I played a mean trick earlier this week. I mentioned in my twitter/facebook status update that I was excited to preach my favorite book of the bible this coming Sunday. That if I was stuck on a desert island and could have only one chapter with me, this chapter would be it. But in the update I failed to mention what chapter I was referring to and that set off a streak of guessing comments. After 20+ comments, Dave Eden finally guessed correctly: Luke 24.
Then Bob Wright asked, "so what do you like so much about Luke 24?" Here's my quick and partial answer:
- Luke 24 starts with the resurrection of Jesus. Beat that.
- Luke's description of the disciples' response to the news of the resurrection show them to be very reluctant to believe--to give themselves over to the hope that it might be true. They are skeptical and slow to believe the women who first encounter the empty tomb. That rings true for me.
- Jesus shows up in his resurrection ninja costume on a road out of Jerusalem and has a funny and ironic talk with two of his disciples in which they school him on the recent "happenings in Jerusalem". Namely, that Jesus who they thought was the fo shizzle turned out to get crucified by the people they thought should be his biggest fans. I love that Jesus just listens to them vent about how dissapointing he turned out to be without saying, "hey, guys, its me--I'm alive." That kind of conversation with Jesus is the kind I have so I guess I can relate.
- "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Amazing. (Can't believe Cleopas and his buddy did not write that conversation down.) It tells me this: that from Jesus and His resurrection, you can go anywhere in Scripture and the Bible rings true, makes sense and points back to Jesus. Luke 24 is the "you can go anywhere from here" chapter of the bible.
- Jesus is finally revealed to them for who He really is when he breaks the bread. Powerful.
- "Didn't our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" That is the definition of encountering God--the burning heart. And that is what good preaching of the Scripture brings about too--a burning heart. I just love that imagery.
- Jesus eats something after rising from the dead. That's cool. In fact, we learn more about the resurrection body of a follower of Jesus in Luke 24 than any other chapter I can think of in the New Testament. We learn that we'll be able to appear and disappear with little effort, eat food, fly (ascension) and our physical appearance will resemble our current appearance but be different enough to be sometimes unrecognized--maybe I'll have hair after rising from the dead?
My summary phrase for Luke 24: you can go anywhere from here. Hearing how Jesus honors the bible from Genesis to Malachi is the best apologetic for the Bible that I can think of. And learning that all of Scripture is wrapped up in revealing Jesus gives powerful unity and purpose to the heart of Scripture.
So that's why Luke 24 is my desrt island chapter of Scripture.