Luke 24 (1-53) as told in New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
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A QUESTION FOR REFLECTION: It is Sunday morning before sunrise. Jesus had died on Friday by crucifixion on a Roman cross. His followers believed he was the son of God. The people hoped Jesus would be the Messiah and deliver them from Roman occupation. They welcomed him into Jerusalem the week before, and five days later they had given up on him, and cried out for his death. What will God do next?
Jesus has risen
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 "The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again."' 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
A QUESTION FOR REFLECTION: Women feature regularly in Luke's story. We have read over the last few months the song of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the first person to proclaim Jesus to the world. Jesus accepts and defends the "notorious" woman who arrives uninvited at Simon's house. At the cross there are mainly women supporting Jesus through his death. And there are a group of women who come early to the tomb. In another account, Jesus meets his mother Mary in the Garden. Before God, men and women have equal status, and we thank Jesus for making this clear for us. Tin the first chapter of the Bible says that God created mankind in his image, male and female as two parts of the human whole. How do you see the status of the two sexes before God? Are men and women equal to you?
On the road to Emmaus
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 recognising 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 the only one visiting Jerusalem who does 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 they did not see Jesus.'
25 He said to them, 'How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah 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.
A QUESTION FOR REFLECTION: The two men were going the wrong way. They were leaving Jerusalem, the place of all the action. Jesus spends a few hours explaining all the prophecies about the Messiah, that he had fulfilled. The question then is the same as now - is Jesus God's Messiah, the promised saviour of the world? The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies referring to the Messiah, that Jesus fulfilled. It contains hundreds of instructions about the required sacrifices, that Jesus fulfilled. Times. Dates. Methods. There is so much evidence for Jesus being God's promised Messiah, that it fills up more than a 7 mile walk. You can find a list of some of the fulfilled prophecies at our website. Do you know the evidence for Jesus? Have you taken time to learn the proof that God has given us?
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going further. 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 recognised 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 recognised by them when he broke the bread.
A QUESTION FOR REFLECTION: A common occurrence is that Jesus was somehow different after his resurrection. People simply did not recognise him. His own mother. His close friends. These two men. He now had a resurrected body, that still carried scars from his death, but could appear and disappear as he wished. But there was something else - people could not see until "their eyes were opened". How many times in your life have you not seen something so obvious in front of you? Are your eyes open to Jesus? Are you asking God to open your eyes so you can see God's truth?
Jesus appears to the disciples
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.'
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, 'Do you have anything here to eat?' 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, 'This is what I told you while I was still with you: everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.'
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, 'This is what is written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.'
The ascension of Jesus
50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
A QUESTION FOR REFLECTION: We finish our series of Luke's story with Jesus ascending into heaven, with his followers filled with joy, continually worshipping in the temple of God, waiting for Jesus' promise of power from on high. The next part of the story is in the Book of Acts in the Bible. Jesus changed the lives of everyone he encountered in some way. Has this story affected you? Has Jesus changed your life? Do you want to know more? Have you received Jesus as your Saviour and Lord of your life? You can find prayers that you can pray to God on our website, or you can simply pray your own prayer to God right now, asking him to "open your eyes" and reveal himself to you.
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