World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
24. The Resurrection, Ascension
1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came unto the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4And it came to pass, while they were perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel: 5and as they were affrighted and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7saying that the Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8And they remembered his words, 9and returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. 10Now they were Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James: and the other women with them told these things unto the apostles. 11And these words appeared in their sight as idle talk; and they disbelieved them. 12But Peter arose, and ran unto the tomb; and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths by themselves; and he departed to his home, wondering at that which was come to pass. 13And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was threescore furlongs from Jerusalem. 14And they communed with each other of all these things which had happened. 15And it came to pass, while they communed and questioned together, that Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17And he said unto them, What communications are these that ye have one with another, as ye walk? And they stood still, looking sad. 18And one of them, named Cleopas, answering said unto him, Dost thou alone sojourn in Jerusalem and not know the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21But we hoped that it was he who should redeem Israel. Yea and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things came to pass. 22Moreover certain women of our company amazed us, having been early at the tomb; 23and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24And certain of them that were with us went to the tomb, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25And he said unto them, O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26Behooved it not the Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into his glory? 27And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they were going: and he made as though he would go further. 29And they constrained him, saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in to abide with them. 30And it came to pass, when he had sat down with them to meat, he took the bread and blessed; and breaking it he gave to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32And they said one to another, Was not our heart burning within us, while he spake to us in the way, while he opened to us the scriptures? 33And they rose up that very hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35And they rehearsed the things that happened in the way, and how he was known of them in the breaking of the bread. 36And as they spake these things, he himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they beheld a spirit. 38And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and wherefore do questionings arise in your heart? 39See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having. 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here anything to eat? 42And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish. 43And he took it, and ate before them. 44And he said unto them, These are my words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me. 45Then opened he their mind, that they might understand the scriptures; 46and he said unto them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; 47and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48Ye are witnesses of these things. 49And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high. 50And he led them out until they were over against Bethany: and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53and were continually in the temple, blessing God.
43. Verily I tell thee. Though Christ had not yet made a public triumph over death, still he displays the efficacy and fruit of his death in the midst of his humiliation. And in this way he shows that he never was deprived of the power of his kingdom; for nothing more lofty or magnificent belongs to a divine King, 278278 “Au Roy celeste;” — “to the heavenly King.” than to restore life to the dead. So then, Christ, although, struck by the hand of God, he appeared to be a man utterly abandoned, yet as he did not cease to be the Savior of the world, he was always endued with heavenly power for fulfilling his office. And, first, we ought to observe his inconceivable readiness in so kindly receiving the robber without delay, and promising to make him a partaker 279279 “De le faire participant.” of a happy life. There is therefore no room to doubt that he is prepared to admit into his kingdom all, without exception, who shall apply to him. Hence we may conclude with certainty that we shall be saved, provided that he remember us; and it is impossible that he shall forget those who commit to him their salvation.
But if a robber found the entrance into heaven so easy, because, while he beheld on all sides ground for total despair, he relied on the grace of Christ; much more will Christ, who has now vanquished death, stretch out his hand to us from his throne, to admit us to be partakers of life. For since Christ has
nailed to his cross the handwriting which was opposed to us,
and has destroyed death and Satan, and in his resurrection has triumphed over the prince of the world, (John 12:31,) it would be unreasonable to suppose that the passage from death to life will be more laborious and difficult to us than to the robber. Whoever then in dying shall commit to Christ, in true faith, the keeping of his soul, will not be long detained or allowed to languish in suspense; but Christ will meet his prayer with the same kindness which he exercised towards the robber. Away, then, with that detestable contrivance of the Sophists about retaining the punishment when the guilt is removed; for we see how Christ, in acquitting him from condemnation, frees him also from punishment. Nor is this inconsistent with the fact, that the robber nevertheless endures to the very last the punishment which had been pronounced upon him; for we must not here imagine any compensation which serves the purpose of satisfaction for appeasing the judgment of God, (as the Sophists dream,) but the Lord merely trains his elect by corporal punishments to displeasure and hatred of sin. Thus, when the robber has been brought by fatherly discipline to self-denial Christ receives him, as it were, into his bosom, and does not send him away to the fire of purgatory.
We ought likewise to observe by what keys the gate of heaven was opened to the robber; for neither papal confession nor satisfactions are here taken into account, but Christ is satisfied with repentance and faith, so as to receive him willingly when he comes to him. And this confirms more fully what I formerly suggested, that if any man disdain to abide by the footsteps of the robber, and to follow in his path, he deserves everlasting destruction, because by wicked pride he shuts against himself the gate of heaven. And, certainly, as Christ has given to all of us, in the person of the robber, a general pledge of obtaining forgiveness, so, on the other hand, he has bestowed on this wretched man such distinguished honor, in order that, laying aside our own glory, we may glory in nothing but the mercy of God alone. If each of us shall truly and seriously examine the subject, we shall find abundant reason to be ashamed of the prodigious mass of our crimes, so that we shall not be offended at having for our guide and leader a poor wretch, who obtained salvation by free grace. Again, as the death of Christ at that time yielded its fruit, so we infer from it that souls, when they have departed from their bodies, continue to live; otherwise the promise of Christ, which he confirms even by an oath, would be a mockery.
Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. We ought not to enter into curious and subtle arguments about the place of paradise. Let us rest satisfied with knowing that those who are engrafted by faith into the body of Christ are partakers of that life, and thus enjoy after death a blessed and joyful rest, until the perfect glory of the heavenly life is fully manifested by the coming of Christ.
One point still remains. What is promised to the robber does not alleviate his present sufferings, nor make any abatement of his bodily punishment. This reminds us that we ought not to judge of the grace of God by the perception of the flesh; for it will often happen that those to whom God is reconciled are permitted by him to be severely afflicted. So then, if we are dreadfully tormented in body, we ought to be on our guard lest the severity of pain hinder us from tasting the goodness of God; but, on the contrary, all our afflictions ought to be mitigated and soothed by this single consolation, that as soon as God has received us into his favor, all the afflictions which we endure are aids to our salvation. This will cause our faith not only to rise victorious over all our distresses, but to enjoy calm repose amidst the endurance of sufferings.
