Luke 24: morning dawns on the first day of the week. And what a day! The stone was rolled away. Dazzling figures told the women that Jesus had risen. Remember what He told you? They ran back to the disciples. Peter believed enough to run to the tomb. I wonder if his heart leapt for joy and fell with guilt at the same time. It would have been an emotional hurricane.
Two of the disciples were taking a seven mile hike to Emmaus. Jesus came and chatted with them. What are you talking about? Jesus, of course, the headline news of the city…but He died. Then Jesus started with Moses, the prophets, and all the way to that day explaining the Scriptures that talked about Himself. He has a sense of humor. Wouldn’t that have been a lesson to have heard!
Jesus made like He was going on, but they invited Him to come in. He does not force Himself on us, but reveals His truth as we let Him enter into our lives. He broke bread, just like at the last supper, just like He had referred to His body being broken for the sins of the world. Their eyes were opened, they recognized Him, and He vanished. They leapt up right then and hot-footed it back to Jerusalem! He’s back! He’s back!
And then He was right there in the room. And the first thing He says is “Peace to you!” Not, “Why didn’t you listen?” or “Bow before Your King!” He sought to share His joy with them. They were pretty scared at first…this had to be a ghost. You died. Yes. But You died. He let them touch His scars, God forever bearing torn skin of love. The only appearance He cares about is that we remember who He is, and what new life He calls us to live.
It was too good to be true. So He asked for some food. After it finally started to sink in, He reminded them of what He had said before, and opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. The dots began to connect, and lightbulbs of understanding flashed around the room.
Jesus said, in words similar to Matthew’s “Great Commission” passage:
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and[c] forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
What a marvel, ecstatic joy! And this was news to spread to everyone? But how? There would be help.
He led them out of the city. He still did not seek to prove Himself to the world by a show of miracles. He raised His arms to bless them, and that’s how He was taken to heaven. He is there interceding for us.
His disciples went to the temple to worship and praise. And that was only the beginning.
Raw excitement. Disbelief. Incredulous joy. How do I respond to the news that Jesus is really alive? God, please help my eyes to be opened to it! Let this good news infect my days with a desire to pass it on to those around me, and an outlook beyond these earth-days to the long-term plan that You have laid out. You are Holy, Faithful, and Good. Thank You for saving me. Amen.