Sermon Notes

April 1st 2018

Thoughts on the Sunday School Lesson April 1, 2018

He Has Risen / Luke 24:1-12, 30-35 (Msg.)

-3 At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus. 4-8 They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how He told you when you were still back in Galilee that He had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words. 9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up. 12 But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head.
30-31 And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, He blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized Him. And then He disappeared. 32 Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as He conversed with us on the road, as He opened up the Scriptures for us?” 33-34 They didn’t waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: “It’s really happened! The Master has been raised up—Simon saw Him!” 35 Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized Him when He broke the bread.

INTRODUCTION

The Gospel accounts do not describe the resurrection event, but only give the results. What happened is a mystery, but the name given it is clear—Resurrection, not raising. What happened was unique to Jesus, different from the raising of others. The others would die again, but Jesus will never die again.
The resurrection happened to Jesus and His disciples. Their faith was dead, but made alive by the appearances of Christ, never to die again. His disciples were transformed from a cowardly to a courageous people; from no purpose to a great purpose. And what happened to them, happens to all disciples of Christ when they embrace the resurrected Christ.
This lesson presents the resurrection to us on two levels—the spiritual the literal. Both are important. As Christians living in a world given to ever widening skepticism that the resurrection was an actual event of history, we must emphasize that this is not myth or allegory, but that the resurrection is a real event that happened to both Jesus and those who believed (and believe) on Him. But more important, we need to know how the resurrection figures into our day-by-day walk with God—how it transforms, emboldens and consoles us.

INTO THE VERSES

1-3 At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.
It’s clear that this was not Saturday evening, but Sunday morning (Mark 16:2 includes the words “just after sunrise”). The two Marys—generally believed to be Mary Magda-lene and Mary, the mother of James and John—came to the tomb to complete Jesus’ burial, or perhaps to prepare His body for travel back to His home of Nazareth.
There is no mention in Luke of a violent earthquake, or any other explanation as to who the stone was removed from covering the tomb—only that it had been rolled back. Matthew reports that this was done by an angel’s descent from heaven.
4-8 They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how He told you when you were still back in Galilee that He had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.
Neither here nor anywhere else in the New Testament is Jesus’ actual resurrection recorded. Rather, the Gospels stress the witness to an accomplished event and to a risen Savior. Clearly, the apostles were less interested in the “how” than in the significance that the resurrection did, indeed, happen.
Here, these angels are the first to bear the witness. Having first addressed the women's fear, he declares: “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up.” This makes it clear why the stone was removed from the entrance—not to allow Jesus to emerge from the tomb, but to allow His followers to enter into the tomb, so that they can see that it is empty. Jesus’ resurrection did not depend upon the removal of the stone.
9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up. 12 But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head.
Matthew reports that, after the angelic announcement, Jesus appears to these women to confirm the report that He was, indeed, alive. Luke, however, tells us that the women report to the apostles without having actually seen Jesus. It is reminiscent of what Jesus would later say to a doubting Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe (John 20:29).” The women visibly express their joy by running to tell the apostles.
It’s unfortunate that the apostles’ initial response was disbelief. They are almost invisible in the text. They are hiding behind closed doors, or silently grieving in the safety of their own quarters (Luke 24:12). But to his credit, Peter is reported to have gone to the tomb and see what he could see—a few grave clothes.
Frank Tillipaugh, in his book, The Church Unleashed, refers to the “fortress mentality” of the Church. He says that the Church is more concerned about nurturing itself than it is with reaching the lost with the Gospel—in word and deed. We are more concerned with our own self-image than we are with the salvation of the lost; we are caught up more in safety and security than in faith and obedience. We persist in constructing programs that protect us from the world in which we live, rather than in penetrating the world with the Good News of the Gospel.

