Easter as the Crux of Life
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 into the hands of sinful men, 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. 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 recognizing 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 only a visitor to Jerusalem and do 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 him they did not see.” 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ 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. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 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 recognized 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 recognized by them when he broke the bread. 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 Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and 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.” (Luke 24:1-49 NIV)
On Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It breaks all previous patterns of knowing there is only life and then death. It shows us a new pattern
It makes me think of a phrase we have heard and of which you are probably sick of: the new normal. We had a pandemic interrupt our lives and people wonder when things will be back to normal. It’s almost proverbial. Someone asks when will things get back to normal. Another replies what is the new normal?
The way we lived life was interrupted. The crux of the problem was something happened that intruded so definitively upon our lives that the way we do life was changed. The resurrection is the most significant event in the history of the world. Nothing comes close to it. It should change our life.
Prop: Jesus’ death and resurrection is the crux of God’s work and our hope for new life and should also be the crux of our lives.
Resurrection is the The Crux: The basic, central, or critical point or feature: the crux of the matter; the crux of an argument.
- Of God’s Work.
You hear a refrain repeated throughout this passage. What happened was to fulfill Scripture. All that has been done has been done through the crosshairs of scripture. It is in line with what God has spoken in the past. It is also in lines with Jesus’ words.
-21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.
-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?”
-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 Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
It is also in line with what Jesus said,
-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 into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
Many scoff over the claims of Jesus as though he is to be equated with some deranged college student who has done too many pharmaceuticals and now believes he is the savior of the world. There were many descriptions of the Savior in the Old Testament, and these descriptions function like a job description that only a certain person could do.
He would be of the royal line of David. Would be born in Bethlehem. Called a Nazarene. Would be consumed with zeal for the Lord. Would know the Scriptures. Even his timing, Daniel said would come 490 years after the exile of the Israelites to Babylon. He would be great in power, in wisdom, and would be Prince of Peace. He would fulfill the roles of prophet, priest and king. And would be blameless, free of sin, so that he could redeem people from the penalty of sin.
The resurrection fulfills the Scripture.That means all that God was doing in the world culminates in the work of Jesus.
Ever since the fall God was bringing about a plan to redeem people from their own rebellion. They turned from God and that is when death, suffering, hardship, shame, guilt, came into the world. But in his love, he did not abandon his creation. He chose to redeem it. And he chose to do it in a way that he would get all the glory.
The resurrection is the fulfillment of that plan. God’s work reaches a climax. It’s not just that a person has been raised from the dead. That would be remarkable. The amazing thing here is that if Jesus is resurrected then all that God said he would do is now being done!
If you want to understand what God is doing in the world you look to the cross and resurrection. Jesus is the center of all that God is doing. If you want to understand why bad things happen. You find understanding in Jesus. If you want to find hope. You look to the cross. If you want to understand how to love others, you look to the cross.
“You never move on from the cross, only to a deeper more profound understanding of the cross.” David Prior.
The resurrection is God’s masterpiece. You don’t look at it and move it. The more you stare at it, the more you understand it, the more amazed you are by it. Don’t look at a masterpiece and say what else you got??
Many people look to God for a sign, want to understand what he is doing, maybe do weird spiritual things, fast, sit on beds of nails, hoping to experience an enlightenment. But God has spoken through his Son. Do you have questions in your life? Read his word. We will help you.
- Crux for Our Hope of New Life
The resurrection tells us there is hope. Hope that death is not the end. Hope that we are not alone. Hope that God is at work in the world. Hope that all that is wrong and broken in the world can be fixed.
Hope without hope of resurrection is just a temporary fix. Not permanent.
The fact that Jesus was raised clearly gave his disciples hope. Hope that he was who he said he was. Hope that he would deliver them.
21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.
We, too, can be raised to life.
~Don’t look for the living among the dead.
~Don’t look for the hopeful among the hopeless.
This isn’t hope like, I hope I win the lottery. I picked some completely random number and really hope this is it. The hope we have in Jesus is that man who just unlocked the door, walked in the living room and sat on the couch.
Jesus overcomes. Promises us life too.
Hope that life will be new and better. There is an odd thing that happens in this passage. Two disciples on the way to Emmaus meet Jesus. But they don’t recognize him. What!! How do you not know Jesus? He is your friend.
Kratew is to take hold of. It is to grab someone and take them outside. It is to grab an animal and pull it out of a pit. And here their eyes are not able to take hold of him.
Now from a defense of the Christian faith perspective it is like why is this in here.
-It discredits the disciples. Don’t even recognize their friends. They are complete idiots! That seems hard to believe. They did recognize him, it just took a while.
-On another note, if lying and writing to trick people then why would they ever include this??? So psychology and reverse psychology leave us without an answer. What do we make of this? It seems it’s just the way it happened. And it teaches us something of the life to come.
After dinner each night we will read a portion of various books. From Chronicles of Narnia, to Little House on the Prairie, and missionary biographies. We just read about Gladys Aylward. A Missionary to China, who moved into a town where there were no Christians and she loved people into the kingdom. She was a remarkable woman. After years in China, working to make sure customs like foot binding were no longer done on girl babies, to quieting prison riots, to taking on orphans, to being beaten by communists soldiers, and a bounty placed on her head, it all took quite a toll on her. She was forced to go back home and after arriving, she is in a train station waiting for her parents to pick her up. But she waits and waits and no one is there. Only one couple is there but they pass right by each other. After a time, she finally talks to them and discovers it is her parents. Neither recognized the other. After twenty years she didn’t recognize them, and they didn’t recognize her because Gladys now looked older than her mother because of the difficulty of the work she had been involved in. Years of hard service changed her.
