Here Luke summarizes the teaching and instructions which Jesus provided to the apostles and the other disciples during His various appearances in the ... Read more
Here Luke summarizes the teaching and instructions which Jesus provided to the apostles and the other disciples during His various appearances in the forty days between the Resurrection and His ascension (John 20:19-29 and 21:1-22, Acts 1:3, I Corinthians 15:3-7). After ensuring that they truly understood how He had fulfilled the Scriptures, so that they knew that this had been God's plan all along, He then commissioned them to serve as His witnesses in the world once they had received the Holy Spirit's empowerment. See also Matthew 28:16-20 and associated notes.
It is worth noting that Jesus specifically commanded the disciples not to leave Jerusalem even for the purpose of witnessing to His finished work until the Father's promise to send the Holy Spirit to them had been fulfilled. For effective evangelism, it is not enough to have a sound relationship with Jesus and a true message to spread; the Spirit must provide both the power in the evangelist's message and the conviction of the hearer. Many a potentially fruitful ministry or field of service has come to nothing because those who conceived a good idea were not willing to wait on God's timing and His empowerment. Read less
One of the common marks of pseudo-Christian cults from the Gnostics onward is a denial of the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus. If they do not... Read more
One of the common marks of pseudo-Christian cults from the Gnostics onward is a denial of the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus. If they do not deny His death entirely, they typically try to substitute a spiritual "resurrection" in which Jesus became an exalted spirit being who was no longer truly human. But Luke's testimony renders this position untenable. In this appearance before His disciples, Jesus did three things that confirmed that He had been resurrected bodily. First, He showed them that He still carried the marks of His crucifixion, confirming that this was the same body that they had seen taken from the cross and placed in the grave (John 20:20). Second, He invited their touch, allowing them to confirm empirically that His body was tangible (see also John 20:24-28). Third, He took food that they had supplied (thus, that could not have been illusory) and ate in their presence.
Jesus' resurrected body did differ from His pre-resurrection body in that it was no longer subject to the ordinary rules of space and time. He could apparently appear and vanish as He chose, could travel instantaneously from one place to another, and could go anywhere He wished without any regard to doors or locks. It was for this reason, as well as because of their difficulty in accepting the Resurrection at all, that the disciples initially believed that they were seeing a ghost or spirit; they could not explain otherwise how anything that bore a man's form could have suddenly been with them in a closed and locked room (John 20:19). Thus, Jesus took the time to provide them ample proof that He was indeed a living man and the same one whom they had seen crucified. Read less
As the three men approached Emmaus, Jesus' actions and the disciples' invitation were all according to the customs of hospitality of the time, which r... Read more
As the three men approached Emmaus, Jesus' actions and the disciples' invitation were all according to the customs of hospitality of the time, which required the prospective guest to make at least a token gesture of going elsewhere so as not to be a burden to the prospective host; the host, in turn would respond to the guest's protest by urging the invitation upon him. Jesus, accordingly, went with His disciples to their evening meal with the rules of good manners satisfied – always something for His followers to keep in mind, for if the Master followed the rules of custom and courtesy in His society when they did not interfere with His message or His doing what was right, there is no good reason for His followers to do any less.
Once at the table, however, Jesus' disciples found the roles of host and guest being reversed, as the man they had invited to supper opened the meal with the blessing and the breaking of the bread just as if He had been the host and they His guests. At that moment, they recognized Him, perhaps remembering previous meals together; perhaps they had even been told by the apostles of the way in which He had broken the bread and spoken of it as a remembrance of Himself at the Last Supper. And at that moment, He disappeared from their sight. Explaining this appearance as a hallucination born of wish fulfillment is unsatisfactory for three reasons: neither disciple had expected to see Jesus resurrected, both had seen Him (see notes to Matthew 17:1-8), and the broken bread remained as mute testimony to His actions. The disciples themselves recognized that He had been preparing them for this revelation all afternoon, first revealing Himself through the Scriptures so that they found themselves longing to hear and see more (undoubtedly one motivation for their invitation) and them revealing Himself to those whose hearts were ready to receive Him.
Once they had recognized Jesus and knew that He was truly risen, their excitement could not be contained. The dangers of night travel notwithstanding, nothing would do but that they should return to Jerusalem immediately to share their experience with Jesus' other disciples. And there they had not only the opportunity to share their own testimony, but received the news from the Apostles that Jesus had come to Simon Peter as well. Luke does not tell us how Jesus revealed Himself to Peter or what was said at that meeting, but it was surely exactly what a deeply humbled and anguished man needed to know: that even though he had failed his Lord, his Lord was still the friend who loved him more than any other. Read less
Jesus' rebuke was based in His disciples' supposed knowledge of the Scriptures. As observant Jews, they had heard the writings of Moses and the proph... Read more
Jesus' rebuke was based in His disciples' supposed knowledge of the Scriptures. As observant Jews, they had heard the writings of Moses and the prophets from childhood onward. Their entire way of life, their philosophy, and their national consciousness had been shaped by the recorded words of these men. Yet they had not understood what they supposedly knew so well.
