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Easter Hope from the Gospel of Luke

 
Mike McKinley | March 23, 2023

This is an extract from Luke 12-24 For You by Mike McKinley. Our God’s Word For You Series and collection of Good Book Guides work in tandem to help you uncover the deeper meaning of a Bible text, whether during your own personal Bible-study time, with a friend or spouse, or in a small group or Bible study. Browse the full collection for all of your upcoming Bible study needs.

Luke’s account of the actual resurrection is remarkably spare given its significance in the gospel message; he simply reports the words of the angels: “He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:6). 

But it seems that Luke’s goal is not so much to interpret the meaning of the resurrection for us, but rather, to establish its reality and historicity on the basis of solid, eyewitness testimony.

This Should Be No Surprise

If you are familiar with these events, it may be difficult to appreciate the degree of surprise that the women felt when they discovered the empty tomb. These women didn’t have a lifetime of Easter church services and Easter baskets and Easter eggs creating space in their brains for the resurrection, so when they showed up at the tomb, they were absolutely expecting to find Jesus still in it.

If you are familiar with these events, it may be difficult to appreciate the degree of surprise that the women felt when they discovered the empty tomb.

And yet, in truth they shouldn’t have been so surprised. The angels that greeted the women told them that they should have expected Jesus not to be among the dead because when he was still with them in Galilee, Jesus had explained that after he was betrayed and crucified, he would be raised from the dead on the third day (Luke 24:6-7; see 9:22 and 18:31-33). 

Now, reminded by the angels, they had their moment of realization and “they remembered his words” (24:8). All of the pieces finally fell into place like the tumblers in a combination lock; now they understood. The truths of the Christian faith are not unreasonable, but there are some spiritual realities that cannot be understood by logic and rationality alone. 

Promises from Jesus When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

While we are obviously not in the same situation as these women, we too will most likely face times when our lives do not make sense. In these moments, we need to remember the things that Jesus has said to us about what it will mean for us to live as his disciples:

  • We will be rejected and insulted on account of our faith—but we are also blessed (6:22-23).
  • We are children of God, enjoying his generous rewards, as we love our enemies in the way that he did, and does (6:35).
  • We are called to lose our lives for the sake of the gospel—and we will save our eternal lives in so doing (9:24).
  • Greatness is found in being “the least” (9:48).
  • God gives us the Holy Spirit (11:13).
  • Blessing is found in obedience to God’s word (11:28).
  • We have nothing to fear in death, for we are known and valued by the One who has power over our eternal destiny (12:4-7).
  • If we stand publicly for Jesus today, he will stand and affirm us as his subjects on the final day (12:8).
  • We have no need to be anxious, for all the riches of God’s kingdom have been given to us (12:32).
  • Jesus is coming back (12:40)—and we won’t miss it (17:22-24).
  • The Son of Man’s return will bring justice for his people (18:7-8).
  • Whatever you give up to follow Christ—and following Christ will mean giving much up—you will receive far more in this life, and infinitely more in the next (18:29-30).

Seeing the Big Picture

“Remember how he told you...” You can be sure that Jesus has told you everything that you need to know in order to live faithfully in your situation, in your day.

The truths of the Christian faith are not unreasonable, but there are some spiritual realities that cannot be understood by logic and rationality alone.

You and I are in a different position than the people in Luke’s narrative. We stand on the far side of the cross and resurrection; thus it is much easier for us to step back and see how those events fit in with the bigger picture of Jesus’ life and teaching. We can see how the ending of the story makes sense of all the parts that came before it and how God was faithful to keep his promises despite seemingly impossible obstacles. 

Mike McKinley

Mike McKinley is the author of Passion, Did the devil make me do it? and Church Planting is for Wimps. Since 2005 he has been pastor of Sterling Park Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. Before that, he served on the pastoral staff of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC, having received his MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary. Mike is married to Karen, and they have five children.

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