The Lord Has Risen Indeed!

Saturdays are game days for our kids. But, before they can play games that have to get the house chores done (something you figure out after you parents six children). The list of chores is quite extensive, and many times my boys will come to be right away in the morning and tell me, “Dad, more chores are all done. Can I pay games?” I never believe them, do I boys? Either I or my wife has to check on how done their chores are because experience has taught us that they are not always the more thorough in completing their given tasks. Most often that not my kids find that I am skeptical and they have to make a believer out of me.
This was exactly the situation on the first Easter Sunday morning. Except it was Jesus’ own disciples who were the skeptics. From the very first reports that reached their ears that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb, that angels told of his resurrection- they did not, at least initially, believe. In Luke’s account of the resurrection, he not only tells the wonder details of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, he also tells how Jesus’ disciples went from being skeptics to witnesses. And the way that God leads them to faith in the Resurrection is very instructive for us this morning.
What method does Jesus use to cause his disciples to believe in the resurrection?
What method does God use today to bring people to faith in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead?
This morning I want us think about the methods that God uses to lead people to believe in Jesus Christ, the Risen Savior of the world.

I. Words that seemed like pure nonsense (Luke 24:1-27)

Luke records the account of the crucifixion of Jesus and his death in chapter 23. At the end of chapter 23 we are told that a man named Joseph from the town of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Joseph was granted his request and went and took down the body and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid it in a tomb.
The proper procedure for a burial could not be carried out right away because the Sabbath was beginning.
Luke 23:54 ESV
54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.
But many women, who were followers of Jesus, were there the day Joseph laid Jesus in the tomb.
Luke 23:55 ESV
55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid.
Luke 23:56 ESV
56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
Because of the sabbath they returned to Jerusalem and prepared spices and ointments for the body of Jesus, but could not prepare the body because they had to rest according to the Sabbath commandments.
So Jesus was crucified on the cross, he died, and he was buried for three days.
Luke 24:1 ESV
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.
As soon as the Sabbath was over, at early dawn of the first day of the week. The first day of the week in Jewish culture was the day after the Sabbath. What day was Sabbath? Saturday. So at dawn on Sunday, these women take their spices and make their way to the tomb where Jesus’ body was lain.
Luke 24:2–5 (ESV)
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.
5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?
I want us to think about the evidence that these women had to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. First of all they find the empty tomb. Secondly they have the testimony of angles sent by God. Listen carefully to the testimony of the angels because it will be a repeated theme in this narrative.
Luke 24:6–7 (ESV)
6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
The third piece of evidence that these women were pointed to was the teachings of Jesus. The angels pointed these women to the words of Jesus in order to elicit a response of faith in His resurrection. Jesus told his followers at least three times (as recorded in Luke’s gospel) exactly what would happen to him.
Luke 18:31–34 (ESV)
31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.
32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon.
33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”
34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
It is very instructive that the angels point the women back to the words of Jesus. They encouraged them to remember Jesus’ Word and to believe what He said. And that is exactly what happens.
Luke 24:8–9 ESV
8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
I think these women believe! They remembered his words, they saw the empty grave clothes, they heard the words of angels and they believed. I think it is wonderful that God brings these dear followers of Jesus to faith in the resurrection before even the disciples! And what is the natural response to this kind of information? They go and tell others! They returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven (the disciples) and to all the rest (the other followers of Jesus).
Luke 24:10 ESV
10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,
Why pause the story to give us the identity of the women? NET Bible Note: “It is unusual that the first appearance would involve women as in this culture their role as witnesses would not be well accepted. It is a sign of the veracity of the account, because if an ancient were to create such a story he would never have it start with women.”
This detail also helps us understand the response of the disciples.
Luke 24:11 (ESV)
11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
Luke 24:11 (NET)
11 But these words seemed like pure nonsense to them, and they did not believe them.
Imagine that! The disciples of Jesus, the men who walked and talked with Jesus for three solid years, who were personally trained and educated at the feet of Jesus, did not believe in the account of these women about the resurrection of Jesus!
Jesus is going to change their unbelief. Exactly how Jesus goes about doing this is very instructive.
Luke 24:12 ESV
12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
What is odd about this part of the narrative? Why only Peter? I will give him credit! He went and checked it out! In John’s account of the resurrection he records that both He (John) and Peter went to the tomb. John got there first and looked, but did not go in. Peter was the one who went into the tomb and looked around. Probably why he is highlighted here. But, why didn’t all of the disciples go? Luke tells us in v. 11- they did not believe the account of the women.
Now the story jumps ahead several hours.
Luke 24:13–16 ESV
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
Two of Jesus’ followers (not the eleven, but the others from v. 9) where walking home now that the Passover events were complete. They are on a seven mile hike to travel to a village named Emmaus. While they were walking Jesus approaches, but they were not allowed to recognize him. Why not? These were part of the company that found the report of the women an idle tale or pure nonsense. Surely the easiest way to clear up this unbelief is for Jesus to appear unto them. And yet when Jesus does appear he supernaturally prevents them for knowing his identity. Why?
Luke 24:17–19 (ESV)
17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.
18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 And he said to them, “What things?”
Why does Jesus ask this question? Was it for his benefit or for theirs? Obviously Jesus is masterfully steering the conversation towards spiritual things but asking intentional questions. Listen to these followers explanation.
Luke 24:19–24 (ESV)
19 And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
21 But 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 happened.
22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,
23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
We just don’t know what to think about all this!!!
Notice Jesus’ response:
Luke 24:25 (ESV)
25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe
Slow of heart to believe what? Naturally, you would expect Jesus to rebuke these men for failing to believe the testimony of the women from the tomb right? That is not the rebuke that Jesus gives.
Luke 24:25 (ESV)
25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Jesus points them back to the words of the prophets! In other words, you should not be surprised that the Christ suffered and died, you should not be surprise that the Christ was buried in a tomb, and you should not be surprised that the Christ rose again from the dead. Why? Because it was all foretold in the OT prophets.
Luke 24:26 ESV
26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
Everything that happened to Jesus was part of the eternal plan of God. It was foretold by the prophets, taught by Jesus Himself, and carried our exactly as the Father desired. Jesus’ disciples and his followers should have known and believed. But the wonderful truth here is that instead of leading these followers to faith in the resurrection by appearing to them immediately, instead Jesus points their faith to the Scriptures. Believe the words of God. The resurrection happened exactly as God said.
Luke 24:27 ESV
27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
What method does Jesus use to cause his disciples to believe in the resurrection?

