Lesson 7: Holy Week

Soar we now where Christ has led; following our exalted Head. Made like him, like him we rise; ours the cross, the grave, the skies! Alleluia!

– Charles Wesley

Devotion: Read Luke 24:13-49. There are other post-resurrection accounts (Mt 28:11-20, Jn 20:19-21:25), but Luke’s story of two disciples walking to Emmaus speaks volumes. The risen Savior is present with the travelers, but they cannot recognize him. Perhaps this indicates how different Jesus’ resurrection body is from his incarnational body. Like Mary’s mistaking Jesus for the gardener in her grief (Jn 20:15-16), these disciples only awaken to his presence when Jesus breaks bread. Both speaking Mary’s name and the actions of Holy Communion (“he took…blessed….broke…and gave”) are intimate actions that cause eyes to open and recognize Jesus. Another aspect of awakening takes place when Jesus explains scripture. It is only after resurrection that we can fully understand Moses and the Prophets. Resurrection gives us a new lens through which to view scripture, Jesus, crucifixion, death, and our own lives. Jesus’ Spirit is present with you now. When we pray or participate in the sacraments, our eyes can be opened to that grace-filled presence.

Personal Worship Option: Read John 20:19-29. Jesus desires his followers to have peace. We receive that gift when we reconcile God. Be alert, open for the movement of the Spirit as you pay for peace.

Dig A Little Deeper:

Read Matthew 28:11-20 and John 20:19-21:25. Notice that Matthew shortens the story and skips ahead to the ascension. Mark ends abruptly with no post resurrection appearances—the three alternative endings are added later by Christians who felt it incomplete. John offers significant information. We learn less about Jesus in these passages than we do the disciples. What do these stories teach us about the leaders of the early Church?

24:13 This story occurs on resurrection day. Luke is offering a condensed version of Jesus post resurrection appearances, including an overview of his ascension (24:50-53) which also seems to occur on this same day. Luke offers a slightly more extended version of Jesus’ forty days with the disciples in Acts 1:1-11.

24:16 “Their eyes were kept from recognizing him” might indicate some form of divine blinding or the opposite, that eyes must be opened to recognize the risen Jesus.

24:19 Their words show what Jesus’ followers believe about his death prior to the resurrection: Jesus was a prophet who they had hoped would lead Israel out of Roman oppression, but he was killed by priests and rulers.

24:23 They believe the women’s account of resurrection is a vision. Their encounter with Jesus is a testimony for those in the early Church who believe Jesus came only in visions rather than a risen body (“Docetism”).

24:25 According to Jesus, the Hebrew Bible points to a suffering and glorified Messiah. When Christians ignore the Jewish Scriptures, we do a disservice to his words. We should pray for God to reveal deeper meanings to us when we read scripture until our hearts burn as well (24:35).

24:28 This story is a metaphor for God’s presence in our life. God is present with us on our journey and give us insights which awaken hungers within us. However, if we do not respond favorably to the impulse within us to invite God to stay, we are left with insight but not transformation. Have you asked God to stay with you and guide you on your spiritual journey? Or have you been satisfied with learning a few new things about scripture?

24:31 Jesus once again displays both a fully physical body and fully spiritual abilities. He represents what a fulfilled, glorified humanity will become in resurrection.

24:34 Compare this passage with 1 Corinthians 15:3-5.

24:35 The Church teaches we too can recognize the risen Jesus in the breaking of the bread of Holy Communion. If this is true, how should we approach that shared meal?

24:36 “Peace be with you” is both the resurrected Christ’s desire for all—because real peace is only found in right relationship with God—and his immediate desire for the frightened disciples.

24:37 Here is another opportunity to address the false idea of Jesus as vision or ghost. They are invited to touch him, and he eats a piece of fish. A ghost or vision can do neither.

24:45 As with the two walking to Emmaus, Jesus teaches the disciples how to understand the now fulfilled Jewish Scriptures.

24:48 The role and job description of the Church is given: we are witnesses to the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

24:48 These words foreshadow the story which Luke will tell in the second volume of his writings, the book of Acts (Lk 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-5).

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