A Line-by-Line Walk Through Luke’s Resurrection Account (Luke 24:1-12)

A Line-by-Line Walk Through Luke’s Resurrection Account (Luke 24:1-12)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Saturday, April 3 and Sunday, April 4, 2021

Jesus lives and because He lives we will live again. Jesus lives and because He lives we can have true life now. Do we believe that?

Today, I want to walk through Luke’s account of the resurrection. My theme is obvious, Jesus lives.

My application: marvel at the great things God has done and be like these women, share this good news with others.

  • First, we see the anointing of the tomb (verse 1).
    • Verse 1 reads: But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.
    • This passage begins with “but.” This connects this passage with the previous section. This chapter flows from the previous chapter. In the previous chapter Jesus was crucified. In Luke 23:50-56 He is buried.
    • Jesus was buried and Luke 23:55 tells us that the women saw where Jesus was buried. This is important. They knew where the tomb was, but Luke 23:56 tells us that they rested on the sabbath because that was the commandment. They honored the sabbath as a day of rest. That bring us to Luke 24. The women are going to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. They are doing this because they could not do this on Saturday because it was the sabbath. Jesus was crucified and buried on Friday. They had to skip Saturday because it was the sabbath and now this brings us to Sunday.
    • Luke 24:9 will record who these women were. The women are heading to the tomb. These women had traveled with Jesus in Galilee, Luke 23:55 tells us this. Mark’s Gospel identifies this right now as Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome”[1]
    • John 19:39-40 tells us that Nicodemus had prepared about 75 pounds for Jesus’ body to be anointed with, but these women may not have known that.
    • They have prepared spices for Jesus’ body.
    • What are they thinking?
    • They traveled with Jesus for some time and they saw Him crucified, what was this like for them?
    • How would you be after someone that close to you has died?
    • They saw Jesus heal people, they experienced Jesus’ transformation in their lives. They listened to Jesus’ teaching, what was this like? Do you think they were filled with emotion?
    • They are going to anoint the body. The Jewish people anointed to cut down the odor, the Egyptians embalmed, Jewish people anointed.
  • Next, we see the arrival at the tomb (verses 2-3).

And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 

  • The women find an opened tomb (verse 2).
    • Luke tells the story of the empty tomb with little drama. He simply notes that when they arrived the stone had been rolled away in a position where the tomb could be entered. This large stone was often placed in a channel so that it could be easily moved by rolling it aside. The other possibility is that it was merely placed over the opening in a position from which it had now been moved.[2]
    • They did not know who would roll away the stone (Mark 16:3 records their pondering of that), but maybe they thought the soldiers would do that.
    • Think about this, they were not expecting this. Matthew 28:2-4 records a great earthquake. The stone is rolled away and the Roman guards faint.
    • I find that humorous. Two days earlier the guards are crucifying Jesus and now they are fainting because of His resurrection.
    • The women find an empty tomb (verse 3).
    • The women enter the tomb, and the tomb is empty.
    • They do not see the “Lord” Jesus in the tomb. This is the ONLY time Jesus is called “the ‘Lord’ Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. It seems to be Luke’s normal designation for the Lord after his resurrection (note the many references to Christ in this manner in Acts, e.g., 1:21; 4:33; 7:59; 8:16; 11:17; 15:11; 16:31; 19:5; 20:21; 28:31).[3]
    • Have you ever gone through a situation and it did not play out as you expected?
    • Now is a good time for me to talk about literary spotlighting.
    • Many times, we see differences in the gospel accounts. People wonder why we see certain women listed by name in one passage and in another passage they are not listed. Why are the guards listed in Matthew’s gospel but not the other gospels? Lee Strobel was interviewing one scholar who talked about a technique modeled by the historian Plutarch, it is called “literary spotlighting.” This is like a theatrical performance where there are multiple actors onstage but the lights go out and a spotlight shines on only one of them.[4]
    • I like that idea. Basically, each gospel writer is aware of the other people and details but shining the spotlight on certain people and/or details.
  • Thirdly, we see the angels beside the tomb (24:4–8)

While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, 

  • We see angels, Luke is the only Gospel that mentions two angels. Remember, literary spotlighting.
    • We see their radiance (24:4): They are arrayed in dazzling robes. Notice Luke records that the women are perplexed about this. Or, “bewildered.” The term refers to a high state of confusion and anxiety.[5]
    • They are confused, bewildered, perplexed and then two men stood by them… These men are angels. These angels appear suddenly showing them to be angels. Angels are always identified with the male pronoun, though it does seem they do not have a gender (Matthew 23:30). These angels are in dazzling apparel.  They are in brilliant shining clothes.
    • The angels give reassurance (24:5): The women bow their faces to the ground. Such respect for angels is common: Dan 7:28; 10:9, 15.[6] They realize that these men are angels. The angels comfort the frightened women. Why do you seek the living among the dead?
    • Can you imagine the women’s reaction? Can you imagine them saying, “w-w-what do you mean, ‘living’? What do you mean, we saw Him buried.”
    • The angels give a reminder (24:6–8): The women are reminded of Jesus’ words:
      • The angels remind them of Jesus’ words concerning his crucifixion (24:6–7a): He would be betrayed and crucified.
      • The angels said remember he told you when He was in Galilee. Mentioning “Galilee” looks back to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. So the point is that this was announced long ago, and should come as no surprise.[7]
      • Further, the angels remind them of Jesus’ words concerning his resurrection (24:7b–8): He would rise again on the third day.[8]
      • In verse 8 Luke tells us they remembered His words.
  • Lastly, in this section we see the account concerning the tomb (24:9–12)

