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Luke 24:1-8 – The Resurrection of Jesus

As you may know, there are four gospels in the New Testament of the Bible. These books give a unique perspective of Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection. As I was preparing for this morning’s message about the resurrection, I read through the final chapters of each of these books. Matthew shows three different responses to Jesus’ resurrection — the women at the tomb, the soldiers at the tomb, and the doubting disciples (Matt. 28). Mark shows the responses of the women who visited the tomb, Mary Magalene, two disciples on the road, and the doubting disciples (Mark 16). Luke tells about the women who visited the tomb, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to the disciples (Luke 24). John tells about Mary Magdalene’s meeting with the resurrected Jesus, Peter and John running to the empty tomb, and the doubt of Thomas until he saw the resurrected Jesus.

While each account of the resurrection is special, there was something in Luke’s account that caught my attention this time. It was the response that the women had after they heard about Jesus’ resurrection. As we read through the passage, I hope you will also notice what the Bible records and let it affect you and your response to Jesus’ resurrection. Let’s take a look at Luke 24.

  1. Spices at the tomb (Luke 24:1)

    What does it say?

    Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the ladies who had witnessed Jesus’ death came to his tomb. They and certain other women brought aromatic spices which they had prepared to anoint the dead body.

    What does it mean?

    They loved him very much.

    Why would these ladies come to the tomb when Jesus was dead? They came for the same reason that you would go to a tomb stone to remember a loved one that has passed away. They loved Jesus because they had known Him, had seen His kindness, and had believed in Him.

    They believed that Jesus was dead for good.

    Hendriksen has this to say about these women. “What they did certainly demonstrated their love and devotion, but also their lack of faith.”1 They didn’t believe that Jesus would come back to life. They had seen the awful crucifixion of Jesus. They had watched from a distance and had probably seen Him die. But they had also seen Joseph of Arimathea take the body down from the cross, wrap it in linen, and lay it in the tomb. At this point, they all were heart broken. After several days of mourning, they brought aromatic spices to put on the body as was the custom of the day. Placing spices in the tom, would have covered up the smell of the decomposing body. In other words, these women did not believe that Jesus would come back to life. He was dead and, in their minds, there was no hope of seeing Him again.

    How does it apply?

    While we might be tempted to berate the women for not believing Jesus’ promise to rise from the dead, we must first recognize their love for Him and sorrow at His death. Their loving actions toward Him are commendable. Would we have done the same if we were in their shoes?

    The question for each of us is this: Do you love the Lord? And if you do, how have you been showing it? These women showed their love for the Lord by buying aromatic spices to anoint His body. I would imagine that there was some cost to this. What have you done for the Lord this week? Have you shown your love for Him by obeying His commandments? Or have you been overly consumed by your own desires?

  2. Perplexed at the tomb (Luke 24:2-7)

    What does it say?

    When they arrived at the tomb, the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. And when they had entered the tomb, they could not find the body of Jesus. As the women were feeling perplexed about this, two angels appeared looking like men in brilliant, lightning-like clothes2 next to them. The women were afraid and kept their faces bowed toward the ground. The angels asked why they were looking for a living person among the dead. The angels announced that Jesus was not there but had risen. Then they reminded the women what Jesus had told them earlier. He had told them that the Son of Man had to be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise again on the third day.

    What does it mean?

    The women had forgotten what Jesus had said.

    From our perspective, we think it odd that the women (and later the disciples) didn’t remember what Jesus had said. In our current study of the Gospel of Mark, we have seen Jesus telling them about His coming death and resurrection on multiple occasions. But each time, they did not understand what He was saying. And after hearing it several times, they were afraid to ask Him what He meant. They should have known because Jesus had told them. But their ignorance can be understood because it was something that was beyond their comprehension.

    The women didn’t understand why Jesus had to die, be buried, and rise again.

    Along with Peter and the other disciples, these women did not understand why Jesus would have to die and rise again. Now that He was dead, they were even more perplexed. This was the great Son of God who had spoken God’s truth to them, healed many people, and done good wherever He went. Many had become convinced that Jesus would soon become king of Israel and begin His physical kingdom on earth. So why would Jesus need to die, let along rise from the dead?

    How does it apply?

    We need to understand why Jesus had to die.

    We are the reason why Jesus had to suffer, die, and rise again. Every single one of us has sinned against God and are by nature children of wrath. This means God’s wrath was directed toward us because of our sins against Him. And because of our sin, God’s justice demanded that we die and go to Hell. But… God is not only holy and just, He is also loving. And that love caused Him to create the plan for Jesus to become our substitute.

