Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
Lu 24:1-12. Angelic Announcement to the Women That Christ Is Risen—Peter's Visit to the Empty Sepulchre.
(See on Mr 16:1-8; and Mt 28:1-5).
And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
5. Why, &c.—Astonishing question! not "the risen," but "the Living One" (compare Re 1:18); and the surprise expressed in it implies an incongruity in His being there at all, as if, though He might submit to it, "it was impossible He should be holden of it" (Ac 2:24).
He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
6. in Galilee—to which these women themselves belonged (Lu 23:55).
Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
7. Saying, &c.—How remarkable it is to hear angels quoting a whole sentence of Christ's to the disciples, mentioning where it was uttered, and wondering it was not fresh in their memory, as doubtless it was in theirs! (1Ti 3:16, "seen of angels," and 1Pe 1:12).
And they remembered his words,
And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
10. Joanna—(See on Lu 8:1-3).
And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
12. Peter, &c.—(See on Joh 20:1-10).
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
Lu 24:13-35. Christ Appears to the Two Going to Emmaus.
13. two of them—One was Cleopas (Lu 24:18); who the other was is mere conjecture.
Emmaus—about seven and a half miles from Jerusalem. They probably lived there and were going home after the Passover.
And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
14-16. communed and reasoned—exchanged views and feelings, weighing afresh all the facts, as detailed in Lu 24:18-24.
drew near—coming up behind them as from Jerusalem.
eyes holden—Partly He was "in another form" (Mr 16:12), and partly there seems to have been an operation on their own vision; though certainly, as they did not believe that He was alive, His company as a fellow traveller was the last thing they would expect,
And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
17-24. communications, &c.—The words imply the earnest discussion that had appeared in their manner.
And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
18. knowest not, &c.—If he knew not the events of the last few days in Jerusalem, he must be a mere sojourner; if he did, how could he suppose they would be talking of anything else? How artless all this!
And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
19. Concerning Jesus, &c.—As if feeling it a relief to have someone to unburden his thoughts and feelings to, this disciple goes over the main facts in his own desponding style, and this was just what our Lord wished.
And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
21. we trusted, &c.—They expected the promised Deliverance at His hand, but in the current sense of it, not by His death.
besides all this—not only did His death seem to give the fatal blow to their hopes, but He had been two days dead already, and this was the third. It is true, they add, some of our women gave us a surprise, telling us of a vision of angels they had at the empty grave this morning that said He was alive, and some of ourselves who went thither confirmed their statement; but then Himself they saw not. A doleful tale truly, told out of the deepest despondency.
Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
25-27. fools—senseless, without understanding.
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
26. Ought not Christ—"the Christ," "the Messiah."
to suffer … and enter—that is, through the gate of suffering (and suffering "these things," or such a death) to enter into His glory. "Ye believe in the glory; but these very sufferings are the predicted gate of entrance into it."
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
27. Moses and all the prophets, &c.—Here our Lord both teaches us the reverence due to Old Testament Scripture, and the great burden of it—"Himself."
And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
28-31. made as though, &c.—(Compare Mr 6:48; Ge 18:3, 5; 32:24-26).
But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
29. constrained, &c.—But for this, the whole design of the interview had been lost; but it was not to be lost, for He who only wished to be constrained had kindled a longing in the hearts of His travelling companions which was not to be so easily put off. And does not this still repeat itself in the interviews of the Saviour with His loving, longing disciples? Else why do they say,
Abide with me from morn to eve,
For without Thee I cannot live;
Abide with me when night is nigh,
For without Thee I cannot die.
And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
30, 31. he took … and blessed … and their eyes were opened—The stranger first startles them by taking the place of master at their own table, but on proceeding to that act which reproduced the whole scene of the last Supper, a rush of associations and recollections disclosed their guest, and He stood confessed before their astonished gaze—THEIR RISEN Lord! They were going to gaze on Him, perhaps embrace Him, but that moment He is gone! It was enough.
And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
32-34. They now tell each to the other how their hearts burned—were fired—within them at His talk and His expositions of Scripture. "Ah! this accounts for it: We could not understand the glow of self-evidencing light, love, glory that ravished our hearts; but now we do." They cannot rest—how could they?—they must go straight back and tell the news. They find the eleven, but ere they have time to tell their tale, their ears are saluted with the thrilling news, "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon." Most touching and precious intelligence this. The only one of the Eleven to whom He appeared alone was he, it seems, who had so shamefully denied Him. What passed at that interview we shall never know here. Probably it was too sacred for disclosure. (See on Mr 16:7). The two from Emmaus now relate what had happened to them, and while thus comparing notes of their Lord's appearances, lo! Christ Himself stands in the midst of them. What encouragement to doubting, dark, true-hearted disciples!
