Sunday School Lesson – “The Resurrection Message” Luke 24:1-9, 44-48; Acts 2:36

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VERSE DISCOVERY: Luke 24:1-9, 44-48; Acts 2:36 (KJV, Public Domain)

In describing Himself as the Good Shepherd to His disciples, Jesus once taught them, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:17-18). 

When Jesus stood before Pilate, he marveled that Jesus would not speak up for Himself or answer the charges of His accusers (Mark 15:3-5), or beg for His life.  And at one point during His trial, Pilate told Jesus, “Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?” (John 19:10). 

Pilate fancied himself to be in charge of the affairs that day, but Jesus quickly schooled him on his supposed power.  Jesus said, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above. . .” (John 19:11).

Before He ever faced Pilate or any of the illegal trials that took place on that night, when the band of men arrived in the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus, and Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest (Matthew 26:51), Jesus spoke these words: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:53-54; emphasis mine, more on this later).

Jesus always had the power to avoid that painful moment.  Although man was the instrument that would lead Him to the cross, none of them: not Judas Iscariot, not the chief priests and scribes, and not even Pilate, had the power to put Him on the cross.  That power remained under Jesus’ full control, and with that power at His disposal, harnessing great restraint against using any of it for His personal benefit, relief, or escape, He laid Himself down on the cross: “I lay it down of myself” (John 10:18).  He allowed the crucifixion to take place so that, “the scriptures be fulfilled” (Matthew 26:54; Philippians 2:6-8).

Thus, Jesus laid Himself down and became the sacrificial Lamb once and for all (click here for more information on that subject from previous lessons).

But this story did not end with Jesus in the tomb permanently.  Remember the words He spoke: “I have the power to lay it down, and the power to take it again” (John 10:18; emphasis mine).

Several times, Jesus foretold His resurrection (see Matthew 8:31; 9:9, 30-32; 12:40; 16:21; John 219-22).  Sometimes, Jesus used very exact and descriptive words to tell what would occur: “Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again” (Mark 10:33-34). 

The third day is here, my friends!  That moment in history that all were waiting for, even if they didn’t know they were waiting for it, has arrived.

Jesus Christ has RISEN!  And because He is risen, we have this promise that we who believe one day shall be raised also (2 Corinthians 4:14; read 1 Corinthians 15:12-26).  Because He is risen, the message for the whole world now is that we have an eternal hope (1 Corinthians 15:19-20) which is found in our true King, Christ Jesus our Lord.

 The Angels’ Resurrection Message: “He is Risen!”

Luke 24:1 “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”

The women carefully watched where and how the body of Jesus was laid (Luke 23:55).  There was no time now.  The day of preparation was here, and the Sabbath would soon be upon them (Luke 23:54; John 19:42), but they would be ready on the third day to do for Jesus’ body according to custom.

Joseph of Arimathea already carefully dislodged the body of Jesus from the cross, wrapping Him in linen, and laid Him in a new tomb (Luke 23:50-53).  Nicodemus also was with him.  He was the same one who asked Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4), and Jesus spent time teaching him of the love of God for the world (John 3:16) and of His death (John 3:14), and much more.

This Nicodemus brought his own contribution to the burial of Jesus.  He “brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight” (John 19:39).

There, in that place of a garden, where He was crucified, they laid Jesus (John 19:41-42), and the women watched, then went home, prepared, and waited for the third day.

Now, “the first day of the week,” Sunday, was here.  The third day has come and “very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre.” 

Why did they come to the sepulchre?  Because that’s where Jesus was laid.  That’s where you go to find the dead.  At the “sepulchre” is where they fully expected to find the lifeless body of Jesus and do for Him as was their custom, “bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”

As they were coming, they wondered, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” (Mark 16:3).  To get to the body of Jesus, they had to get behind the stone.  Being possibly about a ton in weight, the stone would be a hindrance to the love they wanted to bestow on the body of Christ.  These few women would not have the muscle or might to undo what took many men to put into place.

So, they wondered, and in their wondering, they kept moving, in hope, toward the place where they saw Jesus was laid.

Luke 24:2-3 “And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.  And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”

They didn’t have to wonder at the performance of such a feat for very long because heaven already responded: “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it” (Matthew 28:2).

The issue of the stone was taken care of and there would be no issues with the “keepers” either.  For, when they saw the countenance of the angel, they were overcome with “fear” and fell down like “dead men” (Matthew 28:3-4).

When the women arrived at the tomb, “they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.”  No obstacles remained before them and they easily “entered in.”

I wonder what that was like for them, to enter the tomb of Jesus.  In that day, and in that culture, they may have had the opportunity to enter tombs before.  But this was Jesus’ tomb.  Were they nervous?  Were their hearts filled with trepidation over what they were about to see?

As they stood outside, and then “entered in,” had the sorrow they felt developed a knot in their throats over what was ahead inside?  Regardless, none of those feelings would stop them from honoring the Lord’s body.