Have you seen people who have been on a diet and you didn’t recognize them at first? Have you seen people go through stressful times and they don’t even look like themselves? Have you seen people change after getting married and the stress of dating is gone? People take vacations and come back feeling and looking like a new person. How much more when someone has not lost a few pounds, or gotten a few days away, but rather has now been resurrected to new life and entered an eternal body! Look refreshed. Well, it may be that I have passed into immortality!!
Even more think how brutal the death of Jesus was? Flogged, beaten, thorns jammed in his head, nailed in the hands and feet, stabbed in the side, and yet all that brutality does not define his new resurrection body. It’s different from his earthly body. He is different. The weight of our bodies, the propensity of our flesh to crave and long for wrong things, to fall apart, to grow tired from the weight of this life.
Just think, the body Jesus now possesses is his body forever. What if you bought your forever car. Would it be made of gold, titanium, silver. If your current car was remade to last forever you would not immediately recognize it. But note they do recognize him. With some time they do recognize who he is. If they never recognized him that would be a problem. The resurrection brings a new quality of life, but not a new person. Not some reincarnation where we start over and have no recollection of who or what we were before.
It seems Luke is reporting simply what was seen but with it is a magisterial theology that connects the hope of Scripture that there will be new life in the Messiah, and this life will be in a new heaven and new earth, that is still recognizable, but qualitatively different. It’s what God has been saying throughout Scripture of what will happen.
The resurrection vindicates all of his suffering. Do bad things happen in life, yes absolutely. The Savior died remember that. And people didn’t understand. If you trust in God he promises to raise you. It will vindicate all your suffering then.
What are you mad at God about?
Children ask what happens to people when they die. Adults often answer saying they go to a better place. That is wishful thinking. Only the resurrection makes it possible to say that.
Joni Erickson Tada, who was paralyzed in a swimming accident as a teen in 1988… is a quadraplegic who is a well known speaker, said this.
I sure hope I can bring this wheelchair to heaven. Now, I know that’s not theologically correct. But I hope to bring it and put it in a little corner of heaven, and then in my new, perfect, glorified body, standing on grateful glorified legs, I’ll stand next to my Savior, holding his nail-pierced hands.
I’ll say, “Thank you, Jesus,” and he will know that I mean it, because he knows me. He’ll recognize me from the fellowship we’re now sharing in his sufferings.
And I will say, “Jesus, do you see that wheelchair? You were right when you said that in this world we would have trouble, because that thing was a lot of trouble. But the weaker I was in that thing, the harder I leaned on you. And the harder I leaned on you, the stronger I discovered you to be. It never would have happened had you not given me the bruising of the blessing of that wheelchair. So thank you for what you did in my life through that wheelchair. And now,” I always say jokingly, “you can send that wheelchair to hell, if you want.”
The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope that we can overcome, and that we will enter into a new order of life that is not plagued by the problems of this life. This body won’t get covid, won’t need surgery, won’t get cancer, won’t cry, … and all harm, bruises, beatings, name calling we have suffered will be repaired. It won’t matter at that point.
Teresa of Avila “From heaven even the most miserable life will look like one night in an inconvenient hotel.” Keller. Hope in times of fear. 177
What causes your depression? What eats away at your life? Stop depending on yourself. Depend on God. He has made it so you can be set free. Grateful for what he has done that you could not do. Feel your powerlessness. Know his power.
- Our purpose in life
If the resurrection is the crux of what God is doing in the world, and it is the crux of us having hope to come, then it should also stand as the crux of our purpose in life.
People are searching for meaning. Searching for significance.
The disciples wanted to find Jesus. The ladies were there first. They are told he is risen. They had to tell Peter. Peter then had to find him.
A good definition of a disciple is one who wants to be with Jesus and tell others how to be with him.
This is the greatest news imaginable. New life. God’s work in the world fulfilled. How does it get better than that?? Everything else we talk about is superficial. Sports. Weather. Jobs. What our husband has or hasn’t done. New car. The deepest level of human relationship is talking about one’s relationship with God.
We are to talk about it. Share it.
[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.”
One of Luke’s primary descriptors for Christians is witnesses. That is how he refers to them. It is what Jesus calls them to.
Witness is some who declare what they have seen. What they have experienced.
They have a purpose. Something to marvel at. Their hearts are on fire inside. A good litmus test for your spiritual walk is do you burn for this, are you amazed by?
The disciples had fear, doubts, but as they heard his words the dots were connected. They took time to have the dots connected. To understand.
If the resurrection is the crux of hope, then all of our disappointments in life are alleviated by it. If it is the crux of God’s work in the world, then all my failures are healed by. If Jesus died for my sins, then I can be forgiven, and that is the source to forgive others. If I am to help people, then the crux of my being able to help them is found in me being able to point them to the hope that is in Jesus. Of knowing how all that has been written in the past points to him.
The resurrection tells us everything can be made right.
The disciples heard news that rearranged their lives. When you read this you see people who formed a team. They were together. To learn, to know, to share, to help. And they would indeed give their lives for this message.
Life with Jesus became a new normal. Something important happened that made everything else secondary. Couldn’t go on living as they had.