Luke 24:8. And they remembered his words; by which we are taught that, though they had made little proficiency in the doctrine of Christ, still it was not lost, but was choked up, until in due time it yielded fruit.
Luke 24:12. And Peter arose, and ran to the tomb. I have no doubt that Luke here inverts the order of the narrative, as may be readily inferred from the words of John, (20:3;) and, in my opinion, the word ran (ἔδραμεν) might justly be rendered as a pluperfect tense, had run. All who possess a tolerable acquaintance with Scripture are aware that it is customary with Hebrew writers to relate afterwards those occurrences which had been omitted in their proper place. Luke mentions this circumstance for the purpose of showing more strongly the obstinacy of the apostles ill despising the words of the women, when Peter had already seen the empty grave, and had been compelled to wonder at an evident proof of the resurrection.
Luke 24:13. And lo, two of them. Although Mark touches slightly and briefly on this narrative, and Matthew and John say not a single word respecting it; yet as it is highly useful to be known and worthy of being remembered, it is not without reason that Luke treats it with so much exactness. But I have already mentioned on various occasions, that each of the Evangelists had his portion so appropriately assigned to him by the Spirit of God, that what is not to be found in one or two of them may be learned from the others. For there are also many appearances 312312 “Car aussi bien il y a pluieurs recits de diverses fois que Christ s’est monstré;” — “for there are also many narratives of various times that Christ showed himself.” which are mentioned by John, but are passed over in silence by our three Evangelists.
Before I come to the minute details, it will be proper to begin with stating briefly, that those were two chosen witnesses, by whom the Lord intended, not to convince the apostles that he was risen, but to reprove their slowness; for though at first; they were of no service, yet their testimony, strengthened by other aids, had at length its due weight with the apostles. Who they were is uncertain, except that from the name of one of them, whom we shah find that Luke shortly afterwards calls Cleopas, we may conjecture that they did not belong; to the eleven. Emmaus was an ancient, and by no means inconsiderable, town, which the Romans afterwards called Nicopolis and was not at a great distance from Jerusalem, for sixty furlongs are not more than seven thousand and four hundred paces. 313313 “Sept mille et quatre cens paas d’Italie, qui font quatre lieues et demie ou environ;” — “seven thousand and four hundred Italian paces, which are equal to four leagues and a half, or thereabouts.” But the place is named by Luke, not so much on account of its celebrity, as to add certainty to the narrative.
14. And they were conversing with each other. It was a proof of godliness that they endeavored to cherish their faith in Christ: though small and weak; for their conversation had no other object than to employ their reverence for their Master as a shield against the offense of the cross. Now though their questions and disputes showed an ignorance which was worthy of reproof — since, after having been informed that the resurrection of Christ would take place, they were astonished at hearing it mentioned—still their docility afforded Christ an opportunity of removing their error. For many persons intentionally put questions, because they have resolved obstinately to reject the truth; but when men are desirous to embrace the truth submissively, though they may waver on account of very small objections, and stop at slight difficulties, their holy desire to obey God finds favor in his sight, so that he stretches out his hand to them, brings them to full conviction, and does not permit them to remain irresolute. We ought, at least, to hold it as certain, that when we inquire about Christ, if this be done from a modest desire to learn, the door is opened for him to assist us; nay, we may almost say that we then call for himself to be our Teacher; as irreligious men, by their unholy speeches, drive him to a distance from them.
16. But their eyes were restrained. The Evangelist expressly states this, lest any one should think that the aspect of Christ’s body was changed, and that the features of his countenance were different from what they had formerly been. 314314 “Et qu’il y eut autres traits de visage qu’auparavant.” For though Christ remained like himself, he was not recognized, because the eyes of beholders were held; and this takes away all suspicion of a phantom or false imagination. But hence we learn how great is the weakness of all our senses, since neither eyes nor ears discharge their office, unless so far as power is incessantly communicated to them from heaven. Our members do indeed possess their natural properties; but to make us more fully sensible that they are held by us at the will of another, God retains in his own hand the use of them, so that we ought ever to reckon it to be one of his daily favors, that our ears hear and our eyes see; for if he does not every hour quicken our senses, all their power will immediately give way. I readily acknowledge that our senses are not frequently held in the same manner as happened at that time, so as to make so gross a mistake about an object presented to us; but by a single example God shows that it is in his power to direct the faculties which he has. bestowed, so as to assure us that nature is subject to his will. Now if the bodily eyes, to which peculiarly belongs the power of seeing, are held, whenever it pleases the Lord, so as not to perceive the objects presented to them, our understandings would possess no greater acuteness, even though their original condition remained unimpaired; but no in this wretched corruption, after having been deprived of their light, they are liable to innumerable deceptions, and are sunk into such gross stupidity, that they can do nothing but commit mistakes, as happens to us incessantly. The proper discrimination between truth and falsehood, therefore, does not arise from the sagacity of our own mind, but comes to us from the Spirit of wisdom. But it is chiefly in the contemplation of heavenly things that our stupidity is discovered; for not only do we imagine false appearances to be true, but we turn the clear light into darkness.
17. What are those discourses which you hold with each other? What was at that time, as we perceive, done openly by Christ, we daily feel to be accomplished in ourselves in a secret manner; which is, that of his own accord he approaches us unperceived for the purpose of instructing us. Now from the reply of Cleopas it is still more evident that, as I have lately mentioned, though they were in doubt and uncertainty about the resurrection of Christ, yet they had in their hearts a reverence for his doctrine, so that they were far from having any inclination to revolt. For they do not expect that Christ will anticipate them by making himself known, or that this fellow-traveler, whoever he may be, will speak of him respectfully; but, on the contrary, having but a small and obscure light, Cleopas throws out a few sparks on an unknown man, which were intended to enlighten his mind, if he were ignorant and uninformed. The name of Christ was, at that time, so generally held in hatred and detestation, that it was not safe to speak of him respectfully; but spurning from him suspicion, he calls Christ a prophet of God, and declares that he is one of his disciples. And though this designation falls greatly below the Divine Majesty of Christ, yet the commendation which he bestows, though moderate, is laudable; for Cleopas had no other intention than to procure for Christ disciples who would submit to his Gospel. It is uncertain, however, if it was through ignorance that Cleopas spoke of Christ in terms less magnificent than the case required, or if he intended to begin with first principles, which were better known, and to rise higher by degrees. Certain it is, that a little afterwards, he does not simply place Christ in the ordinary rank of prophets, but says that he and others believed him to be the redeemer.
