The Book of Luke, The Announcement of the Resurrection to the Women - Lesson 243
24:1 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. 2And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8And they remembered his words, 9And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10It 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. 11And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. 12Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
Jesus was crucified on the day before the Sabbath and died hours before its beginning.
We are told that it was the day of preparation, the day in which Jews prepared for the coming Sabbath.
The life of an observant Jew revolved around this day, the seventh day of the week, that was set apart by God himself.
Money was set aside during the week to purchase that which was needed for the Sabbath on the day of preparation.
No journey was begun unless arrangements were first made for Sabbath lodging during the trip.
In many homes, preparations for Sabbath began on Thursday night and continued well into Friday.
Bathing on Friday afternoon in honor of the coming holy day was a must, and weekday clothes were set aside for clothes that were only used on the Sabbath.
Food to be eaten on the Sabbath was prepared before the day began.
Candles were prepared to illuminate the house and the house was cleaned thoroughly.
The table was set with the finest cloths, dishes, and cutlery in honor of the Sabbath.
All of these things were done before the Sabbath so that no work would be done on the actual day, for God had said in six days shalt thou labor but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
The Sabbath began at dusk and ended the following day at dusk.
So the women who observed the placing of the body of Christ in the tomb had little time to do anything but gain intelligence as to where and how the body was placed in the tomb.
But the Sabbath was upon them and they had to leave that place and hurry to their homes to observe the Sabbath.
But they performed the important task of being the link between Joseph and Nicodemus, the two men called to lay the body in the tomb, and the disciples who did not come to the place of burial but were able to come later only because of the womenís knowledge.
We learn from the Gospel of Mark that the women purchased sweet spices after dusk on Saturday when Sabbath had ended, with which to anoint the Lord on the following morning.
Mark 16:1, And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
Since the women had seen Jesus laid in the tomb they no doubt had observed Joseph and Nicodemus winding the body of Jesus in linen clothes mixed with spices.
We learn of this effort in John 19:39, And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jewsí preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Now why this work of Joseph and Nicodemus was not satisfactory to the women I do not know.
Nicodemus brought one hundred pounds of spices, but these good women it appears, did not think that it was enough or was adequately applied.
No doubt the work of the two men was rushed because of the on-coming Sabbath and the women perhaps wanted to do a more meticulous job after the Sabbath had passed.
I suppose as is usually the case a womanís touch was necessary.
But the bottom line here is that both parties, that of the men and that of the women, stepped up and showed the proper respect for the body of one who had died.
As in anything, burial of a loved one can get out of hand and be overly extravagant and wasteful, but the reality of life is that we do show our love for another by the care we evidence in caring for their body after death.
Joseph, Nicodemus, and the women showed their love for Christ by their care for His body when He died.
Christís burial is one which provides us an example of how careful we ought to be about these serious matters.
There was not only care shown for Christís body but there was courage shown by these men and women who were defying the pressures of the religious authorities.
They stepped out and identified themselves with this man who had been crucified with common criminals and was feared by the religious authorities.
And this is an example for us, for faith in Christ requires an identification with Christ, which includes an identification with Him in His death.
Joseph, Nicodemus, and these women identified themselves with Jesus in His death.
They parted company and separated themselves from those who determined that Jesus was worthy of death.
They, by their actions, close to stand with our Lord Jesus, and in so doing they chose to stand apart from the Jewish religious leaders and this was no easy thing.
This is what brings salvation, for men and women who would be saved from their sins are called to stand separate from a world that has rejected Jesus, and stand with Him.
These men and these women are a picture of what faith requires by those who would be saved.
They did indeed have faith but their faith was not complete as we find out on this first resurrection morning.
There are angels to meet who will wonder what they are doing there.
What is that in your hand?
Why do you bring spices for the anointing of the dead?
24:1 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. 2And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
Mark in 16:3, tells us that the women, before they had arrived wondered who would roll away the stone in order for them to enter the tomb.
But even though this was a concern they went anyway.
I think that God likes that spirit in his children.
It is a spirit of putting your foot in knowing that God can part the water.
