The Lord Has Risen
None of the gospels record all of the resurrection appearances of Jesus. Each evangelist told of the resurrection in light of his distinctive purpose. Luke emphasized the reality of the resurrection and the difference it made in the lives of the disciples. Although Jesus’ followers had head Him predict His death and resurrection, they were not expecting Him to be raised from the dead. They believed only after they had seen the risen Lord for themselves. The Lord helped them see the cross as a triumph, not a tragedy. He commissioned His followers to be witnesses to all nations. Thus, although the disciples of Jesus had been in despair when He had left them earlier, they were able to live in confident joy after His ascension.
An Idle Tale 1-12
Many have tried to explain away the resurrection of Jesus. One theory is that the disciples saw someone they mistook for Jesus. This makes the assumption the disciples were waiting for the resurrection. But the New Testament shows that they were not expecting the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Luke 24:11 is clear on this fact, the women had seen the empty tomb and had heard the angels say that Jesus was alive. But when the women reported this to the disciples, “these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.” Some of the men went to the tomb and found it empty. Still they were not convinced. It was only later when they saw Jesus themselves did they believe.
The angels reminded the women that Jesus had predicted His death and resurrection. The disciples heard these predictions, why had they not been expecting Jesus to be risen from the dead? They heard what He said but they did not understand. The disciples had their own expectations of what the Messiah was to be and what He was to do, therefore, they only heard what they expected to hear.
The Cross as Tragedy 13-24
Only in Luke do we see this story of the followers on the road to Emmaus. They were speaking directly to Jesus but did not recognize Him. By their conversation we can learn how the followers of Jesus were feeling before they became aware of His resurrection. They had hoped that Jesus would deliver Israel but those hopes had been dashed by Jesus’ condemnation and death. They knew of the women who went to the tomb and found it empty. Yet they were not willing to believe. They knew of the men who went to the tomb and had found it empty but these men had not seen Jesus. They though if Jesus was alive surely He would have shown Himself.
They showed their feeling not only by the words they were speaking but also by the way they looked. Luke records, “And they stood still, looking sad.”
The Cross as Triumph 25-27
Many in Jesus’ day were well versed in the Scriptures. But many did not know the central message of the Scriptures. There focus was on the passages that presented the Messiah as a glorious King, but they missed the passages that spoke of Him as a suffering servant. Jesus, still unrecognized, shows how the Scriptures presented the whole story of the Messiah. Jesus showed them that the suffering on the cross was the way to triumph and not tragedy.
Jesus must have pointed to passages as in Isaiah 53, but He also showed them that this theme runs through the whole history of Israel. Jesus showed them how God had called His people not for privilege but for mission. The mission would involve suffering, sometimes innocent suffering. Jesus showed that the glorious King and the Suffering Servant are one in the same. Through His redemptive suffering, the King fulfills the will of God and enters into His glory.
Jesus had tried to teach His disciples the way of self-giving love is the way of God, but the earth bound disciples continued to measure success by the standards of the earth.
God raised Jesus from the dead to show that He was right. The way of love is the way of life. Those who chose to live in the way of the cross can be assured of the power of resurrection. (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 3:1-4)
Recognizing Jesus 28-32
Why were these followers of Jesus not able to recognize Him? The same question can be asked about Mary Magdalene in John 20:14? One reason may be they were not expecting to see Jesus. Another reason may be that His appearance was different in some ways. But the main factor for these two was that the mystery of His revelation was temporarily hidden from them. But when they did recognize Him they were better able to understand and overcome of their earlier feelings. During the time that Jesus was speaking to them they were having strange feelings. Now they understood why their hearts had burned within them.
Enthusiastic Witness 33-35
The day was near over when they recognized Jesus but they began on the seven mile journey back to Jerusalem. It was unusual to travel at night in those days but these two immediately returned. What a difference from earlier when they were standing sill and looking sad.
Before the Emmaus disciples could tell what had happened the Jerusalem disciples shared good news of their own. “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” The Apostle Paul made a reference to this and this is all we know of it. (1 Corinthians 15:7) With these two reports the disciples were beginning to believe Jesus was alive.
Disbelieving for Joy 36-43
If the disciples had begun to believe that Jesus had risen why were they startled and frightened when Jesus appeared? Hearing the testimony of Peter was one thing, but seeing is another.
At first they thought He was a spirit. Jesus challenged them to look closely and even touch Him. Jesus even ate a piece of fish to show them that He was not a spirit. The exact nature of Jesus’ resurrection body is a mystery to us. Jesus was not with them all the time. He appeared from time to time and usually suddenly. Jesus had a body that could be seen and touched and it was a body they could recognize. The resurrection of Jesus then means that more than His spirit was raised. The tomb was empty and there was not a body there. His body was also raised from the dead.
Evan as Jesus was speaking to them they, “could not believe it because of their joy.” What they were experiencing was too good to be true. Thomas was not the only doubter. None of them was expecting Jesus to be raised from the dead. Each one of them had to see for themselves, and even after that they struggled with their natural doubt.
Commissioned as Witnesses 44-49
Jesus now opens up the Scriptures to all His disciples. So that they would know that the way of the cross is the way to victory. Jesus repeated His earlier lessons and then added that repentance and forgiveness is for all nations. It had always been the purpose of God to declare the good news of the Gospel of Christ and divine salvation to all the nations.
The Gospel of Luke is really a two volume set with the Book of Acts. In the Book of Acts we see that the Church was Spirit led to cross the many barriers and take the Gospel to many kings of people. A worldwide mission was inherent to all that Jesus had spoken. These verses 44-49 forms a bridge between Luke’s two books.
Sorrow Turned to Joy 50-53
This is a short account of Jesus; ascension. The ascension is also described in Acts. (Acts 1:9-11) Here Luke describes what the disciples did after Jesus had left them. “They returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God.” They had been earlier demoralized when Jesus had been taken from them by death. But by His resurrection to life they were joyful even as He was again departing them. What would be a better testimony of their faith in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?
The Promise of the Spirit
In the Old Testament the Spirit of God occasionally came upon individuals to empower them for God’s service and prophecy. (Numbers 24:2; Judges 3:10; ! Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 16:13; Ezekiel 11:5) In the Judaism of Jesus’ day, there was a widespread belief that the Spirit of the prophecy had departed from Israel with the last of the Old Testament prophets. But the prophets had predicted that when God’s salvation arrived, He would pour out His Spirit on all people. (Isaiah 32:15; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Joel 2:28-32)
This prophecy finds its initial fulfillment in the birth narrative in Luke. The Holy Spirit inspired prophetic witness and guided the events of Jesus’ birth. John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit even before he was born, and Zechariah broke forth in a Spirit filled hymn of praise to God. Mary conceived Jesus and prophesied through the power of the Spirit, and Simeon was led by the Spirit to the Temple to see the Messiah. Later in His life, Jesus was anointed by the Spirit at His baptism and empowered to accomplish His role as the Messiah.
Following His ascension, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies by pouring out His Spirit on His disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Empowering them to take the Good News of salvation to the ends of the earth. Throughout Acts, the Church accomplished its mission through the guidance, power, and direction of the Holy Spirit. For Luke, the coming of the Spirit marks the beginning of God’s salvation — God’s presence and power now reside with His people.
Durant Bible College