Andy Hollifield 4-16-17
Luke 24:1-11 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. (2) And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. (3) And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. (4) And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: (5) And as they were afraid, they bowed their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? (6) He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, (7) Saying The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (8) And they remembered his words, (9) And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. (10) It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. (11) And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
Good morning and Happy Easter or to put it a little better, Happy Resurrection Day! I hope you enjoyed all the scripture. I don’t usually do so many verses and I started out to just do the first one and as I begin to read the different accounts in all four gospels, I noticed something different in Luke’s account. As you probably know, Luke was a physician by trade so I always figured that is why he is so detailed in his writing. The thing I hadn’t really paid too much attention to is the attitude of everyone that the women told the news to.
Before we get into that, I want to look for a minute or two at the overall situation. John 20:19 addresses the situation of uncertainty with the disciples. It talks about the doors being shut for fear of the Jews where the disciples were. These men were somewhat in hiding although at least two of them, Peter and John, had been in plain sight and present at the crucifixion. Now they were no doubt concerned that the Jewish religious leaders would be coming for them next. They had already crucified Jesus for claiming to be the Son of God and that was exactly what the disciples had been preaching. It was considered heresy to preach anything other than obedience to the Mosaic law. No doubt they had reason to be concerned but they had not yet remembered Jesus’s words to them when he spoke to Peter about Satan having desired to sift him but he had prayed for him that his faith fail not and when he was converted, to strengthen the brethern. He also spoke to them in Luke 22 about a change in the way they went out on ministry. Previously they had taken nothing with them but now, he had told them to take purse, and scrip, and even to take a sword and if they didn’t have one to sell their garment and buy one. Also, his instructions to John from the cross pertaining to the care of his mother, should have been an indication that he was going to be around for a long time. It certainly didn’t appear by Jesus final instructions before his arrest that he had a quick end to the ministry planned for any of them.
Now back to our scripture. I understand all the way down to verse eight. I want to look at the gamut of emotions they experienced. It is entirely understandable and even expected that with all of the events of Resurrection week from the triumphal entry on the donkey to the arrest in the garden to the mock trials and false witnesses to the crucifixion and burial itself, they had every right to be fearful and confused and even disillusioned. The disciples , afterall, had forsaken everything they knew to follow Jesus and now he was gone. How else could they be expected to be? We only question their behavior because we already know how the story ends but they didn’t. In verse 4 they are perplexed. In verse 5, they are afraid. In verses 6-8, they have to be reminded of Jesus’s words while he was in Galilee. In verse 9, these women go and tell the apostles all that they have seen and been told by the angels. Keep in mind that there were 3 women we know plus some that aren’t named but were also witnesses to the events at the tomb. Under the Mosaic law, anything had to be established in the mouth of 2 witnesses and here they had more than double that amount. Verse 11 is where it gets interesting. It says “And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.” Imagine that if you can. These women had just came and relayed a message from 2 angels that Jesus had spoken to them before his arrest. It wasn’t like they were hearing something new, they had already heard it from Jesus! Yet they didn’t believe it. Keep in mind that the apostles weren’t the only ones in the room that day. Verse 9 says they told the eleven “and to all the rest”.
I don’t know how much time passed before Peter and John ran to check it out for themselves. I wonder if Peter might have been thinking about what Jesus said he had prayed for him; “that thy faith fail not.” Later that night, 2 believers that had been on the road to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem and found the disciples and told of their encounter with Jesus and how their eyes were opened when he brake bread and prayed. The evidence was piling up. Two different accounts from two different sources. The time frame wouldn’t have allowed for any kind of corroboration or conspiracy. It was beginning to look like it just might be true. But then….it happened! Verse 36 “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” Still they didn’t believe! Look at verse 37 “But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” What in the world does it take to make people believe?
We live in the greatest country on the planet. Just an average student of history or even just someone that follows the headlines fairly often cannot help but see how God has blessed this country. He miraculously delivered and preserved our troops in the war for our independence and has repeatedly preserved us too many times to count since then. He has preserved us through terror attacks, natural disasters, political corruption, racial division, and even preserved the Union in spite of us trying to destroy our own country in the civil war. We have survived Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Libya, and Grenada, just to name a few. With all of that, still we don’t believe!
Our mission in this country since it’s founding has always been to defeat tyranny wherever it is when it in any way involves the national security of our country. The world has always counted on us for that. We have also evangelized the world both with evangelists and missionaries. I am not trying to get political in any way. But what other civilization has risen to prominence as fast as our country has and been able to maintain their status in the world, for the most part, that our country has? Do you think that is by accident?
I hesitated to include the last two paragraphs because of the shift in the subject. I kind of thought they would be better as a post of their own. They are however the perfect example of unbelief. From the earliest pilgrims that left their homeland because of religious persecution to the world leader we are today. What has God got to do to make us believe? In our own lives as individuals, what else do we have to see before we believe and accept God? We will see more on the news about some man in a robe waving a smoky scepter around or what the weather is than we will about the resurrection Of Jesus Christ who gave his life for lost humanity. No offence intended towards anyone but seriously; Jesus died for all. We take part in the celebration but we still don’t believe. What is it gonna take?
As you go about your plans today, consider what God has done in your life. The family and friends he has blessed you with. The calamities he has kept you out of and the tragedies he has given you grace to endure. When it seemed there was no hope and no escape from your desperate circumstance, then all of a sudden everything changed. Who but God can do what he done? My prayer is that you will realize that God has had his hand in your life doing what no other could do. He has sheltered and protected each of us in circumstances that we knew nothing about. Everything that has ever happened in our lives has been for our good (Romans 8:28). For those of us that already love him, he is working all things to our benefit according to his purpose for our lives. For those that haven’t met him yet, he is trying to woo you and make you want him. He uses tragedy and blessing to draw each of us to his perfect will for our lives. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). He is longsuffering way beyond what we could ever deserve. He just goes about our days just quietly guiding and protecting and loving and trying to draw us to him.
Just like the apostles and all the rest experienced on resurrection day, then came the morning. Things always look a little better in the morning. You can have a new morning in your life if you just call out to him and repent of your sins. I am not picking on no one, the bible says in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Those of us that are born again have been right where you are and had to accept Jesus just like you will. He said there is no way he will cast you out if you came to him while his Spirit draws you (John 6:37). When you accept him as your personal Savior, every morning is a new and beautiful day regardless of the circumstances you may find yourself in. you will find that he is a “very present help in time of trouble” (Psalms 46:1). What will it take for you to believe? Then came the morning. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!