For an introduction to this series, click here.
April 8, 2007
No, I'm not smart enough to coincidentally write about Luke 24 on Easter, it just worked out that way.
Luke's record of the Resurrection is different in that he doesn't give us any immediate confirmation. The only indication we have that Jesus is alive is the statement by the angels to the women who came to the tomb. Luke's account builds slowly. Here's a typical selection: "Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened." (24:10-12)
Instead Luke launches immediately into a story found nowhere else: the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. The only name we have is Cleopas. We know that they lived in the same house (or at least we assume so, they could have been just happening to stay at one house) so it is possible that the other disciple was Cleopas' wife or brother.
Anyway, the resurrected Lord Jesus comes walking with these two disciples, and they don't realize who it is. They are disappointed because Jesus was dead, and they think it is all over. All their dreams, their hopes for the glorious future, were gone. Jesus didn't coddle them. He says: "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" (24:25-26) Of course, Luke does tell us "their eyes were kept from recognizing him." (24:16, ESV) But still, Jesus explains to them the scriptures about Himself as they were walking. I wish Luke had recorded what Jesus said. That would make a lot of sense - bridging the gaps between the Old and New Testaments. But of course God knows what is best.
Anyway, it was getting dark, and Jesus is going to go on, but the disciples compel Him to stay with them. Of course, hospitality was an important part of the Jewish tradition. But as soon as they sat down to dinner, Jesus breaks bread and suddenly they saw - it was Jesus! Just as soon, Jesus was gone. They ran back into Jerusalem to tell the disciples there what had happened. This time they were running as fast as they could go. They made it back to Jerusalem in no time.
Luke doesn't give us a whole lot of details beyond the first night after Jesus rose, but he is the only Gospel writer to mention the Ascencion.