Method #1: He led them to place their faith in the Word of God

Romans 10:13–17 ESV
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Unbeliever: If you do not yet believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, literally was raised from the dead on the third day, I invite you to put your faith in the Word of God this morning. These very words that you are hearing this morning are the words of life. In them is forgiveness of sins. In them is eternal life, resurrection life by calling upon the name of Jesus to save you from your sins. Friend if you have heard these words this morning I invite you to believe.
Believer: How comforting that the way Jesus led his followers to faith in his resurrection is the same way we have been instructed to led people to faith today. When was the last time you took someone aside and explained to the the Scriptures?
Let’s look at the second method that Jesus used to lead his followers to faith in the resurrection.

II. Words that seemed to burn within their hearts (Luke 24:28-35)

For the better part of a seven mile long hike these two followers of Jesus were privileged to the greatest discipleship lesson imaginable.
Luke 24:28 ESV
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,
I think this would have been one of those times when hours would have passed but it would have seemed like mere moments. Clearly these followers of Jesus were drinking in the teachings of Christ from the OT.
Luke 24:29 ESV
29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
They couldn’t get enough. They strongly urged Jesus to stay with them and continue his lesson.
Luke 24:30–31 ESV
30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
Only now, after Jesus led them to place their faith in the revelation of God’s Word about the Christ did Jesus finally reveal Himself. But this reveal was merely a confirmation of what these men had already understood.
Luke 24:32 (ESV)
32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
What does this sound like? Hearts burning within us while he opened the Scriptures? Conviction, illumination. Where does the conviction of the Word and the illumination of the Word come from? It is a ministry of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:8–10 ESV
8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Notice, Paul does not say the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit of God, but that he does not accept them. Sinful people do not naturally accept or welcome the message of the cross or the resurrection. The things of God are instead foolishness or folly to him.
Maybe this is you. Maybe for your whole life you have mocked the message of the cross and the message of the empty tomb. Maybe God’s message of salvation, that Jesus Chris the Son of God died for your sins on the cross, that he was buried in a tomb, and that on the third day Jesus rose again from the dead, maybe that message has been nothing but foolishness to you. But, today the Words of God have been impressed upon your heart like never before. It is as if the words of Luke are burning in your heart. You can feel the truth of them. Friend that is the ministry of the Holy Spirit of God leading you to place your faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

Method #2: He allowed the Holy Spirit to use the Word of God to bring conviction and illumination

