'Light from Luke' Meditations

WEDNESDAY, 23RD FEBRUARY: ‘IN THE CROWD’

READ: LUKE CHAPTER 23

Jesus’ story is now reaching its climax, and in the chapter we read today, the tension mounts. Jesus is led to Pilate, the Roman governor, who in turn sends Him to Herod since Galilee was under his control. We read something curious about Herod next – he was delighted to see Jesus because he had heard about Him and had hoped to see Him perform a miracle. Was Herod simply trying to catch Jesus out?

Then we come to Pilate. For Jesus is sent back to him for trial, but Pilate can find no fault in Him. It is the crowd, not the authorities who seem to be threatened enough by Jesus to demand His death.

And so Jesus is led away to His death. At this point, we are introduced to Simon of Cyrene who, we read “was forced to follow Jesus and carry his cross.” It was the crowd who led Jesus away, so it could well have been people in the crowd who forced Simon to carry His cross.

If you had been there, where would you be in the crowd? We probably all want to say that we would be among those who were grief-stricken at what was happening – interestingly, Luke identifies them as women and states that Jesus turned to address them directly. But perhaps it is not that simple. Perhaps sometimes, if not in words, by our actions and inactions we too shout: ‘Crucify him!’?

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, how sorry we are, that although we say we love You, sometimes we act as though we do not. For all the ways in which we grieve Your heart, we plead Your forgiveness. Thank You that Your arms of love were outstretched for us upon the cross, and embrace us anew as we lay our burdens down. Amen.

THURSDAY, 24TH FEBRUARY: ‘RESPONSES TO RESURRECTION’

READ: LUKE CHAPTER 24

The moment has arrived! The moment which Luke has been building to through his entire Gospel – a tomb which once contained Jesus’ body is empty. We encounter different groups of people, each of whom respond in slightly different ways to discovering the reality that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Firstly, the women who had come to anoint Jesus’ body were puzzled. They had come to do what they would have done for any loved one, and it is as though they thought that Jesus was no more than this – an ordinary person. For it seemed impossible to them to believe that Jesus really had risen from the dead. Even the appearance of the angelic men initially did nothing to alleviate their confusion, but the reminder of what Jesus had told them in Galilee changed everything. That word spoke to their hearts, and convinced them that Jesus really was alive. Puzzlement gave way to excitement as they rushed off to tell the others.

Secondly, we now come to the apostles. They too struggled to believe the reports of resurrection. Unsurprisingly, it was Peter who strode ahead to look for the evidence. He ran to the tomb and looked in, but even though he saw the linen wrappings which had been round Jesus’ body, he still wondered what had happened.

It was Jesus Himself who made the difference. It was as He walked alongside the two followers on the road to Emmaus, and then as he ate fish in the presence of the disciples that his risen presence became real for them.

As we finish these meditations, the same is true for us – whether we are puzzled or excited, it will be Jesus who will make the difference in our lives.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, I thank You that as You rose again from the dead, You changed everything. You took puzzlement and fear, and replaced it with excitement and joy. I pray that You may so transform my life, that I may go forward with hope, whatever the future holds. Amen.