But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Luke 24:1-3
Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!! Of course, they didn't find the body of the Lord Jesus in the tomb. In each of the synoptic Gospels, Jesus foretells of his coming death three times with the repetition of "he will be raised on the third day." In Luke chapter 24, this third day is mentioned by "two men...in dazzling apparel" (verse 7); the two men on the road to Emmaus (verse 21); and by Jesus himself (verse 46).
Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotion this small group of Jesus' disciples must have experienced? The women, who went to the tomb to finalize the details of the burial process, were perplexed (verse 4), frightened, and humbled (verse 5). However, when reminded of Jesus' promise to "rise on the third day," and the obvious absence of His body, they faithfully relayed their experience to the disciples. The disciples found their story, so far-fetched, Scripture records their interpretation of the woman's experience as an unbelievable "idle tale." After further investigation, Peter "went home marveling" in verse 12. This Greek word is translated in the ESV as wondered, amazed, surprised, and astonished. The two men on the road to Emmaus began their encounter with Jesus in sadness (verse 17). When Jesus revealed Himself to them, they were so excited they immediately returned to Jerusalem to tell the others.
Consider the conversations taking place between this group of people when Jesus "stood among them." Just think of the range of emotions which were being expressed. Jesus knew exactly what they thought because His first words were "Peace to you!" Yet, they immediately were startled and frightened. Notice the change in their response after Jesus made it clear He was not a spirit, as they saw Him in the flesh. Verse 40 says "they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling." (This is the same Greek word used to express Peter's state of mind in verse 12.)
We should not be surprised by the disciple's response. In John 16:16-22, referring to his coming death, Jesus foretold of their forthcoming emotional roller coaster. "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy." (John 16:20) He compares their coming emotions to a woman in childbirth whose sorrow and anguish is turned to joy at the birth of her child. In verse 22, He promises "you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."
I am thankful that Scripture displays Jesus' follower's vacillation between doubt and joy. Because of their varied responses, we are blessed to have these words of Jesus: "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!" (Luke 24:25), "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?" (Luke 24:38), and "everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Thank God for the additional information Luke provided in verse 45, "Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures."
It is good for me to be reminded of the fact that everything I know and understand is because my mind has been opened to understand the Scriptures. For I too am "foolish... slow of heart to believe...troubled... and doubts arise," that everything written about Jesus "must be fulfilled."
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being patient and long-suffering for those You came to save. I believe...help my unbelief. I want my life to be lived knowing the peace You provide through the gift of Your Spirit. May all those the Father gave You be sanctified by Your Word.