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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 22: October 4, 2009, Luke 24.1-53

Day 22: October 4, Luke 24.1-53

My commentary is below the text:  

Luke 24



24But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8Then they remembered his words, 9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

13Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. 28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

36While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence. 44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

50Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

Commentary:   Christ is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!  The empty tomb itself proves nothing. The enemies of Christianity have often given several reasons for the empty tomb: a hoax, grave robbers, they had the wrong tomb etc... etc... etc.... .   It is the two mysterious figures in white who pronounce the resurrection to the women.  "Why do you look for the living among the dead?"  The women run and tell the disciples, but it all seemed like an idle tale.  Indeed, until they encounter the risen Lord themselves, they find it heard to believe.  And who can blame them.  Dead people do not come back to life.   But here is the beauty of the resurrection, Jesus was dead, truly, completely, 100% dead, and God has brought him back to life! 
 
How do we know?  The eyes of the two going to Emmaus were opened as they looked into scripture.  The eyes were opened in the sacramental meal (wine and bread), the Lord is revealed as his followers come together, and the Lord will be revealed as these men and women go out even to the ends of the earth with the good news of Jesus Christ.
 
What is that Good news?  Is it not that nothing will be able to seperate us as creatures from the hands of the creator.  That even the terror of sin, death and the devil will be overcome, and that what God has done for Jesus Christ, will be done for all of us and even for the cosmos itself.   And even now we are emissaries of the inbreaking kingdom of God!  Even now, new life in Christ is possible, a foretaste of the feast to come.  Even now our eyes and ears are open to that which God can accomplish. 
 
Luke's Gospel ends fairly quickly, they all go out and are blessed by the Lord.  They in turn come back to Jerusalem in great joy and are found in the Temple worshipping God.  The story for Luke however is only half begun. How will this news of the power of the resurrection, the story of Jesus get proclaimed to the rest of the world?  And what about the sword and purse that they now must carry, what obstacles will be put in their way?  How will the twelve, no to mention the women live in community without Jesus' physical proximity?   Luke will need to write another book.  He does, it is where we turn next:  The Acts of the Apostles!

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