2018-03-28 / Religion

Jesus Christ is indeed risen

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Luke 24:1-35

For many adherents of false religions, their life-long desire is to visit the tomb of their founder. These excursions seem to comprise the high-light of their religious experience.

There is no such aim in the life of us who know Jesus Christ of Nazareth as our personal savior. We know that there is no tomb of our Lord, today. The announcement of the angel — “He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6a) — was verified by many witnesses.

Some of the disciples of Jesus witnessed his crucifixion. There was no question in their minds regarding the fact of his death. When Joseph of Arimathaea “besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus” (John 19:38a), the governor would not release the body without official evidence of death. The record tells us, “And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.” Mark 15:44, 45. This part of the divine record contradicts the present-day theory that states that Jesus-didnot die-but-fainted-onthe cross. The pierced side would assure even the worst critic that this victim was dead. See John 19:34.

The time of the burial was near the end of day for “the preparation, and the sabbath…” Luke 23:54. This hasty burial (John 19:39-42) was observed by some of the women, who were followers of our Lord. These women knew their custom regarding burial, “And they returned, and prepared [more] spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” Luke 23:56. They knew of the preparation that had already occurred before the tomb was sealed. See John 19:39b.

Since the sabbath was a high day for the Jews, they were required to rest, as commanded by the old testament law. See Exodus 20:8-11. Luke and the other gospel writers tells us, “Now upon the first day of the week” (Luke 24:1a) that activity began early for these women. Luke wrote that “very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared.” Luke 24:1b, c.

These women had a single focus, as they directed their steps toward the tomb. However, “they found the stone [over the opening] rolled away from the sepulchre.” Luke 24:2. Curiosity is not always bad “And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.” Luke 24:3.

Gazing into a tomb was not an every-day activity. Luke recorded, “And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed (at a loss for thought) thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they [the women] were afraid, and bowed their faces to the earth, they [the men] said unto them, why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” Luke 24:4-6a.

The two men, then, reminded these women of the words that had been spoken earlier “remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” Luke 24:6b, 7; see Matthew 16:21; 17:23; Mark 8:31; 9:31; Luke 9:22.

As with all mankind, it is often necessary for us to be reminded of the great and precious promises of God. Luke record, “And they remembered his words.” Luke 24:8. This reminder prompted them to immediate action — “And [they] returned from the sepulchre , and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.” Luke 24:9.

The Holy Spirit (II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21) allowed “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14) to record the names of these women "It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.” Luke 24:10.

One would think that this report would have produced great joy in the hearts and minds of the apostles. Luke recorded, “And their [the women’s] words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.” Luke 24:11.

Simon Peter must have thought on the words of the women, and developed at some degree of personal curiosity. Luke recorded,

“Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.” Luke 24:12.

One can only imagine the thoughts that must have tumbled through the minds of the eleven, and all of the other faithful followers. The Apostle John wrote of the fear that had gripped the hearts of the apostles. See John 20:19.

Luke recorded the testimony of two men from the village of Emmaus. As they were returning home — in their discouraged and defeated mental state — “Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.” Luke 24:15c. Their conversation centered in the recent events in Jerusalem. Finally, Jesus revealed himself to them — “And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.” Luke 24:31.

These men realized the privilege that had been given to them. “And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” Luke 24:32. Some things are too good to keep to yourself — “And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared unto Simon.” Luke 24:33,34.

These two men gave their account of the events of that day. “And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in the breaking of bread.” Luke 24:35.

Our personal experiences may not have been as dramatic as those that day, yet, we, too, have a message to give. May we be faithful in declaring “all the counsel of God.” Acts 20:27b.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@ yahoo. c om

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