19. Powerful in deed and in word. Luke has employed nearly the same form of expression in reference to the person of Stephen, (Acts 7:22,) where he says of Moses, by way of commendation, that he was powerful in words and in actions. But in this passage it is uncertain if it is on account of miracles that Christ is said to be powerful in actions, (as if it had been said that he was endued with divine virtues which proved that he was sent from heaven;) or if the phrase is more extensive, and means that he excelled both in ability to teach, and in holiness of life and other remarkable endowments. I prefer the latter of these views.
Before God and all the people. The addition of these words ought not to be reckoned superfluous; for they mean that the high excellence of Christ was so well known, and was demonstrated by such undoubted proofs, that he had no hypocrisy or vain ostentation. And hence we may obtain a brief definition of a true Prophet, namely, that to what he speaks he will likewise add power in actions, and will not only endeavor to appear excellent before men, but to act with sincerity as under the eyes of God.
21. But we hoped. From what follows it is evident that the hope which they had entertained respecting Christ was not broken off, though at first sight such might appear to be the import of their words. But as a person who had received no previous instruction in the Gospel might be apt to be prejudiced by the narrative which he was about to give respecting the condemnation of Christ, that he was condemned by the rulers of the Church, Cleopas meets this offense by the hope of redemption. And though he afterwards shows that it is with trembling and hesitation that he continues in this hope, yet he industriously collects all that can contribute to its support. For it is probable that he mentions the third day for no other reason than that the Lord had promised that after three days he would rise again. When he afterwards relates that the women had not fouled the body, and that they tad seen a vision of angels, and that what the women had said about the empty grave was likewise confirmed by the testimony of the men, the whole amounts to this, that Christ had risen. Thus the holy man, hesitating between faith and fear, employs what is adapted to nourish faith, and struggles against fear to the utmost of his power.
25. And he said to them. This reproof appears to be too harsh and severe for a weak man such as this was; but whoever attends to all the circumstances will have no difficulty in perceiving that our Lord had good reason for rebuking so sharply those on whom he had long bestowed labor to little purpose, and almost without any fruit. For it ought to be observed, that; what is here said was not confined to these two persons, but, as a reproof of a common fault, was intended to be conveyed by their lips to the rest of their companions. So frequently had Christ forewarned them of his death — so frequently had he even discoursed about a new and spiritual life, and confirmed his doctrine by the inspired statements of the prophets — that he would seem to have spoken to the deaf, or rather to blocks and stones; for they are struck with such horror at his death, that they know not to what hand to turn. This hesitation, therefore, he justly attributes to folly, and assigns as the reason of it their carelessness in not having been more ready to believe. Nor does he only reprove them because, while they had the best Teacher, they were dull and slow to learn, but because they had not attended to the instructions of the Prophets; as if he had said, that their insensibility admitted of no excuse, because it was owing to themselves alone, since the doctrine of the Prophets was abundantly clear, and had been fully expounded to them. In like manner, the greater part of men, at the present day, remain in ignorance through their own fault, because they are obstinate, and refuse to be instructed. But let us observe that Christ, perceiving that his disciples are excessively sluggish; commences with reproof, in order to arouse them; for this is the way in which we must subdue those whom we have found to be hardened or indolent.
26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things? There is no room to doubt that our Lord discoursed to them about the office of Messiah, as it is described by the Prophets, that they might not take offense at his death; and a journey of three or four hours afforded abundance of time for a full explanation of those matters. Christ did not, therefore, assert in three words, that Christ ought to have suffered, but explained at great length that he had been sent in order that he might expiate, by the sacrifice of his death, the sins of the world, — that he might become a curse in order to remove the curse, — that by having guilt imputed to him he might wash away the pollutions of others. Luke has put this sentence in the form of a question, in order to present it with greater force; from which it may be inferred, that he employed arguments for showing the necessity of his death. The sum of what is stated is, that the disciples are wrong in distressing their minds about their Master’s death, (without which he could not discharge what belonged to Christ; because his sacrifice was the most important part of redemption;) for in this way they shut the gate, that he might not enter into his kingdom. This ought to be carefully observed; for since Christ is deprived of the honor due to him, if he is not reckoned to be a sacrifice for sins, the only way by which he could enter into his glory was that humiliation or emptying, (Philippians 2:7,) out of which the Redeemer had arisen. But we see that no trivial offense is committed among at the present day, by the inversion of this order; for among the multitude of those who declare, in magnificent language, that Christ is King, and who extol him by divine titles, hardly one person in ten thinks of the grace which has been brought to us by his death.
27. And beginning at Moses. This passage shows us in what manner Christ is made known to us through the Gospel. It is when light is thrown on the knowledge of him by the Law and the Prophets. For never was there a more able or skillful teacher of the Gospel than our Lord himself; and we see that he borrows from the Law and the Prophets the proof of his doctrine. If it be objected that he began with easy lessons, that the disciples might gradually dismiss the Prophets, and pass on to the perfect Gospel, this conjecture is easily refuted; for we shall afterwards find it stated, that all the apostles had their understanding opened, not to be wise without the assistance of the Law, but to understand the Scriptures. In order that Christ may be made known to us through the Gospel, it is therefore necessary that Moses and the Prophets should go before as guides, to show us the way. It is necessary to remind readers of this, that they may not lend an ear to fanatics, who, by suppressing the Law and the Prophets, wickedly mutilate the Gospel; as if God intended that any testimony which he has ever given respecting his Son should become useless.
