RESURRECTED – Jesus is the resurrected Savior and Lord.
MEMORY VERSE: LUKE 24:3 But when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
Some questions carry more weight than others. One of the weightiest questions is this: What do you believe about Jesus’ empty tomb? If Jesus really rose from the dead, we have to come to terms with all He said. Scripture is clear: Jesus is the resurrected Savior and Lord. Ultimately, the empty tomb gives us hope for the future – now and in eternity. If Jesus had not risen, none of us would have any hope at all.
The Bible makes it very clear about the importance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
Paul says of our Christian faith in Romans 10:
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Our future eternity depends on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
THE CONTEXT (LUKE 23:50-24:12)
Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish ruling council, had not agreed to the Sanhedrin’s decision to seek Jesus’ death. After Jesus died, Joseph boldly approached the Roman governor for permission to take Jesus’ body. Receiving authority, Joseph and Nicodemus took Jesus’ body to a tomb Joseph had prepared for himself (John 19:38-42). After a stone sealed the grave’s entrance, they walked away solemnly and silently. They did not notice some of the women watching their actions and making plans to minister to Jesus’ body.
The joy on resurrection morning cannot be fully appreciated without sensing the hopelessness of Friday just before sundown. The cruel beatings, torture, and crucifixion of Jesus on that Friday had an overwhelming impact of the finality of Jesus’ death. The people milling about the cross and walking from the tomb had no expectation Jesus would rise. Several times He had told them He would die and then return from the grave, but no one truly yet understood. None yet really believed.
Between Luke 23:55 and 24:1, we have only a single sentence describing how some of the women who followed Jesus prepared burial spice and then rested in observance of the Sabbath. The disciples were hiding behind closed doors. The city was quiet. The tomb was silent.
What a difference three days made. Early on the third day the women came back to the tomb to discover Jesus was not in the grave. He had risen! Perplexed but joyous, they rushed to tell the apostles the amazing news. Yet, grief hindered the disciples from believing. It seemed too good to be true. But it was true. Jesus was alive and that made all the difference in the world.
RETURN (LUKE 24:1-5a)
24:1 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.
The disciples left the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion before Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took charge of his body. Following at a distance were several women who had been part of the larger group of disciples. Luke did not name them until he reported how they shared their discovery with other disciples (24:9-10).
Verse 1 contains several important points. First, the women came to the tomb. By trailing the burial party, they knew where Jesus’ body had been placed. They were aware a large stone had been placed in front of the tomb’s entrance. None of the Gospel accounts indicate the women knew about the soldiers that Pilate had ordered to guard the tomb. They didn’t seem concerned about how to deal with the guards but wondered how the stone might be moved (Mark 16:3).
Second, this group came on the first day of the week. The women could not have come earlier because of the prohibitions regarding work on the Sabbath. The traditional view places Jesus’ death on Friday, with His burial taking place before sundown. The Sabbath began at sundown on Friday and continued to sundown on Saturday.
Some scholars believe this weekend actually had two days of Sabbath observance due to Passover, which would put Jesus’ death and burial on Thursday, thus accounting for His body being in the grave three nights and three days. Most writers, however, accept the Jewish custom of counting any part of a day, making Sunday the “third day” on which Jesus had predicted He would rise (Luke 18:33). The primary point was that Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday became an important aspect of church life. Early believers called it “the Lord’s Day” and established their worship on this day to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor; 16:2; Rev 1:10).
Third, they were bringing the spices they had prepared. They had left and prepared funeral spices but could not bring them until after the mandated Sabbath rest. Their preparations may suggest they did not know Nicodemus already had wrapped Jesus’ body with funeral ointments according to Jewish custom (John 19:39-40).
2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
Luke does not describe an earthquake or the angel that actually moved the stone from the entrance that Matt. 28:4 describes. The soldiers left to report that situation to the chief priest (Matt. 28:11). Likely, they exited the grave quickly, not knowing what to do next.
4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground,
As the women concerned themselves with this strange dilemma, something wondrous occurred. Two men stood beside them. Nothing heralded their arrival. Without warning they were beside the women, startling them. The men were wearing dazzling clothes that gave off an intense glow or light.
