Luke 24:1-12 – An Empty Tomb

Read Luke 24:1-12

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

I love how Luke’s version of this magnificent story puts the women at the tomb. After all, the last scene closed with them preparing the burial spices and then waiting. They must have been longing for more time with their friend, Jesus, even if he was no longer alive.

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Luke 23:56 – While We Wait

Read Luke 23:56

Jesus has died. His body has been carefully laid in Joseph’s new tomb. The women know where that is, and they hurry now to prepare the burial spices. But it’s too late now since the Sabbath is about to begin. They are going to have to wait. I can just imagine how hard it was for them to wait. Even a few hours would make a big difference in the decay of a corpse. Still, their tradition would have them wait.

They didn’t know to be waiting for the resurrection. We have that knowledge, and yet we are still in a waiting pattern, aren’t we? Our wait to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning is only a short wait. But the wait we have for Jesus’ promised return is much longer. How long, we have no idea. We just need to patiently wait with faithful expectation.

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Luke 22:63-23:55 – Guilty or Not Guilty?

Read Luke 22:63-23:55

Reading about Jesus’ final hours can be an emotional encounter, especially when we put ourselves in the scene. We’ve been walking with Jesus to the cross, and today we arrive. Seeing it dramatized is also a very powerful way to remember. I’ll never forget the car ride home in silence after our family watched Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” when it first came out in theatres.

Sometimes we want to rush ahead to what happens next, but the first disciples didn’t know this was only the beginning of the miracle of all miracles. Let’s stay where we are in this moment, seeing our Savior’s sacrifice of love.

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Luke 22:7-62 – The Last Meal with Jesus

Read Luke 22:7-62
[long reading alert!]

What would you have to eat if you knew it was your last meal? How fitting that the Passover meal would be Jesus’ last meal! As we continue to journey with Jesus to the cross, today we read about Jesus’ final meal with his followers, also celebrated as the “Last Supper.” You can imagine the aromas of roasted lamb, herbs, and wine mixed with the smoke of the oil lamps lighting the space. Remembering this intimate time Jesus spent with his friends is referred to as “Maundy Thursday” in the Lutheran tradition I’ve known since childhood.

The verses that precede the ones you just read in Luke’s gospel reveal how Satan entered Judas Iscariot to be the one who works with the chief priests to plan Jesus’ arrest. We’ve already seen how those religious leaders have been obsessed with ridding themselves of Jesus. You can imagine how thrilled they were to have one of Jesus’ own followers come forward offering to help…for a price.

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Luke 21:5-38 – What the Future Holds

Read Luke 21:5-38

Our journey to the cross with Jesus continues, and today we see Jesus teaching in the Temple. The topic in this reading seems to be very timely for us today, too. But we miss the point if we think that Jesus was talking about a specific set of calamities. In every age, there have been false prophets and plenty of natural disasters. Yet Jesus wanted to include this lesson so his followers would know what to expect. Even more, he didn’t want them to be afraid.

Jesus wanted to prepare us so that we would not be led astray. Over the centuries, there have been plenty of examples of people claiming to be the Messiah or making predictions about Jesus’ return. Jesus warns us about that. “Don’t panic,” he says. All of these things will take place as Jesus said, but his words are meant to calm us not elicit fear.

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