In what manner we must apply to Christ those passages respecting him which are to be found in every part of the Law and the Prophets, we have not now leisure to explain. 315315 “Cela passeroit la mesure de ce present oeuvre;” — “that would exceed the limits of the present work.” Let it suffice to state briefly, that there are good reasons why Christ is called the end of the law, (Romans 10:4.) For however obscurely and at a distance Moses may exhibit Christ in shadows, rather than in a full portrait, (Hebrews 10:1,) this, at least, is beyond dispute, that unless there be in the family of Abraham one exalted Head, under whom the people may be united in one body, the covenant which God made with the holy fathers will be nullified and revoked. Besides, since God commanded that the tabernacle and the ceremonies of the law should be adjusted to a heavenly pattern, (Exodus 25:40; Hebrews 8:5,) it follows that the sacrifices and the other parts of the service of the temple, if the reality of them is to be found nowhere else, would be an idle and useless sport. 316316 “Un jeu d’enfans;” — “a game for children.” This very argument is copiously illustrated by the apostle, (Hebrews 9:1;) for, assuming this principle, that the visible ceremonies of the law are shadows of spiritual things, he shows that in the whole of the legal priesthood, in the sacrifices, and in the form of the sanctuary, we ought to seek Christ.
Bucer, too, somewhere throws out a judicious conjecture, that, amidst this obscurity, the Jews were accustomed to pursue a certain method of interpreting Scripture which had been handed down to them by tradition from the fathers. But that I may not involve my inquiries in any uncertainty, I shall satisfy myself with that natural and simple method which is found universally in all the prophets, who were eminently skilled in the exposition of the Law. From the Law, therefore, we may properly learn Christ, if we consider that the covenant which God made with the fathers was founded on the Mediator; that the sanctuary, by which God manifested the presence of his grace, was consecrated by his blood; that the Law itself, with its promises, was sanctioned by the shedding of blood; that a single priest was chosen out of the whole people, to appear in the presence of God, in the name of all, not as an ordinary mortal, but clothed in sacred garments; and that no hope of reconciliation with God was held out to men but through the offering of sacrifice. Besides, there is a remarkable prediction, that the kingdom would be perpetuated in the tribe of Judah, (Genesis 49:10.) The prophets themselves, as we have hinted, drew far more striking portraits of the Mediator, though they had derived their earliest acquaintance with him from Moses; for no other office was assigned to them than to renew the remembrance of the covenant, to point out more clearly the spiritual worship of God, to found on the Mediator the hope of salvation, and to show more clearly the method of reconciliation. Yet since it had pleased God to delay the full revelation till the coming of his Son, the interpretation of them was not superfluous.
28. And they drew near to the village. There is no reason for supposing, as some commentators have done, that this was a different place from Emmaus; for the journey was not so long as to make it necessary for them to take rest for the night at a nearer lodging. We know that seven thousand paces—even though a person were to walk slowly for his own gratification—would be accomplished in four hours at the utmost; and, therefore, I have no doubt that Christ had now reached Emmaus.
And he seemed as if he would go farther. Now as to the question, Can insincerity apply to him who is the eternal truth of God? I answer, that the Son of God was under no obligation to make all his designs known. Still, as insincerity of any kind is a sort of falsehood, the difficulty is not yet removed; more especially as this example is adduced by many to prove that they are at liberty to tell lies. But I reply, that Christ might without falsehood have pretended what is here mentioned, in the same manner that he gave himself out to be a stranger passing along the road; for there was the same reason for both. A somewhat more ingenious solution is given by Augustine, (in his work addressed To Consentius, Book II., chap. 13, and in the book of Questions on the Gospels, chap. 51,) for he chooses to enumerate this kind of feigning among tropes and figures, and afterwards among parables and fables. For my own part, I am satisfied with this single consideration, that as Christ for the time threw a veil over the eyes of those with whom he was conversing, so that he had assumed a different character, and was regarded by them as all ordinary stranger, so, when he appeared for the time to intend to go farther, it was not through pretending any thing else than what he had resolved to do, but because he wished to conceal the manner of his departure; for none will deny that he did go farther, since he had then withdrawn from human society. So then by this feigning he did not deceive his disciples, but held them for a little in suspense, till the proper time should arrive for making himself known. It is, therefore, highly improper to attempt to make Christ an advocate of falsehood; and we are no more at liberty to plead his example for feigning any thing, than to endeavor to equal his divine power in shutting the eyes of men. Our safest course is to adhere to the rule which has been laid down to us, to speak with truth and simplicity; not that our Lord himself ever departed from the law of his Father, but because, without confining himself to the letter of the commandments, he kept by the true meaning of the law; but we, on account of the weakness of our senses, need to be restrained in a different manner.
30. He took bread. Augustine, and the greater part of other commentators along with him, have thought that Christ gave the bread, not as an ordinary meal, but as the sacred symbol of his body. And, indeed, it might be said with some plausibility, that the Lord was at length recognized in the spiritual mirror of the Lord’s Supper; for the disciples did not know him, when they beheld him with the bodily eyes. But as this conjecture rests on no probable grounds, I choose rather to view the words of Luke as meaning that Christ, in taking the bread, gave thanks according to his custom. But it appears that he employed his peculiar and ordinary form of prayer, to which he knew that the disciples had been habitually accustomed, that, warned by this sign, they might arouse their senses. In the meantime, let us learn by the example of our Master, whenever we eat bread, to offer thanksgiving to the Author of life, — an action which will distinguish us from irreligious men.
Luke 24:31. And their eyes were opened. By these words, we are taught that there was not in Christ any metamorphosis, or variety of forms, by which he might impose on the eyes of men, (as the poets feign their Proteus,) but that, on the contrary, the eyes of beholders were mistaken, because they were covered; just as, shortly afterwards, he vanished from the eyes of those very persons, not because his body was in itself invisible, but because God, by withdrawing their rigor, blunted their acuteness. Nor ought we to wonder that Christ, as soon as he was recognized, immediately disappeared; for it was not advantageous that they should any longer behold him, lest, as they were naturally too much addicted to the earth, they might desire again to bring him back to an earthly life. So far, then, as it was necessary to assure them of his resurrection, he made himself visible to them; but by the sudden departure, he taught them that they must seek him elsewhere than in the world, because the completion of the new life was his ascension to heaven.
