Christ is risen! God the Father raised His Son from the dead so we can have everlasting life, and He sends us to share this Good News with others. Today we read about the first people God sent to share the Good News of the resurrection: the women who visited the tomb that first Easter morning. Our devotion comes from LifeLight: Luke, Part 2—Leaders Guide.
1 Corinthians 15:19–26
Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.
The shift from Luke 23:56b to 24:1 is the shift from old to new. The women are transformed as they move through the events of this first Easter morning. Having kept the Sabbath according to the Law, the women come to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body—Jesus’ dead body, for they still believed He was dead. But they find the tomb empty, the stone rolled away. They enter the tomb but do not find the body. Perplexed, they are still operating in a state of confusion. They lack understanding concerning the meaning and purpose of God in Christ’s Passion and resurrection. Suddenly, two “men” appear in dazzling clothes before them (v. 4).
The women perceive that these men are really angels. In fear, the women bow their faces to the ground. The angels ask, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (v. 5). Then the angels confirm what the women have already seen with their own eyes—the tomb is empty (v. 6). “He is not here, but has risen.” The angels’ statement about the Passion and resurrection of Jesus recalls what Jesus Himself had said while He was in Galilee (v. 7). This statement takes us back to Luke 9:22, where Jesus, during His ministry in Galilee, first predicted His Passion. Now the crucifixion is a historic fact. The sufferings and the resurrection of Jesus have been part of the divine plan of salvation foretold by Jesus in Galilee.
The women who began this day from the perspective of the Old Covenant now remember the words of the Lord about the New Covenant, about His Passion and resurrection. They are the first to witness the empty tomb and to hear of its significance—from the mouths of the holy angels! They return from the tomb transformed. The Good News has changed them forever! They report to the Eleven and all the rest “all these things” (v. 9). Thus the women become the first evangelists.
The apostles, however, have a completely different response to this news. They still consider the Passion and resurrection utter nonsense (v. 11). They do not believe the women. They still have not grasped God’s plan to provide salvation in Jesus Christ. Luke does note, however, that Peter runs to the tomb, finding there only the linen burial cloths (v. 12). With this fact, Luke sets up the later report of the Lord’s appearance to the Eleven.
Still today, many consider the Good News of the cross and open tomb utter nonsense. But for those of us who believe, it is the event that has transformed our lives. Just as the women found themselves with new, irrepressible joy and hope, so we ourselves can find joy and hope no matter how dark or discouraging our outward circumstances become. Christ has risen! The tomb is empty! The Sabbath-rest God had promised His Old Testament believers has come to us in the resurrected Christ. In Him, we rest from the curse of trying to keep the Law by our own power. We rest from the guilt of our sin. We are free. We are given new life and the hope of life everlasting. What a gift!
Devotional reading is from LifeLight: Luke, Part 2—Leaders Guide, pages 46–47 © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.
Hymn “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands: Fantasy on an Easter Hymn” © 2018 Concordia Publishing House.