Reflecting on Luke 24 1-12

This week we’re studying Luke 24:1-12. This is Luke’s account of “the empty tomb,” and the other disciples’ reaction to the women disciples’ announcement.

One thing we might want to do is simply read the text, slowly, pausing to stay with the events as they unfold verse by verse. Luke’s account is straightforwardly linear, so reading it phrase by phrase takes the reader right along with “them” [named in v10] as “they” get up in the morning, take their spices, go to the tomb, and then encounter first one thing and then another, and make an effort to process all this experience. So one question is simply, but profoundly: what happens in this story? In particular – if this happens to us, in a sense, as we read, how does this feel?

Then, in v11, everything becomes more complex, because as readers we have to position ourselves – with the women? With “them” (“the eleven” and “all the rest”)? Outside the scene altogether? Now something is happening socially. What? And how does that feel? And – do we learn anything from it? What?

I feel, honestly, that simply doing that exercise gives us a lot to do. But – here are a few additional questions, that we might want to consider or discuss (with some notes on the text, here):

If we keep going with “what’s happening” – what’s happening in v12? And where does Peter go? [His “home” is a long walk back to Galilee, really – so what’s that “home” language doing there? Does it mean anything, do we think?]

[more personal] What do we imagine our own reaction to this news would have been – if we’d been with Peter and the rest? Why? What’s usually our response to perplexing news? Why?

[just because it’s right there in front of us, more or less the “elephant in the room”] How’s gender working in this story?

[but, moving on …] Anything to learn from that? What? Anything that works this way in our world the way gender is working in this story? What? Anything to learn from that? As in – how do we ourselves know, or decide, that people are telling the truth? Are reliable witnesses? Implications of that for what we believe? And for how we live our lives, then?

[more personal …] That is – what does it take to convince us of something? Why is that, do we think? Consequences?

[much more personal] So … what is the meaning of this story for us? How does it affect our own lives?

three young girls sitting in a room reading a large book

Image: “Spannende Lektüre,” Walther Firle, 1929, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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