by John F. Klem
The departure of Christ from this earthly life back to Heaven as recorded in Luke 24 has much to offer us in our Advent meditations. Although Advent focuses more on Jesus’ arrival, His resurrection, pre-ascension conversations with the disciples, and ascension itself enrich our understanding of His incarnation. We have the benefit of reading the story of Advent in light of the outcome. Luke 24 captures for us the raw emotion, the confusion, and the lack of faith evident in the disciples and people of the day living through these events.
The account opens with the visit of the women (24:1–12) to the grave site. They came prepared with spices to complete the burial of Christ only to discover the stone rolled away and His body gone. As they sort through the perplexity of this, they are greeted (and frightened) by two men in dazzling apparel. The men’s response to the women is a theme that Luke develops throughout chapter 24. It is this theme that serves to enrich our appreciation for Christ’s incarnation. The men (24:7) and Christ Himself (24:26, 46) emphasize the necessity of Christ to suffer, to be delivered into the hands of sinful men, to rise from the grave, and then to ascend into Glory.
A Messiah Who suffers and is then glorified was not an easy concept to fully grasp. This is evident in the second movement of Luke 24, which recounts the appearance of Christ to the two men on the road to Emmaus (24:13–27). As Cleopas and his friend recount the news of the day related to Christ, they can’t figure it out. When Christ greets them, they are kept from recognizing Him. After He listens to their rationalizations, hears their astonishment, and discerns their lack of faith, He rebukes them as only the Messiah could (24:25, 26). He then holds a class and interprets the Scriptures for them in light of His promised coming (24:27). His amazing course covers Moses and all the prophets.
In the final portion of Luke 24, Dr. Luke recounts how Christ more fully disclosed Himself to His disciples. Luke shows us how the characters in the chapter are sovereignly enlightened. Eyes are restrained in 24:16, eyes are opened in 24:31, and understanding is opened and comprehension of the Scripture is granted in 24:45. In this process, Christ is speaking peace, quieting troubled hearts, and turning doubts into faith (24:36–43).
Once again, and most importantly, Christ solidifies their understanding of the Scriptures in a thematic way. He is the organizing theme of all that is written. He is the One Who brings to fulfillment all that is contained in the Law, Prophets, and Psalms. These designations identify all the content in our English Bibles from Genesis to Malachi. Christ then rehearses the gospel with them and commissions them as proclaimers of it with the enablement of the Holy Spirit (24:44–49).
I do trust that our hearts will burn within as did with the disciples (24:32) when Christ opened up the Scriptures to them. Luke 24 is an Advent meditation because it organizes all the pieces of the story for us.
John F. Klem is director of Regular Baptist Press.
Regular Baptist Press is committed to providing educational resources that point people of all ages to Christ not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. RBP offers a wide range of curriculum, VBS programs, Bible studies, books, and training seminars that are Biblically sound, cover the entirety of Scripture, and designed for spiritual growth.
- Read the entire series of Advent meditations.