They went in for the Lord’s body, but once in, they found nobody.  Literally, they “found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”  The women didn’t understand what they saw or didn’t see, I should say.

John even tells us that poor Mary Magdalene was utterly distraught when she was faced with the reality of what occurred at the tomb.  She ran to Peter and John and said, most likely, in a hysterical fashion, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him” (20:2).

Luke 24:4-9 “And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.  And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.”

“Perplexed” about the lack of the Lord’s body, the women realized quickly they were not alone: “Behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.”  These “men” were verified to be angels when these verses are cross-referenced with the parallel accounts found in Matthew 28:2-5 and John 20:12.

Here, in Luke’s account, they were described as having “shining garments.”  The other gospels support this with their descriptions: “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow” (Matthew 28:3); “clothed in a long white garment” (Mark 16:5); and John’s version says, “two angels in white” (John 20:12).

Viewing this, “they were afraid.”  Their appearance was a frightening thing to behold (compare Matthew 28:4 and Mark 16:5).  The sight of angels often had this effect on people.

The angels then speak, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”  But that’s just it, isn’t it?  The women came to the tomb to seek the dead among the dead.  Their eyes witnessed His death and burial.  Coming to the tomb, their eyes were also planning on seeing the dead body of Jesus, but this third-day experience was already turning out to be something extraordinarily special.

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?”  That question, along with emphasis on that word “living” – could it be?  Are they saying what we’re hoping they are saying?

The message of the angels is, Jesus is ALIVE!  To be alive means there is life.  To have life means one is “living.”  This is the opposite of the death they came to see.  They came to prepare a body to stay dead in the grave.  They came to say their final goodbyes to the man in the grave.  But the Bible tells us that it was not possible for death to hold H+im (Acts 2:24).  They came with spices for the flesh, but His flesh would see no corruption (Acts 2:31) as was prophesied in Psalm 16:10.

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).

To the women, they speak, “He is not here, but is risen!”  While the women were still trying to grasp the situation and form a response to the angels’ question, the angels themselves gave the answer.  You cannot find Him here, because “He is not here.”  The place of the dead was meant to hold the dead but, “He is risen.” 

In the introduction of this lesson, I listed verses where Jesus foretold of His resurrection.  Here, the angels say to the women, “Remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”  By pointing out that He is “risen,” the angels were verifying that since everything else occurred as Jesus said it would, the resurrection portion He foretold them of, had also come to pass.

He is RISEN!  The promise of the resurrection of Christ has been fulfilled!  As He told Martha previously, “I am the resurrection, and the life. . .” (John 11:25).

Their understanding wasn’t long in coming.  “They remembered his words.”  Hearts were enlightened as the flood of memories, the flood of “his words” came back to them.  Jesus promised His disciples earlier, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:25-26).  When time is spent listening to Jesus, those words, “his words,” will come back as a source of promise, revelation, and comfort when needed the most.

To the “eleven” remaining disciples (minus Judas Iscariot), “and to all the rest,” the women delivered the message of the angels, this Good News (Romans 1:1-4).  Jesus is alive!  Jesus has risen just like He said He would!

Jesus’ Resurrection Message, pt.1: “All Things Must Be Fulfilled”

Luke 24:44-45 “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,”

Along with the testimony of the women, others had the privilege of experiencing seeing the resurrected Christ.

Two fellows, walking on the road to Emmaus, encountered the risen Lord.  They walked with Jesus and talked with Jesus without the understanding of who this was in their midst (Luke 24:13-29).

It wasn’t until they sat to eat with Jesus, did they recognize Him by the actions of His breaking the bread (Luke 24:30-31).  Within that same hour, they rose and returned to Jerusalem to tell the disciples (Luke 24:33) this Good News: “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34; see also 1 Corinthians 15:1-5; more on the Emmaus Road trip can be found in the Explore section of the PDF or by searching “Recognizing Jesus” on-site).

Then, Jesus, Himself, appears to the disciples (Luke 24:36).  After encouraging their hearts that He wasn’t a spirit (Luke 34:37-43), He delivered His own message to His disciples.

As the women were called to remember the words Jesus had spoken previously, here Jesus wants to draw His disciples’ hearts to the understanding of what He taught them “while I was yet with you.”

“All things must be fulfilled,” He said.  The word “must” is a key component here.  Like a command, it is sent out to fulfill the instruction it was given.  It had to happen!  As horrific as the cross was, it came to produce a glorious salvation, with a glorious message.  These men, who would be responsible for carrying the gospel message to the world, had to know and believe, that every step of the way, God was sovereignly in control.

The events that occurred were according to His holy timetable until they reached the point of manifestation on the cross.  Whatever God says, it will happen: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19; see also Numbers 14:35; Psalm 89:34; 110:4; Isaiah 40:8; 55:11; Hebrews 6:18).

