Luke 24

Luke 24:1-12.384 589

Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; John 20:1-13.

The Sabbath day had interrupted the loving labours of the women with their spices. “On the first [day] of the week, very early [at deep dawn] in the morning” they385 returned.590 Love is usually quick-sighted; it might have the sense of coming danger where others were dull; it might have the presentiment of death where others saw triumph and the effect of burning zeal for God and His house. None but God could anticipate the resurrection. Their labour was bootless, as far as their own object was concerned, whatever might be the reckoning of grace. In these scenes of profoundest interest Jesus alone is perfection.

And they found the stone rolled away591 from the sepulchre; and entering in they found not the body of the Lord Jesus.386 592 And it came to pass, in their perplexity about it, that behold, two men593 stood by them in shining raiment. And as they were fearful and bending their faces to the ground, they said to them, Why seek ye the living One among the dead? He is not here, but is risen:387 remember how he spoke to you, being yet in Galilee,594 saying, That the Son of man.595 must be delivered up to the hands of sinners, and be crucified, and rise the third day.” But men, and even saints, are dull to appreciate the resurrection; it brings God too near to them, for of all things none is more characteristic of Him than raising the dead, and most of all resurrection from among the dead must be learnt by Divine teaching as only He could reveal it of His grace. For this breaks in upon the whole course of the world and displays a power superior to nature, triumphant over Satan, which delivers even from Divine judgment. Here it was the Deliverer Himself: often had He told the disciples of it; He had named even the third day. Yet those who were most faithful, as they understood not at the time, so remembered not afterwards till the fact had taken place and heavenly messengers recalled His words to them afresh. “And they remembered his words; and, returning from the sepulchre,388 related596 all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene,597 and Joanna, and Mary the [mother] of James, and the rest with them, who389 told these things to the apostles. And these words appeared in their eyes as an idle tale, and they disbelieved them.”598

The resurrection of the Saviour is the foundation of the Gospel; but it is the writers of the Gospels themselves who let us know both the ignorance and the obstinate unbelief of those who were afterwards to be such devoted and honoured witnesses of Jesus. Nor need the believer wonder. For if the Gospel be the revelation of God’s grace in Christ, it supposes the utter ruin and good-for-nothingness of man. Doubtless it is humbling, but this is wholesome and needed; no sinner can be too much humbled, no saint too humble; but no humiliation should weaken for a moment our sense of the perfect grace of God. The lesson must be learnt by us in both ways; but of the two the sense of what we are as saints is far more profound than of sinners when just awakening to feel our real state before God. And this is one of the great differences between evangelicalism and the Gospel of God. Evangelicalism owns the fallen and bad estate of man as well as the mercy of God in the Lord Jesus Christ; but it is altogether short when compared with God’s standard, death and resurrection. It owns that no power but that of Jesus. can avail; but it is rather a remedy for the sick man than life in resurrection from the dead. It is the same reason which hinders saints now from appreciating themselves dead and risen with Jesus that made the disciples so slow to comprehend the words of Jesus beforehand, and even to receive the fact of His own death and resurrection when accomplished.

We may observe, too, how little flesh could glory in what we have here before us. Out of weakness truly the women were made strong, while they who ought to have been pillars were. weakness itself or worse. The words of the witnesses of the great truth seemed in their eyes a delirious dream, and they who were afterwards to call men to the faith know by their own experience, even as believers, what it is to disbelieve the resurrection. How this would enhance their estimate. of Divine grace! how call out patience no less than burning zeal in proclaiming the risen One to incredulous man! He who had so borne with them could bless any by Him Who died for all.

“But Peter, rising up, ran to the sepulchre, and stooping down he sees the linen clothes lying alone, and went away home,390 wondering at what had happened.”391599 It is to John we are indebted for telling his part and God’s analysis of his own inner man. “Then entered in therefore the other disciple also who came first to the tomb, and he saw and believed. For they had not yet known the scripture that he must rise from the dead.” “He saw and believed.” It was accepted on evidence: he no longer doubted that Jesus was risen; but it was founded upon his own sight merely of indisputable fact, not on God’s Word. “For as yet they knew not the scripture that he must rise from among the dead.” Still less was there any intelligent entrance into God’s counsels about resurrection, any adequate understanding of its necessary and glorious place in the whole scope of the truth.

