By Sam E. Stone
Hosea prophesied during the eighth century BC, speaking to the people in the Northern Kingdom—Israel. In today’s text he calls them again to repentance, including words that remind us of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The passage from Luke provides many details about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, showing the events alluded to in Hosea’s message.
Revived on the Third Day
Hosea compared the sinful disobedience of Israel to the behavior of a prostitute (5:3, 4). He urged the people, “Let us return to the Lord.” If they truly repented, there was hope for them yet. If not, the coming destruction by the Assyrians would bring them low (9:3). Change could come, however. The first day showed the nation dead; the second pictured the beginning of revival; and the third showed the nation returned to life. Hosea’s words about the third day remind us of the resurrection of Jesus.
“Hosea assured his people that Yahweh would ‘revive us’ after two days,” noted James E. Smith. “This is a Hebrew idiom to express ‘after a short while.’ The reference is to the moral and spiritual restoration of Israel. Ezekiel (37:1-19) used a similar figure.” Although this may not be a direct allusion to the death of Jesus, he was the second Israel, as Hosea himself foreshadowed (Hosea 11:1).
Surprised on the Third Day
The first day of the week as the Jews count time is Sunday. Their “day” actually began at sundown the previous evening. Luke reported that very early in the morning several women went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. John added that they left home “while it was still dark” (John 20:1). Mark noted that they bought spices after the Sabbath was over (Mark 16:1), besides those which they already had (Luke 23:56).
Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb was something like a cave cut in the rock (Luke 23:53), not a hole dug in the ground. The stone that had been placed in front of the entrance had been rolled away. It is hard for us to imagine all the thoughts that raced through their minds at the sight. The body of Jesus was gone! They first thought someone had moved it (John 20:13-15).
Suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. As when others saw an angel in Bible times, the women were terrified. The angelic messengers told them, “He is not here; he has risen!” Lewis Foster wrote, “This was not an announcement based on wishful thinking or even introduced from deductions gained from circumstantial evidence. This was an announcement by one who knew that Jesus was no longer dead but alive.” The angels reminded the women that Jesus had predicted this very event when he was with them up in Galilee (Luke 9:22; compare 24:46). Then they remembered his words.
Amazed on the Third Day
The women returned to the place where other disciples were gathered in Jerusalem. Some scholars suggest that they may have been at the house of Mary, John Mark’s mother (Acts 12:12). Others guess it could have been in nearby Bethany at the home of Lazarus (John 12:1). The group included the Eleven (the original twelve disciples, less Judas who had committed suicide). The phrase all the others makes it clear that additional disciples were present, probably many of the 120 who were together on Pentecost (Acts 1:12-15; 2:1). While the women named in verses 10 and 11 were well-known to the disciples, even their testimony that Jesus was raised was not enough to convince them at first because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
Later when they saw Jesus firsthand, all of the apostles became witnesses to the resurrection. Seth Wilson wrote, “The testimony of Jesus’ resurrection is the kind that all experience proves to be reliable—the kind that is acceptable to establish the truth in any court or in any matter of history.” He noted that the witnesses are sufficient in number (more than 500 at one time [1 Corinthians 15:6]), competent (intelligent and mentally balanced), and honest.
After the women’s report, Peter got up and ran to the tomb. He saw the interior of the tomb, with the linen cloths neatly folded, and wondered what had happened. When he saw Jesus face-to-face a short time later, he became convinced as well (Luke 24:33, 34).
Sam E. Stone is the former editor of Christian Standard. He continues his writing and speaking ministry from his home in Cincinnati, Ohio.