32. Did not our heart burn within us? Their recognition of Christ led the disciples to a lively perception of the secret and hidden grace of the Spirit, which he had formerly bestowed upon them. For God sometimes works in his people in such a manner, that for a time they are not aware of the power of the Spirit, (of which, however, they are not destitute,) or, at least, that they do not perceive it distinctly, but only feel it by a secret movement. Thus the disciples had formerly indeed felt an ardor, which they now remember, but which they had not then observed: now that Christ has made himself known to them, they at length begin to consider the grace which they had formerly, as it were, swallowed without tasting it, and perceive that they were stupid. For they accuse themselves of indifference, as if they had said, “How did it happen that we did not recognize him while he was talking? for when he penetrated into our hearts, we ought to have perceived who he was.” But they conclude that he is Christ, not simply from the bare sign that his word was efficacious to inflame their hearts, but because they ascribe to him the honor which belongs to him, that when he speaks with the mouth, he likewise inflames their hearts inwardly by the warmth of his Spirit. Paul, indeed, boasts that the ministration of the Spirit was given to him, (2 Corinthians 3:8;) and Scripture frequently adorns the ministers of the word with such titles as the following; that they convert the hearts, enlighten the understandings, and renew men so as to become pure and holy sacrifices; but then it is not to show what they do by their own power, but rather what the Lord accomplishes by means of them. But both belong equally to Christ alone, to pronounce the outward voice, and to form the hearts efficaciously to the obedience of faith.
It cannot be doubted that he then engraved an uncommon Mark on the hearts of these two men, that they might at length perceive that in speaking he had breathed into them a divine warmth. For though the word of the Lord is always fire, yet a fiery rigor was at that time manifested in a peculiar and unusual, manner in the discourse of Christ, and was intended to be an evident proof of his divine power; for it is he alone who baptizeth in the Holy Ghost and in fire, (Luke 3:16.) Yet let us remember that it is the proper fruit of heavenly doctrine, whoever may be the minister of it, to kindle the fire of the Spirit in the hearts of men, to purify and cleanse the affections of the flesh, or rather to burn them up, and to kindle a truly fervent love of God; and by its flame, as it were, to carry away men entirely to heaven.
33. And they arose in the same hour. 320320 “Au mesme instant;” — “that very instant.” The circumstance of the time, and the distance of the places, show with what ardor those two men turned to convey the intelligence to their fellow-disciples. As they entered a lodging towards evening, it is probable that the Lord had not made himself known to them before night came on. To perform a journey of three hours in the dead of night was exceedingly inconvenient; yet they rise that very instant, and return in haste to Jerusalem. And, indeed, if they had only gone thither next day, their tardiness might have exposed them to suspicion; but as they chose rather to deprive themselves of the repose of the night than to allow the slightest delay in making the apostles partakers of their joy, the very haste gave additional credit to their narrative. Now whenLuke says that they arose in the same hour, 321321 “Au mesme instant;” — “that very instant.” it is probable that they came to the disciples about midnight. But, according to the testimony of the same Luke, the disciples were at that time conversing together; and hence we learn their anxiety, and industry, and ardor, in spending almost the whole night without sleep, and unceasingly making inquiries at each other, until the resurrection of Christ was ascertained by a multitude of testimonies.
34. Saying, The Lord is actually risen. By these words Luke means that those persons who had brought to the apostles joyful intelligence to confirm their minds, were informed by the disciples respecting another appearance. Nor can it be doubled that this mutual confirmation was the reward which God bestowed on them for their holy diligence. By a comparison of the time, we may conclude that Peter, after having returned from the sepulcher, was in a state of great perplexity and uncertainty, until Christ showed himself to him, and that, on the very day that he had visited the sepulcher, he obtained his wish. Hence arose that mutual congratulation among the eleven, that there was now no reason to doubt, because the Lord had appeared to Simon.
But this appears to disagree with the words of Mark, who says, that the eleven did not even believe those two persons; for how could it be that those who were already certain now rejected additional witnesses, and remained in their former hesitation? By saying that he is actually risen, they acknowledge that the matter is beyond all doubt. First, I reply, that the general phrase contains a synecdoche; for some were harder or less ready to believe, and Thomas was more obstinate than all the rest, (John 20:25.) Secondly, We may easily infer that they were convinced in the same way as usually happens to persons who are astonished, and who do not consider the matter calmly; and we know that such persons are continually falling into various doubts. However that may be, it is evident from Luke, that the greater part of them, in the midst of that overpowering amazement, not, only embraced willingly what was told them, but contended with their own distrust; for by the word actually they cut off all ground for doubt. And yet we shall soon afterwards see that, a second and a third time, in consequence of their astonishment, they fell back into their former doubts.
36. Jesus himself stood in the midst of them. While the Evangelist John copiously details the same narrative, (20:19,) he differs from Luke in some circumstances. Mark, too, differs somewhat in his brief statement. As to John, since he only collects what Luke omitted, both may be easily reconciled. There is no contradiction about the substance of the fact; unless some person were to raise a debate about the time: for it is there said that Jesus entered in the evening, while it is evident, from the thread of the narrative, that he appeared at a late hour in the night, when the disciples had returned from Emmaus. But I do not think it right to insist precisely on the hour of the evening. On the contrary, we may easily and properly extend to a late hour of the night what is here said, and understand it to mean that Christ came to them after the evening, when the apostles had shut the doors, and kept themselves concealed within the house. In short, John does not describe the very commencement of the night, but simply means that, when the day was past, and after sunset, and even at the dead hour of night, Christ came to the disciples contrary to their expectation.
Still there arises here another question, since Mark and Luke relate that the eleven were assembled, when Christ appeared to them; and John says that Thomas was then absent, (20:24.) But there is no absurdity in saying that the number — the eleven — is here put for the apostles themselves, though one of their company was absent. We have lately stated—and the fact makes it evident—that John enters into the details with greater distinctness, because it was his design to relate what the others had omitted. Besides, it is beyond a doubt that the three Evangelists relate the same narrative; since John expressly says that it was only twice that Christ appeared to his disciples at Jerusalem, before they went to Galilee; for he says that he appeared to them the third time at the sea of Tiberias, (21:1) He had already described two appearances of our Lord, one which took place on the day after his resurrection, (20:19,) and the other which followed eight days afterwards, (20:26) though, were any one to choose rather to explain the second appearance to be that which is found in the Gospel by Mark, I should not greatly object.