Luke 24:13-35.600

Mark 16:12.

Next our Evangelist gives us fully and with the most touching detail that appearing of the risen Lord which the Gospel of Mark sums up in a single verse: “After that he was manifested in another form to two of them as they walked going into the country.”

Here I cannot doubt that it is a testimony to the walk of faith to which the Lord, no longer known after the flesh, would lead on His own. It is of no consequence who the unnamed one may have been. They were disciples staggered by the crucifixion of the Messiah, whom grace would comfort, founding their faith on the Word and giving the saints to see Jesus unseen, Whom they knew not while they looked on with natural eyes. One of the ancients, Epiphanius, conjectured the companion of Cleopas to be Nathaniel; among moderns the learned Lightfoot is confident that he was Peter. We may rest assured that both were mistaken, and that he could not have been an apostle; for on returning to Jerusalem the two found “the eleven” among those gathered together. (Verse 33.) The grand point of moment is the Lord’s grace in leading them out of human thoughts to Himself as the Object of all the Scriptures, and this, too, as first suffering, then entering His glory.

“And behold, two of them were going on the same day to a village, distant sixty392 stadia from Jerusalem, called Emmaus; and they conversed with one another about all these things which had taken place. And it came to pass while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus himself drawing nigh went with them. But their eyes were holden so as not to know him. And he said to them, What words [are] these which ye interchange with one another as ye walk and are downcast?393601 And one [of them], named Cleopas,602 answering said to him, Dost thou sojourn alone in Jerusalem and knowest not602a the things come to pass in it in these days? And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, The things concerning Jesus the Nazarean,394 who was603 a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to [the] judgment of death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was [the one] about to redeem604 Israel; but then also395 with all these things, this is the third day since these things came to pass. And withal, certain women from among us astonished us, having been early at the sepulchre, and, not having found his body, came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who say that he is alive. And some of those with us went to the sepulchre, and found even as the women also had said; but him they saw not.”605

How blessedly we see the way of the Lord Jesus drawing the hearts of men of God with the cords of a man! In resurrection He is still truly man, “the same yesterday, today, and for over,” and adapts Himself to the heart, even though, as Mark lets us know in the verse already cited, their eyes were holden so that they should not recognize their Master: He had appeared “in another form.” But He drew out their thoughts to lead them into the truth, in order that the very sorrows of His rejection, which seemed so inexplicable to them and inconsistent with their expectations, might be seen to be required by the Divine Word, and thus be a confirmation, not perilous, to their faith. They had looked for redemption by power; they now learn in His suffering to the uttermost, the Just for the unjust, redemption by blood; and not this only, but a new life out of death, and superior to it, witnessed and established and given us in Him, Satan’s power in sin and its consequences being vanquished for ever, though for the present only a matter of testimony to the world and of enjoyment by the Holy Ghost to the believer.

“And he said to them, O senseless and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!606 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter607 into his glory? And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets,608 he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Such is the real secret of unbelief in believers. They fail because they do not believe all. Having but a partial view of Divine truth, they easily exaggerate here or there; and the rather as, not reading Christ throughout Scripture, they are apt to shirk that rejection in the world now which disciples must accept or at least experience if they follow the Master, as surely as they will share His glory by and by. In the world, as it is, Christ could not but suffer; and everyone who is perfected shall be as He. It is morally inevitable as due to the Divine nature, as well as required by the Word. It could not be otherwise, God being what He is, and man a sinner in thraldom to the enemy. But now He was dead and risen; and they must know Him thus, no longer according to their old and Jewish thoughts. We have Christ’s own word for it, that He was in the mind of the Spirit in all the Scriptures; and they are blind or blinded who see Him not in every part of the Bible. He is the truth, but it is only by the Holy Ghost we can find Him even there.

A great lesson was taught during the walk to Emmaus. The accuracy and light of the Scriptures showed where men, and even believers, had overlooked much. The Jews had contented themselves with their general testimony to the hopes of the nation and the glory of the kingdom; but they had passed by, as the Lord proved, what was really deeper and now of the most essential importance — the sufferings of Christ, no less than the higher and heavenly part, at any rate, of the glories which should follow. The Lord condescended to draw the evidence from the written Word of the Old Testament, rather than to take His stand upon present facts alone, or His own fresh revelations. But more was needed than the value of Scripture thus proved, and this He supplies.

