Luke 24: Tension between Reason, Faith and Feelings: Its Resolution: Part I:

Luke 24 records a variety of responses from various groups of people in various settings after Jesus’ resurrection: at the empty tomb, on the road to Emmaus, and behind locked doors. Thus chapter 24 records the tension between reason, faith, and feelings. The responses ranged from disbelief to excitement to joyful belief. What are we to learn?

• First, man is a whole person who thinks, desires, acts, and feels. These are linked. These four aspects of man should not be separated.
• Second, feelings, sometimes called emotions, are always the result of thoughts and desires. Feelings never “just are.” They have an origin although at times their source seems remote.
• Third, vision, seeing, is both an inner- and outer-man activity. A person sees with physical eyes and with spiritual eyes.
• Fourth, only when a person’s interpretive grid has changed from the senses alone to biblical truth will he be able to understand and to be joyful God’s way in any and every situation.
• Fifth, faith, reason, and experience must be under the influence of biblical truth directed by the Holy Spirit or the senses will be the person’s guide.
• Sixth, so-called emotional-packed words are used by Luke and the Holy Spirit throughout this chapter. The meaning of these words can be properly interpreted only in the light of each person’s thoughts, desires, and action or inaction.

The first group Luke presents is the women at the tomb (v.1-12):
In verse 4 the women are described as wondering and confused. The women had doubts. They were perplexed and therefore hesitant. Sensually, they reasoned according to what they saw. They reasoned that Christ was dead and should be in the tomb. This is the natural order of things.

The women were faithful and devoted and they were at the tomb early in the morning. They had procured spices in order to anoint a dead body. God had other plans which He was about to reveal to and through them. Two angels appeared. The women were intensely fearful and instinctively they bowed low. The angels asked why the women were looking for Jesus among the dead. The question cut to the heart of the matter – their hearts and a proper understanding of Jesus and His mission. Jesus had foretold His trial, crucifixion, death, and resurrection on several occasions but I am not sure of the women had heard His words.

The angelic inquiry is reminiscent of the truth embedded in Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees regarding the resurrection and marriage in heaven (Matthew 22:23-33). Jesus rebuked them for not knowing Scripture. There is no marriage in heaven but there is a resurrection because: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead but of the living (22:31-32). This truth was delivered to Moses at the burning bush and was about to be delivered to the women. Jesus is emphatic: the Sadducees should have known that the resurrection is true and ignoring it is at their own risk.

The angels highlighted Jesus as the Truth-teller. He accomplished what He prophesied. The women were exhorted to change their thinking – to remember. Their focus was on their understanding of the circumstances from their perspective viewed from the senses. By remembering and reflecting on Jesus and His teaching, they would change their focus from self and the situation to Christ. They did change their thinking – they remembered (24:8)!

As a consequence, they were refreshed. Their unbelief and weak faith began to change. Quickly, they believed! The tension between reason. faith, and feelings was lessening! Their weak faith began to be transformed into an informed, hopeful, and expectant faith. Evidence of this fact is given in verses 9-10. They had a suprasensual experience: they understood through the eyes of saving faith. The women hurried back and told the disciples that Jesus was alive – He had risen! Such excitement was soon crushed. The women and their message were rejected by the disciples.

The reason given by Luke for the rejection: their words seemed like nonsense (24:11). The word in the original is used only here in the New Testament. It is used often in the medical literature. It refers to someone who is delirious or hysterical – out of one’s head. After a proper correction when confronted by the angels and truth, the women understood correctly. Yet the disciples refused to accept their words.

Much like Thomas in John 20:27-29 who lived predominately by his senses, the disciples were unwilling to believe the women and more so Christ. Even though they had witnessed resurrections and Jesus prophesied His, unbelief ruled the day. Verse 12 connected Peter with a however. Unsettled, hopeful and inquisitive, Peter went to the tomb to see for himself. He was astonished and mystified; he left wondering and marveling (verse 12). How could this be? Like the women initially, Peter had not remembered Jesus’ words.


1.The women were sincere in their coming to the grave. Was it an informed sincerity?
2.What was the problem?
3.What was the angelic solution?
4. How did they respond?

