Summary: When the apostles first heard of the resurrection of Jesus, the words seemed as nonsense to them. How can you make sense of the Resurrection? Take the four steps they did!
Luke 24:8-35; 44-46
Main Idea: RE: Jesus’ Resurrection: Investigate, Evaluate, Believe & Adjust Your Life Accordingly
For the last 6 months, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the supernatural—miracles in history. I know they’ve happened; I know they happen today, and I’ve had some happen to me. But I was seriously interested in how common they were, how much evidence there was for them, and what kinds of miracles we’re talking about.
So my interest has led me to read two books—First, the Case for Miracles by Lee Strobel and then a monumental scholarly study, consisting of 900 pages and 300 pages of bibliography, appropriately called Miracles by Asbury Seminary Professor and author Craig Keener.
I’ve been amazed to find out how prevalent miracles are, how many hundreds of millions of people across the globe have claimed to experience them, and in particular, their relationship to our subject this morning: the resurrection of the dead. I have been very surprised to find out how many eyewitness testimonies there are in our time with regard to the epitome of miracles—people being raised from the dead in our time. Yes, there are dozens of examples of reliable eyewitness testimony by honest and sincere people, especially of people having been raised from the dead, especially in Africa. Keener recounts miracles all over the place, but personally interviewed a deaconess at his wife’ church in the Congo who has been on the praying end of three different resurrections, and more than that recounts other ministries which have experienced 14, 18 and in one case, involving American missionaries in Mozambique by the name of Rolland and Heidi Baker, 53 separate resurrection accounts as of 2007 and counting.
What’s interesting is that virtually of these resurrections involve some common factors:
a. Obviously, a dead person, not breathing, with no pulse.
b. A Christian who prayed for the dead person, with faith that God could raise them.
c. Prayers uttered in Jesus’ name.
d. And of course, a resurrection.
Which points us to the specific resurrection we are focused on this morning—a person and a resurrection that seems to be the central pivot point between life and death in all these resurrections—Jesus Christ, and His own resurrection.
This morning we’re going to focus on a lesser-known story about His resurrection in which he appeared to two men who were apparently non-apostles on the Road to Emmaus.
Which ought to tell you something. If you don’t believe in Christ’s resurrection, you ought to at least investigate it. And if you do believe in the resurrection, it ought to change your life, because it has massive implications for the rest of your life here and especially in eternity—at least if you pay attention to what Jesus had to say about it.
Now let’s all admit one thing: Resurrection is an incredible thought, a hard-to-believe event. Death is so universal and so inevitable in this world that very few of us have ever observed it being reversed, very few of us have the faith to even pray with respect to our most beloved friends that it be reversed, and some of us really doubt whether it has ever happened.
Interestingly, that’s exactly where, philosophically, the original eyewitnesses of the resurrection found themselves--incredulous, unbelieving and unmoved.
But their experience, especially as we find it in Luke 24:8 gives us a roadmap to deal with this incredible story: First, investigate, then evaluate, then believe, and then be moved—adjust your life accordingly. This was a life-changing story for them, which became a world-changing event historically, so that now history is divided by the life of Jesus Christ. B.C., vs. A.D.
As we have read, even Jesus’ own remaining 11 Apostles did not believe the report of the women on Resurrection Sunday morning—that they had seen the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Multiple eyewitnesses, all women, including three of the most prominent and trustworthy female followers of Jesus Christ had brought testimony to the apostles about something they would not dare joke about—given the seriousness of the situation: that Jesus had risen from the dead.
What was the response of the 11? Verse 11: “But these words appeared to them as nonsense and they would not believe them.”
Struggling with doubt about the resurrection? You’re in good company. So did Jesus’ own apostles—yes, Peter, James, John and the rest. They didn’t just with doubt. They were totally incredulous. These testimonies of sincere and honest women appeared to be absolute nonsense, and they would not believe them.”
But one did something that the others didn’t: A sign for what we should do when we struggle with unbelief. Peter chose to investigate. He investigated the facts. Investigate the facts about Jesus’ resurrection! When you do so, you will be amazed at the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, how God choreographed the fact that His body was placed in a tomb hewn out of solid rock, guarded by Roman soldiers who dare not let the body be taken because they risked forfeiting their lives if they did so. It was going to take an act of God to overturn an edict of Rome to keep that body in its tomb that morning—and that’s exactly what happened.