June 28, 2010 David Balzer

Luke 24:1-53: Right Clues, Wrong Conclusion

Have you ever been given the RIGHT CLUES, but jumped to the WRONG CONCLUSION?

A man was travelling to his holiday house in the country. It’s a long and winding road. But he knows it well. He goes there every weekend. He knows every bend. Every tree.

And so as he drives there this weekend, he gets the shock of his life when around the bend up ahead of him comes a Porsche, sliding sideways on the road. The driver struggling to get control. Fishtails to the left and to the right. And he’s thinking THIS IS GOING TO BE THE END OF ME. Because the Porsche seems to be heading right for him on the wrong side of the road.

As he hits the brakes the driver of the Porsche veers back to the right side of the road in the nick of time. It’s a convertible. He sees the driver is a beautiful woman with flowing black hair. And as she sweeps past she yells at him at the top of her voice, PIG! PIG!

He’s been given all the right clues. What conclusion does he come to?

Now that’s not fair, he says to himself. Of all the nerve. Here she is on MY ROAD, here she is careening all over the place, here she is nearly wiping me out and she’s got the hide to call ME a PIG?

At which point he sweeps around the bend … and smashes full speed into the PIG that’s standing in the middle of the road.

Now there’s an example of someone who had the right CLUES. But needed to see things in a new way. And come to a new conclusion.

Right CLUES. Wrong CONCLUSIONS.

As it was with the disciples of Jesus on the first Easter Sunday. They had all the information they needed/ to draw the right conclusion. But they didn’t. In fact, they come out looking pretty ORDINARY, don’t they?

With the benefit of hindsight, we wonder how they could have been so FOOLISH. Missed the signs so COMPLETELY. And yet, my guess is we wouldn’t have been any different!

Because it JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN that people rise from the . That was THEIR experience. And it’s OURS, TOO.

I’m sure most of YOU have been to a funeral. When someone DIES. And you put them in the ground. And the coffin’s covered. THAT’S WHERE THEY STAY.

And so it’s going to take some pretty extraordinary EVIDENCE to change those CONCLUSIONS.

But that’s what we’ll see. So let’s look at the evidence that first Easter morning.

1. The women at the tomb.

It starts with the women at the tomb. Very early in the morning. They head off with spices to anoint the body. Only just enough light to see.

They’re expecting a body. But look at the first clue they discover. Completely out of the blue. V2.

(Luke 24:2 NIV)  They found the stone ROLLED AWAY from the tomb,

THEY would’ve had to move it TOO. But someone had beaten them to it.

But that’s not all. Clue number 2. There was NO BODY to anoint. That’s V3.

But that’s not all. There’s still MORE information. V4. Two angels suddenly appear. And they remind them of PREVIOUS clues. Evidence they should have remembered. The end of v5.

(Luke 24:5-8 NIV)  …”Why do you look for THE LIVING among the ? {6} He is not here; he has risen! Remember how HE TOLD YOU, while he was still with you in Galilee: {7} ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and ON THE THIRD DAY BE RAISED AGAIN.'” {8} Then they remembered his words.

Jesus had TOLD them straight. PLENTY of times. “This is what will happen. So get ready.”

Like back in Ch 9:22;

(Luke 9:22 NIV) “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Or again in 9.44;

(Luke 9:44 NIV)  “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.”

Or finally in 18:31-33.

(Luke 18:31-33 NIV)  Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. {32} He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. {33} On the third day he will rise again.”

Sounds plain enough, doesn’t it? But DID they come to the right conclusion? No! In the very next verse. 18.34

(Luke 18:34 NIV)  The disciples DID NOT UNDERSTAND any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

Like the woman yelling PIG, PIG, and the man thinking he was being INSULTED rather than WARNED. The meaning was hidden. Right clues, wrong conclusion.

2. The Apostles

And things didn’t seem to get any clearer AFTER Jesus’ resurrection. (Back over in Ch 24). Because, in v9, the women return from the tomb, and tell THE APOSTLES what’s happened.

And look at their response. V11.

(Luke 24:11 NIV)  But they did not believe the women, because their words SEEMED TO THEM LIKE NONSENSE.

Even Peter, who goes off to check it out for himself, ends up none-the-wiser. “He went away WONDERING to himself what had happened”.

So it’s not just the WOMEN who get the clues/ but jump to the wrong conclusion. The APOSTLES do it TOO.

3. The Emmaus Disciples

But there’s ANOTHER group who get it wrong. The 2 Emmaus disciples.

It’s some time Sunday. Less than forty-eight hours after Jesus’ . They’re heart-broken. Defeated. Deflated. They’d thought he was the one. But he wasn’t. And so they’re travelling to Emmaus. Probably going home.

But they’re not alone. They’ve got a travelling companion. V15

(Luke 24:15-16 NIV)  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; {16} but they were kept from recognizing him.