Luke 24: The Source of Unbelief and Disbelief of the Two Disciples on the Road: Part II

I am continuing the series: Tension between reason, faith, and feelings. Consider the second group of people presented in Luke 24: the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (v.13-32). Luke moved the scene to the road to Emmaus. Jesus came upon two disciples as they discussed the news. They had the proper facts. The issue was their interpretation and the standard for their interpretation. Part of the issue centered on control. Even on the road, Jesus was in control. He kept the two disciples from recognizing Him (v. 16). They had eyes but they did not see. The two disciples were gloomy-faced (v. 17). The word can be translated downcast, crestfallen, and harassed. They had inner-man angst. The two men were trying to make sense out of the events. They used their own logic and feelings which produced more inner-man angst. They two may have failed to remember Jesus’ prophecy which we assume they had heard directly or indirectly. They focused on their understanding rather than Christ and His promises. Faith and reason had not been immersed in biblical truth.

Jesus was teaching a faith lesson. Faith, both saving and non-saving, has an object and is informed. The more one knows the object of his faith the more he focuses on that object. Functionally, these disciples considered Jesus a failure as the Messiah. He was handed over for crucifixion (v.20). They thought of Him only as a powerful prophet (v.19). Israel had not been delivered (v.21). Three days had transpired since Jesus’ death and there had been no change in their situation (v.21). Luke reported that they were amazed at what the women reported (v.22). The word in the original translated as amazed indicates early in the morning implying that the women were considered to be sleepy-headed and consequently their report could not be trusted.

In verse 25, Jesus gave His indictment: these two disciples were foolish and slow of heart. The term foolish literally means without sense and without understanding. They were ignorant of the things of God. The term translated slow of heart is the common word bradycardia. In the medical field it indicates a slow heart rate for whatever reason. Here Jesus said that their inner man was functioning in the same way. They were slow. They were not “on the ball.”

Could it be that Jesus expected them to be thinking His thoughts based on His previous prophesies? Yes! In reality, they had not made use of Jesus’ ministry. They, too, are rebuked for not remembering (v.8, 25). Thinking God’s thoughts was the key. In verse 26, Jesus presented some necessities – some “musts” concerning Himself and by extension about the disciples and Israel. He explained clearly (He exegeted) what Scripture said about Him (v.27). In the way He fulfilled John’s statement as to Jesus’ mission: No one has seen God but God the one and Only, who is at the Father’s side, He has made him known (1:18).

One can only wonder how this teaching was different from His previous teachings. But here, His presence, teaching, and breaking of bread were God’s tools for opening up their eyes (v.31). As a result their hearts were burning (v.32). Now they saw with both physical and spiritual eyes. Truth which was present had been hidden. These two were on fire with and from truth.

Faith and reason were bathed in biblical truth. Now, they had a sense experience but it was based on God’s truth. They no longer thought sensually – facts taken in by the senses and interpreted by anything but biblical truth. They were now thinking suprasensually. Facts taken in by the senses were evaluated and interpreted through the grid of biblical truth.

These two disciples had been in a hole. But the hole was due to their ignorance. They were hopeless doubters and burdened. From their perspective, the tunnel was so long that they did not anticipate light or the end. They did not understand because they viewed self, people, and circumstances through their senses and their understanding divorced from God’s truth. Feelings were dominant. Their ways and goals were not in sync with God’s ways and goal. Jesus stayed with them until their hearts and eyes were opened and they understood. Consequently, armed with truth and not simply feelings, they went to Jerusalem to deliver the good news (v.33-35).

1. What was the problem with the two men?
2. What did Jesus do?
3. What was the initial reaction of the two men?
4. How does your view of burning hearts and opened eyes and minds fit with Luke 24:31-32 and later 24:45? Compare with Luke’s description of hearts that were pierced in Acts 2:37; 5:33; and 7:54.

Luke 24: The Source of Unbelief and Disbelief of the Apostles and Disciples: Part III 

In this third part of the series: Tension between faith, reason, and feelings, we consider a another group. Luke presented the third group of people which consisted of Jesus’ apostles and others (24:33-36). They had cloistered themselves in Jerusalem (v.36-49). Jesus appeared in the midst of those  gathered behind locked doors. He made a wonderful statement: Peace be with you! (v.36 – see John 14:27; 16:32-33). He was met with skepticism. The tension between reason, faith, and feelings was palpable! Those present were startled and greatly fearful. As a result they were agitated within – there was much inner-man angst and a churning turmoil (v.37-38). Fearful and overwhelmed, they wondered what was happening! Fear is concerned thinking regarding the person’s situation, his control and God’s control. When there is a perceived lack of control, the person foresees unwanted consequences. The person then focuses on attempting to be the controller in order to secure a desired result. At that point, the person is competing with God.

