An Idle Tale?
Luke 24:11 (ESV) – but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
If you grew up in church, many of the claims of Scripture sound normal to you. We hear about God raining down manna from Heaven to feed the Israelites or the parting of the Red Sea. The stories of Jesus walking on water, turning water into wine, or the raising of Lazarus from the dead are typical stories we familiarized ourselves with long ago. They don’t shock us anymore. In fact, they may never have shocked us. Yet this is exactly what they did for the people experiencing them. What we’ve grown accustomed to, they were blown away by.
Our passage today highlights this reality for us. We read in Luke 24 about Jesus’ resurrection. He is raised from the dead on the third day. The women went to the tomb early that morning with spices. There were burial practices they couldn’t perform the day before because it was Sabbath. So as they make their way to the tomb they see the stone rolled away. When they entered the tomb they saw the body of Jesus gone. Then two angels appeared to them and told them the news. They ran to share with the disciples. That’s when we read Luke 24:11, “but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”
How did the disciples respond to this news? They believed them to be contrived stories. An idle tale is a fabricated story with no relevance because it is so unthinkable. Yet this was no idle tale. Jesus had risen from the dead, but the disciples did not believe the story. So they ran to the tomb to see for themselves.
Why didn’t they believe the ladies? It is easy to read the story with the ending in mind. We already know Jesus is alive and we’ve got years of recounting His life, death, and resurrection. But these disciples had no category for a dead man coming back to life. They just didn’t expect that their Lord would be resurrected. Even hearing the words uttered seemed more like a make-believe tale than reality.
Remember today that the things you believe were not the inventions of first-century fishermen. These men did not spin elaborate tales of a dead king come to life. They themselves couldn’t even believe that was a possibility. They didn’t believe the news when they heard it. Only after they ran to the tomb and saw it empty, and later saw Jesus alive, were their doubts overruled. Take confidence today in the testimony of the ladies that Sunday morning. He is alive. And we have no reason to doubt it.
Luke 24:11 (ESV) – "but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them." Don't follow the example of the disciples here. Take confidence in the testimony of the ladies at the tomb. He is alive. We have no reason to doubt it.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is this story important for us in understanding the early faith of the disciples?
- What do the reactions of the disciples to this news teach us about their expectations?
- How is this story able to strengthen our faith today?
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