Summary: Evidence that demands a verdict
Luke 24 – The Resurrection
©Revd Sam Q. Griffiths
Wellington Baptist Church
When it comes down to it – all the great detectives worked the same way: for Poirot – it was in the little grey cells, for Holmes – it was in deduction and for Miss Marple – the workings of a small country village always gave the clue to her.
How they studied the crimes were all along the same lines – recognise the fact of the incident – it has happened, study the evidence of the case – and then come face to face with the solution.
In one sense we have no murder or crime present in the account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but we have Luke who lays out the scene of the incident: he shows us the key pieces of evidence and calls the reader to be a kind of detective – and he invites the reader – as he does all of us here this morning, to follow it all to the logical conclusion, face to face with a risen Saviour – Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Here Luke lays out the evidence – and it is evidence that demands a verdict: your verdict and mine. Some are simply too scared to face up to the evidence – they are often defensive and seem to not do the hard work.
Luke is the scientific brain and the levelheaded thinker – the careful investigator. Dr Luke no less. He mind if given to reason and careful thinking. He is able to think beyond the norm, as those in medicine are skilled to do. He sets out an orderly account – so that – Chapter 1:4 – “You may know the certainty of the things that you have been taught”. He provides the witnesses and lays out the clear case.
And all of these appearances of the Risen Christ are in or near Jerusalem, and all are one day – the first day of the week.
This section in chapter 24 is a whole worship experience for the early church – as it is for us this Easter day. This was how they would have worshipped – they would read the account and understand – and then they would worship. In this chapter, there is an announcement of the resurrection, there is a period of teaching and then there is an experience of the living Christ.
1. FIRSLY THEN
THERE IS THE FACT OF THE RESURRECTION – VERSES 1-12
It is interesting to note, that even as the fact of the resurrection comes home to them – it seems to have little immediate effect on them. It’s as if they have been in shock. They have been taken to the very edge of life and death. All their hopes, faith and aspirations had been challenged. They had trusted Jesus, and now it seemed as if it had all gone wrong.
Here are the women on the way to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus in a fitting and right manner. These are the same women who had watched Jesus die – back in verse 49 – and we find out who they are in verse 10.
Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of Jesus.
“But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance, watching these things.”
They go then having seen Jesus die – they have one purpose – and they expect to find Jesus’ body and to fulfil what they have planned. To anoint his dead body. It was in a way a final act of worship and respect. Drained emotionally, with nothing more to give, they make their way into the area of the tomb, to face death again.
But they are surprised at what they find – and even more so at the angel.
But notice that Luke doesn’t mess around here. He mentions the women for a purpose. When the angel addresses them he rebukes them for not remembering what Jesus had told them. This places the women in the inner circle of the disciples, where such a prediction by Jesus would have been shared – they are disciples themselves. This is further backed by the different account that Luke has to the other Gospel writers – in Matthew and Mark, the women are seen more as errand runners – but Luke wants to emphasise that they are equal disciples with the twelve, and it is to them that the first sign of the resurrection is shown. Even though they do go back to the twelve to report of what they have seen, their actions are no different to the two on the road.
Women have a vital and equal role to play in God’s purposes. There is no difference.