The scene described in Luke 24:36-43 followed the pattern that seeing is not necessarily believing. Jesus appealed to the disciples’ physical senses in order to more fully stimulate their “spiritual senses” (see verses 39-42). The picture was one of a skeptical band of believers without the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost had not come). They had gathered in Jerusalem apparently because they had no other place to go. In verse 36, Luke recorded the disciples’ response to Jesus as He miraculously appeared in their midst. He gave a customary salutation: Peace be with you! True reality was standing before them as Jesus had predicted on numerous occasions. Real flesh and blood stood in their midst.

Their response recorded in verse 37 was similar to their response at the time that Jesus walked on the water – it is ghost (Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49. Earlier, these same disciples witnessed and enjoyed the power of God at the feeding of the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21). Following that work of God they witnessed the power of God when Jesus calmed the sea. They marveled that all of nature obeyed Him.

Matthew recorded that the disciples proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God and worshipped Him (14:33). Mark wrote that the disciples were extremely amazed and excited. He added an important fact in verse 52: for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. The disciples had not grasped the full significance of two so-called nature miracles (the loaves and fishes and walking on the water) which were done in close proximity. The miracles pointed to Christ as God not simply as a miracle worker. The miracles affirmed His deity. The disciples missed that point then and post-resurrection prior to Pentecost.

In verse 38, Jesus asked them why they were troubled and agitated within. He did not wait for an answer. He knew! Their response was antithetical to His gift of peace (see John 14:1, 27; 16:32-33). Jesus was the Peacemaker and Peace-giver but He knew His disciples and their patterned slowness of heart and faith. The group functioned as if they did not know who Jesus was and what He would do after His death even though they were discipled by the Master.

Yet they did know Jesus as God. For them, things were out of their control and they did not like it. Nothing seemed to make sense – their natural, untrained senses. They were confused and agitated. A variety of thoughts and desires swirled about. Some would say that the group experienced emotional turmoil. Rather, their emotions, however defined, were just fine. The issue was not their emotions but their thinking and wanting as assessed by their own logic and experience in contrast to the truth imparted by Jesus and His teaching. Even with opened eyes most were still dull.

Jesus asked them the reasons for the inner-man angst, but He did not give them time to answer. He knew. He addressed their slowness of heart, weak faith, and sluggish faithfulness. He gave them Himself (v.39-42)! Such is what happened to Job as recorded in the book of Job (38-42). David desired and prayed for a “taste” of God as recoded in Psalm 34:8. After several years of ministry with Jesus, it seemed that disbelief (as opposed to unbelief) was part of their wardrobe. What more did Jesus need to say and do to affirm His deity and His reason for coming into this world than to predict the how and why of His death and His resurrection, to be crucified, and to rise from the dead?

In a sense Jesus overwhelmed their senses. In verse 39, He told them to see. In verse 40, He showed them His hands and feet. In verse 41-42, He asked for, received, and ate the fish in their presence. The key was not their senses but the fact that their senses had not been trained by biblical truth (Hebrews 5:11-14). What they heard and saw (maybe touched – see John 20:27-28) was not the key issue. They had to rightly interpret the information they took in via their senses.

Yet according to verse 41, the disciples still did not believe (see v.11). But notice, concurrently they were joyful and amazed. This is an interesting combination: unbelief, disbelief, joy, and amazement. They were skeptical and slow of heart yet joyful. Jesus was pulling this band of disciples out of their partially dead, weak, and impure faith.

Make no mistake; to the physical eye and sensual interpretation, Jesus was a loser. If He was a king, He did not act one. He certainly had not been treated as a king. He was treated as a horrible criminal who had no visible throne and who had died a terrible death. How could this Jesus be King, Ruler and Controller? How could any of His promises come to pass? Their conclusion was focused on themselves: how could everything be OK for Israel and them? From their perspective, it could not and was not. Viewing the situation, themselves, and Christ from their perspective led them to the conclusion that there was no help or hope. Jesus was not real! No wonder they were fearful, confused, agitated within, and in disarray.

1. Slow and sluggish hearts are part of man’s nature post-fall, what is God’s solution as given in Luke 24?
2. Define sensual and suprasensual thinking.
3. The trio of feelings, reason from God’s truth, and experience interpreted without biblical truth leads to what?
4. What grid did Jesus present to the women, the disciples, and the apostles in order to correctly God’s providence including personal experience and man’s reasoning?

Luke 24: The Source of Unbelief and Disbelief of the Apostles and Disciples: Part IV 

I continue the series: Tension between Reason Faith, and Feelings. After several years of ministry with Jesus, it seemed that disbelief (as opposed to unbelief) was part of the wardrobe of Jesus’ followers including those close to Him. There was a tension between reason, faith, and feelings. What more did Jesus need to say and to do in order to affirm His deity and His reason for coming into this world? He had predicted the how and why of His death.

