In the disciples' minds the last week of Jesus' life began on a triumphant note with His entry into Jerusalem but ended in despair with His death on the cross. Everything that had recently looked so promising now seemed hopeless. The crucifixion was so real the disciples forgot about their Master's statement that He would rise after three days. Obviously they did not catch the full meaning of His teaching, for "as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead" (John 20:9).
Since Jesus died just before the Sabbath, there had not been sufficient time for His burial. Therefore, the disciples decided to return after the Sabbath to complete the burial. At the dawn of the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:1-6; cf. Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-7
Because death had been unable to keep its power over Him, the prophecy was fulfilled concerning Christ that God would "not leave my soul in hell [Sheol]" (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:27, 31). The Old Testament term Sheol refers to the place of the dead, not the place of eternal punishment: "neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10). As He repeatedly foretold, Jesus arose from the dead. This gave unquestionable evidence that He was the Christ (Romans 1:4) and made possible the completion of the work of man's redemption. He was "raised again for our justification" (4:25), which was completed by His appearing "in the presence of God for us. . . . to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:24, 26).
The women and disciples did not comprehend what had happened at the empty tomb. The women went to tell the disciples about the empty tomb. Nevertheless, the report "seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not" (Luke 24:11).
Later that day two disciples traveling to the village of Emmaus "talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden [restrained NKJV] that they should not know him" (Luke 24:14-16). He inquired about their conversation. They sadly asked,
Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:18-27
Later, when Jesus was with the two disciples at supper, "their eyes were opened, and they knew him" (Luke 24:31), but then He vanished. Quickly, the two disciples returned to Jerusalem and found the eleven apostles. They excitedly said, "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon" (v. 34). As the two travelers told what had happened, Jesus came and stood among them. Being frightened, they were asked by Jesus, "Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (vv. 38, 39; cf. Matthew 28:16, 17; Mark 16:14).
Jesus then explained to the band of disciples:
These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Luke 24:44-49
As Jesus stated, "Christ [was] to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day" (Luke 24:46). On the cross Jesus cried out at the end of His suffering, "It is finished" (John 19:30). His death finished the work of redemption. He was the Lamb of God, "without spot" (Hebrews 9:14), who shed His own blood to redeem sinful man. As the author of Hebrews wrote, "By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12; cf. vv. 26, 28). There was another part to Jesus' death, His resurrection. As Paul wrote, Jesus our Lord "was delivered [put to death] for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25; cf. II Corinthians 5:21). His resurrection is important: "If Christ be not raised, our faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins" (I Corinthians 15:17; cf. 14).
from Redemption Realized Through Christ, © copyright 1996 by Leland M. Haines, Northville, MI. We welcome your comments.
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