“And they drew near to the village where they were going, and he made396 as though he would go farther. And they forced him, saying, Stay 609 with us, because it is towards evening and the day is sunk low. And he went in to abide with them. And it came to pass as he was at table with them, having taken the bread, he blessed, and, having broken, gave [it] to them.610 And their eyes were opened thoroughly, and they recognised him, and he disappeared from them.”

Not that the occasion was the Eucharist, but that He chose the act of breaking the bread, which He had previously made the symbol of His death for us, to be the moment and means of making Himself known to the two disciples. Thus was He to be known henceforward, no longer after the flesh, but dead and risen. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new, and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.

Hence, too, the moment he was recognised He vanished from them. It is no longer a visible Messiah, any more than a living one after the flesh. He is only rightly seen by the Christian when unseen, yet He must have come and accomplished the mighty work of redemption first. For this purpose He had died, having glorified His Father on the earth and finished the work given Him to do. But this done, He does not yet take His ‘ old and predicted place on the throne of David. This awaits the day when Israel shall be brought back repentant and blessed in their own land, under His glorious reign, and all the earth shall reap the fruits to the praise and glory of God the Father. But, for the present, new things have come in. The Redeemer is gone to heaven, not come to Zion, and on earth He is known by His own disciples in the breaking of bread, His presence being exclusively known to faith.

“And they said to one another, Was not our heart burning in us, as he spoke to us on the way,397 as he opened to us the scriptures? And having risen up that hour, they returned to Jerusalem and found assembled the eleven and those with them saying, The Lord is indeed risen and hath appeared to Simon.611 And they related the things on the way, and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.” As the angel had expressly said, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter” (Mark 16:7), so He appeared to Cephas (1 Corinthians 15:5), then to the twelve.

Luke 24:36-49.

Mark 16:14-18; John 20:19-23.

And so it is taught us here, “And while they were talking these things, he himself398 stood in their midst, and says to them peace to you.612 But confounded and being frightened, they supposed they beheld a spirit.”613 And he said to them, Why are ye troubled, and wherefore do reasonings613a rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet that it is I myself; handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones even as ye see me have. And having said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.399 And while they were yet unbelieving for joy and wondering, he said to them, Have ye anything to eat here? And they gave him part of a broiled fish [and of a honeycomb].400 And having taken, he ate before them.” It is the Lord Himself, risen from the dead, but a real man, with hands and feet, capable of being handled and seen, not a spirit, but a spiritual body. Of this He gave the fullest proof by proceeding to eat in their presence. As having a body He could eat; as having a spiritual body He did not need to eat.614 Thus the resurrection of the body had its glorious attestation in His own person, the needed and weightiest possible support of their faith. Christianity gives an immensely enlarged scope to the body as well as the soul; for our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Ghost as surely as we are. bought with a price, and exhortations to Christian holiness are founded on this one wondrous fact. Christ was the great Exemplar of man; His body was the temple of God. We are only fitted for it through His redemption.615

But, further, there is a message. “And he said unto them, These [are] the401 words which I spake unto you, while being yet with you, that all that must be fulfilled that is written in the law of Moses and prophets and psalms concerning me. Then he thoroughly opened their understanding to understand the scriptures, and said to them, Thus it is written402 that the Christ should suffer and arise from [the] dead the third day;616 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all the Gentiles beginning at Jerusalem.617 Ye are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but do ye settle in the city,403 until ye be endued with power from on high.” It was no new thing for the Lord to disclose His death and resurrection. He had been intimating it from before the transfiguration with increasing plainness; but they had heeded little a truth the need of which they did not feel for themselves and the moral glory of which for God they could not yet see. It was impossible to affirm with truth that it was a surprise to Jesus, or that law, psalms, and prophets had overlooked it, for on this truth of His death and resurrection hang the types as a whole, and this is the deepest burden of the prophets and of the psalmist. But now the suffering Christ was risen from among the dead, and repentance and remission of sins must be preached in His name to all the nations with Jerusalem as the starting-point. What wondrous grace! The nations had slain Him at Jerusalem’s instigation, but God is active in His love above all the evil of man or of His own people.

