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March 31, 2021 4:00 am
When you're investigating something you have to pay particular attention to the details. Proving the case requires firm evidence and a closer look at all the people involved. So how did the women in Luke chapter 24 serve not only as witnesses of Jesus resurrection but proof that he indeed rose from the dead. Today on Truth for Life. Alastair Meg shines a light on these main characters from that first Easter morning I invite you to turn again to the portion of Scripture that was read fries just a moment or two ago and when you have turned to that.
I'm going to read again part of that material and a little more from Luke chapter 23 at reading from the new English Bible.
Once you find the portion at Luke 24. Listen as I read these verses from the 49 farce Luke chapter 23. His friends had all been standing at a distance.
The women who had accompanied him from Galilee, stood with them and watched it all.
Now there was a man called Joseph a member of the Council a good upright man who had dissented from their policy and the action they had taken. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and he was one who look forward to the kingdom of God. This man now approached Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus taking it down from the cross. He wrapped it in a linen sheet and laid it in a tomb cut out of the rock, in which no one had been laid before it was Friday.
The Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had accompanied him from Galilee followed. They took note of the tomb and observed how his body was laid and they went home and prepared spices and perfumes and on the Sabbath.
He rested in obedience to the commandment, but on the Sunday morning very early they came to the tomb bringing the spices they had prepared finding that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb and went inside. But the body was not to be found while they stood utterly at a loss.
All of a sudden, two men in dazzling garments were at their site, they were terrified and stood with eyes cast down the men said why search among the dead. For one who lives remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee about the Son of Man. They must be given up into the power of sinful man and be crucified, and must rise again on the third day, then there he called his words and returning from the tomb.
They reported all this to the 11 and all the others. The women were Mary of Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James, and they with the other women told the apostles, but the story appeared to them to be nonsense and they would not believe when Luke introduces his gospel in the opening verses of chapter 1. He is very careful to distinguish his objective. He articulates them as being threefold. Actually, first of all, he tells us that his gospel is the work of careful investigation that there's nothing haphazard about it, that it is not conjecture that he is reporting that which he himself has carefully investigated. Secondly, on the basis of that he has provided for his readers what he refers to as an orderly account.
If you read through the gospel. He believes and with accuracy.
He reports that there is a sequence and a cohesion to the gospel that will reward the careful reader and the reason that he has done both of these namely carefully investigate and then provide an orderly accountant is so that his readers may then in turn, know the certainty of the things that he's been teaching. They may know that, as John says elsewhere at what they're dealing with is historical information. The things that the apostles had seen with their own eyes had with their own ears and in many cases had actually handled and had touched.
Now I remind you of that. Because we're dealing now.
Not with the first chapter, but with the last chapter, and in this last chapter of his gospel. All of this careful investigation and orderly accounting in order that there may be the sound in certain basis for faith is brought to bear upon this matter of the resurrection, and here we have in this chapter. Luke's record of these things we read part of it and you can read ahead if you want to prepare for subsequent studies, but on first reading is not difficult for us to see why some are tempted to dismiss this record as being nothing more than a bunch of old wives tales is not uncommon for people to say, well of course I'm interested in Jesus in the sermon on the Mount, and I like the idea of the golden rule, but when it comes to the issues of, for example, the resurrection is not just a mythology isn't that just a fabrication.
Surely it just old wives tales. Now those who say that of course are simply following on the example or the pattern of the apostles themselves and if you were listening carefully. You saw that Luke tells us in verse 11 that the women, despite their reporting of the events as they found them were not believed by the man. Indeed, their words seemed to them like nonsense is one reason why people would dismiss the resurrection account after all just a bunch of women talking about something they had apparently seen. Secondly, people say well I couldn't possibly accept the gospel records because there are so many differences between the various Gospels. Matthew says one thing Mark says another. Luke says another. And John says something else entirely. As a general rule of thumb in this of course is that the discrepancies such as are articulated and there is no doubt that there are discrepancies that these discrepancies are not of the substance of the faith, but they are the kind of discrepancies that you get between the plain dealer in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and so on. Each reporting eyewitness accounts of that to which they have sent their reporters and indeed for those of you are unsettled by your friends. Making such an assertion the obvious and straightforward rebuttal of their notion is that the very disagreements between the Gospels that was there one person. There are two did one speaker both did the women get they are or where they coming from there and so on.
Not only is it possible to harmonize these things, but these very incongruities speak to the credible nature of the gospel materials. These are the things that convince the reader that what they have in front of them is not some kind of dramatize Asian of the religious convictions of the early church written after a period of time elapsed, but rather when we read these little events we have deep sentence that what we have in front of us is nothing other than an eyewitness accounts. We don't have some kind of carefully crafted deceitfulness and I would suppose that in these dramatic moments as much as anywhere else in the gospel records we would be expecting to find a kind of broken and trembling testimony of thing interbrand right down to the very bottom level of thinking husbands and wives driving in the car with one another will be able to testify to what I know to be true and that is that we can both observe something in the last minute, and one of us reported as X and the other reported is why.