But they found the tomb open and upon entering, they found that the body was gone!
God had not only provided for their entry but had also provided for interior lighting, for inside the tomb two angels appeared in very bright clothing, bright as lightening, Luke tells us.
It was evident that the body was gone, and that the grave clothes were arranged in an orderly manner.
5And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they (two angels) said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
The women were awe struck and could not look at the angelic men and bowed their faces to the ground.
It seems that whenever men or women meet angels they never do the right thing.
There is always a rebuke or a caution.
Remember the disciples who were questioned by angels as they watched Jesus who was taken up in a cloud after he was finished instructing them.
Acts 1:11, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
In other words disciples get busy about Godís work instead of gazing up into the sky.
In our passage for today we find a similar rebuke for what the women planned to do.
Why are you coming here to perform a duty which you would perform on the dead.
There are no dead here.
This is a new tomb and there is no body here.
The angels explain that Jesusí absence is because He had risen from the dead.
They also reminded the women that this was exactly as Jesus Himself had told them, while He was alive and with them, back in Galilee (verses 6-7).
The women then remembered that Jesus had told them these words.
If you ever receive rebuke from God it will be for not believing His word.
These women were rebuked for not believing Jesusí words.
They had heard him clearly on many occasions where he told them of his rising again on the third day.
If they would have believed his words in Galilee they simply would have come to the tomb without the carrying of spices, knowing that it would be empty.
They had no business there for the purpose of anointing a corpse for there was no corpse.
They meant well and we would have probably done the same but they still were in error for they all heard him tell of these events.
We heard it also when we read Luke 9:22, Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
And Luke 18:31-34, Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
And Mark 8:31, And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
And Matthew 17:22,23, And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 23And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
Remember that a few days before Mary the sister of Lazarus had anointed Jesus, in Jesus words "for the day of My burial" (John 12:7).
In saying this He indicated that she understood that He was soon to die.
So there was an understanding concerning his death but a resurrection understanding had not yet come to them.
And it is for this failure to believe that the angels gently rebuked the women.
And when this rebuke was received they remembered his words.
There was then an acceptance of what he said to them in Galilee.
How often we do what these women did.
We know what Godís word says but we do not believe it in our actions.
We rear our children in a way apart from Godís word and then when we and our children suffer because of our disobedience we see that Godís word was true all along and if we had obeyed it we and our children would not have suffered.
They may have not paid attention to his words regarding his resurrection but they were there at the tomb to honor their Lord.
And because of this little faith they were given the opportunity to remember his words.
Not everyone, including the disciples shared in this glorious moment.
So the women quickly returned home to tell the men of what they had learned but their news was not met with rejoicing for the men did not believe them.
Matthew tells us that the angels told them to hurry home and tell the disciples and when they did they met the living Christ Jesus on the way.
Matthew 28:7-9, And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
But the men did not see for themselves and they had no faith with which to believe.
11And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
They thought of these women as women who could not face reality.
Hysterical women who could not face up to the fact that Jesus was dead and gone from their presence.
It was, to them, just an irrational refusal to accept things as they were.
But they too were wrong for they remembered not His words.
They had not honored their Lord by receiving his body, they had not honored him by going to the tomb.
It was they who had evidenced a lack of faith, not the women and because of this they did not believe.
The absence of the disciples in all of these events is remarkable and is so noticeable when we contrast it with the presence of the women and Joseph and Nicodemus.
It is not that the preparing of the body was womenís work for we see Joseph and Nicodemus doing this work themselves.
They made sure the body was carried to the tomb, they had 100 pounds of spices for the job.
But the apostles were not there.
They were not ignorant of what the women planned and purposed to do.
The women had purchased and prepared the spices earlier but were forced to wait until the day after the Sabbath to go out to the tomb.
I suppose that the women may very well have asked the apostles to go out to the burial place of Jesus with them, at least to help remove the stone, which they knew to be a problem (Mark 16:3).
They went out early in the morning, leaving while it was still dark, no a very safe thing to do and they went without any man with them.
The apostles were visibly absent and thereby forfeited this great announcement of the angels and the actual meeting with their crucified Lord.
6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.