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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.
Lu 24:1-12. Angelic Announcement to the Women That Christ Is Risen—Peter's Visit to the Empty Sepulchre.
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).
6. in Galilee—to which these women themselves belonged (Lu 23:55).
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).
10. Joanna—(See on Lu 8:1-3).
12. Peter, &c.—(See on Joh 20:1-10).
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.
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,
17-24. communications, &c.—The words imply the earnest discussion that had appeared in their manner.
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!
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.
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.
25-27. fools—senseless, without understanding.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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!
Lu 24:36-53. Jesus Appears to the Assembled Disciples—His Ascension.
36. Jesus … stood—(See on Joh 20:19).
thoughts—rather, "reasonings"; that is, whether He were risen or no, and whether this was His very self.
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).
42. honeycomb—common frugal fare, anciently.
43. eat before them—that is, let them see Him doing it: not for His own necessity, but their conviction.
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.
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.
46. behoved Christ—(See on Lu 24:26).
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).
49. I send—the present tense, to intimate its nearness.
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.
50-53. to Bethany—not to the village itself, but on the "descent" to it from Mount Olivet.
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!
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."
53. were continually in the temple—that is, every day at the regular hours of prayer till the day of Pentecost.