The King has died. Luke shows us what happens next. Jesus predicted his death and his resurrection and here will show us how necessary that was. Then Jesus will depart – so what will happen to his kingdom until the King comes back? How will the Kingdom grow. Luke gathers up the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection appearances to show us.
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?
Luke began by telling us he would record what had been fulfilled. Jesus tells his friends on the road that the Old Testament said that he had to suffer and then enter his glory (26), and that he had to suffer and rise on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations starting at Jerusalem. This is the message of the Old Testament. There are things fulfilled.. There are necessary events in history. This is not meaningless. The good news of Jesus is the plan and the story.
If we miss this we’ve missed the message. Which is exactly what Jesus’ friends seem to have done, until he caused their eyes to be opened to recognise him (31), their “hearts burning within” them “while he talked with” them… and opened the Scriptures do them, and “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (45).
They weren’t stupid. They knew that crucifixion was for killing people. They knew that dead people stayed dead. There wasn’t a first century naivety about them. Something world shaking would have to happen to overturn the normal course of events. And it did. Before long these friends of Jesus would be charged with turning the world upside down (Acts 17v6).
Jesus departs blessing them. A summary of everything he has been doing, bringing life to them from his Father freely.
Jesus was prophesied in Luke 1, by Zechariah, as the one who would bring the rising of the sun for those in darkness. Now, the sunrise of the gospel has to come to us in the preaching of the gospel – even to us here, and it will continue beyond us and with us to the ends of the earth. They’re told to wait but that waiting is now over, the gospel has begun its journey from Jerusalem to all nations, and has even reached us.
The Spirit has been poured out to all who ask the Father (11v13). Luke and Acts draw on the imagery of Psalm 133, the anointing oil of the Spirit poured out on the head of the High Priest drips down his beard onto his body. Jesus carries us into the presence of his Father, our names on his heart, and the Spirit sends us out to preach forgiveness of sins.