Luke 24:36-49 – Sermon Manuscript

-Do you remember when you used to get excited about things?

-Christmas was a magical time, I’ll be honest, one of my favorite parts of moving back to MN was the Menards Wonderland experience (but I’m pretty sure it used to be bigger, in my mind when I was growing up they converted the whole store). Counted down the days to open presents, hoping your parents had been listening for the hints you’d been dropping all year. 

-Birthdays were celebrated instead of dreaded. Anyone else remember having “themed” birthday parties? Best one I had was a backwards birthday party. Wore clothes backwards, everyone got thank you gifts when they arrived, I opened presents at the beginning (which is why I wanted to do a backwards party to begin with) AND we all ate the cake before the food! 

-Or remember when you had this thing called “summer” that wasn’t just referring to the season, where you had no responsibilities for 3 months straight! Now summer just means you sweat when you walk outside instead of freeze (Assuming you can get outside to see the weather around work!)

-Then you had dreams about what your first job was going to look like, and be (and then after about 3 days working at McDonalds you realize you learned what you DON’T want to do for the rest of your life!)

-Or maybe it was getting your driver’s license, but then as soon as you got it you become all your friend’s means of getting around.

-College! But then you graduate and realize you actually do have to pay back all those loans you took out that didn’t seem like such a big deal when you were 19, and here we are STILL paying for that education that you finished a decade ago!

-The world trains us to become cynics, to not hope too much in an attempt to preserve what little happiness we have left in our lives.

-We look at children and smile at their youthful excitement, but think to ourselves “someday they’ll grow out of it.” Even this week, you would have thought my kids were getting to meet Dude Perfect in person by the way they were excited about donuts! And me, well I’ve had donuts many times now! (FYI – they’re from Hy-Vee, talk about breaking all my expectations!)

-One of the craziest things about the resurrection is it breaks every expectation we’re trained to believe in. It’s a story that literally seems too good to be true! But the craziest thing about it all is that it is!

-Tolkien summarized this feeling incredibly well at the end ROTK. (gotta spoil the movie, but it’s been out for 20 years, and the book has been out for 68 years, so it’s on you at this point). After the ring has been destroyed, Sam and Frodo are saved by some Eagles. When Sam finally wakes up, the first person he sees is Gandalf, and exclaims: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue?”

-We’re going to focus on that idea today: the reality that everything sad is going to come untrue, and that’s only true because of the resurrection. Peace, paradox, proclaim


  1. Peace (36-39)

-“Talking about these things” What were they talking about?

-Friday we took a look at the previous chapter where we saw the mock trial of Jesus, culminating in His death and burial. Luke 23 ends by saying the women prepared spices and ointment to anoint Jesus’ body (a way of giving honor) Did nothing on the Sabbath (this was a day of rest for the Jewish people every week, no work was allowed), Luke 24 picks it up on Sunday morning

-Women go to the tomb to place the spices, but the body’s gone! They weren’t confused (it was a well-known tomb), they were grieving, but they weren’t crazy. They knew exactly where the body was supposed to be, but it wasn’t there. 

-Thankfully, there are 2 angels nearby to tell them what’s happened, asking these women (one of my favorite questions) “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” That’s ironic isn’t it? They’d seen Jesus just days earlier beaten to a bloody pulp, then hung up on a cross and watched Him breathe His last. Luke also mentions who these women are: Mary Magdalene, Joanna (wife of Herod’s household manager, the same Herod who interrogated Jesus on Friday), and his mother. At least 2 of those women had a vested interest in knowing where the body was! They run back to the rest of the disciples to tell them and:

-No one else believed them. Would you? What happens to someone who’s dead? They stay dead! 

-Women in the 1st cent. weren’t viewed as reliable witnesses, yet that’s who Jesus chose to first reveal Himself to (which remember included His mom). If this was a fairy tale, Luke would have had men being the first people to find Jesus.

-Luke goes on from there (same day) to tell another account of Cleopas and another disciple who left Jerusalem to head to Emmaus, when along came Jesus.

-Jesus asks them “what’s the latest news”? And they look at Him like He’s crazy “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there?” 

-Do you think Jesus told them “You know, I’ve been a little busy this weekend” or “Haven’t been around here for a little while”

-Then takes them on what would probably be the greatest Bible study ever. Taught them how to interpret the whole OT in light of Jesus.

-After their journey, they invite Him to have dinner with them, and suddenly He disappears and they realize who it was! So they sprint back to Jerusalem to tell everyone else. And after they arrived, they began talking with everyone else about what was going on. 