And indeed, not only what we saw, but also what we said or is it just in my whole what I just said that to you.
Response know you didn't say that to me. You said something else to me.
I can't believe you're saying that I have only just finished saying it to know you did not say that to me. You said something else to what is that about discrepancies in the reporting of the incident that is taken place in the same cubicle in the last 60 seconds. So as no surprise when one gospel writer quotes just one of the two individuals and identifies one man he has chosen simply to identify the one man the spokesman is not relevant to them to identify the second man, the other individual lieutenants is another were two people there. Let's make sure we say there were two and the last thing that points to the incongruity of what is before us here is actually the prominence of the women themselves.
The prominence of the women themselves noticed isn't immediately obvious to is in the 21st century. But in the first century, we need to realize that women did not figure in a court of law. Their testimony was inadmissible. A Jewish man in his prayers with Vanguard in the morning that he had not been born a Gentile or woman are not follows in our ears somewhat differently 2000 years on, but those are the facts, and therefore, when you read the gospel records and you discover that it is the women who come at the head of the list that it is to the women that the risen Christ first appears that it is to these women than this is actually one of the clearest indications of the authenticity of the gospel records themselves. Now I hope as I go through this that that will become apparent to all of us and I want simply to work my way along the line of the text that is given us viewing it very much through the lens of the women will come back to it again turn the prism a little and look at it from another angle, but for now, and for this morning. Let's just begin with these women on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices of the reason I reread from the NEB was to point out to you and I hope you picked it up. The emphasis by Luke on the women he has shown his readers that the women have feature prominently in the low crucifixion narrative. Your Bible is open look in verse 27 of Luke 23 where he says a large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. I remember he said he did a careful investigation.
He put down an orderly account. He didn't adhere, including women, to be politically correct is an historic reporting verse 49. He does the same thing but all those who knew him notice again including the women who had followed him from Galilee. Verse 55. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph saw the tomb how his body was put in it and then he went home and made preparation, resting on the Sabbath day, the seventh day and getting ready for all that would follow. On the first day and year on the first day of the week. Verse one of chapter 24 we have the activities of these women. These women were first to receive the news of the resurrection.
Notice the preparation of these women they had gone home. Verse 56 and prepared spices and perfumes. They had made a commitment to one another, presumably, that they would be there very early in the morning though the phraseology here is for the crack of dawn. They were out and out of their beds and ready for this activity, it was not to be. Somehow or another in the course of the morning finally decided it would get together after meeting for coffee somewhere in the market and perhaps will go over and and and visit the graveyard know they had made their preparations. They had waited out the Sabbath day. You have the picture of them just chomping at the bit ready for the dawn to break and for them to be about their business in preparation and commitment is followed by action and Luke tells us that they went to the tomb awfully go to the tomb eyes are very customer anymore for people to make visits to graveyards in Scotland for media Sunday afternoon on a particularly bad Sunday afternoon involved a visit to the cemetery, usually to visit the grave of some ancient relic of mine who had died, 100 years before, but someone I remember that it was on this day that they had died and off we went with a bunch of daffodils to the tomb and stood there for a moment or two and put flowers there. It was actually very precious and it is a happy memory and it is an increasingly lost art and conviction anywhere. These women went to the tomb.
Why did they go to the tomb because it was a tomb that is a classic impracticality about what they're doing.
If you'll forgive me. Isn't there going to the tomb because they're going to anoint the body anoint a body that is already been dead for some considerable time you see when love is at work, men and women do unusual things when love is a workmen, women allow their hearts to rule their heads. Men and women we actually do things that are ultimately futile and it's clear that their hearts will ruling their heads because Mark tells us in Mark 16 that it was only when they were on their way there and they said to one another when we going to do about the large stone. How are we going to roll the stone away in actual fact he asked who will roll the stone away for us you see they were in need of some strong brave men some strong brave men some brave men some strong brave men who were all hiding while the strong prepared active committed devoted women went to the tomb, I noticed many times as a sign that says men at work and no one's working by the fact of the matter is, it is very often a picture of the local church. Men at work that the sign claims in the absence of men and the presence of the women versus two and three. Tell us what they thought they face and didn't and what they thought they'd find and didn't either.
The Greek is very interesting. It plays on the hard to find. They found the stone but he didn't find the body they found the stone that was rolled away, which was striking in itself. And he didn't find the body which was even more striking the opening phrase of verse four covers a multitude of perplexity, doesn't it.
