Player needs JavaScript turned on.

And then it got really good!


Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”                                      -Luke 24:46-47

As we have gone through Luke’s gospel, we have talked about Jesus’ miraculous virgin birth, His perfect sinless life, and how he fulfilled scores of Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.

We have seen how He loved both the down and out and the up and out as He compassionately taught, ministered and worked miracles. He showed Himself to be Lord over the physical realm, the spiritual realm, the doctrinal realm.

In the last few sermons we have seen Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial, all fulfilling O.T. prophecies and predictions He Himself had made.

And then it got really good!                    JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD!

Today we get to look at the passage in which the disciples of Jesus discover the empty tomb – empty because Jesus Chris had conquered the grave!

Even before we look at what Luke and the other gospel writers recorded, let’s take a moment to say that…

Even without the perfectly reliable New Testament accounts, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the best attested fact in ancient history!

We base everything we know about Socrates on the partially complete writings that have survived telling us what Plato and Xenophen said about Socrates.

With the life, death, resurrection, and impact of Jesus we have not just the 104 references to Christ’s resurrection written by 8 different biblical authors, we have many other ancient pagan and Jewish writers tell us about Jesus’ impact. 


Remember that all of those writers were not Christians! But they were trying to record and also analyze why the Christian faith had grown so quickly!

How had the cowardly disciples who had fled when Jesus was killed turned into courageous lion-like preachers who no longer ran away from persecution?  

The answer was that they really had seen the same Jesus who had died and was buried in a guarded tomb on a Friday alive and outside that empty tomb on Sunday! Knowing Jesus was alive turned them into bold witnesses!

He is Risen!                          He is Risen indeed!

Read Luke 24:1-12             And then it got really good!                    Let’s Pray!

In the last message we saw that multiple female disciples of Jesus had seen Joseph and Nicodemus lay Jesus’ dead body in the tomb on Friday, and had seen a large heavy stone rolled in front of the tomb and the outside guarded by Romans.  

One of the common rejections of the resurrection was the swoon theory – that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, he just fainted and revived when placed in the cool tomb. As if the Romans were not experts in killing!  

But the soldier had confirmed to Pilate that Jesus was dead before Pilate gave permission for Joseph and Arimathea to bury the body. On Friday Jesus’ dead body was laid inside a tomb that was inaccessible to these ladies.

On Sunday NO body was found in the tomb Jesus’ body had been in             V. 1-3

Some of the same ladies who had been there Friday came again early (dawn deep) on Sunday to anoint Jesus’ body for burial.

They didn’t think they would see Jesus alive – their plan was to finish anointing His dead body for burial out of respect for what He had meant to them.

In verse 10 we read that the women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them. According to Mark 15:47, he 2 Mary’s were among the women who had been there on Friday.

Mary Magdalene had been down and out – Jesus had cast seven demons out of her; Joanna was an upscale lady, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s Steward. 

According to Mark’s gospel on the way to the tomb the women wondered who would roll away the heavy stone for them. But looking up, they saw the stone had been rolled away (Mark 16:4).

Some of those who reject Jesus’ resurrection think the women went to the wrong tomb! That’s just laughable. But if they had, they would have seen somebody’s body there. And it still wouldn’t account for them later seeing Jesus alive! 

Now Luke does not tell us how the stone got rolled away, just that it was and that going into the tomb they found no body there.

Matthew lets us know that a violent earthquake had occurred, and an Angel of the Lord rolled back the stone and sat on it (Matthew 28:2). His appearance was like lightning (Matthew 28:3), which Luke describes here.

Matthew also tells us that the guards were so shaken from fear of him that they became like dead men (Matthew 28:4). Apparently with no body to guard they went back to the barracks before the women got there.

Matthew also lets us know those guards accepted a bribe from the Jewish officials to say the body had been stolen by Jesus’ disciples in the night!

Yeah, right, the same guys that were afraid of servant girls in the courtyard and nervously looked on from far away when they could have saved Jesus’ life, or at least could have tried to, are now willing to take on a Roman guard unit – NOT!

In any event, the ladies got to the tomb and it was accessible but empty –         The stone wasn’t so much rolled away to let the Lord out, but to let the eyewitnesses in!

Angels explain what has happened using Jesus’ own words                   V. 4-8

Luke lets us know there were two angels there. They came up suddenly to the women – angels can do that with their supernatural bodies!

The women did what we all would do if angels showed up out of nowhere – they fell to the ground in fear!!!

I love the announcements of angels in the Bible! Angels announced His conception and birth – now angels announce His resurrection!!!

“WHY do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!”

Among the sweetest words ever spoken!


And then the angels said…

“REMEMBER what He said to you - “The Son of Man MUST be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

At least 3 different times Jesus had said this was going to happen. As foretastes of His permanent resurrection He had raised people like Lazarus from the dead.

Sometimes people reject the permanent resurrection of Jesus by saying that in those simple days people were more gullible than now – they would more easily believe Jesus had risen from the dead.

That just doesn’t square with the honest record – everyone who first heard that Jesus was alive did not fully believe it until they saw Jesus alive! Despite what He Himself had clearly taught them!

