The Resurrection of Jesus:
(Read Luke 24: 1-12)
On the first day of the week at early morning the women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus to express their unreserved devotion and dedication to Christ. They found that the stone covering the entrance of the tomb had been rolled away from the tomb. They went in but could not find the body of Jesus. The grave cloth that encircled the body was intact. It looked like an empty mummy shell. Two angels appeared to the women and said “Why do you seek the living among the dead, He is not here, but has risen”. They were reminded of what Jesus had predicted about his resurrection. They returned to report their discovery to the apostles. These words seemed to them an idle tale and the apostles did not believe them. But Peter ran to the tomb and saw the linen cloths intact by themselves and wondered what had happened. What seems unbelievable at first would soon become undeniable as Jesus himself appeared to them. His body was never intended to be left in the grave (9:22; 18:32-33). The better we understand the significance of the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection, the more we love Christ and serve him. Read note on Matthew 28:1-15.
Jesus Reveals Himself to Two Emmaus Disciples:
(Read Luke 23:13-34)
This is one of the most fascinating stories in the New Testament. Two of Jesus’ disciples were walking to the village of Emmaus. Emmaus was about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked they were discussing the events of the past few days including Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Suddenly Jesus joined them but they did not know who he was. Jesus inquired why they look so sad. Then Cleopas replied “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who has not heard the things that happened there”. Jesus asked them “What things?” They explained how they had thought Jesus was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. But the religious leaders condemned him to death. Then some women reported that the angels told them that he is alive. Then Jesus pointed out from the scriptures that the Messiah should suffer first and enter into glory. And beginning with Moses and all prophets, Jesus explained to them the things concerning him. What a glorious Bible study it must have been! They were taught that everything in the Scripture points ultimately to Jesus (Luke 24:27, 44). When they neared Emmaus they urged Jesus to stay the night with them. As they sat down to eat Jesus took the bread and broke it. Suddenly their eyes were opened to see His nail-pierced hands and they immediately realized it was their Lord. Then Jesus vanished from their sight. They said to each other “Didn’t our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, and while he opened the Scriptures to us?” They returned to Jerusalem and told the disciples that “The Lord has risen indeed and has appeared to Peter”. Like these Emmaus disciples, we too are slow to believe what the Scripture clearly teaches.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples:
(Read Luke 24: 35-49)
Cleopas and his companion explained to disciples what had happened to them that afternoon. While they were talking, Jesus appeared in their midst and said “Peace to you”. The disciples had every reason to be frightened. Their hope for the kingdom have been dashed when Jesus was crucified. They were shocked by the sudden appearance of risen Lord and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Jesus corrected them by drawing attention to his glorified body. He asked them to touch his flesh and bones. Jesus did not condemn their lack of faith but encouraged them to trust him. Jesus gave a public demonstration of eating a piece of broiled fish to prove that he is risen. Then Jesus said “Everything written about him by Moses and Prophets are fulfilled”. He opened their understanding to the Scriptures to know that the Messiah should first suffer and on the third day rise from the dead so that repentance and forgiveness of sin should be proclaimed in his name to all nations. This is the essence of the great commission. Jesus asked them to stay in Jerusalem until they are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Only when we understand Christ's great love and his grace, we will be empowered and motivated to become his witnesses. Read note on John 20:19-25.
(Read Luke 24:50-53)
Jesus led his disciples to Bethany lifting his hands to heaven and blessed them. While he was blessing, Jesus left them and taken up to heaven. Bethany was on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives. Jesus’ ascension was in his glorified body. The disciples were assured by two angels that “This same Jesus taken away from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven”. Christ’s return will not be of secret spiritual nature. His second coming is our blessed hope. He will return bodily. The disciples worshiped Jesus and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They spent their time in the Temple praising God. Jesus is worthy of our worship because he is God and our redeemer. The gospel of Luke begins by announcing good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10). And it ends also with great joy. Like the early disciples, we should carry this joy by worshiping and sharing the good news about the one who came to seek and to save the lost sinners (Luke 19:10). May God bless the readers. Praise be to God!