The acknowledgement came slowly and only with much hesitation, but the sequestered disciples finally said it: “The Lord is risen indeed” (Lk. 24:34). This from Jesus’ fellow-travelers. Hardcore survivors. Roughly ten dozen in number, if anyone is counting. Unlike typical pupil groups of other Jewish rabbis, the Jesus group includes women–right alongside the men. To Jesus, they all are the same, but most males in the company will die before they share the Master’s thinking on this point.
So here they are, about 120 men and women, waiting together on this Sunday morning for only God knows what. They certainly do not know. Nor do they know that they will be waiting together for six weeks more. But they are beginning to wonder what is happening today, for something is clearly different. Since early this morning, there has been a rash of reports claiming that Jesus is no longer dead. First, their own women had gone to put out spices as was the custom, only to find (they said) an empty tomb and angels who tell them that Jesus is alive! The leadership dismisses this idle tale, another illustration of “the triviality and rashness of their sex” that disallows women as witnesses in Jewish courts (Lk. 24:1-11; Josephus). But, just in case, some of the men go to check it out. They see no angels but do confirm that the tomb is empty (Lk. 24:24).
Later in the day, Simon Peter, one of the Eleven who composed Jesus’ inner circle, adds his testimony, increasing both the quality and quantity of the evidence (Luke 24:34). Next, two group-members return from a day-hike to Emmaus. They report an encounter with a mysterious stranger who converses with them at length about the Scriptures and explains Messianic prophecies in terms of Jesus. Joining them at table, the stranger blesses the bread, just as Jesus has done so many times before. Suddenly he disappears, and they know that the stranger whose teaching so warmed their hearts is none other than Jesus himself (Lk. 24:36-45). As the hikers finish telling their story, Jesus suddenly becomes manifestly present with the assembled disciple-group. They disbelieve for joy, and they wonder. Jesus comforts them, commissions them, and tells them to wait for the Spirit who will bring them power (Lk. 24:36-52).
With this, Easter draws to an end. Pentecost is around the corner.