Luke 24:1-12: Resurrection
September 21, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the capstone and cornerstone of the Christian faith, and the very central point of the salvation history of the world. Luke tells this story, though, not with breathless poetry, but with a key, medical doctor, eye for detail and facts. Luke the historian is concerned to make sure that we realize that what he has recorded is no pious myth or wish fulfillment, but the bare record of objective eyewitness accounts.
This—astonishingly—happened. To begin with, he makes sure we know that the women who witnessed the empty tomb were not expecting Jesus to have risen. In fact, they were going there with spices to take care of the dead body (24:1). They were in an attitude of mourning, and certainly not expectation of any miracle. This is a critically important detail because sometimes people allege that the overwrought imagination of a bereaved person might see a ghost of the dearly departed. But they are not expecting to see Jesus risen. They are expecting to see Jesus dead. And they are quite carefully and practically going to tend his dead body.
Then Luke makes sure that we realize that this resurrection was actually something that Jesus himself had predicted (24:4-8). This matters because the resurrection did not catch Jesus by surprise. This was the grand culmination of the salvation plan that had been set in motion by God himself and orchestrated by God.
And then we must not forget that the first witnesses of the empty tomb were women. This is a fascinating detail because it is not something that a person wishing to construct a believable lie would have said. Women, at the time, were not admitted as reliable witnesses in a court of law. Therefore, for the empty tomb to be witnessed by a woman would not be something that would have been invented if it simply was not the way the event occurred. We note also the honor given to these women by being the first witnesses of the empty tomb.
Next we are told quite plainly that the disciples did not believe what the women said. This is no hero tale of the great religious leaders that would found the church; it is a realistic record of the hesitations and doubts. Again, not a spin that someone would put on this story, unless it is simply what occurred.
Finally, Peter—brave, quick to act Peter—runs and sees the empty tomb for himself. He is left marveling at what happened. The detail of the linen cloths by themselves (See John 19:40) probably confirmed for Peter that the miraculous was at work. And he is left with his head spinning trying to put it all together. Again, not something that the disciples would have recorded of Peter unless, once more, it was simply the way it happened.
To accept, believe in, and agree with the truth of the resurrection of Jesus is the most important commitment anyone of us will ever make. It will shape your choices for now and for all eternity. It will help you live with brave faith advancing the kingdom of God, knowing that it is of infinite value to invest in eternity. It will shape your eternal future itself, knowing that those in Christ will also rise from the dead themselves. All this—astonishingly—happened.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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