He was to be crucified, resurrected, and ascended Savior. His physical presence as the resurrected Lord affirmed the greatest miracle. One reason for miraculous signs in the presence of the disciple is given in John 20:30-31:… so they would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and by believing they may have eternal life. Belief in Jesus and His words were keys to victory for Christ and for His people. .

In a sense Jesus overwhelmed their senses. In verse 39, He told them to look and see. He encouraged them to have a sensual experience with a different interpretative grid. In verse 40, He showed them His hands and feet. In verse 41-42, He asked for, received, and ate fish in their presence. The key was not the facts or their senses. Their senses had not been trained by biblical truth (Hebrews 5:11-14). What they heard and saw (maybe touched – see John 20:27-29) was not to be the key issue.

They had to rightly interpret the information that they took in via their senses. Jesus was closing the gap of the tension between reason, faith and feelings. Jesus expected them to have heard His words and to trust and obey (Matthew 7:24-27). That had not happened. They were still in the school of discipleship. Jesus was ramping up His teaching.

In verse 41, Luke used the word apistos to describe their disbelief and perhaps unbelief. The alpha privative “a” means without and pistos is translated as faith or even trust. However, we need to be quick to add that faith was not the issue. Man is a faith-based being. Faith has an object and content. The person with faith is a user of that faith. Proving faithful was key.

Earlier, Luke had written that the disciples did not believe because of joy and amazement (v.41). The word translated as amazement also means dumbfounded and astonished. It is powerful in meaning and indicates a wonder and even that which is unreal. What a response by the disciples! They were confused. Jesus simply maintained His course by opening the Scripture (v.31) and opening their hearts – their spiritual eyes  (v.45). Jesus was removing the tension between reason, faith, and feelings.

Faith and faithlessness are always to be combined. The disciples’ response of disbelief was mixed with joy and amazement. Please get the full picture firmly visualized. Jesus previously crucified and seemingly a loser, who talked big but died miserably, was standing before them as the resurrected Lord. He had prophesied these events. Yet it was almost impossible for the disciples to believe and harder for them to understand.

Faith is never to be divorced from reason. But reason must be based on biblical truth. Seeing and not seeing with the physical eyes does not make something true or false. Reason said that dead people don’t come back to life. Yet all the disciples experienced Jesus power over death. For the disciples, apparently raising yourself from the dead is on a completely different scale of reasoning than raising others (Luke 7:11-16; 8:50-56; John 11). For them, reason clung to saving faith but the senses told them another story. They sided with the senses and reason divorced from Jesus’ own words.

Apparently they reasoned that this person couldn’t be Jesus. No matter other facts, this can’t be Jesus. If reason is left to itself, feelings take center stage. Similarly if faith is left to itself, feelings take center stage. From the disciples’ perspective, they had every reason (no pun intended!) to be skeptical. They were experiencing the tension between reason, faith, and feelings.

It is important to learn from Jesus’ response. Jesus understood their dilemma and addressed it. He saw through their interpretative grid – their senses. He continued to appeal to them through their senses in verses 39-42, but He appealed to them through Himself, the living Word and through the Scripture, the written Word (verse 44; see John 14:6; 17:17). In verse 44, Jesus called them to remember (see verses 6, 32)! They were to remember that all of Scripture focused on Him as the Messiah and must be fulfilled. biblical truth rightly understood removes the tension between reason, faith, and feelings!

Jesus taught the disciples that reason and faith must be properly informed. What you take in with and through the senses must be properly interpreted through a biblical lens. In verse 45, Luke wrote that their thinking had changed – they understood Scripture. The trio of saving faith, reason, and the senses must be trained by biblical truth. Feelings follow. In verse 31, Luke recorded that Jesus opened their physical eyes and in verse 46, Jesus opened hearts, their spiritual eyes. Jesus ministered to the whole person. A whole-orbed changed had occurred. Physical eyes, Scripture, and mind/heart (spiritual eyes) were opened by Christ through the Scripture by the Holy Spirit and in anticipation of the outpouring of the Spirit (v.31-32, 45).

1. Notice the manner of Jesus with the apostles. What do you learn?
2. Peter’s second letter (2 Peter), the book of Deuteronomy, and Psalms 105-106 address remembering and not remembering and the consequences. Is remembering or not remembering an active or passive process?
3. Is God’s not remembering our sin no more the same as man’s not remembering (Isaiah 38:17; 4543:25; 44:22; Psalm 51:1, 9; 103:12; Jeremiah31:34; Micah 7:19) .What does the statement in Jeremiah 31:34 say and mean? What do you learn?

