I. Establish the text
A. Select the Pericope: Luke 24:44-53
B. Establish translation: Review NIV, NRSV, TEV, BHS/NA26, …
C. Other texts for Year A for 7th Sunday in Easter
- First Reading Acts 1:6-14
- Psalm Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
- Second Reading 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11
- Gospel John 17:1-11
D. Brainstorm: What questions/thoughts come to mind?
44 “While I was still with you,” implies Jesus current presence is less than a visit, although he had eaten bread with the two on the Road to Emmaus and eaten fish.
45 Here he tells them (but Luke omits) how he has fulfilled the scriptures cited in v. 44. Why is Jesus’ earthly mission omitted?
47 Mission of the church is to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins.
48 Each of us stands on a corner of the world, begin in your corner and preach.
Like it or not, each of us has witnessed the rule of Christ.
49 The Holy Spirit will come with power. Candidate’s lament that Presbyterians seem to be still awaiting for this power.
50 How old is this gesture of benediction? Does this link to Moses holding his hands aloft at the battle of Mount Nebo?
51 Is this why the benediction is offered from among the congregation?
52 The disciples returned blissfully unaware of the secular cost they would pay for their spiritual bliss.
53 How does the message get out of the temple?
E. Reconsider where the text begins and ends: What got chopped out?
- Pericope follows the Emmaus Road experience of the two disciples who meet and break bread with Jesus. They run back to Jerusalem, where Jesus presents himself to the eleven and he eat broiled fish in their presence.
II. Literary Study.
B. What parallel passages exist? How do they differ? How does this author’s intent differ from other authors? Is the text used elsewhere?
- Mark’s gospel ends with the women running away afraid to tell anyone what they had seen on Easter morning. There is no post resurrection experience.
- In Matthew Jesus meets the disciples on the mountaintop, charges them to go and make disciples, although some doubted. There is no heavenly ascension.
- Luke ends with the disciples waiting in Jerusalem for power, praising in the temple.
- John puts the ascension on Easter morning.
- Possible parallel with Elijah being carried into heaven on a flaming chariot.
III. Question the text.
C. What is the center of gravity of the text? Where was the author heading? What question did the author intend to answer? What is the emotional center of the text? What music would it call for?
- Final words from Jesus summarizing his ministry. It answers questions like: “If Jesus is risen from the dead, where is he now?”
F. How will this text be heard by individuals in the congregation, including the preacher?
- In the Apostles’ Creed we say: “he ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty from thence he shall rule the quick and the dead.” So what difference does this make in my life each day?
- Consider vv 50-53 as a leaving ritual. Consider the impact on the disciples if the resurrection story had ended as in Mark (the women fleeing afraid of the angel’s words). Parallel with good-byes from disrupted pastorates: the angry pastor lashing out in his last sermon, the pastor who leaves without saying good-bye or as if there was nothing to grieve, the pastor who shakes the dust from his feet.
IV. What do the commentaries have to say about the text?