Summary: Jesus' appearance to his disciples in Jerusalem in Luke 24:36-49 shows us how they came to recognize that Jesus was indeed alive.
Jesus was crucified on Friday, Nisan 14, 30 AD. He was buried in Joseph of Nicodemus’ tomb before sundown on that same day. But, three days later, on the first day of the week, that is, on Sunday, at early dawn, several women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared in order to anoint the body of Jesus. 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 24:1-3). Two angels told the perplexed women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24:5-6).
The first evidence that Luke provided for the resurrection of Jesus was the empty tomb (24:3). The second evidence was the angelic announcement (24:6). The third evidence was Jesus’ appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (24:13-35). And the fourth evidence was Jesus’ appearance to his disciples in Jerusalem (24:36-49).
Let’s read about Jesus’ appearance to his disciples in Jerusalem in Luke 24:36-49:
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and 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.” (Luke 24:36-49)
My former senior pastor, Lee Eclov, said that someone dear to him once gave him a little cross adorned with roses. It bore the inscription, “Hope raises no dust.” He looked at that phrase and tried his best to penetrate its mystery. He didn’t want to look stupid, so he didn’t say anything. After pondering it for a little while, he just had to get to the bottom of what it meant. It had been written on a cross, so it had to mean something!
When he typed “Hope raises no dust” into the Google search engine, he found out that the phrase was originally uttered by Paul Éluard, a French poet associated with Dadaism. When he looked up Dadaism, he found this definition: “The Dada movement tried to express the negation of all current aesthetic and social values and frequently used deliberately incomprehensible artistic and literary methods.”
He then read some of Éluard’s other famous quotes – quotes like, “Elephants are contagious,” and, “Earth is blue like an orange.”
All of this brought him back to “Hope raises no dust.” Everyone believes hope is vital to people, but most folks’ hope is about as vague as the Éluard quote that is painted on that little cross.
But for Christians, hope is not vague. We have a hope that is historical and personal. We have a hope that stands in front of the empty grave of Jesus and declares, “You, too, can live as Jesus does!”
Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried on Friday. Just three days later, on Sunday morning, he was raised back to life again. On that first day Jesus showed himself to be alive on at least five occasions. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), to the other women (Matthew 28:8-10), to Peter (Luke 24:34), to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (24:13-35), and then to ten disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25), which is the subject of today’s lesson. Luke records only two of Jesus’ appearances, although he does also refer to Jesus’ appearance to Peter (Luke 24:34).
Jesus’ appearance to his disciples in Jerusalem in Luke 24:36-49 shows us how they came to recognize that Jesus was indeed alive.