Luke 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 Revelation 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" ( Acts 2:24 ).
6. in Galilee--to which these women themselves belonged ( Luke 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! ( 1 Timothy 3:16 , "seen of angels," and 1 Peter 1:12 ).
Luke 24:13-35 . CHRIST APPEARS TO THE TWO GOING TO EMMAUS.
13. two of them--One was Cleopas ( Luke 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 Luke 24:18-24 .
drew near--coming up behind them as from Jerusalem.
eyes holden--Partly He was "in another form" ( Mark 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. 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!
Luke 24:36-53 . JESUS APPEARS TO THE ASSEMBLED DISCIPLES--HIS ASCENSION.
37, 38. a spirit--the ghost of their dead Lord, but not Himself in the body ( Acts 12:15 , Matthew 14:26 ).
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 ( Genesis 9:4 ), which "cannot inherit the kingdom of God" ( 1 Corinthians 15:50 ); but "flesh and bones," implying the identity, but with diversity of laws, of the resurrection body.
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" ( Luke 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.
47. beginning at Jerusalem--(1) As the metropolis and heart of the then existing kingdom of God:--"to the Jew first" ( Romans 1:16 , Acts 13:46 , Isaiah 2:3 , (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.
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 ( John 14:7 , Revelation 3:1 , 5:6 ).
endued--invested, or clothed with; implying, as the parallels show ( Romans 13:14 , 1 Corinthians 15:53 , Galatians 3:27 , Colossians 3:9 Colossians 3:10 ), 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. 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.