The Gospel of Luke - Part 103
The  Burial and Resurrection — Luke 24:1-12

February 3, 2008
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

Review:

Last lesson, we ended with Joseph of Arimathea getting Pilate to let him take the body of Jesus and placing it in the tomb that he had prepared for himself. We left the story with him sealing the tomb with a stone.

Remember it was the time of the celebration of The Passover. The Crucifixion of Jesus was on the day of which the Sabbath of the Passover started at 6:00pm, which is when each day began under the Jewish Calendar. We consider each day to begin at midnight, but the Jewish calendar begins the day at 6:00pm of the previous day. The day before the beginning of the Passover was called the day of preparation.

The Burial:

Let’s set the stage again from Luke, talking about Joseph of Arimathea and the body of Jesus:

Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. —Luke 23:53-56
Luke tells us that there were women who had come from Galilee with Jesus who followed Joseph and Nicodemus as they carried the body of Jesus and placed it in the tomb. Let’s study those women.

These women are referred to nine  times in Luke 23-24. They followed Joseph to see where Jesus was buried; they went home and prepared materials for caring for the body. These women were every bit as devoted to Jesus as the Twelve Disciples were.

Like Joseph of Arimathea, these women are mentioned in all four Gospels. Notice what else you can learn about them from the other accounts. Matthew tells us, talking about the women being at the cross.

There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. — Matthew 24:55-56
Mark also refers to them being at the cross:
There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem. —Mark 15:40-41
John records:
...but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. —John 19:25
The Life application Bible Notes tell us:
The Galilean women followed Joseph to the tomb, so they knew exactly where to find Jesus’ body when they returned after the Sabbath with their spices and perfumes. These women could not do “great” things for Jesus—they were not permitted to stand up before the Jewish council or the Roman governor and testify on his behalf—but they did what they could. They stayed at the cross when most of the disciples had fled, and they got ready to anoint their Lord’s body. Because of their devotion, they were the first to know about the resurrection. As believers, we may feel we can’t do much for Jesus. But we are called to take advantage of the opportunities given us, doing what we can do and not worrying about what we cannot do.
The example of Joseph and these women should be a real challenge to our own commitment to Jesus. How public are we about being disciples when others are making ridiculing or criticizing? Joseph and these women boldly identified Jesus when He was least popular. Except for John, none of the disciples were there when Jesus suffered on the cross, but these women were. The Twelve Apostles didn’t claim Jesus’ body, but Joseph did.

Boldness and devotion are qualities that God wants to see in the lives of every follower. Jesus was not ashamed to die for us; we should not be ashamed to live for Him!

The “rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say is continued in Chapter 24. There are many important truths in Chapter 24 but none more important than the resurrection:

Dr. D. James Kennedy writes:

“Since the beginning of time, men and women have responded to the death of loved ones with a cry like that of  Job: 'If a man die, shall he live again?' (Job 14:14). Human philosophy and...religions have been able to answer with no more than a question mark, a wish or a vague hope. The great genius of Greek philosophy, Plato, was asked: 'Shall we live again?' His response: I hope so, but no man may know.' The tombs of Mohammed or Buddha or Confucius are occupied, but the tomb of Christ is empty to this day....We believe in the resurrection of Christ, this most important of all Christian doctrines....This is the center of the Christian faith. With it everything stands or falls.”
The handout provides a suggested chronological sequence of events along with the corresponding passages from all four Gospels as well as other New Testament references.

 

The empty tomb:

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. —Luke24:1-12

What stands out to you as you read through this passage?  Let’s look at the women again. Verse 1, talking about the group of women who had gone to the tomb with Joseph and Nicodemus, says:
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. —Luke 24:1
Luke is really good at providing us with important details. Here we learn that the women first came to the tomb on Sunday ("first day of the week"), probably around 6:00am ("early dawn"). They had already been to the tomb on Friday, but had not had time to prepare Jesus' body for burial before the beginning of the Sabbath. Remember, the Jews measured the Sabbath from Friday sunset until Saturday sunset.

Luke points out that the first people to visit Jesus' tomb on Easter morning were women. If you look at the "Harmony" page, you'll see that Jesus' first resurrection appearances were also to women: first to Mary Magdalene and then to other women who came to His tomb.

Maybe you’ve heard someone ask, “Why were all of Jesus’ disciples men?” They weren’t! All the Apostles were men; but the disciples who followed Jesus included many women.

More than any other Gospel, Luke faithfully tells us of the many women who were disciples of Jesus.

Jesus treated women with honor and respect — attitudes unexpected and largely unknown in his culture and time. Jesus, unlike the men of his generation and culture, taught that women were equal to men in the sight of God. Women could receive God’s forgiveness and grace. Women, as well as men, could be among Christ’s personal followers. Women could be full participants in the kingdom of God. Jesus offered full discipleship to women.

Someone has said that, as Christ's disciples, we have a responsibility to show the same love and honor and respect to women — all women — that Jesus did. If we are truly His disciples, then we will be committed to following His example.

Dorothy Sayers writes:

"Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man--there had never been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, who never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as 'The women, God help us!' or 'The ladies, God bless them!'; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously, who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no ax to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious."
I have a handout of an article from Christian History magazine concerning how Jesus related to women.

Back to the morning at the tomb.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. —Luke 24:1
Two facts stand out as you read through the various Gospel accounts of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection:

Jesus was truly dead and none of His followers expected Him to rise from the dead.  These facts are highlighted in this verse.  The women came to the tomb to complete the process begun Friday night preparing His body for burial. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.  There was no question in their minds that Jesus was dead and would stay dead. They had seen Him die, seen His body taken from the cross and carried to the tomb. But when they arrived that early morning:

And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. —Luke 24:2-3
The stone has been moved, and Jesus' body was missing. What do you think they thought? Probably their first thoughts were probably either that some decision had been made to bury Jesus somewhere else or that His body had been stolen.

Then:

While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground. —Luke24:4-5
Why aren’t they called angels here?

Luke is recounting eye-witness testimony so he writes down what they women initially saw:

We learn later that these two “men” were actually angels. They are referred to as angels later in the chapter when this incident is recounted:
...and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. —Luke 24:23
John’s Gospel tells us specifically that these two “men” where angels (as we would think):
And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. —John 20:12
Notice that there is no reference to these angels having wings. There are over fifty references to angels in the Gospels. We mentioned a couple when studying Luke 22: One was when Jesus was in the desert being tested by Satan.
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. —Matthew 4:11
The other was in the Garden when Jesus asked God if there was any other way, and an angel was sent.
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. —Luke 22:43
Jesus also referred to angels at His arrest:
Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? —Matthew 26:53
A Roman legion consisted of over 6,000 soldiers. So twelve legions would be over 72,000 angels!

Then

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee... —Luke 24:5-6
The angels emphasize two truths: In a few verses Luke tells us that: "...they remembered his words".

In fact, Jesus had told them repeatedly that He would be killed and rise again. Read through the passages listed below from Luke. There may have been many other times Jesus told them that Luke did not record (you might especially consider the Luke 18 passage):

...saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” —luke 9:22

“Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”  But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying. —Luke 9:44-45

Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem. —Luke 13:33

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. Luke 18:31-34

And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” —Luke 22:15
Why do you think Jesus repeatedly told His followers what was going to happen to Him?

Let’s stop there and pick the story up next week by looking at the Apostles.