The Pastor's Class

The Message of Easter

Luke 24: 1 - 11

Dr. Luke

The Greatest Account of the resurrection is found in Luke's gospel. He was a physician. His writings abound with medical terms. He thought like a physician. Take for instance Mark's account of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. As a typical layman Mark states that she "had suffered many things of many physicians and had spent all she had and nothing bettered; but rather grew worse."(5:25 - 34) Luke does not mention the money spent on physicians, he said that she "could not be healed of any." (8:43)

As a physician, Luke was a scientist. He knew how to sort out and evaluate evidence. He also had the sense of a historian. All of Luke's training as a physician would prejudice him against bodily resurrection, yet his research (Luke 1: 1 - 4) convinced him that Jesus was raised. God's greatest miracle is on solid ground of faith and factual proof.

Luke 24: 1 - 3

24 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. 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.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

What day is the first day of the week? Most calendars will list Sunday as the first day of the week. However, we generally think of the first day of the week as being Monday. Saturday and Sunday is usually thought of as the weekend.

Keep in mind as you read the account of the resurrection that, for the Jews, the Sabbath (Saturday) was the last day of the week. According to the creation account, God rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Sunday was the first day of the week. It was, for the Jews, a normal work day much the same as Monday is for us.

1. Who are "the women" of which Luke speaks in this first verse?

We must not under estimate the importance of women to the ministry of Jesus. Much is written about the 12 apostles who followed Jesus, however, oftentimes there were many more who followed him. Among these some were women. In chapter 8 Luke tells us that the women supplied financial support to Jesus.

Luke does not tell us the names of all the women, however, he does reveal the names of three in verse 10.

Mary Magdalene is the Mary of whom Jesus cast out seven demons was among those who first went to the tomb on Sunday. Also there was Joanna wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod's household. (8:3) and Mary, the mother of James (the lessor).

2. For what reason did these women go to the tomb on Sunday morning?

One would hope that these women had gone to the tomb to witness the resurrection of Jesus since he had taught that he would rise on the third day. (to ancient Jews the new day began at sunset. Any part of a day was regarded as an entire day. Jesus was crucified on Friday buried before sunset. His body remained in the grave all day Saturday and he arose on Sunday the third day.) Jesus' death on the cross was expedited by the piercing of his side. Even so they had to rush to remove him from the cross and bury him before the beginning of the Sabbath because no work could be performed on the Sabbath. This did not allow time for the body to be properly prepared for burial. Therefore the women went to the tomb with spices to finish the job that was hastily done on Friday.

The Stone is Rolled Away

Luke records that when the women arrived at the tomb they saw that the stone had been rolled away. Mark reports that the women were unsure how they would remove the stone.

Tombs were either natural or man made caves carved out of stone. A stone was rolled across the entrance to seal the tomb and protect the body from animals.

The women were apparently unaware that Jesus' tomb not only had a large stone across the entrance, it had been secured with the Roman seal and was being guarded by Roman guards. (Matt. 27: 62 - 66)

3. How was the stone rolled away?

Matthew 28: After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

The angel of the Lord came down and rolled the stone away. This was not to allow Jesus to exit the grave but to allow everyone to see that Jesus had already risen from the dead.


4. What did the women find when they entered the tomb?

The body of Jesus was not there. Many efforts have been made to deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus. One idea is that after his death, Jesus lived on in his influence. This can be said of anyone. Another idea is that his body remains dead but his spirit continues to live. All who believe in the immortality of the soul agree to this. Even Plato taught this hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Paul wrote I Cor: 15 to correct this idea about Jesus

Only a bodily resurrection satisfies the New Testament account. The greek word for "resurrection means "A standing again."

Luke 24: 4 - 8

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, 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: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” 8 Then they remembered his words.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

As you read the different accounts of the resurrection you will notice that the facts vary slightly. Matthew reports one angel. Mark reports a young man dressed in a white robe and John reports two angels.

The varying accounts does not mean that this event is to be doubted. It simply means that different people saw different parts of the event and reported it differently.

5. Why did the Lord send messengers to the tomb?

Just as angels proclaimed Jesus birth they proclaimed his resurrection. The message of the angels verified what the women were seeing. Jesus was not there. But Why? He is risen.

6. What did the Angels mean by their statement "He is risen"?

The angels asked; Do not you remember what he told you? These women had been with Jesus. They had heard him speak and teach and yet they did not fully understand until now. While staring into an empty tomb the words of Jesus suddenly made sense.

He is Risen

Can you imagine what these women must have felt when they finally realized that Jesus was alive? This past Sunday news began to break about the rescue of our P.O.W.'s in Iraq. Not even the most optimistic would have given much hope that they would have ever been found alive. Can you imagine the feelings when the family received the official phone call that confirmed that their loved one was indeed alive?

Matthew writes; So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (28:8)

Luke 28: 9 - 12

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. 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.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

7. How did the Apostles respond to the report of the women?

The story that the women told was truly unbelievable. It seemed like nonsense. The Romans were afraid that the disciples would steal the body and spread false rumors about Jesus resurrection. Instead it was the disciples that needed convincing. The disciples of Jesus did not expect him to rise from the grave. Yet, after a while, these same men are convinced, so much so that they lay their life on the line in order to proclaim the good news.

8. Why do you suppose Peter ran to the tomb?

The apostle Thomas has been given the name of "doubting Thomas" however, Thomas was not the only one that doubted. Obviously Peter doubted the story of the women so he ran to the tomb to see for himself. Even after verifying that the tomb was empty he still did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.

9. Are you convinced that Jesus is risen? Give a reason for your answer.

10. If the answer to the previous question is "Yes". How has this knowledge changed your life?

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