Week of April 16, 2006


Bible Passage:Luke 24:5-8, 36-48.


Biblical Truth:Because Jesus rose from the dead, believers have good news to tell others about salvation through Him.


Jesus Is Alive: 24:5-8.


[5] and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ďWhy do you seek the living One among the dead? [6] He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, [7] saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.Ē [8] And they remembered His words.[NASU]


[5]The appearance of the angels produces terror in the women. Bowing is a sign of recognition of the presence of heavenly beings and divine messengers. The women know that something is happening, but they have no idea what it is, as the following rebuke shows. The women do not recognize that Jesus is raised; they have not heeded his teaching about his suffering and exaltation.


[6]The angels explain that the absence of Jesusí body is the result of resurrection. The angelic reference to resurrection uses a theological passive: he is raised, which emphasizes divine activity. The angels tell the women to recall Jesusí teaching in Galilee, an allusion to 9:22 and 18:32-33. What has happened should not have been a surprise. Despite Jesusí teaching, the resurrection was too unbelievable to register with the disciples until after it occurred, a reaction that is natural enough, given the rarity of such an event.


[7]In one of the most important passages in the chapter, Luke summarizes Jesusí prediction that is now fulfilled. The angels allude to sayings reported in 9:22,44 (other key Lucan passion sayings are Luke 17:22; 18:31-33; 22:22; 24:44,46; Acts 2:36; 3:13-15; 4:27; 7:52; 10:39). The use of Son of Man describes Jesusí authority as 22:69 made clear. The angels speak of the necessity of these events with the use of must. Luke stresses Godís plan and the movement of divine history. What is happening is no surprise; it is a part of a divinely wrought event sequence. The message is summarized in three infinitives that express what Godís plan involved delivered, crucified, rise. They portray what God is allowing to occur, though humans are directly responsible for the first two actions. Each idea is important to the eventís movement. The act of executing Jesus is judged by heaven. First, in speaking of Jesusí being given over, Luke has in mind the details of what he described in Luke 22-23: the Jewish leadership and Pilateís failure to stop the process [see Acts 4:25-28]. Sinful people were permitted to hand Jesus over and arrest him. Second, Jesus is crucified. Other sayings refer to the mistreatment that preceded Jesusí crucifixion [Luke 18:32-33], his being killed [9:22], or his being given over [9:44]. The specific reference to crucifixion fills out the detail of what took place. Third, Jesus was resurrected on the third day. It is clear that the church counted the three days on an inclusive basis: Friday was day one, Saturday day two, and Sunday day three. The women are to realize that the resurrection is an expected part of Godís plan.


[8] Luke relates the first of two report-response sequences in this section. Here the angelic report brings the womenís response of remembrance (later the womenís report in 24:9-11 will lead to Peterís response in 24:12 to see the tomb for himself). The women recall Jesusí teaching and respond. The women report not only the angelic visit, but, more important, the fulfillment of Jesusí teaching about resurrection. They do not tell it as a mere passing on of information, but undoubtedly with some urgency since it is regarded as too strange to be true. After all, Peter does run to the tomb in 24:12. It stands to reason that, although the Savior had so repeatedly warned His followers that He would be killed and had assured them that He would rise again, they nevertheless did not realize the actuality of His words. Their ideas about the manner in which the Messiah would triumph over His enemies were so different from what Jesus had prophesied and from what was accomplished, that His crucifixion left them completely bewildered and perplexed. But when they found the sepulcher empty, and when the angels brought them the glad tidings of the resurrection and reminded them of Jesusí words, a light entered into their despondent hearts, and they could again clearly recall the words of the Savior.


Jesus Provides Peace: 24:36-43.


[36] While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, ďPeace be to you.Ē [37] But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. [38] And He said to them, ďWhy are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? [39] See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.Ē [40] And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. [41] While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, ďHave you anything here to eat?Ē [42] They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; [43] and He took it and ate it before them.†† [NASU]

[36]The care with which Luke connects the events after the Crucifixion chronologically [23:54,56; 24:1,9,13,33] is again apparent in the words, While they were telling these things. Events are coming fast and furious. That same Sunday evening, while the disciples and other followers of Jesus were conversing indoors about everything that had happened during the day, and while the struggle between hope and despair was still raging in many a heart, the Savior suddenly stood among them. Jesus appeared by supernatural power within the closed room because He was already clothed in a glorified, celestial body that was not bound by limitations of an ordinary earthly body. The greeting is one of comfort, in which Jesus offers the peace he promised to bring.