Jesus' rebuke was followed by Jesus' revelation of Himself, which came as a microcosm of the pattern of divine revelation which had culminated with the incarnation of the Word Himself. Just as God had previously revealed Himself to man through the inspired writings of Moses and the Prophets and then in the Son, so Jesus now began by taking His disciples back to the Scriptures and showing them how the sacred writings they had known all their lives truly pointed to Him and to His finished work. Read less
Luke's account of the Emmaus Road appearance of Jesus is filled with grief, irony, and humor. The disciples whom Jesus met were in deep sorrow, tryin... Read more
Luke's account of the Emmaus Road appearance of Jesus is filled with grief, irony, and humor. The disciples whom Jesus met were in deep sorrow, trying to accept the loss of their Master and all the hopes they had pinned on Him for Israel's redemption. Yet it was their own preconceptions that kept them from seeing that the very redemption they had hoped for had been accomplished. Like Jesus' other disciples, they simply could not see how Jesus' shameful and brutal death could fit in with their ideas of the Messiah and the kingdom of God. Even the testimony of the women who had found the tomb empty and had been given the news of Jesus' resurrection by the angels had not been enough to break through with the incredible truth that this had been God's plan all along, now fulfilled.
Jesus' question of "What things?" is rich in irony, and it may not be irreverent to wonder if He was suppressing laughter as He said it. Of all the people who had been in Jerusalem for the Passover, He was the one person who knew exactly what had happened and why. His question was not a request for information but a vehicle for opening a discussion that would lead them to the truth and transform their grief into incredulous joy. Read less
See Matthew 27:45, 50-56, and associated notes. The word here translated "obscured," eklipóntos, does not convey the idea of the sun's being covered ... Read more
See Matthew 27:45, 50-56, and associated notes. The word here translated "obscured," eklipóntos, does not convey the idea of the sun's being covered by clouds or some other obstruction; instead, it indicates that the sun's light failed or ceased. Read less
See Matthew 27:33-44 and associated notes. According to Matthew, both the men crucified with Jesus initially joined in the abuse being heaped on Him.... Read more
See Matthew 27:33-44 and associated notes. According to Matthew, both the men crucified with Jesus initially joined in the abuse being heaped on Him. But in the midst of their suffering, a change of heart came over one of the two. Perhaps he remembered things he had heard of Jesus or even witnessed; perhaps the way in which Jesus endured His agony made an impression on him. Whatever the reason, he came under conviction both of his own sin and of the truth which Jesus had proclaimed and responded to that truth. Only faith could have seen a coming King in the tortured, dying Man on the cross. And Jesus, in His turn, effectively proclaimed the repentant thief forgiven, promising him that he would be with the King he had claimed in Paradise.
Scholars have differed as to precisely what Jesus meant by "Paradise." Some have seen the term as synonymous with "Heaven" in the sense of being God's dwelling place and the home of redeemed mankind. Others have held to the idea that prior to the Resurrection, all the spirits of the dead went to the place called Sheol in Hebrew, the equivalent to the Greeks' "Hades," and were there divided between the place of punishment commonly called Hell (Gehenna in Hebrew, equivalent to the Greeks' "Tartarus") and the place of reward and blessing that Jesus referred to as "Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22); in this view, "Paradise" would have been equivalent to the latter.
Jesus' acceptance of the dying criminal's repentance points out two things. The first is that so long as a man feels and can respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, it is never too late to repent and receive salvation. The penitent criminal would never have the opportunity to do any good works to "make up" for his sins; he would not even be baptized. He was accepted completely and solely on saving faith. But the second is that Jesus' forgiveness cannot be presumed upon. So far as we are told, the other criminal, who had demanded that Jesus save him so that he could continue living on his own terms, died unrepentant and unforgiven. Read less
While the rulers of the Jews were all but unanimous in their support of Jesus' crucifixion, the common people were apparently of more divided mind, es... Read more
While the rulers of the Jews were all but unanimous in their support of Jesus' crucifixion, the common people were apparently of more divided mind, especially among the women. Some of the crowd probably followed because of the fascination of the public spectacle of an execution, a phenomenon noted in other cultures and times; some may have shared the fanatical hatred of their leaders and were enjoying the awful event. But some were genuinely grieved, either out of a sense of outrage at the injustice being done or at the seeming loss of their hopes that this Man was truly Israel's Messiah; perhaps some even remembered personal kindnesses that had been done to them.
Jesus acknowledged their grief but warned them that worse was coming. The horrors of His crucifixion would end in resurrection and blessing, though those who grieved for Him did not know that; but the horrors of what was coming to Jerusalem in judgment were so great that the city's women would call blessed those who had never had children, completely reversing the cultural value set on childbearing because of the grief that would come to those who saw the fates of their children. Further, the judgment to come on Jerusalem would be a foreshadowing of the still greater judgments still to fall in the Tribulation period (cf. Revelation 6:16). Jesus' concluding statement appears to be proverbial in nature; the thought is probably that if the Romans would do what they were doing to one they knew to be innocent, what would they do to those they found guilty? Read less