It is well to note, however, that repentance is preached with remission of sins; nor can we exaggerate its importance if we do not misuse it to depreciate God’s work of grace by Jesus Christ our Lord. Many, no doubt, misuse it, and more misunderstand it; but repentance abides a necessity for every soul which looks out of its sins to the Saviour. He has finished the work by which comes remission of sins to the believer; but it is not the faith of God’s elect where the soul overlooks its sinfulness, where the Holy Spirit does not produce self-judgment by the Word of God applied to the conscience. Faith, without such a recognition and self-loathing and confession of our sins and state, is only intellectual, and will leave us to lie down in sorrow when we most need solid ground and peace with God. Repentance, on the other hand, Is no preparation for faith, but the accompaniment of it, and is alone real where faith is of God. It is deepened, too, as faith sees more clearly.

It is well to note also that the promise of the Father is distinct from repentance and remission of sins, as it is, again, from the opening of the understanding to understand the Scriptures. These the disciples had already; they had to wait for the promise of the Father. Till the descent of the Spirit they were not endued with power from on high. Then the Holy Ghost, sent down from heaven, wrought variously to the glory of the Lord.

Luke 24:50-53.618

“And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, be blessed them. And it came to pass, while he was blessing them, he was separated 619 from them, and was carried up into heaven.404 And they having done him homage,405 returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.”406 To that spot outside Jerusalem Jesus had often gone. There was the family that He loved; thither He leads the disciples for the last time on earth, and thence, in the act of blessing, with uplifted hands, He parts from them and is borne up into heaven — the risen Man, the Lord from heaven. What a contrast with him who fell, and all the earth through him, transmitting the curse to his sad descendants! Here it is not the first Adam, but the Last; and “as is the heavenly, such are they also who are heavenly.” Filled with peace and joy, what could they do but continually praise and bless God, Who had in the second Man accomplished His own will, though at infinite cost, and perfected them that were sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. They were, and are, perfected in perpetuity: no less a result than this satisfies God’s estimate of the sacrifice of His Son. But assuredly the promise of the Father, when fulfilled, did not make the joy less or the praise more scanty. For He is not only power for testimony, but also for the soul, the One Who gives us now the full taste of fellowship, and causes worship to ascend to our God and Father in spirit and in truth. But of this the sequel of Luke, commonly called the Acts of the Apostles, is the due and full witness, and there, if the Lord will, we may enter into the detailed account which the Spirit has given us of His work, whether in individuals or in the Church, to the glory of the Lord Jesus.407 Truly our fellowship is with the Father and With His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

384 Cf. “Introductory Lectures,” pp. 395-407.

385 After “prepared,” in the rest of the verse, Blass, with Acorr DX ΓΠΔ and all later uncials, nearly all minuscules, Syrr. Sah. Arm. and Eusebius, adds “and some others with them.” Other Edd. omit, as BCpm L, 33, most Old Lat. Memph.

386 “Of the Lord Jesus”: so Weiss, with some earlier Edd., after ABCL, all other uncials but one, all cursives, Syrr. other than Cureton’s and Sinai, Memph. Arm. Aeth. Blass omits the words, which W. H., exceptionally following D and Old Latt., discredits. Cf. R.V. mar-. and see, further, note 592 in App.

387 “He is not here, but is risen”: so all authorities except D and Itala. Nevertheless, W. H., Blass, and Weiss agree in treating the words as no part of the primitive text.

388 “From the sepulchre”: retained by Weiss, as in all authorities but those mentioned in last note, with Memph. and Arm. W. H. brackets; Blass omits.

389 “Who”: so corr X, etc., Syrr. Memph. Arm. Edd. (Revv.) reject, as pm ABDEFGH, etc., Old Lat. Sah. Aeth., according to which there would be two sentences in the verse; the first ending either with “James” (W. H.) or with “them” (Weiss). Blass omits all after “them.”

390 Such is the true connection and rendering of πρὸς ἑαυτόν with ἀπῆλθε, not with θαυμάζων, as in the Authorised Version and many others. (B.T.)