and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

  • Now we see the messengers (24:10): The women involved are Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and others.
    • They return to the 11, and the rest, the disciples minus Judas. There are others gathered as well.
    • The message (24:9, 11–12): They tell the disciples what they saw.
    • Most ignore their report (24:9, 11): The story sounds like nonsense. Back then the testimony of women would not be credible. This actually verifies the Gospel of Luke as accurate. If this was not true they would not record women as the first witnesses, but it was true.
    • One investigates their report (24:12): Peter goes to the tomb to see for himself.[9] John ran with Peter, but reached the tomb first (Jn 20:4).[10] Peter sees the linen wrapping, but Jesus is not in them.
    • Peter goes home marveling at what He saw.
    • Luke 24:13-35 records Jesus visiting the disciples and opening their minds to understanding (see verse 31).
  • Applications:
    • We can have hope because He lives, we too shall live again (1 Cor. 15).
    • 1 Corinthians 15 tells us that over 500 people at the same time saw Jesus resurrected (1 Cor. 15:6). We can have hope that this story is real. This is a real story.
    • The resurrection authenticates everything else about Jesus.
    • We can trust Jesus’ teaching because death could not contain Him.
    • We can trust Jesus’ teaching because He rose as He told them He would (Luke 24:5-8).
    • We can have a relationship with Jesus because He lives.
    • We serve a risen Savior.
    • Since Jesus lives we will live again, but we also live with Him now, remember John 15, He is the Vine, we are the branches.
    • We must trust Him.
    • We must have the faith of these women who did something, they went to the tomb (Luke 24:1).
    • We must be like Peter who marveled at the awesome things of God (Luke 24:12).
      • Do we marvel at the details that God works out in our lives?
      • Do we marvel at our awesome salvation?
      • Do we marvel at answered prayers?
      • Do we worship God?
      • Do we notice all the bad things that God PREVENTS from happening? Or, do we only notice the bad things that happen? Think about how many jets do not crash every day. Think about how many cars do not crash every day. Think about how many things work. Think about the way a baby develops in the womb and marvel about our great God and Savior.  

 In the year 1899, two famous men died in America. One was an unbeliever who had made a career of debunking the Bible and arguing against the Christian doctrines. The other was a Christian. Colonel Ingersoll, after whom the famous Ingersoll lectures on immortality at Harvard University are named, was the unbeliever. His death was sudden and came as an unmitigated shock to his family. His body was kept in the home for several days because Ingersoll’s wife could not bear to part with it; and it was finally removed only because the corpse was decaying and the health of the family required it. At length the remains were cremated, and the display at the crematorium was so dismal that some of the scene was even picked up by the newspapers and communicated to the nation at large. Ingersoll had used his great intellect to deny the resurrection. When death came there was no hope, and the departure was received by his friends and family as an uncompensated tragedy.

In the same year the evangelist Dwight L. Moody died, and his death was triumphant for himself and his family. Moody had been declining for some time, and his family had taken turns being with him. On the morning of his death his son, who was standing by the bedside, heard him exclaim, “Earth is receding; heaven is opening; God is calling.” “You are dreaming, Father,” his son said. Moody answered, “No, Will, this is no dream. I have been within the gates. I have seen the children’s faces.” For a while it seemed as if Moody was reviving, but he began to slip away again. He said, “Is this death? This is not bad; there is no valley. This is bliss. This is glorious.” By this time his daughter was present, and she began to pray for his recovery. He said, “No, no, Emma, don’t pray for that. God is calling. This is my coronation day. I have been looking forward to it.” Shortly after that Moody was received into heaven. At the funeral his family and friends joined in a joyful service. They spoke and sang hymns. They heard the words proclaimed, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55–57). Moody’s death was a part of that victory.

Jesus lives, and so shall I.

Death! thy sting is gone forever!

He who deigned for me to die,

Lives, the bands of death to sever.

He shall raise me from the dust.

Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives and death is now

But my entrance into glory.

Courage, then, my soul, for thou

Hast a crown of life before thee;

Thou shalt find thy hopes were just;

Jesus is the Christian’s Trust.[11]

We have hope, Jesus lives!

We have life, Jesus lives!


[1] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2012.

[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Lk 24:2.

[3] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Lk 24:3.

[4] Strobel, Lee. The Case for Miracles (p. 199). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[5] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Lk 24:4.

[6] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Lk 24:5.

[7] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Lk 24:6.

[8] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Lk 24:4–8.

[9] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Lk 24:9–12.

[10] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Lk 24:12.

[11] James Montgomery Boice, Philippians: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 223–224.

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