Study Notes

Luke 23:50-24:53

23:50-53 Joseph Takes Jesus' Body

Joseph of Arimathea was a prominent member of the Council. This was the same Council that had obtained false testimony against Jesus, the same Council that insisted He be put to death. But Joseph of Arimathea had become a disciple of Jesus - albeit a secret one, for fear of the Jews - but a disciple nonetheless. He had not consented to the Council's plans and actions. Now that Jesus is dead, he gathers up his courage and goes to see Pilate. He asks Pilate for the body of Jesus, that he might give Him a proper burial.

I want you to notice something. Joseph had become a disciple of Jesus, but kept it a secret for fear of those around him. Today you might be in the same place. Maybe when you go to work, you leave your Christianity packed away in your briefcase or your purse, for fear of how your coworkers are going to react. Maybe you keep your faith in Jesus quiet at school so no one will make fun of you. I'll tell you what - there's going to come a day for you like this day came for Joseph. A day when something needs to be done, and the only way it can get done is if you come out of the shadows and expose your faith. On that day I pray that you'll gather up your courage like Joseph did, and make sure it gets done.

Joseph, along with Nicodemus the Pharisee, who had also become a secret disciple, wraps up Jesus body in a linen cloth and about a hundred pounds of spices. They took the body to Joseph's tomb, which was cut into the rock, then rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb.

23:54-56 Spices And Perfumes

The women who had followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem also prepared spices and perfumes for His body. This is comparable to today's custom of bringing flowers to a grave site. But the Sabbath came, and they had to refrain from doing any work - they would have to wait until Sunday morning. What they hadn't considered was 1) who was going to roll away this stone that weighed over a thousand pounds, and 2) how they were going to get by the Roman guards.

You can read in Matthew 27:62-66 about the extensive precautions the Romans took against anyone stealing Jesus' body, but we'll continue on to the next Sunday morning, that begins chapter 24.

24:1-9 He Has Risen

The stone's been rolled away. Jesus' body is no longer in the tomb! What could have happened? The angels tell the women, "He's risen - don't you remember what He's been telling you all this time, about how He was going to suffer and die, and rise again on the third day?"

24:10-12 Appeared As Nonsense

The women excitedly told the apostles what had happened, but these words appeared to them as nonsense. This word "nonsense" is "leros" in Greek. It is a word used by physicians of the time to describe the insane babbling of a deliriously fevered man. They had so much pain and doubt in their hearts, they couldn't even begin to fathom the truth of what they were being told.

24:13-32 The Road to Emmaus

These two disciples are making their 2-hour, 7-mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus when Jesus shows up and joins in on the conversation about all the things that had happened in Jerusalem regarding Jesus that week. You see, they had believed Jesus was their Messiah, but they had tunnel vision - expecting Messiah to come and overthrow the yoke of the Roman occupation of of them. And when He didn't live up to that expectation, their faith fell. Oh, how difficult it is when we expect something from God! We stand there staring at the front door, waiting for Him, when He had planned on coming in the back window all along. We had God all figured out, our expectations were sure, and then God went and did something else! What a bummer!

Luke 24:25-26 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"

Notice that He didn't call them foolish for being slow to believe the women's report. He calls them foolish for not believing that which the prophets have spoken - the Bible. "If they had given the prophets of the Old Testament their due weight and consideration, they would have been as sure of Christ's rising from the dead that morning (being the third day after his death) as they were of the rising of the sun." (Henry)

Now He gives these two disciples the best Bible study ever given! I am very disappointed that neither one of them wrote it down.

Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

He began with Moses, then proceeded to the prophets. I imagine that He went book-by-book through the Old Testament, showing them every detail about Himself in the Scriptures.

* He no doubt reminded them of the curse on the devil in the Garden of Eden. God said to Satan,

Gen. 3:15 "...I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."

Jesus was the seed of the woman, born of a virgin, no Father except God Himself. By His crucifixion, Satan had bruised His heel, but the same event bruised Satan's head.

* He no doubt reminded them of the prophecy to Daniel that the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing.

* He probably recited Psalm 22 to them,

Ps. 22:14-18 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

* And Isaiah 50:

Isa. 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

* And Zechariah 12 and 13,

Zech. 12:10 "...They will look on Me whom they have pierced..."

Zech. 13:6 "And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will say, ' Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'"

* And Isaiah 53,

Isa. 53:3-9 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being {fell} upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men...

I'd love to be as comprehensive in the study this morning as Jesus was that day, but we'd be here for hours.

24:33-35 Right Back to Jerusalem

After having walked from Jerusalem for 2 hours, the two disciples turned around and went back! Jesus had been revealed to them, their eyes were opened, and no amount of discomfort was going to prevent them from telling what had happened.

Let me ask you - is your attitude about Christ the same as these two disciples? Do you go out of your way to tell people that He is risen from the dead? Will you risk a little discomfort?

24:36 Jesus in the Middle

The disciples were telling them about what Jesus had done, and what He had said. And suddenly, Jesus Himself is in their midst. This happens all the time! Jesus will always show up when the conversation is about Him. I had lunch with a pastor friend this week, and as he was relating to me the powerful way that God had been working in his life, the Lord began to speak to my heart as well. My friend wasn't preaching at me, but the Lord was turning it into a sermon for my hearing. I'll tell you what, if you want to be radically blessed, make your conversations focused on the Lord. Share what He's doing in your life. Tell people what you've been reading in your devotions, and how God is revealing things to you through them. Malachi wrote,

Mal. 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it...

When Jesus is in your conversation, He's also in the room. It's just like He promised,

Matt. 18:20 "Where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst."

24:37-43 Jesus Appears to the Disciples

The disciples had been basket cases for the last three days and nights. They had spent that time in complete fear of themselves being arrested, tortured, and crucified. Everything that they had hoped in had been lost the night that Jesus was arrested.

The women told them He was raised from the dead - they said, "You're insane." The disciples coming back from Emmaus had told them He was raised from the dead - but they were troubled and doubting. Finally, Jesus appears and proves it to them. But not without a rebuke. He said,

John 20:29 ..."Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."

That still holds true today. The Lord's primary desire from us is faith.

Hebr. 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

24:44-48 Another Bible Study

He gives the disciples a Bible study like He'd given on the road. Jesus was always able to say, "Thus it is written..." Later on, Peter will be able to stand before the people during the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and say, "This is what was written by the prophet". Paul the apostle was able to write,

1Cor. 15:3-4 ...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

Matthew was able to write throughout his gospel nine times,

Matt. 1:22 Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled...

People, it is so important that we have a working knowledge of the Scriptures to defend the faith and share with others.

1Pet. 3:15 ...always (be) ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you...

We've got to be prepared. This week a couple of Mormons might come to your door. You might run into an old friend who believes that if they're a good person, they'll get to heaven. You might have a conversation with a co-worker who says that the Bible is full of contradictions and can't be trusted. You might be talking to your neighbor, and she says that God is some cosmic force who is totally indifferent to mankind. Are you prepared to answer those challenges with Scripture? If not, it's time to hit the Book. How many hours a day do you spend in front of the television? Or reading romance novels? Do you think that you might take a fraction of that time to become familiar with the Scriptures?

24:49-53 Blessing and Leaving

Jesus, after spending 40 days with them, and appearing to over 500 people, finally takes the disciples out to bid them farewell. He blessed them and commissioned them. And then He rose up in a cloud to heaven.

I want you to notice the response:

Luke 24:52-53 ...They returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising God.

This is the result of knowing the resurrected Christ - great joy and praising God.