I now return to the words of Luke. He does not, indeed, say that Christ, by his divine power, opened for himself the doors which were shut, (John 20:26;) but something of this sort is indirectly suggested by the phrase which he employs, Jesus stood. For how could our Lord suddenly, during the night, stand in the midst of them, if he had not entered in a miraculous manner? The same form of salutation is employed by both, Peace be to you; by which the Hebrews mean, that for the person whom they address they wish happiness and prosperity.
37. And they were terrified and affrighted. John does not mention this terror; but as he also says that Christ showed his hands and sides to the disciples, we may conjecture that some circumstance had been omitted by him. Nor is it at all unusual with the Evangelists, when they aim at brevity, to glance only at a part of the facts. From Luke, too, we learn that the terror excited in them by the strangeness of the spectacle was such, that they dare not trust their eyes. But a little ago, they had come to the conclusion that the Lord was risen, (verse 34,) and had spoken of it unhesitatingly as a matter fully ascertained; and now, when they behold him with their eyes, their senses are struck with astonishment, so that they think he is a spirit. Though this error, which arose from weakness, was not free from blame, still they did not so far forget themselves as to be afraid of enchantments. But though they did not think that they are imposed upon, still they are more inclined to believe that an image of the resurrection is exhibited to them in vision by the Spirit, than that Christ himself, who lately died on the cross, is alive and present. So then they did not suspect that this was a vision intended to deceive them, as if it had been an idle phantom, but, seized with fear, they thought only that there was exhibited to them in spirit what was actually placed before their eyes.
38. Why are you troubled? By these words they are exhorted to lay aside terror, and regain the possession of their minds, that, having returned to the rigor of their senses, they may judge of a matter which is fully ascertained; for so long as men are seized with perturbation, they are blind amidst the clearest light. In order, therefore, that the disciples may obtain undoubted information, they are enjoined to weigh the matter with calmness and composure.
And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? In this second clause, Christ reproves another fault, which is, that by the variety of their thoughts they throw difficulties in their own way. By saying that thoughts arise, he means that the knowledge of the truth is choked in them in such a manner, that seeing they do not see, (Matthew 13:14;) for they do not restrain their wicked imaginations, but, on the contrary, by giving them free scope, they permit them to gain the superiority. And certainly we find it to be too true, that as, when the sky has been clear in the morning, clouds afterwards arise to darken the clear light of the sun; so when we allow our reasonings to arise with excessive freedom in opposition to the word of God, what formerly appeared clear to us is withdrawn from our eyes. We have a right, indeed, when any appearance of absurdity presents itself, to inquire by weighing the arguments on both sides; and, indeed, so long as matters are doubtful, our minds must inevitably be driven about in every direction: but we must observe sobriety and moderation, lest the flesh exalt itself more highly than it ought, and throw out its thoughts far and wide against heaven.
39. Look at my hands and my feet. He calls upon their bodily senses as witnesses, that they may not suppose that a shadow is exhibited to them instead of a body. And, first, he distinguishes between a corporeal man and a spirit; as if he had said, “Sight and touch will prove that I am a real man, who have formerly conversed with you; for I am clothed with that flesh which was crucified, and which still bears the marks of it.” Again, when Christ declares that his body may be touched, and that it has solid bones, this passage is justly and appropriately adduced by those who adhere to us, for the purpose of refuting the gross error about the transubstantiation of bread into the body, or about the local presence of the body, which men foolishly imagine to exist in the Holy Supper. For they would have us to believe that the body of Christ is in a place where no Mark of a body can be seen; and in this way it will follow that it has changed its nature, so that it has ceased to be what it was, and from which Christ proves it to be a real body. If it be objected, on the other hand, that his side was then pierced, and that his feet and hands were pierced and wounded by the nails, but that now Christ is in heaven without any vestige of wound or injury, it is easy to dispose of this objection; for the present question is not merely in what form Christ appeared, but what he declares as to the real nature of his flesh. Now he pronounces it to be, as it were, a distinguishing character of his body, that he may be handled, and therefore differs from a spirit. We must therefore hold that the distinction between flesh and spirit, which the words of Christ authorize us to regard as perpetual, exists in the present day.
As to the wounds, we ought to look upon this as a proof by which it was intended to prove to us all, that Christ rose rather for us them for himself; since, after having vanquished death, and obtained a blessed and heavenly immortality, yet, on our account, he continued for a time to bear some remaining marks of the cross. It certainly was an astonishing act of condescension towards the disciples, that he chose rather to want something that was necessary to render perfect the glory of the resurrection, than to deprive their faith of such a support. But it was a foolish and an old wife’s dream, to imagine that he will still continue to bear the marks of the wounds, when he shall come to judge the world.
Luke 24:41. But while they yet believed not for joy. This passage shows also that they were not purposely incredulous, like persons who deliberately resolve not to believe; but while their will led them to believe eagerly, they were held bound by the vehemence of their feelings, so that they could not rest satisfied. For certainly the joy which Luke mentions arose from nothing but faith; and yet it hindered their faith from gaining the victory. Let us therefore observe with what suspicion we ought to regard the vehemence of our feelings, which, though it may have good beginnings, hurries us out of the right path. We are also reminded how earnestly we ought to struggle against every thing that retards faith, since the joy which sprung up in the minds of the apostles from the presence of Christ was the cause of their unbelief.