[37]Jesusí appearance startles the group. They do not initially recognize Jesus.

[38]To calm the alarmed group, Jesus asks two questions. The first addresses their mood: Why are you alarmed? The second question concerns their lack of perception: Why do doubts arise in your hearts? Once again the disciples are portrayed as slow to accept the resurrection. They do not expect Jesus to be raised nor do they expect him to keep appearing. As with most people, they have to be persuaded. The disciples are as skeptical as the rest of humanity.

[39]Jesus calls on the disciples to confirm with their own senses that it is he. Doubt is met with revelation. In identifying himself, Jesus does so emphatically by using the personal pronoun, myself. Jesusí remarks about flesh and bone answer the doubts expressed in 24:37. In addition to their eyes they are to use their sense of touch. They are to handle Jesus. This is not a phantom or a vision. It is the raised Jesus whose body has been brought back to life. It has characteristics in a way that the old body could not (e.g., this new body will not perish and it can appear and vanish) and in ways that make his initial appearance startling, not the appearance of merely another disciple. The resurrection body is flesh and bone transformed into a form that is able to move through material matter. There is no way to distinguish the person of Jesus from the risen Christ except that his existence now takes place at an additional dimension of reality. The person buried in the tomb is raised and transformed, but Jesus is sufficiently distinct in appearance that he is not always immediately recognizable. In his resurrected state, he clearly is transformed, though in a way that still leaves traces of his former existence (e.g., the nail prints in his hands and feet).

[40]Touch confirms Jesusí presence. He is resurrected in a form consonant with his previous existence. For disciples and readers alike, there should be no doubt that God has done a miraculous work.

[41]The disciples could not believe that this was happening. They were overwhelmed with joy and amazement at these miraculous events. Jesus removes all doubt and frees them from any sense of terror at his presence by asking for something to eat. A meal shows that it is Jesus and not a phantom, and it also indicates table fellowship and oneness.

[42-43] The empirical evidence of Jesusí resurrection is stated briefly: Jesus appears to them, speaks with them, and eats before them. Truly he is raised.


Jesus Fulfills Scripture: 24:44-48.


[44] Now He said to them, ďThese are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.Ē [45] Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, [46] and He said to them, ďThus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, [47] and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. [48] You are witnesses of these things.Ē[NASU]


[44] Jesus returns to the theme of Scripture fulfillment and the necessity of Godís plan coming to pass. The key term is must be fulfilled, which appears in several texts in Luke to refer to something anticipated in Godís design that has come to pass. Luke commonly uses the perfect participle written to refer to Scripture. Jesus is the topic of Scripture. The events of his life are thus no surprise; they are in continuity with what God revealed throughout Scripture. To underline the comprehensiveness of the fulfillment, the three divisions of the Old Testament are noted: law, prophets and psalms. The prophets contain not only an exposition of the promised Anointed One but a whole array of promises tied to Godís activity in inaugurating and consummating his plan.


[45] Jesus walks the disciples through the Scripture, functioning like a prophet in revealing Godís plan. In Luke 24:31-32 the disciplesí eyes and the Scriptures were opened; here it is their minds that are opened to understand Godís message, in contrast to the blindness of 9:45 and 18:34. What the disciples could not grasp before the crucifixion and resurrection now becomes clear. Godís activity in Christ makes scriptural sense after this personal exposition. It is responding to Jesus in belief that enlightens. What is given is understanding and insight into Godís plan. Since these disciples have witnessed Godís plan and now understand it, they are commissioned to proclaim it. What the disciples preach is a result of the outworking of Godís plan. At the center of that plan is what God has done and will do in Jesus. Assurance can come to the believer because a faithful God is in control of events and knows where things are going.


