What is one way this video encouraged or expanded your understanding of the Gospel of Luke?
Take some time to imagine being at the empty tomb on the day of Jesus’ resurrection. How would you feel? What would you say and do?
How does the ending of Luke’s Gospel account prepare us for his next book?
Three days after Jesus’ execution, some of his friends find his tomb empty and report that he is alive. But their announcement sounds like nonsense, and no one believes them. Meanwhile, just outside of Jerusalem, a couple of Jesus’ followers are leaving the city, traveling to a town called Emmaus. The risen Jesus catches up with them and asks what they are talking about. They don’t recognize him, so they explain who this Jesus was, a powerful prophet who they thought would save Israel but was crucified instead.
Jesus tells them this is what the Jewish Scriptures had been pointing to all along. Israel needed a king who would suffer and die as a rebel on behalf of those who actually were rebels. This king would be vindicated by his resurrection to give true life to those who would receive it. But the travelers still don’t get it. They are totally confused, and they urge Jesus to stay with them longer.
Jesus shares a meal with these travelers. He takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them just as he did the night before his death. This is the image of his broken body, his death on the cross. And when the travelers eat the bread, their eyes are opened to see Jesus. Luke’s story is all about how difficult it is for us to see Jesus for who he really is. How could God’s royal power and love be revealed through this man’s shameful execution? How could a humble man become the King of the world through weakness and self-sacrifice? It doesn’t make sense! But this is the surprising message of Luke’s Gospel, and our minds must transform to see and embrace Jesus’ upside-down Kingdom.
Read: Luke 24:1-35
To help you review today’s text and make observations, retell the story out loud in your own words. As you do, what stands out to you most?
Read Luke 22:19. What does Jesus say the broken bread represents? When he gives his disciples the bread, what does he call them to remember?
Compare Luke 22:19 with Luke 24:30-35. What do you notice? What does remembering have in common with recognizing? How does Jesus’ suffering help us to recognize who he really is and remember what he has given us?
Let’s pray for a new ability to recognize Jesus in the Scriptures and remember him in our daily lives. He’s real and he’s alive. Be encouraged to spend time talking to him.
Luke 6:20Luke 24:13-35Luke 22:19Daniel 7:13-14
The Story at This Point [00:00-01:28]
Jon: We’ve been looking at the story of Jesus as it’s told in Luke’s Gospel. It begins with the arrival of an unlikely king born in poor, humble circumstances.1
Tim: Then we saw Jesus as a teacher and prophet. He went throughout Israel calling people to a radical way of life, where enemies become friends, the poor are cared for, where people find forgiveness for their failures.2
Jon: He went from town to town, inviting people to follow him and live under God’s reign in this upside-down way.
Tim: And he did many signs and wonder. So many Israelites began to hope that he would rescue Israel from the Romans and set up a new kingdom of peace and justice, in short, that he would bring the Kingdom of God.
Jon: Now, the religious leaders of the day were also hoping for God's Kingdom. But to them, the message of Jesus was a threat.
Tim: Yeah. They had expected to gain power and prestige when this all went down. But Jesus said God’s Kingdom belongs to the poor, to the outsider, and that real power is serving others in love.
Jon: This conflict intensified when Jesus, while in Jerusalem, disrupted the temple sacrifices and called Israel’s leaders a gang of rebels.3
Tim: So they arrested Jesus, and they had him accused before the Roman authorities of being a rebel king. He was handed over for execution, even though he was innocent. Then he was taken outside the city and put to death on false charges.4
Resurrection and Encounter on the Road to Emmaus [01:28-03:23]
Jon: This brings us to the final section of the Gospel of Luke. There was a religious leader named Joseph who opposed Jesus’ execution and then requested to be given his body, so he could bury Jesus in a nearby tomb.5
Tim: And then, a couple of days later, some women who had followed Jesus came to visit that tomb. And they found it open and empty, and they encountered these mysterious figures telling them Jesus was alive from the dead! So they run away terrified. Nobody believes their report. I mean, he can’t be alive! They all saw him die.6
Jon: Now, just outside of Jerusalem, a pair of Jesus’ followers were leaving the city traveling on the road to a town called Emmaus. And they were sad and confused about everything that had happened.7
Tim: Then Jesus shows up walking alongside them, but they don’t know it’s him.
Jon: Yeah. That’s weird. Why couldn’t they recognize him?
Tim: Yeah. It’s an odd, but really significant, image for Luke. They’re blind to Jesus for some reason. So Jesus asks them, “What are you guys talking about?”
Jon: And they begin to tell him about Jesus, a powerful prophet who they expected would rescue Israel but was instead executed. Some women say he’s alive, which is crazy. It’s all too much. We’re going home.
Tim: So Jesus tries to explain that this is what the Jewish Scriptures have been pointing to all along––that Israel needed a king who would suffer and die as a rebel on behalf of those who actually are rebels. And then he would be vindicated by his resurrection, so that he could give true life to those who would receive it.
Jon: But it’s still not making sense. They are as confused as ever.
Tim: Which leads to the scene where they sit down for a meal with Jesus. He takes the bread, he blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them, just as he did at the last supper.
Jon: Yeah. This is the image of his broken body, his death on the cross.
Tim: And it’s when they take in the broken bread, that’s when their eyes are opened to see Jesus. Then he disappears, and the episode’s over.
Jesus’ Upside-Down Kingdom and Enthronement [03:23-04:55]
Jon: So this is a story about how it’s hard to see Jesus for who he really is.
Tim: Yes! This is brilliant! I mean, how could God’s royal power and love be revealed through this man’s shameful execution? How could a humble man become the king of the world through weakness and self-sacrifice? It’s very hard to see. But this is the message of the Gospel of Luke. It takes a transformation of your imagination to see it and embrace Jesus’ upside-down Kingdom.
Jon: The Gospel of Luke ends with Jesus and all of his disciples together over another meal, and everyone is freaking out about his resurrected body. He’s still a human, but way more.8
Tim: Yes. He’s passed through death and come out the other side a walking, talking piece of new creation. And then Jesus tells them that he’s going to give them the same divine power that sustained him, so they can go out and share the good news of God’s Kingdom with other people.
Jon: After this Luke tells us that Jesus was taken up into heaven, which is a cool exit and all, but why disappear up into the sky?9
Tim: So in the Old testament, the skies are the place of God’s throne––they’re above everything. So this is Luke’s way of showing that Jesus has been enthroned as the divine King of the whole world.
Jon: His followers stay in Jerusalem worshiping God and Jesus, waiting for this new power, and this is where the Gospel ends.
Tim: Now Luke is going to write about how they receive this power and take the news out into the world. And that’s what his second volume, the book of Acts, is all about.