-At this point, 5 people had seen Jesus (Matthew 28 tells us that Jesus appeared at the tomb), the 2 disciples on the road, these eyewitness accounts are starting to grow!

-Suddenly, just as they were talking about Him, Jesus Himself appears. John’s Gospel tells us the doors were locked.

-First thing He says to His disciples is: peace. Think of the significance of that word. They had been anticipating peace, but peace due to the overthrowing of the Romans, not an eternal peace won by an atoning death! 

-What would any normal, sane human being think about this situation? A ghost!  Everyone has heard a good ghost story! Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

-Look at vs. 37 startled, frightened, thought they were seeing a ghost. What is one of the common stories made about the resurrection? That it was just a spiritual resurrection, surely Jesus didn’t actually come back from the dead! They literally think their sense are deceiving them (at least eyes and ears)

-Since Jesus knows everything (including thoughts, as we’ve seen in Mark), he asks them what’s wrong? Why would they remain troubled, and why do they have doubts? Can’t they see that it’s the person they’d followed for years?

-He invites them to come and touch Him. Confirm with all their senses that He is back, just like He promised. 

-This is important: Jesus meets the disciples where they are. He could have told them “Just have faith! Why don’t you believe?” Instead He invites the doubting, He accepts their skepticism, and He breaks all their expectations. 

-Their skepticism about the way the world works has just started to be turned on its’ head, but that’s just the beginning!

  • Paradox (40-43) Christianity is full of paradoxes 

-Not only does Jesus invite their questions and answer their doubt, He shows that it’s really Him by showing His nail scarred hands and feet. 

-Once again, in John’s account we have a little more info, doubting Thomas is encouraged to come and touch the scars. Jesus still has the marks of death on Him. Can you imagine seeing Jesus with his scars stand in front of you?

-But then we get to a weird phrase that I think bears some contemplation for us today in vs. 41 “While they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling.” Other translations word it slightly differently. I like the way the Message summarizes it: it seemed too good to be true. 

-Part of the reason people doubt Christianity is because it does seem too good to be true, doesn’t it? Perfect world, relational unity, brokenness fixed, sadness coming untrue. One of the biggest obstacle to belief: the fear of too good to be true. Why would we continue to get our hopes up when we know they’re just going to be broken again?

-We’re all trained to be cynics throughout our life. The older we get the more calloused we become, our joy becomes tainted and broken. Just like the disciples, we keep lowering our expectations so that we can try to hold on to what little joy we have left.

-I remember growing up dreaming of visiting a place called “Disney.” The commercials I saw of Tinkerbelle flying around, getting to meet Mickey. And then I finally went! And it was magical, until I had to stand in line for an hour! (And then it got worse after being there as an adult with crabby kids who didn’t nap, it’s FAR less magical than the ads would lead you to believe)

-Or if you’re married, think of all the dreams you had of how your spouse would (to quote Jerry Maguire) complete you, but then 5 days in you have your first fight. Or you find out after you get married, that after decades of not snoring, the moment you got married your spouse caused you to become a snorer. 

-Life at some point seems to become more about managing expectations than it does about living a joy filled life, and the older you get the lower those expectations are. 

-As I’ve heard it summarized, life is hard, and then you die! And I think this is especially true today! Deaths of despair are on the rise (suicide, drugs, alcohol liver disease), the age expectancy of an American has decreased over the past couple years for the first time in decades. Isn’t being joyful a childish thing reserved for either the ignorant or uninformed?

-What if I told you not only is it possible to be joyful, but that’s what Jesus actually wants us to be marked by? But here’s the thing: it’s not by refusing to get hopeful or becoming cynical, it’s only by believing. Unlike the disciples, at least in this part of the story, we can believe! And once we believe, we have every reason to be joyful!

-This is where, as someone grows in their faith, there should be an increase of joy in their lives, a grumpy Christian shouldn’t exist!

-One of the best examples of this is the last person the Risen Lord appeared to (who said he was one “untimely born”) the apostle Paul.

-Long before everyone knew what “tebowing” was, Paul wrote that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. Wasn’t referring to football! 

-Joy comes because we know Christ is working in us. Joy comes by knowing how to be content in any and every circumstance. Look at how Paul begins this section: “I REJOICED” (had joy) If Christ is raised from the dead (and He is), then we can rejoice all the time!