To these ladies credit, verse 8 says they then remembered Jesus’ words!

Jesus’ disciples become the first doubters of His resurrection               V. 9-11

In verse 9 we read that the ladies RETURNED from the tomb and told these things to the eleven and to all the rest. In Mark’s gospel we read they didn’t stop to talk to anyone else on the way.

Ladies could give testimony in courts in those days, it just didn’t count as much as a mans. If the disciples had made all of this up, they would not have had the ladies get the information first and include details that make them look cowardly.

These things were included and passed on because this is how it happened.

And of course we read next that the male disciples heard what the lady disciples said and jumped for joy because they had never stopped believing that what Jesus had said about rising again would happen!

Is that how it happened?             Nope! Look at verse 11

And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.

The word for idle tales is the word leros – we get delirious from it! The word leros was used in medical language of the wild talk of the sick during delirium.

The women were excitedly communicating the most important truth ever, and the men thought they were insane.

Over the centuries some have suggested those who said they saw Jesus had a mass hallucination.

But psychiatrists tell us that hallucinations are individual experiences. One said if 500 different people had the same hallucination of seeing Jesus alive, that would be a bigger miracle than the Resurrection!

But even the women were still processing what they had seen and heard.

 “They have taken the Lord out of His tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!”                      -Mary Magdalene in John 20:2

How do we square this with the words from the angels to her that Jesus had come back to life? I think Mary’s thoughts and emotions were all over the place!

She may have been thinking: “Those guys at the tomb looked scary – maybe they just moved the body and were messing with us; Maybe Jesus is alive but they have kidnapped Him! I don’t know what to do, Peter!”

One of the common objections to the resurrection is that the body must have been stolen. But if the body was stolen by Romans or Jews they would have produced the body to shut down the key message of the early church.

And if the disciples had stolen it to have this big message to build a church on, and get famous and rich from the cover-up, they would not ALL have been willing to die the cruel deaths they did for the lie – it would not have been worth it at all!

They didn’t get rich by preaching a Crucified and Risen Lord – they got martyred!

The text is very honest with us - the first disbelievers of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ were the apostles themselves! They were not clinging to His promise of rising – they had seen Him die and believed it was over!

When you struggle to believe what Christ is going to do in the future, don’t despair, you are in good company – the early believers had their doubts to!

Thank God for what we read next.

Peter (and John) investigated the Resurrection claims and met Jesus             V. 12

BUT Peter arose and ran to the tomb! And stooping down, he saw the linen cloths (lying) by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what happened.

If you struggle to believe in the Resurrection – do what Peter did – check the evidence out for yourself.

John’s gospel lets us know that Peter and John raced to the tomb. John stopped at the mouth of the tomb, Peter ran right on in. The body wasn’t there, but the linen strips that had wrapped the body were.

Here we read that Peter marveled to himself. John 20:8 tells us that when John went in, he saw and believed. What did they believe?

Based on the evidence, they believed that the tomb was empty. They were willing to believe more. And more came quickly. And that’s when it got really good!

Peter and John went back home. But Mary Magdalene and the ladies had followed them back to the tomb and stayed.

Mary Magdalene thought she was talking to a gardener, but Jesus revealed Himself to her alive. Then to the ladies with her!

Then to the disciples on the road to Emmaus! Then to Peter! Then to 10 of the 11 disciples, with Thomas absent; A week later to them again with Thomas present!

Then to the disciples at the Sea of Galilee, when Peter was restored. Then to more than 500 disciples, perhaps as He gave the Great Commission.

Somewhere in there he appeared to his unbelieving brother James, and based on seeing Jesus alive, James finally believed. So did their brother Jude.

Some say they all just saw the ghost of Jesus, but you can’t touch a ghost, and you can’t have breakfast with a ghost! He is Risen indeed! `           

They saw Jesus alive and believed, and were bold witnesses of what they saw. They didn’t take a leap of faith, they acted on what they knew to be true!

Some dismiss the resurrection by saying it was just the disciples version of the myths of dying and rising gods many religions have. Bill Maher suggested that in his documentary “Religulous.”

But we have seen the gospel records don’t read like those embellished myths but as painfully honest eyewitness accounts.

Gary Habermas has also shown archaeological evidence that even though stories of figures like Isis predate Jesus, stories of them rising from the dead aren’t added to their overall stories until after Jesus was here!

The other religions understood they could not compete with an empty grave and a Risen Savior!

Do you remember what Jesus told Thomas, “You have believed because you saw – blessed are those who believe without seeing!”

He is speaking about you and me 2,000 years later. It’s still not a leap of faith, even though we don’t get to physically see Jesus. Hebrews tells us faith is the evidence of things not seen.

All the evidence is here in the most reliable book in World History.

Jesus is still changing lives today as people turn to Him in faith, basing their lives on the evidence that demands a verdict!

Won’t you let Him change you as well?!

Be like Peter, and go investigate the evidence!

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.         -Romans 10:9

Sinner’s Prayer!