THE INTERIM VERSES

Luke shifts his account to two men from Emmaus, walking home. From Mark 16:12 we learn that Jesus appeared to these two “in a different form.” It seems to mean that He appeared to them in a body that was not immediately recognizable in appearance. He also appeared to them as one very much like them, as a traveler. Moreover, Jesus appeared as one totally aloof to what was going on.
These men were disciples, men who were intimately acquainted with and associated with the eleven (verse 13). From what they tell Jesus, they were privy to all that had taken place and to all that was reported to the apostles by the women. But they were very discouraged; they had given up all hope. They had hoped that Jesus was the Messiah (verse 21), but due to His death they had concluded that He was only a prophet—a true prophet of God, a powerful prophet, but only a prophet, who died like many of the other prophets of old.
These men told Jesus of other data that they had chosen to ignore, reject, or misinterpret. They said it was the “third day” since He had died. This was a reference to Jesus’ words that He would rise again on the third day. Also, some of the women had gone out to the tomb and found it empty. They further claimed to have seen angels, but they did not see Jesus. The very things that pointed to the resurrection of Jesus had no impact on these two men at all.
These men were utterly unbelieving, defeated and going home. In the face of much evidence to the contrary, these two disciples seem determined not to believe in the resurrection. They have absolutely no hope. Had Jesus not sought them out, one wonders what would have become of them.
Jesus’ words to these two men were not flattering. They were a rebuke for their spiritual dullness and for their failure to believe all that the prophets had spoken. The word “all” in verse 26 is an important one. It indicates that the belief of the disciples was selective. They believed part of the prophets’ revelation, but not all. Which part did they believe, and which part did they not believe? Our Lord’s words in verse 26 give us the answer. The message of the prophets concerning the coming Messiah was a blending of suffering and glory; they spoke of Messiah’s rejection and suffering, (Isaiah 52, 53), yet they also spoke of His triumph and glory (Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 9,14).
There is a difference in the way the prophets dealt with the tension of the two truths of Christ’s suffering and of His glory. The prophets accepted both aspects of prophecy, even though they did not understand how they could be compatible. But most of the Israelites chose to reject the suffering side and only to focus on the glory dimension. They did this not only with respect to the Messiah, but also with respect to themselves. The false prophets were those who gave warm, reassuring, promises of peace and prosperity, while the true prophets spoke of suffering and of tribulation. Thus, the people were inclined to listen to the false prophets and to persecute those who spoke for God.
Jesus rebuked these two men for their spiritual dullness, and then He went on to show them from the whole Old Testament—beginning with Moses and culminating in the prophets—that the Messiah was prophesied to suffer and to be glorified. Jesus was saying that it was not enough to grant that Messiah’s suffering was somehow compatible with His glory; it was not enough to grant that suffering was a means to His glory. We must understand suffering as part of His glory. The worship of the Messiah in Heaven is the worship of the One who was slain (Revelation 1:17-18; 5:1-14).
Jesus acted as though He would go on, so as to provide the two men with the opportunity to respond to what He had been teaching. Jesus had begun with a rebuke, and His teaching had cast a whole new light on the Old Testament prophecies. How would they respond? Did they wish to reject it? If so, they would gladly have let Him go on His way. But they urged Him to stay with them. They wanted more. They desired to be with Him, even though they did not yet realize who He was. Humanly speaking, had they not urged Him to stay, they would not have had their eyes open to recognize who He was. What joy lay ahead for those who would sup with the Savior.

BACK TO THE LESSON

30-31 And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, He blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized Him. And then He disappeared. 32 Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as He conversed with us on the road, as He opened up the Scriptures for us?” 33-34 They didn’t waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: “It’s really happened! The Master has been raised up—Simon saw Him!” 35 Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized Him when He broke the bread.
There is no scriptural evidence to suggest that there was a mysterious or mystical revelation of Jesus in the breaking of the bread. The reason they recognized Jesus was because “their eyes were opened,” their blindness was removed. It was not that which Jesus did in the breaking of the bread which was so convincing, but the work of the Spirit, who convinced the men of the meaning of the Scriptures and thus enabled them to see Christ for who He was. It was during the breaking of the bread that the identity of this “stranger” was made known to the two men.
Jesus immediately disappeared. They immediately returned to Jerusalem to report to the rest what they had experienced, only to be told that they already knew Jesus was alive, because He had appeared to Peter in the time of their absence.

Want to get more involved at Shiloh?

Browse our Ministries