-Paul even takes this a step further in another letter that he wrote called 1 Thess. Where he commands believers to “rejoice always.” Doesn’t mean to bury your feelings, to pretend like everything is ok, instead he’s recognizing that whatever is going on around you, God is still at work.

-That’s where in the midst of a school shooting in Nashville, the parents of a child who’s now in the arms of Jesus can say “death doesn’t have the final word.” This is where Christians who are gunned down during a worship service can forgive the shooter. We have a supernatural joy that doesn’t need to change based on our circumstances.

-But Jesus doesn’t stop at the disciple’s disbelief, or asking if it’s too good to be true, He continues to draw near to them.

-This is where we need to remember that faith isn’t an abstract concept where we’re asked to believe in something without proof. Do you see all the evidences Jesus gives of His resurrection throughout this section? Contrary to popular opinion, faith isn’t in a feeling, faith is placed in facts and empirical evidence. Our faith is as certain as the tomb is empty. 

-Before the disciples have faith, while they’re still disbelieving, Jesus moves toward them relationally, and asks if they can share a meal together.

-How many of your greatest memories involve good food and good friends where you lose track of time? We had the opportunity this week to share a small meal together on Thursday! And one of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten is if you need to have a difficult conversation with someone, do it over food because it’s really hard to stay angry with someone when you’re eating!

-What’s the last good memory the disciples had with Jesus? The last supper. Do you think maybe Jesus is redeeming their memories and helping them move to belief and joy?

-We see the same response many of us have to the news of Jesus’ resurrection: disbelieving for joy, or surely this is too good to be true. You’re right, it is. But this is just a tiny picture of how good things could actually be! The story is just starting

  • Proclaim (44-49)

-After dinner, Jesus goes back to remind them of everything He’d been saying up until His death, but they hadn’t been able to understand it yet. They’re basically like teenagers who are at that stage where their parents don’t understand ANYTHING, but Jesus is helping them get to the point where they can understand and comprehend what He was saying (like your 20s when you start to realize that maybe your parents know a little more than you gave them credit for)

-But it wasn’t just Jesus who was saying these things, they were written about in the Law of Moses, Prophets, Psalms – summary of the OT

-“Opened their minds” doesn’t mean they’re dumb, but now they can see and understand everything Jesus had been saying. Think of reading a mystery (Sherlock Holmes), you miss all these clues at the beginning but then when you see the whole picture, it all makes sense.

-St. Anselm (11th Cent. Theologian) “faith seeking understanding” Faith isn’t different from understanding, nor is understanding meant to be independent from faith, they work together and center on the risen Jesus. Also said “I believe in order to understand.” Jesus is helping the disciples learn how to interpret everything around them. Since God’s Word is true, everything it says can be believed, and will help us to make sense of the world we find ourselves living.

-Then, in order to emphasize exactly what He means, Jesus says (46ff.) There are 3 words that are emphasized in what Jesus says (how we bold or underline today) suffer, rise, proclaim. That’s a great summary of the gospel, isn’t it? Jesus was prophesied about that He would need to suffer, then rise from the dead, and that message of good news needs to be proclaimed worldwide! 

-This becomes the gospel message that disciples share as soon as the resurrection takes place. Peter’s first sermon centers on this 3-fold idea! And it’s the same message that we should be proclaiming every chance we get today. Just like the disciples are eyewitnesses to these events, we have a transformed life that we can proclaim to others about how God transforms us.

-Jesus then says He will send the promise of His Father.

-Think of the change these disciples experienced. Let’s just take Peter, who is too embarrassed about being outted during Jesus’ trial that he backs down to a little girl. Weeks later, he stands up in front of thousands and preaches this exact message!  (suffer, rise, repent)

-Do you want reason to believe? Even a Jewish theologian believes the resurrection happened! This ragtag group of disciples overnight go from hiding behind a locked door, to screaming in the middle of Jerusalem that Jesus was resurrected. They go from disbelieving to try to hold on to what little joy they had, to being the most joy filled people on the face of the earth.

-After Peter has proclaimed the peace that come through Jesus in Acts 2, the crowd asks him how they should respond. Do you know what He says? “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That’s part of the paradox of Christianity: all you need to is repent and believe. When you do that it leads to:

-And here’s the crazy thing: guess where Luke’s account ends: with the disciples worshipping Jesus, and being full of “great joy.” 

-How does Easter change your expectations, or maybe I should ask DOES Easter change your expectations? What we should be marked by is joy! Jesus is alive! What can this world do to me!? We have something to look forward to forever: life in perfect union between God and us! Therefore, we will rejoice always!

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