Luke 24: Closing the Gap between Reason, Faith, and Feelings: Part V

The conclusion of the series: Tension between Reason, Faith, and Feelings focuses on the results a proper linkage between reason, faith, and feelings. Burning hearts are more than good feelings. It is a result of salvation – regeneration which begins salvation and sanctification as the person lives as a new creature and in the new creation. Regeneration and its fruit of growth in Christ is God’s answer for the tension between reason, faith, and feelings. Burning hearts involve the whole person, from the inside out.

The Holy Spirit implants a new principle of life at regeneration so that the believer is a new creature (John 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5.17). As a saved person, the believer can and does think God’s thoughts, can and does desire what God desires, and follows with the appropriate action. He makes it his goal to become more like Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9). Feelings are embedded in the whole person but they are not to be the believer’s energizer, director, governor, or modulator. When they are, the Holy Spirit is grieved and God is burdened and maybe defamed.

Luke closes his gospel with a short description of the Ascension. Jesus left but He left His disciples as changed people. Their thoughts, desires, and actions were moving in the direction of being God-centered and directed. Faith and reason were beginning to be wed. This marriage will continue to grow until Christ returns. The book of Acts records the result of this wedding: the apostles ministered and grew in Christlikeness, people came to Christ, and people grew in Christlikeness. Such is the full circle of life as given in 1 John 4:7-12 and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

The responses of the various people in Luke 24 are often labeled as emotional responses. Rather, the responses were always whole-person responses. Faith was never the issue. They had faith but it was poorly grounded. Rather, saving and sanctifying faith is crucial for a proper understanding of who God and man are, man’s problem, and God’s solution. Both types of faiths are to informed and intelligent faith which is Holy-Spirit given, motivated, and actualized. It comes and develops when one appreciated God, self, people, and situations from Christ’s perspective.

Being in or out of sync with Christ and biblical truth in thought, desire, and action was the issue. For the disciples, their faith was not in sync with a proper godly understanding of Jesus and His mission. Faith and reason were not properly linked. Consequently, they relied on their feelings, their senses, and their innate ability to understand.

Moreover, they had their own presuppositions. In contrast, they had the teaching and promises of Jesus. They had two standards and reasons to choose to accept and to follow. Given their circumstances and their own logic and feelings, the events before them did not make sense. Their situation did not fit their mold of success and the great life.

We wonder if they pondered what God was doing or did they have a pure self-focus. When a person’s vertical reference is improper or sinful, his view of God, self, and others will be interpreted incorrectly and vice versa. Inner-man angst follows. Moreover, God’s providence will not be properly interpreted.

In spite of being in the school of Jesus Christ, the disciples had eyes but they did not see. They had hearts but they did not understand. Such was the mindset of the majority in Israel at the time of Jesus’ first coming (John 1:5-9). It was the story of Israel as a nation throughout the ages. Given the amount of time in Christ’s school of discipleship it seems incredulous that the disciples did not understand. Consequently bad feelings became their response, their guide, and their constant companion. Such it seems for the Church today. We have Christ’s teaching given in His Word and the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Yet, too often, believers are people of little faith and faithless depending more on feelings and wants.

Throughout the chapter, Luke records various responses that are similar: at the tomb, on the road to Emmaus, and behind locked doors. The three groups of people had similar responses of disbelief and even unbelief, confusion, doubts, and as a result, inner-man churning within and angst in their soul.

On the day of the Resurrection, what happened was what they were told would occur. This was countercultural, counterintuitive, and irrational. In the midst of the events and their turmoil, the angel, Jesus, and Scripture called the disciples to remember. This was God’s way of resolving the tension between reason, faith, and feelings. Proper thinking from a desire to please God because He is worthy and trustworthy leads to proper conclusions, desires, and actions. Life is simplified. Feelings may still be present but they won’t be used as a person’s “guiding light.”

1. Read Luke 24: what are your thoughts?
a. How are you like the disciples?
b. Have you been with Christ so long, or so short, that disbelief and even belief surfaces?
2. How have you responded to God’s word especially when circumstances don’t make sense?
a. What is it that you remember?
b. How is it possible to remember?
c. How do 1 Corinthians 2:16 and Psalm 119:9-11 help answer the question?
3. When faith is wrongly married to feelings, what is the result?
4. When reason is divorced from saving faith, what are the results?
5. When saving faith is divorced from reason, what are the results?
6. Read Psalm 2:11 (Serve the Lord with fear and trembling) and Psalm 119:120 (My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws);
a. How do they help bring together your thoughts, affections/desires and actions?
b. What bearing would they have had on the disciples as they encountered the risen Christ?