While they were wondering about this while they were wondering about this. The NEB says they were utterly at a loss utterly at a loss they were at a loss for words. What at a loss for explanation. They were if you like riveted to the ground, stop dead in their tracks confronted by irrefutable evidence of the absence of a body. The stone now rolled away nothing as the anticipated finding it feeling a little silly perhaps with the spices in the perfumes in their hands that they had been preparing only hours before, and it hastened to the tomb with in the early hour of the morning and looks as in the stood there wondering about this. I'd like to know all that is wrapped up and they wondered about this when I read biographies I want to know that biographies go to get to tell me what they wondered about this a good biography. I don't want to just know they wondered I want to know what did you wonder about, of course, we don't have it here, but they must've wondered all kinds of things. Certainly there's no indication that anybody all of a sudden said all this is the resurrection is Andy to nobody stone gone must be the resurrection means was amazing from where we said, with the advantage of all the timely Pat and all the things we've read over them. It was amazing at all. The last thing that crossed their minds would've been a resurrection their hearts ruling their heads. They made the journey. Inspect the stone. The stones gone expect in the body. The body's gone.
The great expectation on the part of the Jew for the Messiah was threefold that when the Messiah rose in prominence and power. The pagans would be overthrown. The temple would be rebuilt and God's justice would be established on the air. The whole of the Old Testament record was if you like a story in search of an ending and these women along with others who had followed Christ right up to the point of his crucifixion, and indeed to his entombment would've thought in messianic terms. Along these lines, and consequently the crucifixion represented to them and obvious didn't. Certainly it can be Jesus of Nazareth is going to overturn the pagans who go to rebuild the temple is going to establish the justice of God, because after all, his career is come to a crashing halt in this Palestinian tomb albeit we don't know what's going on here with his absent body. To the extent that he had in anticipation of the resurrection it would have been very much along the lines of Martha, who, in John chapter 11 when she encounters Jesus, who is making his way to the home and she says to him in John chapter 11 verse 21. I just read it for you, Lord. Martha said to Jesus, if you been here, my brother would've died, but I know now that even God will give you whatever you ask in Jesus at your your brother will rise again and Martha answered. I know he will rise again in the resurrection of the last I know is going to be a resurrection of the last day to the extent that he had any notion of resurrection.
It was somewhere out there and on the last thing in their mind would've been that Jesus would rise so soon from the dead and would appear so dramatically to his followers are again let me remind you this is careful investigation. This is an orderly account follow the orderly account while they were wondering about this and while they were perplexed.
Here is a reason for even more perplexity suddenly and unexpectedly, the Greek is essentially out of the blue to man enclosed that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. John tells us John chapter 20 in verse 12 he says in two angels were present is actually helpful to me to have this described here by Luke with this kind of clinical analytical mind and he says there were two individuals whose clothing gleamed like lightning is the best he can do for angelic supernatural encounter that underclothing was bright enough striking enough to outclass whiteness of the tomb in which Jesus had been laid by the supernatural intervention to be no surprise are not disturbed by the tall they were here at the arrival of Jesus. He announced his birth the angels arrived, and I wonder if some who were present on that occasion in Bethlehem were dispatched now to the scene in Jerusalem and the word came okay.
I want a few of you that were down there in the fields with the shepherds to go down here to in particular, in order that you might speak to these women and they don't just stand there looking cute.
They speak the women have been frightened. They bowed down with their faces to the ground and the men don't get into that, a tall, they just asked him a very straightforward question. Why do you look for the living among the dead, while the fact is the one looking for a living person. One they were looking for a dead person. That's why they had all the stuff in their hands. Jesus was dead. It was over they were going to anoint his body close it down, folded up here. They are looking for life in all the wrong places.
William Barclay was countries are useful ultimately can resist the opportunity at this point to suggest that men and women do the same as these particular women had done that is that they go looking for Jesus in all the wrong places they go looking for them among the dead. Mr. big on Truth for Life with a message titled the resurrection teaching the Bible is at the heart of all we do here truth for this is because we know that when God's word is part of unbelievers will be converted. Believers will be established and grounded in their faith and local churches will be strengthened. That's our mission.
And it's also the mission you're supporting when you pray for and when you financially support truth from were grateful for your prayers. If you're able to support us today with the donation would like to say thank you by inviting you to request a copy of a book called the cross in four words but don't put this off today is the last day will mention this book on this program, you may be familiar with the basics of Christ's death, but the more we understand about the cost to better were able to share God's amazing grace and forgiveness with others. This is a short but thorough book that helps explain the four outcomes of Jesus redemptive work request your copy when you give by clicking on the book in the app when you call us at 888-588-7884 Bob Lapine could listen tomorrow as Alister concludes his message on the resurrection by examining a very important announcement that demands from us a response Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living