MAY 16 – POLITE SOCIETY: “RELIGION MUST NOT GET PERSONAL”

And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

LUKE 24:11

I remind you that it is characteristic of the natural man to keep himself so busy with unimportant trifles that he is able to avoid settling the most important matters relating to life and existence.

Men and women will gather anywhere and everywhere to talk about every subject from the latest fashions on up to Plato and philosophy—up and down the scale! They talk about the necessity for peace. They may talk about the church and how it can be a bulwark against communism. None of these things are embarrassing subjects.

But the conversation all stops and the taboo of silence becomes effective when anyone dares to suggest that there are spiritual subjects of vital importance to our souls that ought to be discussed and considered. There seems to be an unwritten rule in polite society that if any religious subjects are to be discussed, it must be within the framework of theory—“never let it get personal!” All the while, there is really only one thing that is of vital and lasting importance—the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ “was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”[1]


  1. But these words seemed to the apostles to be nonsense, and so they continued to disbelieve the women.

What makes the Easter story so convincing is that the disciples of Jesus did not at all expect Jesus to arise from the grave. In fact they considered the reports of the women to be sheer nonsense. Yet, after a while, these very men—all of them but especially Peter and John—are proclaiming the startling news to all and sundry and are willing to face any opposition they may encounter. For more on 24:11 see on verse 24.[2]


24:11 They (the apostles) did not initially believe the women.[3]


24:11 they refused to believe them In the Graeco-Roman world of the first century, the testimony of women was considered unreliable and could not be used to settle legal disputes. For this reason, the mention of women being the first eyewitnesses of the empty tomb suggests that Luke is faithfully reporting the early church’s recollection of this event. It also shows the vital role of women in Jesus’ ministry.[4]


24:11 they did not believe them. In general, the testimony of women was not highly regarded by first-century Jews, and some rabbinic tradition deemed their testimony inadmissible in a court of law. This mindset lies behind the misgivings later expressed by two disciples en route to Emmaus (vv. 22–24).[5]


24:11 Skepticism reigned among the disciples. It is clear that they did not expect a resurrection. they did not believe: The disciples thought the women’s story was nonsense.[6]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, p. 1055). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2012). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Lk 24:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 1840). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1303). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

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