Life After The Resurrection - Luke 24:36-53
Last week, on Easter Sunday, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus by remembering and proclaiming that He is risen, that He is alive. But now, the week after Easter perhaps the appropriate question is, what now? If we know and believe that Christ has been raised from the dead, what’s next?
As we return to Luke 24 we return to a gathering of the disciples of Jesus who are about to see and hear from the risen Lord Himself. As Jesus appears to His followers on the evening of that resurrection Sunday He teaches them and gives them instructions regarding their calling and commission in light of His resurrection and the salvation that He has accomplished.
The Appearance of the Resurrected Lord (24:36-43)
- A Sudden Appearance (vs. 36a) – As the disciples gathered on the evening of resurrection Sunday they knew that Jesus was alive, but most had not seen Him. But as they gathered Jesus appeared to them. Though the doors were locked, suddenly Jesus was in their midst.
- A Greeting of Peace (vs. 36b) - While it was very common during this time for people to offer one another a greeting of peace, this greeting is special because it comes from the One who that very morning had rose from the dead securing peace with God for all who believe. (Isaiah 53:5; Romans 5:1).\
- An Assurance of Identity (vs. 37-42) – When Jesus appeared the disciples thought He might be a spirit or ghost. But Jesus offers proof that this isn’t a dream, vision or a spiritual appearance; this is Jesus Himself in the flesh. This is important. If Jesus did not truly rise from the dead, then there is no forgiveness and there is no salvation (1 Corinthians 15).
- A Joyful Wonder (vs. 41) – Three words are used to describe the disciples’ reaction: disbelief, joy and marveling. This combination of words points to a joyful wonder – their joy and amazement made what they were seeing “beyond belief.”
The Commission of the Resurrected Lord (24:44-49)
When Jesus speaks He begins to teach His disciples both about the God’s plan of salvation and their part in seeing it go forward. God had planned and prophesied what Jesus would accomplish on the cross. Now the disciples are being sent as witnesses of all that has happened and of the salvation that has been purchased.
- The Foretelling of the Plan of Salvation (vv. 44-46) –A crucified and resurrected Messiah is not a change in the plan of God, this was the plan all along! Jesus takes time to help His disciples see how all that has taken place was foretold in the Old Testament (Luke 18:31–34; 22:3). Through this teaching Jesus is preparing them and giving them what they need to go out and to proclaim Him and the message of salvation to the world.
- The Offer of the Plan of Salvation (vv. 46-47) - Not only do the Scriptures foretell the death and resurrection of Jesus, but also that through Him all who repent and believe will receive the forgiveness of sins (Isaiah 53:5–6). This is the message the disciples were to proclaim.
- The Witnesses of the Plan of Salvation (vs. 48) – As Jesus explains God’s plan of salvation and how it has been foretold and accomplished, He also tells the disciples that they are being sent as witnesses of all that has happened and of the message of salvation (1 John 1:1–3; Acts 10:37–43).
- The Reach of the Plan of Salvation (vs. 47) – There is no limit to the commission Jesus gives. The proclamation is to start in Jerusalem and then expand to all nations (Acts 1:8; Genesis 12:1–3).
- The Power of the Plan of Salvation (vs. 49) –The call of Jesus is vast, but in addition to the call Jesus promises the Holy Spirit that will empower and embolden the disciples (Acts 1:8).
- Application: The mission that was initiated on that evening after the resurrection is the same mission that we have been given. This isn’t just a calling for a select group of Christians – this is for all of us. We have been called to proclaim the message of Jesus and the forgiveness of sins to the world (Matthew 28:19–20). This is both our calling and our privilege!
The Worship of the Resurrected Lord (24:50-53)
- The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven (vs. 50-51) - The ascension is another affirmation of who Jesus is, that He is the One whom God had promised would come. He accomplished His work and now is exalted to the right hand of the Father.
- The Worship and Joy of the Disciples (vs. 52-53) - As we think about the departure of Jesus we may expect that His disciples would be downcast or lost. But Luke records that after seeing the resurrected and exalted Jesus and recognizing what He had accomplished they worshipped Him and accepted their commission with joy.
Summary - As followers of Jesus, as those who have believed in His death and resurrection and received the forgiveness of sins, we have a calling. We have been called to be witnesses of Jesus and of the Good News of salvation. And this calling should not be considered a duty or drudgery; like the disciples we should respond and live out our calling in worship and with joy.