[46] Luke introduces the basic content of the Scriptural teaching on Godís plan, summarized in three infinitives. The first is that the Christ should suffer. The Psalter plays a key role for the theme of the suffering of the innocent righteous. Since this suffering had already happened, the details are known to the disciples and to Lukeís readers. Such suffering was anticipated by God [Psalm 22; 31; 69; 118; Isaiah 53], although the concept of messianic suffering seems not to have been a part of first-century Jewish expectation. Even the disciples struggled to understand how it fit into Godís plan. Yet in many ways it is the key to Jesusí career, for in it came the opportunity to deal with the issue of the forgiveness of sins and, as Luke will say in Acts 20:28, to purchase a church with his own blood. The second infinitive is to rise. Luke is clear that the promise is of a quick resurrection, since the usual Jewish hope was of a resurrection on the last day. This hope is defended in Acts primarily on the basis of two texts: Psalm 16:10 and 110:1. With Jesus having suffered and having been raised by God, the message can go forward. The disciples are currently experiencing this element of the hope, but there is more to the plan.


[47] With the third infinitive, to preach, the future of Godís plan appears. In this rich term are bound up the messageís elements that the disciples are to take to the world. The message is broken down in detail, so that Lukeís form of the great commission differs from the one in Matthew 20:18-20. The first element is that this message goes out in Jesusí name, which will be a major theme in Acts. In the Old Testament, the phrase in His name, indicates Yahwehís authority, an authority that now has been transferred to Jesus, the mediator of Godís promise. Baptism and other blessings come through his name [Acts 2:17-21, 38-39; 4:10]. This important theme reveals the absolute authority of the glorified Jesus. The goal of the message is that others might respond appropriately to Christís activity: repent before God. Because repentance is rooted in the Old Testament, it involves ďturning,Ē not just ďagreeingĒ. For Luke, repentance is the summary term for the response to the apostolic message [Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 8:22; 11:18; 13:24; 17:30; 19:4; 20:21; 26:20]. Change in thinking is basic to human response to Godís message. People must change their minds about God and the way to him, especially their thinking about sin, their inability to overcome sin on their own, Christís essential role in forgiveness, and the importance of depending on him for spiritual direction. Those responding to the apostolic message of the gospel must come to God on his terms in order to experience the forgiveness that comes in the name of Jesus. But repentance means more than changing oneís mind about God. People must also change their minds about who they are and how they can approach God. Repentance involves turning to and embracing God in faith. Forgiveness of sin comes to those who stretch out a needy hand to Jesus, clinging to him alone and recognizing that without him there is no hope. In short, those who repent cast themselves upon Godís mercy, grace, direction, and plan. In this way, spiritual healing comes through the glorified mediator, the Great Physician [Luke 5:31-32]. Forgiveness of sins enables one to come into relationship with God because the barriers caused by sin are removed. As a result one can experience Godís enabling and transforming power, especially through the work of his Spirit. The message of hope is to go to all nations. The gospel message in Jesusí name knows no national or racial barriers. This message is no longer a Jewish message and hope; it is intended for all. The mission will start in Jerusalem. Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem to meet his fate, but now the direction reverses and the mission goes out from Jerusalem. It is time for the benefits of Jesusí death and resurrection to be proclaimed to all. Jesus is raised to Godís right hand to distribute salvationís benefits on all who repent and come to him. The key point of this passage is that everything from suffering to universal proclamation was predicted in the Scripture. This represents a strong emphasis on the continuity of Godís plan. God always intended to offer salvation to all races through Jesus. God always intended that the Christ suffer and be raised. God always intended that the message of salvation in the name of the Christ be a call to repent for the forgiveness of sins. These are the fundamental aspects of Godís plan.


[48] Jesus defines the disciplesí role in light of what they have seen fulfilled from the Scripture. They are witnesses of these things. The concept of witness will become an important theme in Acts. The disciples can testify to these events because they have seen them. Such events involve Jesusí passion, resurrection, teaching, and work. Lukeís commitment to the historicity of events is made clear here. Acts 1:8 reintroduces the concept and calls on the disciples to function as witnesses to the things Jesus did and taught.


Questions for Discussion:


1.†† Note the importance that Luke places on remembering the words of Jesus. See the difference it made in the disciplesí lives when they remembered. What steps can we take in order to better remember Godís word?


2.†† We are called to be witnesses of these things. What three things in particular are we to bear witness to all the nations? Make sure you can explain the meaning and significance of them.



Luke, Darrell L. Bock, Baker.

Gospel of Luke, Norval Geldenhuys, Eerdmans.

Luke, Walter L. Liefeld, EPC, Zondervan.