December 7th, 2006
There’s something inside each of us that tells us we were made with a purpose and a destiny. There really is more to life if only we can discover it. Some people ignore the feeling and settle for the belief that we are no more than a strangely arranged collection of atoms, coming from nothing and going nowhere, but others search extensively for something which will help us understand our meaning and purpose. In the end, however, maybe all we have done is looked for the living amongst the dead. If there is true meaning out there, it has to be something which lasts, something which transcends the normal cycle of death.
Luke’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 24
24:1 Very early on the first day of the week they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. 24:2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 24:3 On entering they found that the body of the Lord Jesus was missing. 24:4 They were wondering about this when suddenly two men stood by them in dazzling clothing. 24:5 They were terrified, and bowed with their faces down to the earth. The men said to them, “Why do you look for the living amongst the dead? 24:6 He isn’t here; he is risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee, 24:7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful people, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again?”
24:8 They remembered what he had said, 24:9 and they returned from the tomb to tell the news to the eleven, and to everyone else. 24:10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women who were with them that told this news to the apostles. 24:11 What they were saying seemed to be nonsense, and the apostles did not believe them.
24:13 Two of them were going that day to a village named Emmaus, which was about 10 kilometres from Jerusalem. 24:14 They discussed everything which had happened. 24:15 While they were discussing and debating, Jesus himself approached and walked with them, 24:16 but something stopped them from recognizing him. 24:17 He asked them, “What are you talking about as you walk?” They were sad, and 24:18 one of them named Cleopas answered, “Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about the events which took place there in the past few days?” 24:19 He asked, “What events?” They said, “The things which happened to Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. 24:20 The senior priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and crucified him. 24:21 We had hoped that he would be the one to redeem Israel. Moreover, it is now the third day since these things happened. 24:22 Some of the women in our group surprised us when, after arriving early at the tomb 24:23 they found his body missing, and then came to tell us that they had seen a vision of angels, who claimed that he was alive. 24:24 Some of us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”
24:25 He said, “You are foolish and slow to believe what the prophets have predicted! 24:26 Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer in this way before entering into his glory?” 24:27 Beginning from Moses and the prophets, he explained to them all the predictions which the Scriptures made about himself. 24:28 They were approaching the village to which they were headed, but he appeared as if he intended to go further.
24:29 They said, “Stay with us. It is almost evening, and the day is over.” He went in with them. 24:30 After sitting down at the table with them, he took the bread and gave thanks. He broke it and gave it to them. 24:31 Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and then he disappeared out of their sight. 24:32 They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us as he spoke to us on the road, and while he explained the Scriptures to us?” 24:33 They got up straight away and returned to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven gathered together with some others, 24:34 saying that the Lord really had risen and had appeared to Simon. 24:35 They told about what had happened on the road, and how he was recognized by them when breaking of the bread.
24:36 As they said these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 24:37 They were terrified and imagined that they were seeing a ghost. 24:38 He said to them, “Why are you disturbed? Why do you doubt? 24:39 See my hands and my feet; it really is me. Touch me and see, because a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” 24:40 He said this, and showed them his hands and his feet. 24:41 While they still did not believe because of joy and amazement, he asked, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
24:42 They gave him a piece of a cooked fish. 24:43 He took it, and ate in front of them. 24:44 He said, “This is what I told you about while I was still with you. Everything predicted about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”
24:45 Then he opened their minds to help them understand the Scriptures. 24:46 He said, “It was predicted and it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 24:47 and for repentance and forgiveness of sins to be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 24:48 You are witnesses of these things. 24:49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised. Wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.”
24:50 He led them out as far as Bethany, and lifted up his hands to bless them. 24:51 After blessing them, he moved away from them, and was carried up into heaven. 24:52 They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 24:53 They were continually in the temple, praising God. Amen.