Very early on Sunday morning after Jesus had died on the cross, a group of women went to properly wrap His corpse. They did not know that He had risen from the dead! Two shining angels were there to remind them that Jesus had promised to rise. Death could not hold the Savior!
The significance of this discovery did not immediately hit Jesus’ followers. The women were perplexed (v.4), the apostles did not believe it (v.11), and Peter just kind of walked around with his mind blown (v.12).
Meanwhile, two other disciples had left Jerusalem. Jesus joined them on the Emmaus Road, but prevented them from recognizing Him (v.16). They talked about the crucifixion and death of Jesus, the disappearance of His body, and the report of the women that He was alive. I wish I could have heard what Jesus shared next! As they walked, Jesus taught them all about Himself as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures, from Genesis to Malachi — what a sermon that must have been! Remember, the whole Bible is about Him. Jesus is the principal character, the hero, the subject, and the purpose of it.
As they sat down to eat, Jesus pronounced a blessing on the meal, handed them the bread, revealed His identity, and disappeared. Their excited question in verse 32 has been repeated countless times by those who come to know Jesus personally: “Did not our hearts burn within us?!” When you meet Jesus, He changes your heart. When John Wesley was saved he said that his heart was “strangely warmed.” I know the feeling, Mr. Wesley!
Imagine the joy and relief of the disciples when Jesus suddenly materialized in the room with them and they found that He was more than “a spirit” (v.37). The most moving moment in this scene is when Jesus showed them His hands and feet (v.40). Surely they saw the unmistakable nail-scars of His crucifixion, proof that He had died and come back to life.
The event described in verse 45 was extremely important. By “opening their minds to understand the Scriptures,” Jesus was equipping His disciples to preach the gospel to the nations, to plant churches, and to be vocal eyewitnesses of His ministry and passion.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave them a promise of “power from on high” (v.49). Just knowing the information of the gospel and receiving the assignment to proclaim it was not enough for them — or us. We are called to supernatural work, and that takes supernatural power. Armed with the glorious gospel and endued with divine power, the disciples were unstoppable…and we will be, too.