photo 17Luke 24 verses 2 & 3. “They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

The woman who accompanied Jesus brought spices with which to embalm his body. They were evidently not expecting him to rise from the dead. When they encountered the empty tomb with the stone rolled away, they were perplexed. Presently two angels appeared and the women were overcome with fright. The angels reminded them of what Christ had told them while he was in Galilee because these women were from Galilee (23 verse 55). They reminded them of his impending death and resurrection. There in Galilee he had told them about his pending crucifixion and resurrection. Then the women remembered (verse 8).

The women then told the message to the other disciples (verses 9-11). But in those days the word of a woman was not highly valued and so the disciples dismissed the women’s message for “their words seemed to them as nonsense” (verse 11). However Peter did run to the tomb and discovered things exactly how the women described them. Peter was shocked and appears a little confused by these events. But the question is: why did it not make him think that Christ’s prophecy about his death and resurrection had come true?

For the moment think about what Luke is telling us here. Christ’s message to the world was not a vague message about God’s love to man or man’s love to God and his need to love his neighbour. Christ could have preached God’s love to man anywhere without going near Jerusalem, let alone being crucified. Nor did the apostles subsequently invent the Gospel message that Jesus died for our sins, as some liberal scholars would like us to believe. There are many books, stories and even movies that love to tell us that Paul and the others simply twisted the message of Jesus into a message of substitutionary death and coming judgement, because it suited them, but that Jesus was all about love and acceptance.

But the proof that this is not true, lies in the fact that He was already talking about these things in Galilee long before he started his journey to Jerusalem. The truth is that his disciples neither understood what he was saying, nor did they believe it. That is why the women were so startled and the disciples so dismissive of their claims. It also explains Peter’s apparent confusion in verse 12. He would preach a mighty sermon on the day of Pentecost in which 3 000 would be converted but at this stage was still confused.

We should all take heart at this. Although they were culpable for not believing Jesus, we can all identify with them in their weakness. For we are weak too, and sometimes Gospel truth takes a long time to settle into our hearts and our minds.

Don’t be discouraged and never give up.