must have struck the hearts of these people. In verse 37 Luke says that "they were startled and frightened". They thought that they’d seen a ghost. You and I may have thought the same thing.

Jesus asked them why they were so afraid and why they had their doubts. He showed them His hands and feet and said, "it is I myself". Of course His hands and feet had the scars from the nails. If this body that Jesus had at that moment was His glorified body, then His glorified body had the signs of the cross printed on it for all of eternity. If this truly was His glorified body, then for all of eternity, every time we see Jesus, we will be reminded of the cross. What a thought. The cross will never be forgotten about.

Jesus told the disciples to touch His hands and his feet and feel for themselves that this was a real body, not a spirit, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones. Flesh and bones is what a person would feel when they touched a body. Some suggest that Jesus did not have blood in His veins because He didn’t say "flesh and blood" as we’d normally say. This is somewhat speculative because blood in the veins is a little irrelevant because you can’t really feel the blood. But on the other hand there is a point to be made. There is a good likelihood that a glorified body does not have blood. Blood is the life of the body, but a glorified body that lives forever may not need blood. Some therefore suggest that Jesus’ body did not have blood in it. His blood was drained at the cross. They also then suggest that our glorified bodies will not have blood in them as well.

It is interesting to note that Jesus told Mary at the tomb not to touch Him because He had not yet returned to the Father. But here He tells His disciples to touch Him. He must have then returned to the Father by this point in time. This then might suggest that He in fact did have His glorified body that He would have throughout eternity.

Luke tells us that they still had a hard time believing because "of joy and amazement". Then Jesus asked them if they had anything to eat. Was Jesus hungry? I doubt it. It is only my guess that a glorified body doesn’t get hungry. Yes, it eats, but maybe for the pure pleasure of eating.

Once again Jesus spoke to the disciples from the Scriptures. This time He specifically speaks of the Law, Prophets, and the Psalms, that they all point to Him in a prophetic sense. Then in verse 45 Luke tells us that Jesus "opened their minds so that they could understand". This shows us again that things of God need to be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Jesus needs to open our minds to spiritual truth because the natural mind cannot understand these things.

It is interesting to note that revelation came just after Jesus ate and during His teaching. The same happened with the two men on the road to Emmaus.

In verse 46 Jesus said the Christ must suffer, die and rise from the dead on the third day. He went on to say that "repentance and forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all nations’. Note the "repentance and forgiveness" is linked together. Jesus viewed these two things as inseparatable. We should do the same, although at times I think Evangelicals have forgotten the message of repentance. One cannot really put their trust in Jesus without acknowledging and turning from their own sinful ways.

Also note the gospel would be preached to "all nations", not just the Jews. Jesus was now opening the door of salvation to the Gentiles. Jesus Himself was sent to the lost sheep of Israel, but His followers  went to the whole world.

In verse 48 Jesus said, "you will be witnesses of these things". He did not ask them to be witnesses. He told them that they would be witnesses. Yet before they could be witnesses something else had to happen.

Luke does not elaborate on what the next step was in his gospel. He tells us more in the first chapter of Acts. What he says here are these words of Jesus; "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high". Jesus was telling these people that they were not quite ready to be a living witness to the gospel. They needed a certain power from Heaven. This power came to them when they received the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. It is my strong opinion that prior to Acts 2 these men and women did not have the Holy Spirit. The power came to their lives when the Holy Spirit came to live within them.

As with everything Jesus did, there was a time table involved. I do believe that God has a Heavenly time table. There was a specific time for Jesus to be born, a specific time for Him to die and to rise from the dead, and then ascend into Heaven. And there was a specific time, the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would be given to God’s people in order to be living witnesses to the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Ascension (ch. 24:50 - 53)

In this section Luke summarizes the ascension as he does with the above statements. We learn more of the ascension from what he says in Acts. Here he simply tells us that Jesus took His disciples out to a place near Bethany where He blessed them and then disappeared into the clouds. Luke tells us that they were filled with joy, but I have to guess that they had mixed feelings. Again, what would have gone through these people’s minds? The one they loved has just left them for good, and the way in which He left was astonishing. He floated up into the sky and disappeared into the clouds. By now these disciple’s heads must have been spinning. How could they ever sleep at night after all of this? Their minds must have been extraordinary pre-occupied.

Luke closes his gospel by telling us that these men and women did as Jesus told them to do. They went back to Jerusalem and worshipped God daily at the Temple.


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