Luke 24: Two forgotten witnesses

Luke 24: Two forgotten witnesses

The resurrection accounts are among the most powerful and important in all of Scripture. Without them, Christianity is nothing more than Islam, the Eastern mystic religions, or any other humanly-devised religion. The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of Christianity and what sets it apart from all other religions.

In his account of the resurrection, Luke dedicated half of the chapter to the experience of two unnamed men walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Emmaus was a village some seven miles west of Jerusalem. Little is known of the village or the men, yet Luke dedicated 23 verses to their encounter with Jesus. It is always easy to critique various events and accounts after we have the whole picture. Like many of us, they got some things wrong and some right. For example…

They didn’t properly identify Jesus (v 19). Like many of Jesus’ day, they deemed Him as nothing more than a prophet (cf Matt 16:13-14). That was certainly high praise, but it fell far short of reality (Matt 16:16; Mark 15:39).

They had the right expectation and wrong manifestation. They rightly believed Jesus was the one who would redeem Israel (v 21). But like the apostles, they had in mind the redemption of the physical nation of Israel (cf Acts 1:6).

They were astonished but unconvinced. They were with the apostles when the women declared that Jesus was risen from the dead (vv 22-23). They were witness to Peter and John’s testimony regarding the empty tomb (v 24). But they were still not willing to accept the fact that Jesus was risen from the dead.

When their eyes were opened, they were not content to keep the gospel to themselves. All the details recounted by these men were given directly to Jesus as they walked together. Being taught by Jesus concerning the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the events of the last three days (v 27), their eyes were finally opened as they ate with Jesus. Being then convinced that Jesus was risen from the dead, they returned in haste to Jerusalem to find the apostles and tell them the good news.

Finally, consider that these men were close companions of the apostles and those women closest to Jesus. They heard two resurrection/empty tomb reports and were present when Jesus presented himself alive to the twelve (v 36). They are unknown to us but were well known by the Lord and his apostles!

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