Luke 24:13-34 13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” 19 “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. 22 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. 23 They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! 24 Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” 25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, 29 but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. 30 As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” 33 And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, 34 who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.”
Resurrection Day has arrived! Our Savior lives! Death had no sting. Death could not hold Him. The tomb is empty. Yesterday, we celebrated Easter as a family at our home. A large portion of my family and some of my husband’s family came together for a fantastic celebration. We had way too much food, a wonderful egg hunt, and then we all sat around the living room and sang praise songs as a family. We paused the hustle and bustle long enough to read scripture. I chose the scripture above to share with my family yesterday, and today, I want to share it with you.
Most Easter devotionals speak to the moment that the empty tomb was discovered. Jesus’ body was missing. He had risen just as it was prophesied, but what about the proof? Had Jesus not appeared again after that faithful day, there would be so much doubt. I mean really, how could He be alive again after suffering such a gruesome tortuous death? His death was witnessed by many. It was confirmed. He was dead, and if the only evidence of the resurrection were the empty tomb…well, doubters gonna doubt! Thankfully, Jesus left us with no reason to doubt. Over 500 people saw the risen Savior after the resurrection before His ascension. 500 witnesses!!
I love the story of the men walking on the road to Emmaus. They were walking along talking about the phenomenal events of the previous three days including the resurrection. They were talking to Jesus, but He didn’t allow them to recognize Him until after they had broken bread with Him. Their eyes were opened, and they realized that they had been in the presence of the risen Savior. What an emotional experience that must have been.
I love the stories of the witnesses of the resurrected Savior. I love studying apologetics. I ordered a stack of A Case for Easter written by Lee Stroebel to give to my Sunday School class for Easter. Lee Stroebel is a journalist who was previously an atheist. His wife became a Christian, and he was so upset by this that he decided he would disprove the resurrection. He took a deep dive into scripture, researched it extensively, called in some experts, and guess what? He couldn’t disprove the resurrection, and now, He is a believer.
I was standing in a long line at the local Dollar Tree this week, and a young lady in line behind me was conversing with her mother. She was talking about different theories that she enjoyed studying, and she told her mother how much she loved the theory of evolution. She said that she loved evolution and talking about it because it could be substantiated. It could be proven. She then began comparing this theory to Christianity, and she explained that she couldn’t understand how people believe in all that religious stuff because it couldn’t be proven. As I listened a bit, I turned around and engaged her in a conversation. I told her that I had heard her discussion about Christianity and the inability to prove it. I recommended that she and her mom get a copy of A Case for Easter. I told her that I believed that Christianity was absolutely true, and shared with her that the death, burial, and resurrection could not be disproven although scholars had tried to do so for years. Her mom asked me again for the title of the book. A friend was a little bit ahead of me in the line. (It was a long line as I said.) She overheard our conversation and asked for more information about that book. We then got into a full blown apologetics discussion right there in the Dollar Tree line.
I pray that you believe in Christ’s resurrection. He died for you. He died for me. Our perfect, sinless, spotless Savior shed His blood for us to give us eternal life. He didn’t stay dead though. That tomb is empty! He arose just as He said He would. Just as it was prophesied. Yes, He arose. Hundreds of people saw Him after the resurrection. It can’t be denied. There is so much proof! Scripture confirms His life, death, burial, and resurrection.
May we celebrate the absolute best day of the year with complete confidence that our Savior is risen!