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The Scriptorium


A timely word for us all. Luke 24.1-12

Luke 24 (1)

Pray Psalm 22.23.
You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!

Sing Psalm 22.23.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.

Read and meditate on Luke 24.1-12.

1. What did the women find when they arrived at the tomb?

2. What did the “two men” tell them? How did they respond?

Sorrow and weeping were replaced by wonder and perplexity as these faithful women tried to make sense of the empty tomb (vv. 1-4). Two “men in shining garments”—we can assume they were angels—arrived to announce the glorious Good News that Jesus is no longer among the dead; He has risen! (v. 5) Then they encouraged the women to remember that this is what He’d been saying all along (vv. 6, 7). Whereupon “they remembered His words” (v. 8).

What caused these women suddenly to remember the Word of Christ, so that they believed it and acted on it? First, that Word had been laid down in their lives numerous times. Jesus taught about His death and resurrection over and over, even though no one understood the meaning or implications of His words. Second, the women were faced with a situation they could not explain—the open and empty tomb and the absence of Jesus’ body. Everything their reason and experience had told them would be the case when they arrived at that tomb collapsed into confusion. Third, they were confronted by “men” of such holy and unusual stature that they readily heard the Word of Jesus from them, this time clearly and certainly. These angelic beings challenged the folly of their unbelief and declared the resurrection.

The women rushed to inform “the eleven and to all the rest”, who promptly refused to believe them (vv. 9-11). They would have to go through the same process the women did, and that would come soon enough.

Nevertheless, and more, it seems, out of curiosity, Peter ran to the tomb (John accompanying him, Jn. 20.3, 4), just to have a look. But they needed more, because “they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead” (Jn. 20.9). But they would learn it in short order, and from the Word of God Himself.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Lk. 24.5)

The two men in shining garments asked the quintessential question of all time. Indeed, why? Why would anyone seek anything or anyone other than the risen Savior?

Fifty-four years ago, I was sitting alone, in the balcony of a church, attending the final evening of counselor training classes to become a participant in the follow-up for those who came forward in the upcoming Billy Graham crusade. I hadn’t been sent by the chief priest or scribes to be a spy “pretending to be righteous” (Lk. 20.20); no, I had volunteered myself to this hypocrisy. As the meeting was coming to a close, the Holy Spirit of Jesus, Who really hones into the truth, said to me, “You dummy, don’t you know you’re missing life by missing Me?”

So, Why was I seeking the living among the dead? Being a hypocrite. A Christian in name only, not in lifestyle. Feeling really good about having my “fire insurance” against hell, but not daily picking up my cross to follow Jesus into His Kingdom.

Because I willingly chose not to follow the only begotten Son of God, and had been blinded by the god of this age; and I did not want to fully obey His Law, or to see truth in “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4.4). That was a commitment that involved drastic change of heart, soul, mind and strength.

However, “as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103.13, 14). And God, in His mercy and grace, changes hearts and minds, through the gift of His Son; and through kindly whispered words into an unsuspecting ear. He reminds us of Jesus’ great love and work for us:

“I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes,
to bring prisoners from the prison,
those who sit in darkness from the prison house.
I AM the LORD, that is My name;
and My glory I will not give to another,
nor My praise to carved images” (Is. 42.6-8).

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8). While we were still seeking life among dead things.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

(Isaac Watts, 1707)

Now, most thankfully and appreciatively, I remember His Words and His salvation (Lk. 24.6, 8). And will not forget the LORDwho brought me out of the land of wandering (Deut. 6.12). Never again to seek the living among the dead.

For reflection
1. How does it happen that we sometimes seek the promises of life and happiness among the dead detritus of stuff and status?

2. What can you do to make sure you always “remember His words” when you’re faced with temptations to seek the living among the dead?

3. We seek the fullness of life and the promise of joy among the living—with Jesus and those who know Him. How can we as believers encourage and help one another always to seek fullness of life among the living?

These angels from heaven bring not any new gospel, but remind the women of Christ’s words, and teach them how to apply them. We may wonder that these disciples, who believed Jesus to be the Son of God and the true Messiah, who had been so often told that he must die, and rise again, and then enter into his glory, who had seen him more than once raise the dead, yet should be so backward to believe his raising himself. But all our mistakes in religion spring from ignorance or forgetfulness of the words Christ has spoken.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 24.1-12

Pray Psalm 22.24-28.

Praise God that Jesus is alive and ruling at the Father’s right hand, and that His Holy Spirit has been poured out to embolden us as witnesses to the Good News of the Kingdom of God! Pray for the opportunities you will have today to seek and advance the rule of King Jesus.

Sing Psalm 22.24-28.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
For He has not despised the anguish of our King,
nor from Him hid His eyes, Who knew such suffering.
Let praise arise from all who love and serve the Ruler of the skies!

Then all the poor shall eat and praise with us the Lord.
Forever we His praise repeat and trust His Word.
Praise God above, all you who keep His vows and who His mercies love!

All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord;
All those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King! His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the previous studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

The Christian’s authority to live in righteousness and to proclaim the Good News of Jesus comes from God through His Word. But we must know how to handle the Word, and we must actively pursue reading and studying it. Our book, The Joy and Rejoicing of My Heart, can help improve your approach to understanding and growing from Scripture. Order your free copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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