43. And he took, and ate it in their presence. Here we perceive, on the other hand, how kindly and gently Christ bears with the weakness of his followers, since he does not fail to give them this new support when they are falling. And, indeed, though he has obtained a new and heavenly life, and has no more need of meat and drink than angels have, still he voluntarily condescends to join in the common usages of mortals. During the whole course of his life, he had subjected himself to the necessity of eating and drinking; and now, though relieved from that necessity, he eats for the purpose of convincing his disciples of the certainty of his resurrection. Thus we see how he disregarded himself, and chose always to be devoted to our interests. This is the true and pious meditation on this narrative, in which believers may advantageously rest, dismissing questions of mere curiosity, such as, “Was this corruptible food digested?” “What sort of nourishment did the body of Christ derive from it?” and, “What became of what did not go to nourishment?” As if it had not been in the power of Him who created all things out of nothing to reduce to nothing a small portion of food, whenever he thought fit. As Christ really tasted the fish and the honeycomb, in order to show that he was a man, so we cannot doubt that by his divine power he consumed what was not needed to pass into nourishment. Thus the angels, at the table of Abraham, (Genesis 18:1,) having been clothed with real bodies, did actually, I have no doubt, eat and drink; but yet I do not therefore admit that the meat and drink yielded them that refreshment which the weakness of the flesh demands; but as they were clothed with a human form for the sake of Abraham, so the Lord granted this favor to his servant, that those heavenly visitors ate before his tent. Now if we acknowledge that the bodies which they assumed for a time were reduced to nothing after they had discharged their embassy, who will deny that the same thing happened as to the food?
44. These are the words. Though it will afterwards appear from Matthew and Mark that a discourse similar to this was delivered in Galilee, yet I think it probable that Luke now relates what happened on the day after his resurrection. For what John says of that day, that he breathed on them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost, (20:22) agrees with the words of Luke which here immediately follow, that he opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. By these words Christ indirectly reproves their gross and shameful forgetfulness, that, though they had long ago been fully informed of his future resurrection, they were as much astonished as if it had never been mentioned to them. The import of his words is: “Why do you hesitate as if this had been a new and unexpected occurrence, while it is only what I frequently predicted to you? Why do you not rather remember my words? For if hitherto you have reckoned me worthy of credit, this ought to have been known to you from my instructions before it happened.” In short, Christ tacitly complains that his labor has been thrown away on the apostles, since his instruction has been forgotten.
All things which are written concerning me. He now rebukes them more sharply for their slowness, by declaring that he brought forward nothing that was new but that he only reminded them of what had been declared by the Law and the Prophets, with which they ought to have been familiar from their childhood. But though they had been ignorant of the whole doctrine of religion, nothing could have been more unreasonable than not to embrace readily what they knew to have undoubtedly proceeded from God; for it was a principle admitted by the whole nation, that there was no religion but what was contained in the Law and the Prophets. The present division of the Scriptures is more copious than what we find in other passages; for besides the Law and the Prophets, he adds, in the third place, the Psalms, which, though they might with propriety have been reckoned among the Prophets, have, something distinct and peculiar to themselves. Yet the division into two par which we have seen elsewhere, (Luke 16:16; John 1:45,) embraces notwithstanding the whole of Scripture.
45. Then he opened their understanding. As the Lord had formerly discharged the office of Teacher, with little or no improvement on the part of the disciples, he now begins to teach them inwardly by his Spirit; for words are icily wasted on the air, until the minds are enlightened by the gift of understanding. It is true, indeed, that
the word of God is like a lamp,
but it shines in darkness and amidst the blind, until the inward light is given by the Lord, to whom it peculiarly belongs to enlighten the blind, (Psalm 146:8.) And hence it is evident how great is the corruption of our nature, since the light of life exhibited to us in the heavenly oracles is of no avail to us. Now if we do not perceive by the understanding what is right, how would the will be sufficient for yielding obedience? We ought, therefore, to acknowledge that we come short in every respect, so that the heavenly doctrine proves to be useful and efficacious to us, only so far as the Spirit both forms our minds to understand it, and our hearts to submit to its yoke; and, therefore, that in order to our being properly qualified for becoming his disciples, we must lay aside all confidence in our own abilities, and seek light from heaven; and, abandoning the foolish opinion of free-will, must give ourselves up to be governed by God. Nor is it without reason that Paul bids men
become fools, that they may be wise to God,
(1 Corinthians 3:18;)
for no darkness is more dangerous for quenching the light of the Spirit than reliance on our own sagacity.
That they might understand the Scriptures. Let the reader next observe, that the disciples had not the eyes of their mind opened, so as to comprehend the mysteries of God without any assistance, but so far as they are contained in the Scriptures; and thus was fulfilled what is said,
(Psalm 119:18,) Enlighten mine eyes,
that I may behold the wonders of thy law.
For God does not bestow the Spirit on his people, in order to set aside the use of his word, but rather to render it fruitful. It is highly improper, therefore, in fanatics, under the pretense of revelations, to take upon themselves the liberty of despising the Scriptures; for what we now read in reference to the apostles is daily accomplished by Christ in all his people, namely, that by his Spirit he guides us to understand the Scriptures, and does not hurry us away into the idle raptures of enthusiasm.
But it may be asked, Why did Christ choose to lose his labor, during the entire period of three years, in teaching them, rather than to open their understandings from the very outset? I reply, first, though the fruit of his labor did not immediately appear, still it was not useless; for when the new light was given to them, they likewise perceived the advantage of the former period. For I regard these words as meaning, not only that he opened their understandings, that, in future they might be ready to receive instruction, if any thing were stated to them, but that they might call to remembrance his doctrine, which they had formerly heard without any advantage. Next, let us learn that this ignorance, which lasted during three years, was of great use for informing them that from no other source than from the heavenly light did they obtain their new discernment. Besides, by this fact Christ gave an undoubted proof of his Divinity; for he not only was the minister of the outward voice, which sounded in their ears, but by his hidden power he penetrated into their minds, and thus showed that what, Paul tells us, does not belong to the teachers of the Church is the prerogative of Him alone, (1 Corinthians 3:7.) Yet it ought to be observed, that the apostles were not so destitute of the light of understanding as not to hold certain elementary principles; but as it was only a slight taste, it is reckoned to be a commencement of true understanding when the veil is removed, and they behold Christ in the Law and the Prophets.