    Rom. 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

    When Jesus died on the cross, He died for sinners (including me and you). As He died, God poured out His wrath on Jesus instead of us. He took our place and paid the price for our sins once and for all. While it is easy to say we, it is actually a personal choice. You must make a choice. Will you turn from your sin and put your trust in Jesus or continue to live in sin and under God’s wrath?

    We need to understand why Jesus had to rise from the dead.

    Why did Jesus have to rise from the dead? What the Bible says about Jesus dying for our sins makes sense. But wasn’t it enough just that He died for our sins? No, Jesus had to rise from the dead for several reasons.

    First, He had to rise because it was God’s plan.

    Psalm 16:10 – “For You will not leave my soul in [the grave], nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

    In this psalm, David prophesied that God’s Holy One (speaking of Jesus) would not see corruption. This meant that Jesus’s body would not decompose in the grave like normal. His body would not decompose because He would rise. So, according to God’s plan, it was necessary for Him to come back to life.

    Second, He had to rise because He had promised that He would.

    Mark 8:34 – “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”

    Jesus Himself told His disciples that He would rise again after being killed. If He did not rise from the dead, He would be a liar and everything else He said would be suspect. So, according to Jesus’ own words, it was necessary for Him to come back to life.

    Third, Jesus promised us life after death through faith in Him.

    John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

    If Jesus did not rise from the dead, how could He keep His promise to be the resurrection and the life and raise us to life after we die? It would be impossible for a dead person to do that. So, according to Jesus’ own promise and for our own good, it was necessary for Him to come back to life.

    When you put all of these things together, you can see that Jesus had to rise from the dead to (1) fulfill God’s plan, (2) to keep His word, and (3) to raise us to life after death. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we have the future hope that we too shall rise but only if we have put our faith in Him. Have you?

  3. Remembering at the tomb (Luke 24:8)

    What does it say?

    After seeing the empty tomb and hearing the reminder from the angels, the women remembered what Jesus had said.

    What does it mean?

    They needed a jolt to remember what Jesus had said.

    Do you remember when the angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-14)? One angel surprised the shepherds at night and later a multitude of angels joined in praising God for providing the possibility of peace on earth. That incredible event got the attention of the shepherds. Is it any surprise that God used some angels to get these ladies’ attention?

    The feelings of sorrow at the death of Jesus had prevailed over their thinking. They believed that Jesus was dead and there was no hope in their minds of that changing. How could a dead person come back to life? But God who is rich in mercy sent two angels from His presence to jolt them out of their spiritual stupor. With the brilliance of God’s light still reflecting off their clothing, these angels got the attention of the women. In this way, they were used by God to remind them of what Jesus had said.

    What Jesus said was true.

    During His earthly ministry, Jesus had said many important things. But this one was one of the most important. “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” It was something that they needed to remember. He had said that He had to be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise the third day. These things had to happen. And when they remembered what Jesus had said and put it together with the stone being rolled away and the fact that the grave was empty, everything fell into place in their minds. What He had said would happen actually did happen.

    How does it apply?

    While it would be nice to have a brilliant angel giving the message today, God has chosen for us to read the Bible and respond in faith without any other miracles. The Bible says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). He wants you to believe what the Bible says. He wants you to turn from your sin and put your faith in Jesus. He wants you to believe that Jesus died and rose again.

    Some of you have already responded to the gospel message. At some point in the past, you read what the Bible said and agreed with God that you are a sinner who deserved His wrath. But you also read the Bible and saw the eternal life offered to all who believe. And when you put your faith in Jesus, God saved you from Hell and gave you a new life in Christ.

    But as I am speaking right now, it may be that you have resisted the Holy Spirit who has been tugging at your heart. You have been enjoying the temporary pleasures of sin and think that you can put it off until a later time. The only problem is that we have no guarantee of another time. The Bible says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). If God is working in your heart, you should repent of your sin and put your trust in Jesus who died for you. Will you do that today?


As we conclude the message today, I hope that you will remember what God has said. Jesus did die on the cross for each of us. But He has risen from the dead and is alive in heaven today. As you visit with family and enjoy a meal together with loved ones, please remember what we have learned today. Jesus has risen and that has made all the difference.


1 Hendriksen 1051.
2 According to Mounce, the Greek word used to describe their clothing means “to lighten, flash as lightning, Lk. 17:24; to be bright, shining, Lk. 24:4*” Their clothes must have looked as bright as lightning.


Geldenhuys, Norval, The Gospel of Luke, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983.

Hendriksen, William, Luke, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978, reprint 2004.

Lenski, R. C. H., The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel, Columbus, The Wartburg Press, 1946, reprint 1951.

Plummer, Alfred, The Gospel According to S. Luke, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1896, reprint 1975.

“Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ important?” as viewed at on 3/27/2024.

“ἀστράπτω” as viewed at on 3/30/2024.