Sense and Spirit: the Resurrection
Luke 24:33-43
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,…

The story of the Resurrection in its relation to the disciples of our Lord suggests to us thoughts concerning -

I. THE TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRIT OVER THE FLESH. These two disciples who had walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and who persuaded the mysterious Stranger to remain because the day was far gone, and subsequently spent some time in earnest converse with him, now hastened back to Jerusalem (ver. 33). This was quite contrary to their intention when they set out from the city; it was not in the natural order of things to start out again on a long two-hours' walk after the fatigues of that eventful day. But their minds were so enlarged, their hearts so filled with joy, their souls so stirred with animating and vivifying hope, that they could not remain where they were; they must impart the transporting and transforming tidings to the crushed and sorrowing brethren they had left behind them that afternoon. It was late and dark, and (when they thought of it) they were tired. But what were these considerations? They were things not to be entertained for a moment, they were a mere feather's weight in the scale; and we may be certain that they set off to Jerusalem with a much lighter step in the evening, and far more alacrity of spirit, than they left that city in the afternoon of the day. In one sense "we are but dust and ashes," but "animated clay;" our soul is subject to certain limitations from its close connection with the body. Yet can the spirit triumph nobly over the flesh. Let but the kindling truth come down from heaven, let the Divine hand but touch the secret springs of the soul, and all our bodily sensations and our lower instincts go down and disappear. Fatigue, loss, danger, death itself, is nothing to a soul alight with the celestial fire. A new hope, a new faith, a new purpose, can carry the weary frame along the dusty road of duty, or up the steep ascent of arduous or dangerous achievement, better than angels' wings. Our true self is not the tabernacle of the flesh, but the indwelling and victorious spirit.

II. THE ESSENTIAL SERVICE WHICH THE FLESH RENDERS TO THE SPIRIT. Christianity is essentially spiritual. It makes its appeal to the spiritual nature; its aim is spiritual; and the weapons of its warfare are also spiritual - the efforts of the spirit of man and the energies of the Spirit of God. But it rests largely on a basis of facts attested by our senses - the fact of the Incarnation, "God manifested in the flesh," the "Word made flesh;" the fact of the miracles of Christ, miracles wrought before the eyes of men, and assured by their sensible observation of them; the fact of a blameless life lived in the bodily presence of eye-witnesses; the fact of the death at Calvary, borne witness to by those who actually beheld it; and the great crowning fact of the Resurrection, the return of Jesus Christ in the flesh to his disciples. The entire fabric of our religion rests upon the history of the Man Christ Jesus; and the acceptance of him as a Divine Teacher, whose word can be trusted and whose character can be honoured, stands or falls with the truth of the Resurrection. For if he did not rise again, he certainly was not the One he claimed to be. Of what service to us, then, these physical facts here recorded - his eating with the two at Emmaus; the sound of the familiar voice in many words of intercourse; the sight of his hands and feet with the imprint of the cruel nails; the sight and feeling of the "flesh and bones," which a spirit has not but which they found he had; and the act of sitting down at the table and eating of the fish and honeycomb before their eyes? The sight of his face, the sound of his voice, the style of his speech, the handling of his limbs ("handle me, and see," ver. 39), supplemented by his eating and drinking before them, - all this at length convinced their incredulity that it was indeed the risen Lord himself, returned according to his word. And all this accumulated evidence of all the senses is as good for us as it was for them. We are thankful for this multiplication of the material evidence, for, taken with other considerations, it substantiates the great fact of facts, and gives to us not only a marvellously original Thinker, but an unmistaken and faultless Exemplar, a Divine Lord and Master. The human senses never rendered to the human soul so great a service as when they attested the supreme fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But they still do render very valuable service in every Christian life.

1. The control and regulation of our senses for Christ's sake and in obedience to his word is a continual tribute to the power of his truth.

2. Our feet can carry us forth on errands of Christian charity.

3. Our hands can be put daily to deeds of righteousness, of justice, of excellency.

4. Our lips can sing the praises of our Lord, and can speak words of kindness to the young, of sympathy to the suffering and sorrowing, of hope to the dying.

5. Our eye can read, our ears can heal the truths which impart or which sustain the inner life of the spirit. Through our bodily senses God's own living truth, and with his truth himself also, comes continually into our soul; and through these same senses there go forth from us all healing, all helpful, all saving influences to the world; and thus we enrich and are enriched. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

WEB: They rose up that very hour, returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and those who were with them,

The Exigency of Old Age
Top of Page
Top of Page