Summary: This is an inductive study of the resurrection narrative as recorded in the gospel of Luke. It examines the major themes and structure of the narrative.
Luke Resurrection Narrative
I. Divide and Title
A. Segmental Divisions
24.1-35 The resurrection and Jesus’ first appearance
24.36-53 Jesus with the disciples
B. Paragraph Divisions
24:1-12 The Resurrection
24:13-35 The Emmaus road
24:36-49 Jesus appears to Disciples twice
24:50-53 The Ascension
II. Structural Analysis
1. Appearances of Jesus: Luke goes into some serious detail about the various resurrection appearances of Jesus to His disciples. This shows the testimony of the early church and that they were witnesses of the risen Lord. It is this fact that Luke attempts to communicate to the readers because they are expected to believe in Jesus without having seen Him.
2. Disciples: One of the key sets of characters in the entire book of Luke is the disciples of Christ and they play an important role in this final section of the book. The disciples are the first witnesses to the fact of the risen savior and it is their task to share this news with the world.
Evidence: 24.1-12, 36-49,50-53
3. Testimony: Luke shows how those who saw or heard about the risen Jesus immediately went to share the good news with others. It is the fact of this strong and empowered sense of sharing allowed for the early church to become united under the banner of the risen Lord. The people were overjoyed by the news and could not wait to tell others about the resurrection.
4. Fear: Luke communicates a sense of fear and awe in the understanding of what God had done through Jesus in the resurrection. This fear seems to stem from a lack of understanding about what had happened to Jesus and from a general wave of emotions that would have been a part of this experience.
5. Supernatural Aspects of Jesus: Luke records the fact that Jesus seemed to appear and disappear at will and He was lifted into heaven at the ascension. These were not the normal types of miracles that Jesus had performed before the death and resurrection. Luke reports that Jesus could do these kinds of things because of His resurrected body.
It would seem that there is a supernatural aspect to the person of Jesus after the resurrection that was not a part of His life before the event. The power of God was indeed with Him and was clearly a part of His being.
Evidence: 24.1-12, 31,36,50-53
1. Climax: The main climax of the section and the book is found in the event of the resurrection. This is the key event of this section and it shows how the Resurrection plays the most significant role in the narrative of both the section and the whole book. The resurrection is the main message of this passage and it completes the work of Jesus.
2. Completion: The resurrection brought the message and work of salvation to its proper point of completion. Luke builds the whole narrative to this point and brings the ministry of Jesus to its logical completion in the resurrection and the Ascension. All that we must do is to have faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sin and the restoration with God. The ascension of Jesus into heaven has made His work of ministry complete, at this time, and His work will set the church into motion. It is at the ascension that the disciples are fully reunited and from there they return to Jerusalem and await the coming of a comforter.
Evidence: 24.1-12 24.50-53
3. Purpose: Luke reveals the purpose of the section in the communicating of the resurrection event. It is this theme that reveals the purpose for including this part of the book. The gospel can not be complete without the telling of the resurrection of Jesus because it is the centerpiece of the ministry of Jesus. The resurrection is the core purpose of Jesus’ mission and ministry here on earth.
4. Substantiation: The section builds a strong argument of substantiation by the fact that Luke proves the message of the risen Lord, given by the eyewitness accounts of the women at the tomb and the followers on the Emmaus road, with the narrative of His appearances to the disciples. These events provide the needed information to show the direct link between the testimony of the people and the fact of Jesus being raised from the dead.
Evidence: 24.36-49 and 24.50-53 serve to substantiate the message found in the testimony of 24.1-12 and 24.13-35
III. Identify Strategic Area
A. Window Passage: The key passage for this section seems to be found in 24.1-12 as Jesus has been raised from the dead and the people run to tell others the good news that Jesus is alive. This area of Luke’s gospel seems to communicate the completion of the divine plan for the salvation of the world. Jesus had told the disciples that He would die at the hands of the Jewish leaders and would be raised from the dead by the power of God.