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The Gospel Of Luke An Exposition by Charles R. Erdman

K. The Empty Tomb. Ch. 24:1-12

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came unto the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared.2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.4 And it came to pass, while they were perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel: 5 and as they were affrighted and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.10 Now they were Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James: and the other women with them told these things unto the apostles.11 And these words appeared in their sight as idle talk; and they disbelieved them.12 But Peter arose, and ran unto the tomb; and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths by themselves; and he departed to his home, wondering at that which was come to pass.

After seeing where Jesus was buried the women who had followed him from Galilee and had ministered to him, began preparing spices and ointments with which to embalm his body. However, as the day drew to its close, because this Friday evening was the beginning of a Jewish Sabbath, they rested from their labor of love until Sunday, |the first day of the week,| and then |at early dawn| they came to the tomb, but were astonished to find that the body of Jesus was gone.

There are several explanations of this empty tomb, but only one which is credible and which accords with the facts. Some persons profess to believe that Jesus did not die, that he only swooned upon the cross, that he regained consciousness after being laid in the tomb, that he escaped and then appeared to his disciples; but Jesus had declared that he was to die and was to rise again on the third day, and he afterwards made his disciples believe that such an experience had been his; this theory, therefore, cannot be held without denying the honesty and morality of our Lord.

A second theory maintains that |his disciples came by night, and stole| away his body; but these disciples continually declared that he rose from the dead on the third day; according to this theory, then, these disciples were impostors; but this can be believed by no one familiar with their subsequent lives and influence.

It is as impossible to believe the third theory namely, that the enemies of Jesus stole his body, for had that body been in their possession, how gladly they would have produced it and thus forever have silenced the disciples who declared that Jesus was alive and that his resurrection proved these enemies had put to death an innocent Man, their divine Messiah.

The only true explanation of this empty tomb is that given to the wondering women by two angels: |Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee.| This startling statement of the angels embodies the substance of the message delivered by the apostles. The truth it declares forms the corner stone of Christian faith. The resurrection of our Lord is vitally connected with all the realities which relate to his person and work and to the life of his followers.

When, however, the fact of the resurrection had been reported to the apostles, they regarded the words of the women |as idle talk, and they disbelieved them.| This incredulity on the part of the apostles shows the absolute absurdity of another theory advanced by those who deny the resurrection of our Lord, namely, the theory that his followers so eagerly expected him to rise from the dead that their fevered brains finally imagined that he had so risen and they testified to what was only a product of their own fancy. In reality the disciples did not expect Jesus to rise, and, as here recorded, when the truth was reported to them, they refused to accept it until proof upon proof had been given them and doubt and unbelief became absolutely impossible. They were prepared, however, for further proofs by the fact that the tomb in which the body was laid had been found empty. There is even more weighty evidence of the resurrection; but those who deny this supremely important event must give first some rational account of this empty tomb.

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