Unbeliever: Friend if this is you right now. If the Holy Spirit is bringing conviction to your heart, you heart feels like it is burning with in you as you hear the Words of God, I invite you to respond. Respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Welcome the truth of God’s Word. No longer consider the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as foolishness, but believe. Cry out to Jesus in your hearts right now. Tell Jesus that you place your faith in His work for you on the cross. Tell Him that you put your faith in His resurrection from the dead. Ask him to save you from your sins. Ask him to give you new life and He will!
Believer: As you tell people the message of the cross and the of the empty tomb, as you lead people to an understanding of the Scriptures you must also employ this second method of Jesus. You must totally rely upon the ministry of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction and illumination to the hearts of people. You cannot do this. You are completely dependent upon the power of God to awaken people’s hearts to faith in Christ. Depend upon Him, seek him desperately in prayer.
Look at how soundly the Word of God and the Spirit of God affected these men’s hearts!
Luke 24:33 ESV
33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
What time is it? Evening, it’s dark. Is it save to travel on the roads in the dark? Who far do they have to go? Seven miles. Yet, they are so compelled by the truth burning in their hearts that they run seven miles back to Jerusalem and they find the eleven and they shot this wonderful truth!
Luke 24:34 ESV
34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
Remember what their attitude was when the women told them this? They thought is was pure nonsense. Now? The Lord has risen indeed! Only God can bring about that kind of change!
Luke 24:35 ESV
35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
What is the final method that Jesus uses to turn skeptics into believers of the resurrection?

III. Words that turned the world upside down (Luke 24:36-52)

So now the women from the tomb believe, these two followers of Jesus on the road believe, but what about the rest?
Luke 24:36 ESV
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
Boy to be a fly on the wall to see their reactions when Jesus appears out of thin air in their midst!
Luke 24:37 ESV
37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
They are terrified, but Jesus calms and comforts, and he confirms their faith in Himself.
Luke 24:38–43 (ESV)
38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
43 and he took it and ate before them.
Notice what Jesus does next. They had already head the report from the two on the road, and most likely all that Jesus had told them. But, Jesus patiently takes the time to open their minds to understand the Scriptures.
Luke 24:44–45 ESV
44 Then 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 and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Again, Jesus leads them to put their faith in the Word of God. He goes back and he explains to them all of the prophecies in the OT, those in the law, those in the major and minor prophets, and those in the Psalms. He patiently explained these prophecies to them, and in doing so opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
Notice the main message he drew from these passages.
Luke 24:46–47 ESV
46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Here is the message of the gospel! That Jesus Christ the Messiah suffered and died on a cross for our sins. He paid the awful cost necessary so we could be forgiven. He paid the penalty of my sins for me so that I could be justly forgiven by a righteous God. But He didn’t stay dead, on the third day He rose again. He rose victorious over sin, over death, over hell, over Satan and his demons. And how do you receive this gift of salvation?
V. 47- repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in the name of Jesus to all nations.
You must repent of your sins. You must turn away from your sin. Recognize the vileness of your sin. Understand that your rebellion and lawless heart have offended your Creator. Feel sorrow for that rebellion. Turn from your heart that says, “I am going to do whatever I want.” Instead turn away from your sin. And turn to God. Tell God your are sorry for your sin. Tell him that you don’t want to live for your sin any longer. Tell Jesus that you want to follow Him now. Turn from your sin and turn to Jesus. That is repentance. And when you do that God promises the forgiveness of all your sins!
In V. 48 we see the third method that Jesus uses to lead people to faith in his resurrection.
Luke 24:48 (ESV)
48 You are witnesses of these things.
What were they to witness about?
They saw the resurrected Christ!
1 Corinthians 15:5–6 ESV
5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
We have the most reliable historical document every preserved in the history of the world. And in the most reliable historical document on earth it records the eye witness account of more that 500 witnesses to the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! This is not blind faith people. God wants you to have a well supported, well thought out faith!
What else were they to witness about?
Luke 24:45 ESV
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
What Scriptures? Moses, the Prophets, the Psalms.
What do we find the apostles doing soon after Jesus is ascended up into heaven? They go about the know world preaching! And what do they preach?
Acts 2:24–28 ESV
24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
Peter quotes and preaches from Psalm 16:8-11 showing how the Psalms prophecy the resurrection of the Messiah. Where do you think Peter learned that from?
Acts 2:29–32 ESV
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
Acts 2:36 ESV
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Acts 2:37 (ESV)
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter tells them what to do- Repent! And after you have repented be baptized to show that you identify as ones who have received the forgiveness of sins!
Acts 3:13–15 (ESV)
13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.
14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
Acts 3:18–19 (ESV)
18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.
19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
Acts 3:22 (ESV)
22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.
Acts 3:24 (ESV)
24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.
Acts 3:25 (ESV)
25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’
Peter got the lesson on prophecy from the OT concerning Jesus the Messiah down pretty good! And he obey Jesus and went out into the world and was His witness! And guess what God did?
Acts 2:41 ESV
41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Acts 4:4 ESV
4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

Method #3: He sent out his followers to be His witnesses for the gospel

Acts 1:8 (ESV)
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Friends this message is for all of us this morning!
Jesus method for leading other to faith in the resurrection is nothing new. It is time tested. And we must embrace and obey and imitate his example:
We must lead people to people to put their faith in the Word of God.
We must allow and depend upon the Holy Spirit to bring conviction and illumination.
We must go out into our Jerusalem, and into our Judea/Samaria, and even unto the end of the earth and we must be witnesses.
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