Monday, November 08, 2021

2021.11.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 24:1–12

Read Luke 24:1–12

Questions from the Scripture text: On which day does this occur (Luke 24:1)? What time of day? Who was with them? To where do they come? Bringing what? But what do they find (Luke 24:2)? Where do they go (Luke 24:3)? What do they not find? What is their condition as a result (Luke 24:4)? But who stood by them? Wearing what? Now what is the condition of the women (Luke 24:5)? What do they do? But what do the men ask? What do the men announce in Luke 24:6? What do they remind them that Jesus had done? Where? What three things had Jesus said must happen to Him (Luke 24:7)? What do the women do in Luke 24:8? Where do they go in Luke 24:9? Whom do they tell? Which women, specifically, tell it (Luke 24:10)? To whom? To the apostles, what did the words seem like (Luke 24:11)? How do they respond to the women? Whom does Luke 24:12 mention responding differently? Where does he go? At what speed? What does he do when he gets there? What does he see? Then where does he go? And what does he do?

He is risen (as the angels say in Luke 24:6). It is fleshly to desire that our Christianity be about what we do—or even about what God’s grace enables us to do. And it’s a commendable thing that these precious women loved our Lord dearly and wished to serve even His dead body. But, His body didn’t need this particular sort of service, because He had already planned and accomplished something far greater than they could imagine. The passage communicates this through the play on the word “find.” They did find the stone rolled away. They did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Now, their being “greatly perplexed” (Luke 24:4) doesn’t necessarily mean that they were coming here to make religion all about their service. The passage itself chalks it up to a faulty memory (cf. Luke 24:8). But there is that fleshly tendency in all of us, and it gets exposed when God surprises us with something better than what we had wanted to do for Him. 

It’s often that way with God: we wish to serve in a particular way, but He doesn’t cooperate, because He has something infinitely better. It’s often this way, for instance, with those who cut their Christian teeth on man-centered worship with various parts and performances that have been invented by man, but come to a better understanding (or to a congregation with a better understanding). They can hardly be disappointed that they no longer get to do their formerly favorite part of worship, when they learn how personally and powerfully Jesus Himself leads all of the Scripture-commanded worship actions from glory. These precious women at the tomb can hardly be disappointed that they didn’t get to bathe the body of Jesus in spices and oils, when they learn that this is because He has risen from the dead.

Christianity is actually pretty simple. You can’t bring Him down from heaven or raise Him up from the dead (cf. Romans 10:5–10). Believe in your heart. Confess with your mouth. Walk/live according to this faith. Love Him in the ways that He gives to you to do so. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get to do all of the seemingly more amazing things that your love for Him might have wanted.

This is a glorious reality. The women in Luke 24:4 are greatly perplexed. The “eleven and all the rest” (Luke 24:9) are not able to believe in Luke 24:11Luke 24:12 leaves us with Peter “marveling.” Something has happened that so defies comprehension that they need angels to command them to “remember” (Luke 24:6) just so that they will be enabled to remember (Luke 24:8) that Jesus has actually told them exactly what would happen (Luke 24:7). 

The resurrection of Christ can seem, to someone who grew up in church, to be an easy thing to believe. After all, he’s heard the words, sung the songs, hunted the eggs. But if this reality isn’t enormous to you—if it isn’t something that it takes the almighty power of God just to realize and even then you feel yourself dwarfed by it—then you’re probably not really believing it.

Think about these women who had been told this directly by Jesus. Still, it seems so far out of the range of possibility that they don’t even remember until this encounter with the angels.

Think about the eleven, who had seen Him do so many miracles, including multiple resurrections. And they had heard Him tell about His coming death and resurrection on many occasions. Still, when it’s “just” faithful women in front of them, rather than gleaming angels, “their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them” (Luke 24:11). 

Think about Peter, who is probably showing more faith at this point than the others (we find out from John that he had sped and beat Peter there but still that he didn’t go in), but he can still hardly believe it. He marvels. 

The resurrection is such a glorious reality that it takes the miraculous work of God in the heart to enable us to believe it and appreciate its greatness.

What are ways you thought you were going to serve the Lord, but didn’t end up getting to? What evidence is there in your own heart that you’re embracing the greatness of the truth of the resurrection?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are worthy of all love and service. Thank You for all of the ways that You have given unto us to love You and serve You. Forgive us for when we are disappointed at not getting to love and serve You in other ways, and remind us that our religion is really about Your glorious actions. Exert Your almighty power to sustain us in believing, and in confessing, and in walking by faith we ask, through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP157 “Immortality & Resurrection” or TPH357 “The Day of Resurrection!”

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