391 This verse is retained by Lachm. and Treg., but rejected by Tisch. and Blass, and discredited by W. H. and Weiss, who suppose that it was drawn from John 20:4. It is, however, attested by AB, 1, Syrrcu sin. The Syrr., with corr and B, omit (as Revv.) κείμενα, “lying (laid),” whilst. pm AK Π have not μόνα, “alone (by themselves). “

392 “Sixty”: so Edd., after ABDL, etc. “One hundred and sixty” is in [Kpm Npm Π, etc., and Old Lat.

393 The reading of the Sinaitic, Alexandrian (first hand it would seem), Vatican, Parisian (L. ἔστησαν), confirmed by some excellent ancient versions [Egyptian], is ἐστάθησαν [R.V. “stood still”], the effect of which would be to close the Lord’s question with “as ye walk,” and to present the words “and they stood downcast” as the consequence before Cleopas answers. This appears to me as remarkably graphic as it is according to the manner of Luke. (B.T.) So Tisch., Treg., W. H., and Weiss. Blass, following D, omits περιπατοῦντες καὶ ἔστε, and also rejects ἐστάθη αν.

394 “Nazarean”: so Blass, after ADN, etc. Edd. “Nazarene,” with BL.

395 “Also”: so Edd. with BDL, 1, 33, and Arm. It is not in ANP, etc.

396 Blass reads, as T.R., the imperfect ( προσεποιειτο, “he was for m.”) with PX, etc.; other Edd., the aorist ( προσεποιήσατο), as ABDL, 1.

397 AEPX Δ, etc., 1, 69, Amiat. put “and” before the second “as.” This the Edd. omit, with BDL, 33, Memph.

398 “He himself”: so Edd., as BDL, Syrrcu sin Sah. “Jesus himself” is the reading of AEG, with later uncials and most minuscules (1, 33, 69) and Memph. The words, “and says to them, Peace to you,” although accepted by Lachm. and Treg., are questioned by most of the Edd., because of absence from D and copies of Old Lat. See John 20:19. They are in all other MSS. and versions.

399 Verse 40 (cf. verse 12) is doubted by most Edd. from its omission in D, the Syrrcu sin and Old Lat., also because of likeness to John 20:20. It is in AB, all later uncials but Beza’s, in the cursives, the other Syrr. and the Egyptians, and is upheld by Lachm. and Treg.

400 [“And a honeycomb”]: so EHKM and the other later uncials, the cursives 1, 33, 69, most Syrr. and Old Lat., Memph. Aeth. Arm. Edd. omit, following ABDL Π, Syrsin.

401 “The”: so, Blass, as T.R., from , etc., Syrr. and Latt. Other Edd. follow ABDKL, etc., 33, and Aeth., which have “my.”

402 “Thus it is written,” etc.: so Edd. after BCpm DL, Memph. Aeth. “Thus it behoved” is the reading of ACcorr N, etc., most cursives (1, 33, 69), Syrr. and Vulg.

403 After “city,” ACcorr X ΓΛΠ, all later uncials, all cursives, Syrr. Arm. Aeth., add “of Jerusalem,” which Edd. omit, following BCpm DL, most Old Lat. and Memph.

404 “And was carried up into heaven”: so Lachm., after ABCLXMΛΠ, etc., later uncials, all minuscules, most Syrr. Vulg. Memph., Cyril and Augustine. Other Edd. discredit it, following pm, D, Syrsin, some Old Lat. See W. H., App., p. 73.

405 “Having done him homage”: so Lachm. and Treg., after all MSS. except Beza’s, and versions except most of Old Lat., which other Edd. follow for the bracketing or omission (Tisch.) of these words.

406 “Praising and blessing”: so Lachm. and Treg. (text), after corr XΔM, etc., all cursives, some Old Lat., Amiat., etc. W. H. and Weiss omit “praising and,” with BCpm L, Syrrsin hier; Tisch. and Blass omit “and blessing,” with D and some Latt. Memph. and Augustine. It may be a “conflation.” At end, ABCcorr XΔ, etc., 69, Syrr. Amiat. add “Amen,” which Edd. omit, as Cpm DLΠ, 1, 33, Syrsin, several Old Lat. Memph.

407 See “The Acts of the Apostles, with a New Version of a Corrected Text, Expounded,” 2 vols. (1895).