On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered His words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. – Luke 24:1-12
Jesus’s death predictions helped His followers understand Him and His mission in light of the resurrection, but the resurrection message remained meaningless even to the disciples without personal experience of the empty tomb and resurrected Christ. Without the resurrection appearance, disciples could point to Jesus only as a powerful prophet who had apparently failed to fulfill their messianic hopes. Jesus could show He was Messiah by explaining the old Testament Scriptures correctly and by breaking bread, a symbolic reminder of the Lord’s Supper. Fellowship with the risen Christ leads to faith in the resurrection.
VERSE BY VERSE STUDY
LUKE 24:1 – The women brought spices to the tomb as we would bring flowers – as a sign of love and respect. The women went home and kept the Sabbath as the law required, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, before gathering up their spices and perfumes and returning to the tomb.
LUKE 24:1-9 – The two angels asked the women why they were looking in a tomb for someone who was alive. Often we run into people who are looking for God among the dead. They study the Bible as a mere historical document and go to church as if going to a memorial service. But Jesus is not among the dead – He lives! He reigns in the hearts of Christians, and He is the head of His church. Do we look for Jesus among the living? Do we expect Him to be active in the world and in the church? Let us look for signs of His power – they are all around us.
LUKE 24 – The angels reminded the women that Jesus had accurately predicted all that had happened to Him.
LUKE 24:6-7 – The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the central fact of Christian history. On it, the church is built; without it, there would be no Christian church today. Jesus’ resurrection is unique. Other religions have a strong ethical systems, concepts about paradise and other the afterlife, and various holy scriptures. Only Christianity has a God who became human, literally died for His people, and was raised again in power and glory to rule His church forever.
WHY IS THE RESURRECTION SO IMPORTANT?
1. Because Christ was raised from the dead, we know that the Kingdom of Heaven has broken into earth’s history. Our world is now headed for redemption, not disaster. God’s mighty power is at work destroying sin, creating new lives, and preparing us for Jesus’ second coming.
2. Because of the Resurrection, we know that death has been conquered and we, too, will be raised from the dead to live forever with Christ.
3. The Resurrection gives authority to the church’s witness in the world. Look at the early evangelistic sermons in the book of Acts: The apostles’ most important message was the proclamation that Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead!
4. The Resurrection gives meaning to the church’s sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
5. The Resurrection helps us find meaning even in great tragedy. No matter what happens to us as we walk with the Lord, the Resurrection gives us hope for the future.
6. The Resurrection assures us that Christ is alive and ruling His kingdom. He is not a legend; He is alive and real.
7. God’s power that brought Jesus back from the dead is available to us so that we can live for Him in an evil world.
LUKE 24:11, 12 – People who hear about the Resurrection for the first time may need time before they can comprehend this amazing story. Like the disciples, they may pass through four stages of belief:
A. At first, they may think it is a fairy tale, impossible to believe.
B. Like Peter, they may check out the facts but still be puzzled about what happened.
C. Only when they encounter Jesus personally will they be able to accept the fact of the Resurrection.
D. Then, as they commit themselves to Jesus and devote their lives to serving Him, they will begin fully to understand the reality of His presence with them.
VERSE FOR MEDITAION
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27