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
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
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
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’
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
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
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
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
Jesus Appears To The Disciples (ch.24:36
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
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
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.