Summary: In Luke 24 we are presented with disciples who "walk" on the Road to Emmaus, encounter "the Word" along the walk, and become "Witnesses" of His resurrection.
Let’s open our Bibles this morning to Luke 24.
A Sunday School teacher had just finished telling her third graders about how Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb with a great stone sealing the opening. Then, wanting to share the excitement of the resurrection, she asked: "And what do you think were Jesus’ first words when He came bursting out of that tomb alive?" A hand shot up into the air from the rear of the classroom. Attached to it was the arm of a little girl. Leaping out of her chair she shouted out excitedly "I know, I know!" "Good" said the teacher, "Tell us, what were Jesus first words." And Extending her arms high into the air she said: "TA-DA!"
I’m pretty sure those were not the first words of Jesus, but I do know He has risen from the dead. In fact, Lionel Luckoo is in the Guinness book of world records as the most successful trial lawyer with 245 successful murder defenses in a row! At 63 he decided to put his great analytical skills to the claim that Jesus rose from the dead!
He wrote “I have spent over 42 years as a defense trial lawyer, and I say unequivocally the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels us to accept it, by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.”
You see, if people were not inherently biased against the resurrection, and if they open-mindedly examined the evidence for it, they would have to accept and believe it. There is too much historically verifiable evidence from too many sources to deny it.
In fact, if we were holding a trial to determine the facts concerning the resurrection, and if we were to call to the witness stand every witness who personally encountered the resurrected Jesus and we cross-examined them for only 15 minutes, and if we went around the clock without a break…we would be listening to first-hand testimony for more than 128 hours…that’s over 5 days worth of testimony…who could possibly walk away unconvinced?
You see, the resurrection story is historical fact, it is believable. You can believe that Jesus really did die on the cross for your sins. You can believe that He rose from the dead. You can believe in the appearances Jesus made afterwards. And just as important, you can believe that the living Christ will come to you in your dark moments and brighten them with His presence, that He will come to you in your times of discouragement and will comfort you, and that He will come to you on your death bed and usher you into life. Because He lives, we will always live.
Let’s read Luke 24 together, beginning at verse 13:
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" 19 "What things?" he asked. "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see." 25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. Luke 24:13-35