Sat, 22 March 2008
While every Gospel contains a Resurrection account, Luke makes certain key insights. "At dawn [having departed while it was still dark], women travel to Jesus' tomb bringing the spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled back" (24:1-2). Perplexed at the absence of Jesus' body, their confusion changed to fear when they saw two men in "dazzling garments" come to them. In an age before bleach, these women were convinced these were angels and "bowed to the ground" (v. 5). Upon hearing the angels' narrative, "they remembered His words" and were assured of His resurrection (v. 8).
These women, Mary of Magdala, Joanna and Mary the mother of James then travel to the eleven, but are not able to convince any of them except Peter. Only in Luke do we then get an account of Jesus on the road to Emmaus happening on the same day of His resurrection. After revealing to them "every passage of Scripture which referred to Him" on this road, He "pronounced the blessing, then broke the bread and began to distribute it to them" (v. 27, 30). At this, their eyes were opened, He vanished from their sight and they said "Were not our hearts burning inside us as he talked to us?" Let us not overlook the fact that their hearts were ablaze at the Hebrew Scriptures despite His disappearance and celebration of the Eucharist.
Starting in verse 36, Jesus reappears to the eleven, standing in their midst. Although Luke does not mention Thomas' absence, the other Gospel writers confirm that he was not present for this episode. Too awestruck to honor his request to "handle me," wishing to prove to them His resurrection, they "disbelieved for joy" (v. 39, 41). Again speaking of the Hebrew Scriptures, He then opened their minds, confirmed His resurrection and said, "And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem, You are witnesses of these things and behold I send the promise of my father upon you, but stay in [Jerusalem] until you are clothed with power from on high" (v. 46-47). Strikingly similar to the opening of the Book of Acts, these verses reflect a sort of summation of all the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus and end with the Ascension in verse 51. Luke's extremely concise writing here highlights the importance of knowing Him in the Hebrew Scriptures and compels His believers to spread Him to all nations in order to save men from their sins.