The women were terrified. Encountering supernatural beings typically induced a response of fear in human beings (Luke 1:12; 29; Acts 10:3-4). Second, they bowed down to the ground. This act could indicate respect for others of a superior status, but more likely they bowed in obeisance, as in worship (Gen. 19:1: Rev. 22:80. However, angels always refused to accept human worship which belongs only to God (Rev. 22:9).
REMEMBER (LUKE 24:5b – 7)
but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
The women came to treat Jesus’ body with funeral spices. They never conceded they would be looking for the living. Like the other disciples, they believed Jesus was dead. After all, they had witnessed the crucifixion and watched as His body had been placed in the tomb.
The angel’s declaration “He has risen” has resonated with believers throughout the centuries in choral songs of “He is risen indeed!” They reminded the women what Jesus had promised His followers when he was still in Galilee. Before they started on this pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Jesus tried to prepare the disciples for what was about to take place in Jerusalem. They should not have been caught by surprise by the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise. Like the other disciples, at the time they did not want to accept what Jesus was telling them about the coming suffering. They had not understood that without the pain of the cross, there could not have been the glory of the resurrection.
7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’”
Quoting Jesus’ prophecy concerning the treatment He would receive in Jerusalem, the angels repeated what He had said. All that Jesus experienced was necessary. First, it was necessary to fulfill scriptural prophecies. From Genesis through the prophets, Scripture revealed how the Messiah would be betrayed and slain as the atonement for sin. Forgiveness depends on a blood atonement. Leviticus 17: 11 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.'
He would also be crucified, a form of execution unknown to the earlier prophets. Psalm 22 graphically portrays details of Jesus’ crucifixion that would have been totally foreign to David when he penned the words. Even Jesus’ burial in a rich man’s tomb was foretold (Isa. 53:9). Yet, that was not the end of the story. Jesus also foretold He would rise on the third day, fulfilling prophecy concerning his resurrection (Psalms 16:10; 30:3). As they heard these words, the women must have suddenly realized this morning was the third day. Jesus arose just as He promised He would do. He was alive and all their despair evaporated in the light of dawn.
REPORT (LUKE 24:8-12)
8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
Five simple words can make all the difference in the world. “Then they remembered his words.” Realizing that Jesus had taught them about His crucifixion and resurrection, the women’s attitudes were transformed. They had approached the tomb sorrowfully and entered the empty grave in confusion. After listening to the angels, now they grasped that He had died but also had risen from the dead.
Mary Magdalene was familiar among the women who accompanied the disciples as they followed Jesus from place to place. Jesus had cast demons out of her and transformed her life. She was one of several women who benefited from Jesus’ ministry of healing and deliverance.
Joanna was the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas. Along with other women, she helped support Jesus’ ministry financially (Luke 8:3).
11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
12 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.
Peter had promised before Jesus’ arrest that he would never desert. However, after His arrest Peter denied knowing Him three times before the rooster crowed. Can you imagine the sense of failure and betrayal that ran through Peter’s mind? Nevertheless, Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Peter had always been impulsive and at times acted before thinking. Now Peter must have been stunned by what was happening in front of him.
Later, Jesus would restore Peter to a leadership position in His Church. Just as Peter had denied knowing Christ three times, Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him. After each time Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” After each question, Jesus also commanded Peter, “Then feed my sheep.” Peter became the head disciple to share the Gospel with the Jews, just as Paul became the head disciple to share the Gospel with the Gentiles.
Christians live with a childlike faith (Luke 18:17) trusting Christ to accept them into His Heavenly Kingdom, not on their merits, but because of the atonement of His blood shed at Calvary.
Why was the incarnation important?
Because atoning for the sins of the world of humankind (John 3:16) required an eternal sacrifice. But eternal beings cannot die, and so God had to become a man. The eternal son cannot die for sin unless He is human and capable of dying. One cannot have a resurrection that defeats death unless there is first a death. In other words, atonement for sin could not be accomplished without incarnation.