From the time of the Fall of man, God has spoken of the Messiah who would come and free mankind from the tyranny of sin.  In Genesis 3:15, God speaks, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”  These, and many more promises like it, with many more references and prophecies about the Messiah, “were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”

So, Jesus “opened their understanding.”  Forever the teacher, Jesus does not leave them confused and frustrated with a lack of understanding.  He delves into it with them.  He spends time with them, with the Word, “that they might understand the scriptures.”

For them to become the powerhouses of being the first Church leaders, they themselves would need to be fully enlightened.  The baton was being passed.  His mission would become their mission and they needed to know all the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, how’s, and why’s.  They needed to know how prophecy became fulfilled in Christ and be readily able to teach it to others.

Jesus’ Resurrection Message, pt.2: “Repentance and Remission Should Be Preached in His Name”

Luke 24:46-48 “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.”

“It behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.”  Now, people have a chance to be free from their sins.  The story of the cross speaks of the fulfillment of everything Christ did for humanity.  Pass it on.

“That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name.”  When one is talking of “repentance” they are basically speaking of making a U-turn in life.  You are sorry for the sin and have determined to turn away from it, denouncing it, and the wrong attached to it.  Then, redirecting oneself purposely towards what is right in God’s eyes.  It is making a complete change in one’s life, actions, heart, and mind.  This is part of the message they would preach.

Another focus of their preaching would be the “remission of sins,” or forgiveness.  In Christ, God forgives: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7; along with many more verses).

All of Isaiah 53 prophesied of this Messiah by whom sins would be forgiven: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him . . . thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin. . .” (Isaiah 53:10).

They were instructed to carry this message “among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  God’s intention was always for all the families and peoples of the earth, all ethnicities, and backgrounds, be exposed to this offer of salvation (see Genesis 12:1-3).  “It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6; compare Matthew 28:18-20).

“And ye are witnesses of these things.”  As eyewitnesses by walking with Jesus for these past three years, the apostles could not only relate the words of Jesus but the experience of being with the Lord.  The truth, mixed with that experience, along with the witness of the resurrection, would cause these men to turn the world upside down in spreading the faith of Jesus Christ.  They would go forward, never turning back.  Most would lose their own lives in the process of the preaching.  But Jesus’ resurrection message was too important to keep to themselves: “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name.”  Souls were out there.  And those souls needed to hear the gospel and be saved.

Peter’s Resurrection Message: “Jesus is Lord!”

 Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

On the day of Pentecost, after being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), Peter preached a powerful message supporting the Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Testifying of Jesus of Nazareth and the “miracles and wonders and signs” He did (Acts 2:22), Peter, with all the boldness of the Holy Spirit in him, also testified against those wicked men whose hands have “crucified” the Lord (Acts 2:23).

But God would have the final say: “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24; emphasis mine).  The same one that God “raised up” is the same one who occupies the throne of David as King forever, as was prophesied from Psalm 110:1 (compare Acts 2:34-35).

Peter pointed out also that David, who wrote these particular psalms/prophecies referenced here, had long been dead.  But, before he died God gave him a promise “that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:30; emphasis mine).  This is seen in Psalm 132:11, where identical wording is used, saying, “The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.”  A promise, Peter declared, was fulfilled by Jesus (compare and read Acts 2:22-36).

The long-awaited Messiah, the true King forever, was expected to come by that covenant promise given to David (read 2 Samuel 7:1-16): “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16).  Peter presented his case that Jesus Christ completely fulfilled and filled all the requirements as the risen King, saying, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Because He is Lord, and because the people needed to know what to do now that their hearts were “pricked” with this message (Acts 2:37), Peter went on to preach the same resurrection message Jesus instructed His disciples to deliver, “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name” (see above notes), by saying, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

The Lamb who was slain has risen as King, and the message still stands today, the Good News, all who seek Him, who believe, and accept Him as their Savior, can find forgiveness from their sins and a chance to walk in a new life through our risen Lord, Jesus Christ our King.  That’s the resurrection message!

PDF Full Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – The Resurrection Message

Suggested Activities:

Adult Journal Page:  Adult Journal Page – The Resurrection Message

Kid’s Journal Page:  Kid’s Journal Page – The Resurrection Message

Blank Journal Pages: These pages, one designed for adults and one for children, can be used to bring out, remember, or write a particular part of the lesson you wish for you and/or your class to focus on.  Click>>Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages to access the journal pages.

Acrostic Poem: He is Risen Acrostic

Draw the Scene:  The Resurrection Message Draw the Scene

He is Risen Draw the Scene: The Resurrection Message Draw the Scene 2

Coloring Page: The Ressurection Message Coloring Sheet

Activity Page:  The Resurrection Message Activity Page

Memory Verse:  The Resurrection Message Memory Verse

Word Search:  The Resurrection Message Word Search  Answers:  The Resurrection Message Word Search Answers

Crossword:  The Resurrection Message Crossword  Answers:  The Resurrection Message Crossword Answers

Word Scramble:  The Resurrection Message Word Scramble  Answers: The Resurrection Message Word Scramble Answers

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