And Jesus asks them what they’re discussing.

They stop. Right in the middle of the road. Incredulous. V18.

(Luke 24:18-24 NIV)  One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” {19} “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

And they go on to outline ALL THE CLUES.

“He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. {20} The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to , and they crucified him; {21} but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. {22} In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning {23} but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. {24} Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

All the data at their fingertips. But they’ve jumped to the wrong conclusion. And Jesus calls them FOOLS. And so he goes through all the evidence with them again – beginning with Moses – and lays it all out.

It makes all the difference to the story when you know how the story FINISHES. There are two movies I can think of/ which are COMPLETELY different the SECOND time you watch them.

One is “The Sixth Sense”, and the other is “A Beautiful Mind”. And without giving away the plot. In both movies the final scene completely undermines everything you’ve thought about what’s happened before it. And reinterprets it. Puts it in a whole new context which changes EVERYTHING.

And it’s the same with the and resurrection of Jesus and the Old Testament. It’s THAT ACT which makes sense of all the whole Bible. All the prophecy. How a perfect SACRIFICE would be provided. A Passover lamb. A perfect TEMPLE.

A suffering servant AND a victorious king. A prophet like Moses. A good shepherd like God. The source of living water.

All the promises. All the expectation. Everything takes on a new tone, and significance. And you’ll never read your Bible the same way again.

What a lesson THAT of hours would have been! I’d love to have been walking with them.

And finally, later that night, their eyes are opened. And v31 tells us that they RECOGNISED HIM. UNDERSTOOD. SAW THE LIGHT.

4. The Apostles Again

And so the first thing they do. Even though it’s night, is hit the road again. Back to Jerusalem. Back to the Apostles. To give THEM another chance to come to the right conclusion. Look at what they said. V34.

(Luke 24:34-35 NIV)  and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” {35} Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

MORE evidence for the Apostles.

And then, to back up their declaration, Jesus appears. Suddenly. In the middle of a locked room.

Surely, NOW it will all click. … Wrong again. Look at v36.

(Luke 24:36-46 NIV)  While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” {37} They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw A GHOST. {38} He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? {39} Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” {40} When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

But even THIS doesn’t convince SOME of them. So Jesus tries ONE MORE clue.

{41} And while they STILL did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to EAT?” {42} They gave him a piece of broiled fish, {43} and he took it and ate it in their presence.

Ghosts don’t eat food!

And then he points them “BACK TO THE EVIDENCE”. The clues they’d missed. Like Horatio Caine from CSI Miami.

{44} He said to them, “This is what I TOLD you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” {45} Then he OPENED THEIR MINDS so they could understand the Scriptures.

Putting the pieces together.

But he doesn’t stop with THE PAST. Because his resurrection wasn’t about the past, but about THE FUTURE. He’s got a JOB for the Apostles. V47.

(Luke 24:47-49 NIV)  and REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. {48} You are WITNESSES of these things.

The great news of Easter is that God’s FORGIVENESS is available. And all we need to do is REPENT.

Jesus’ pays for the price for our rebellion. And so we can be God’s friends. And that’s the life we were DESIGNED to lead.

That’s the message Jesus gives the Apostles to proclaim. And they do it pretty well. Because it’s lasted for 20 centuries. And made it all the way to Australia.

5. People Today

Which brings me to YOU.

You know, there are people today just like those disciples. People who’ve been given all the right clues. But jump to the wrong conclusion about Jesus.

People make all sorts of wrong assumptions about Jesus.

A fairy tale.

An irrelevance.

A good teacher.

A moral example.

A defeated rebel leader.

Someone who preached LOVE, but not hell and judgment.

All sorts of wrong assumptions

But the greatest and most important one/ was the one the disciples made. That Jesus didn’t really rise from the .

It’s the most CRUCIAL one. The whole Christian faith hinges on it.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:17, says

(1 Cor 15:17-19 NIV)  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. {18} Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. {19} If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

If you’re looking at the evidence, then THIS is the crucial piece. The one you HAVE TO make your mind up about.

If Jesus DIDN’T rise from the . The whole Christian faith is a LIE. And there’s no hope beyond . And Jesus was just another religious teacher. Like hundreds of others. And we’re wasting our time here this morning. We’ve got NOTHING to celebrate. And we’d be better off sleeping in, or eating Easter eggs. Or going out for a picnic.

But if he DID, then you must come to the right conclusions. Not wrong ones.

If Jesus DID rise from the , then he really WAS who he SAYS he was. He DID give his life as a RANSOM. He DID come to SEEK and to SAVE the LOST. He HAS paid for sin, and defeated .

And he calls you to make A RESPONSE. And he’s earned you HONOUR. Your REPENTANCE. Your TRUST. Your LOVE. Your LIFE.

The evidence is there. What CONCLUSION will you come to?

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