46. And he said to them, Thus it is written. The connection of these words refutes the calumny of those who allege that outward doctrine would be superfluous, if we did not naturally possess some power of understanding. “Why,” say they, “would the Lord speak to the deaf?” But we see that, when the Spirit of Christ, who is the inward Teacher, performs his office, the labor of the minister who speaks is not thrown away; for Christ, after having bestowed on his followers the gift of understanding, instructs them out of the Scriptures with real advantage. With the reprobate, indeed, though the outward word passes away as if it were dead, still it renders them inexcusable.
As to the words of Christ, they are founded on this principle: Whatever is written must be fulfilled, for God declared nothing by his prophets but what he will undoubtedly accomplish.” But by these words we are likewise taught what it is that we ought chiefly to learn from the Law and the Prophets; namely, that since Christ is the end and the soul of the law, (Romans 10:4,) whatever we learn without him, and apart from him, is idle and unprofitable. Whoever then desires to make great proficiency in the Scriptures ought always to keep this end in view. Now Christ here places first in order his death and resurrection, and afterwards the fruit which we derive from both. For whence come repentance and forgiveness of sins, but because our old man is crucified with Christ, (Romans 6:6,) that by his grace we may rise to newness of life; and because our sins have been expiated by the sacrifice of his death, our pollution has been washed away by his blood, and we have, obtained righteousness through his resurrection? He teaches, therefore, that in his death and resurrection we ought to seek the cause and grounds of our salvation; because hence arise reconciliation to God, and regeneration to a new and spiritual life. Thus it is expressly stated that neither forgiveness of sins nor repentance can be preached but in his name; for, on the one hand, we have no right to expect the imputation of righteousness, and, on the other hand, we do not obtain self-denial and newness of life, except so far as
he is made to us righteousness and sanctification,
(1 Corinthians 1:30.)
But as we have elsewhere treated copiously of this summary of the Gospel, it is better to refer my readers to those passages for what they happen not to remember, than to load them with repetitions.
47. To all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Christ now discovers clearly what he had formerly concealed—that the grace of the redemption brought by him extends alike to all nations. For though the prophets had frequently predicted the calling of the Gentiles, still it was not revealed in such a manner that the Jews could willingly admit the Gentiles to share with them in the hope of salvation. Till his resurrection, therefore, Christ was not acknowledged to be any thing more than the Redeemer of the chosen people alone; and then, for the first time, was the wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14) thrown down, that they who had been strangers, (Ephesians 2:19,) and who had formerly been scattered, might be gathered into the fold of the Lord. In the meantime, however, that the covenant of God might not seem to be made void, Christ has assigned to the Jews the first rank, enjoining the apostles to begin at Jerusalem. For since God had peculiarly adopted the posterity of Abraham, they must have been preferred to the rest of the world. This is the privilege of the firstborn which Jeremiah ascribes to them, when Jehovah says, I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is first-born, (30:9.) This order, too, Paul everywhere observes with the greatest care, telling us that Christ came and proclaimed peace to those who were near, and afterwards to strangers who were at a distance, (Ephesians 2:17.)
48. And you are witnesses of those things. He does not yet commission them to preach the gospel, but only reminds them to what service he has appointed them, that they may prepare themselves for it in due time. He holds out this, partly as a consolation to soothe their grief, and partly as a spur to correct their sloth. Conscious of their recent departure from their Master, they must have been in a state of dejection and here, contrary to all expectation, Christ bestows on them incredible honor, enjoining them to publish to the whole world the message of eternal salvation. In this manner he not only restores them to their former condition, but by the extent of this new favor he utterly obliterates the recollection of their heinous crimes; but at the same time, as I have said, he stimulates them, that they may not be so slow and dilatory in reference to the faith of which they were appointed to be preachers.
49. And, lo, I send. That the apostles may not be terrified by their weakness, he invites them to expect new and extraordinary grace; as if he had said, though you feel yourselves to be unfit for such a charge, there is no reason why you should despond, because I will send you from heaven that power which I know that you do not possess. The more fully to confirm them in this confidence, he mentions that the Father had promised to them the Holy Spirit; for, in order that they might prepare themselves with greater alacrity for the work, God had already encouraged them by his promise, as a remedy for their distrust. Christ now puts himself in the place of the Father, and undertakes to perform the promise; in which he again claims for himself divine power. To invest feeble men with heavenly power, is a part of that glory which God swears that he will not give to another: and, therefore, if it belongs to Christ, it follows that he is that God who formerly spoke by the mouth of the prophet, (Isaiah 42:8.) And though God promised special grace to the apostles, and Christ bestowed it on them, we ought to hold universally that no mortal is of himself qualified for preaching the gospel, except so far as God clothes him with his Spirit, to supply his nakedness and poverty. And certainly, as it is not in reference to the apostles alone that Paul exclaims,
(2 Corinthians 2:16,)
And who shall be found sufficient for these things?
so all whom God raises up to be ministers of the gospel must be endued with the heavenly Spirit; and, therefore, in every part of Scripture he is promised to all the teachers of the Church without exception.
But remain you in the city of Jerusalem. That they may not advance to teach before the proper time, Christ enjoins on them silence and repose, until, sending them out according to his pleasure, he may make a seasonable use of their labors. And this was a useful trial of their obedience, that, after having been endued with the understanding of the Scripture, and after having had the grace of the Spirit breathed on them, (John 20:22;) yet because the Lord had forbidden them to speak, they were silent as if they had been dumb. For we know that those who expect to gain applause and admiration from their hearers are very desirous to appear in public. Perhaps, too, by this delay, Christ intended to punish them for indolence, because they did not, in compliance with his injunction, set out immediately, on the same day, for Galilee. However that may be, we are taught by their example, that we ought to attempt nothing but as the Lord calls us to it; and, therefore, though they may possess some ability to teach in public, let men remain in silence and retirement, until the Lord lead them by the hand into the public assembly. When they are commanded to remain at Jerusalem, we must understand this to mean, after they had returned from Galilee. For, as we shortly afterwards learn from Matthew, though he gave them an opportunity of seeing him at Jerusalem, still he did not change his original intention to go to Galilee, (Matthew 26:32, and 28:10.) The meaning of the word, therefore, is, that after having given them injunctions at the appointed place, he wishes them to remain silent for a time, until he supplies them with new rigor.