For the next three days leading up to the Thanksgiving Holiday in America, I want to unpack some thoughts I have on Luke 24:1-35. The setting is just after Christ’s resurrection and His disciples had gone to the tomb where He had been buried, and they found to their amazement, “the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus” (24:2-3). Because most of us have read the gospel accounts, we are very quick to criticize these traumatized followers for so quickly forgetting what Jesus had told them many times about His impending death, burial, and resurrection. I will also quickly tell you that I have often forgotten very important words from Scripture that should have governed my thinking, but they didn’t.
In their wonderment, “two men stood by them…[and] said, “Why do you seek the living among the dead. He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you” (24:5-6)? How gracious of God to send messengers to point us back to things that have been said to us before. ‘Short-term memory loss’ is more prevalent than we think. But wait; there is something even more shocking about their response to this detailed reminder of what Jesus had told them. “These words seemed to them an idle tale (pure nonsense), and they did not believe them” (24:11). How could these disciples who had spent three and a half years with Jesus be so far off the mark when it came to the most important event of His time on earth? Before you answer that question, let me ask another question; How can the church who has had God’s Word for almost two millennia forget some of the most critical teachings that are intended to be lived out for the glory of God and expansion of the gospel to all people groups?
Back to Luke 24, we find Peter returning to his “home, marveling at what had happened” (24:12). Did he still not remember his own words of criticism to Jesus in Matthew 16 when Jesus foretold what would take place? The rebuke is stunning: “Get behind me, Satan” (16:23). Peter is not alone in despondent reaction to the empty tomb. “That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.” In their case, “they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened” (24:13-14). This is the point where things begin to change. “While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing HIM” (24:15-16). Often our own unbelief blinds us from what God is doing and we do not know His presence.
Perhaps you are facing a situation where grief, loss, disappointment, or trauma has overcome your mind and heart, and it is difficult to allow the words of Jesus – God’s Words, bring hope and comfort to you. Jesus has drawn near! The problem is that you do not see Him because you have let other things cloud your vision and deafen your ears. Before Thanksgiving Day comes, I ask you to stop what you are doing and carefully consider the perfect answer of God’s Word and the presence of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Resurrection victory is HERE!
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