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
Lu 24:36-53. Jesus Appears to the Assembled Disciples—His Ascension.
36. Jesus … stood—(See on Joh 20:19).
But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
37, 38. a spirit—the ghost of their dead Lord, but not Himself in the body (Ac 12:15; Mt 14:26).
thoughts—rather, "reasonings"; that is, whether He were risen or no, and whether this was His very self.
And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
39-43. Behold, &c.—lovingly offering them both ocular and tangible demonstration of the reality of His resurrection.
a spirit hath not—an important statement regarding "spirits."
flesh and bones—He says not "flesh and blood"; for the blood is the life of the animal and corruptible body (Ge 9:4), which "cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1Co 15:50); but "flesh and bones," implying the identity, but with diversity of laws, of the resurrection body. (See on Joh 20:24-28).
And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
41. believed not for joy, &c.—They did believe, else they had not rejoiced [Bengel]. But it seemed too good to be true (Ps 126:1, 2).
And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
42. honeycomb—common frugal fare, anciently.
And he took it, and did eat before them.
43. eat before them—that is, let them see Him doing it: not for His own necessity, but their conviction.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
44-49. These are the words, &c.—that is, "Now you will understand what seemed so dark to you when I told you about the Son of man being put to death and rising again" (Lu 18:31-34).
while … yet with you—a striking expression, implying that He was now, as the dead and risen Saviour, virtually dissevered from this scene of mortality, and from all ordinary intercourse with His mortal disciples.
law … prophets … psalms—the three Jewish divisions of the Old Testament Scriptures.
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
45. Then opened he, &c.—a statement of unspeakable value; expressing, on the one hand, Christ's immediate access to the human spirit and absolute power over it, to the adjustment of its vision, and permanent rectification for spiritual discernment (than which it is impossible to conceive a stronger evidence of His proper divinity); and, on the other hand, making it certain that the manner of interpreting the \ Old Testament which the apostles afterwards employed (see the Acts and Epistles), has the direct sanction of Christ Himself.
And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
46. behoved Christ—(See on Lu 24:26).
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
47. beginning at Jerusalem—(1) As the metropolis and heart of the then existing kingdom of God:—"to the Jew first" (Ro 1:16; Ac 13:46; Isa 2:3, see on Mt 10:6). (2) As the great reservoir and laboratory of all the sin and crime of the nation, thus proclaiming for all time that there is mercy in Christ for the chief of sinners. (See on Mt 23:37).
And ye are witnesses of these things.
48. witnesses—(Compare Ac 1:8, 22).
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
49. I send—the present tense, to intimate its nearness.
promise of my Father—that is, what My Father hath promised; the Holy Ghost, of which Christ is the authoritative Dispenser (Joh 14:7; Re 3:1; 5:6).
endued—invested, or clothed with; implying, as the parallels show (Ro 13:14; 1Co 15:53; Ga 3:27; Col 3:9, 10), their being so penetrated and acted upon by conscious supernatural power (in the full sense of that word) as to stamp with divine authority the whole exercise of their apostolic office, including, of course, their pen as well as their mouth.
And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
50-53. to Bethany—not to the village itself, but on the "descent" to it from Mount Olivet.
And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
51. while he blessed … parted, &c.—Sweet intimation! Incarnate Love, Crucified Love, Risen Love, now on the wing for heaven, waiting only those odorous gales which were to waft Him to the skies, goes away in benedictions, that in the character of Glorified, Enthroned Love, He might continue His benedictions, but in yet higher form, until He come again! And oh, if angels were so transported at His birth into this scene of tears and death, what must have been their ecstasy as they welcomed and attended Him "far above all heavens" into the presence-chamber, and conducted Him to the right hand of the Majesty on High! Thou hast an everlasting right, O my Saviour, to that august place. The brightness of the Father's glory, enshrined in our nature, hath won it well; for He poured out His soul unto death, and led captivity captive, receiving gifts for men, yea for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Thou art the King of glory, O Christ. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, be lifted up, ye everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in! Even so wilt Thou change these vile bodies of ours, that they may be like unto Thine own glorious body; and then with gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought, they shall enter into the King's palace!
And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
52. worshipped him—certainly in the strictest sense of adoration.
returned to Jerusalem—as instructed to do: but not till after gazing, as if entranced, up into the blue vault in which He had disappeared, they were gently checked by two shining ones, who assured them He would come again to them in the like manner as He had gone into heaven. (See on Ac 1:10, 11). This made them return, not with disappointment at His removal, but "with great joy."
And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
53. were continually in the temple—that is, every day at the regular hours of prayer till the day of Pentecost.