The Resurrection (24:1-8)
(Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; John 20:1)
1-8 See Mark 16:1-8 and comment.
Peter Sees the Empty Tomb (24:9-12)
9-11 After discovering that the tomb was empty and after seeing the two angels, the first thing the women did was to run and tell Jesus’ eleven50 disciples that His body was gone (John 20:2). At first the disciples didn’t believe what the women said.
12 But then Peter decided to go and see the tomb for himself. He took John with him (see John 20:3-8). They saw the strips of linen that Jesus’ body had been bound with. But there was no body. Peter was confused. He couldn’t understand what had happened. He still did not understand that Jesus must rise from the dead (John 20:9). Then the two disciples returned to their homes (John 20:10).
Meanwhile, the women had followed Peter and John back to the tomb. After the two disciples had gone home, Jesus Himself appeared to the women (see Matthew 28:9-10; John 20:11-18 and comments). Then, according to Jesus’ command, they ran for the second time to tell the disciples this new news: Jesus was alive! They had seen Him!
However, according to Mark 16:11, the disciples again did not believe the women’s story—except for John.51 It was only after the Lord appeared to Peter himself (1 Corinthians 15:5), that the other disciples began to believe that Jesus was truly risen and alive52 (see verses 33-34).
On the Road to Emmaus (24:13-35)
13-14 On that same Sunday on which Jesus rose from the dead, two of His followers were going to their homes in the village of Emmaus. They had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Unleavened Bread (see Mark 14:1), and were now returning home. They had heard about all that had happened to Jesus and were talking about it as they walked along.
15-16 Then a third man joined them. It was the man Jesus. But because His body was now changed into an eternal spiritual body, they could not recognize Him at first. He appeared to them as a normal man, but they could not tell it was Jesus (see John 20:14). Their spiritual eyes were not open. They did not believe yet that Jesus had really risen from the dead.
17 Jesus asked them what they were talking about on the road. He knew the answer, but He wanted them to say it. Jesus many times taught His disciples by asking them questions.
18 One of the disciples, Cleopas,53 said to Jesus, “Do you not know what we are talking about? Haven’t you heard what has taken place in Jerusalem these past three days?”
19 Jesus asked, “What things?” Then they told Him about their leader Jesus, who was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.
Those who do not believe that Christ is risen from the dead regard Him as no more than a “prophet, powerful in word and deed” (see Matthew 21:11; Luke 7:16). To them He is only a great man, a wise man, a good man. But to those who have met the risen living Christ and have welcomed Him into their hearts by faith, He is the Savior, the Lord of lords and King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14), the Son of God. He is God Himself.
20-21 The two disciples then told about their disappointment that Jesus had died. They had hoped He would be the Messiah, the king of Israel, but now all their hopes were crushed. This Jesus had now been dead three days. All Jews believed that the Messiah would lead Israel to victory over its enemies. They did not believe in a Messiah who would be killed on a cross!
22-24 “But today we heard an amazing thing,” the two disciples said.” This morning the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid was found empty.” And they described to Jesus what had been reported by the women and by Peter and John (see verse 12).
However, an empty tomb was not proof that Jesus was alive. None of the disciples had yet seen Jesus Himself. All they knew was that His body was missing.
25-27 Then Jesus began to teach the two disciples what had been written about Himself in Moses and all the Prophets, that is, the Old Testament. According to many prophecies in the Old Testament, the Messiah would have to suffer and die (Psalm 22:1-31; 69:1-36; Isaiah 52:1315; 53:1-12). Only after suffering would the Messiah, Christ, enter his glory. Only after suffering would He establish His kingdom, a spiritual kingdom that would last forever. The Jews knew about the “suffering servant” described in the Old Testament, but they did not think that he would be the same as the Messiah. They thought that the suffering servant and the Messiah would be two different people. It was Jesus Himself that taught that the suffering servant was, in fact, the Messiah. Jesus had taught His disciples over and over that He must suffer and die, but they had not been able to accept it (Mark 8:31-32; 9:3132; Luke 18:31-34).
The two disciples listened eagerly. Their hearts burned within them as Jesus spoke (verse 32).
28-29 They invited Jesus to their home. If they had not invited Him in, He would have passed on, and they would never have known who had walked with them on the road to Emmaus.
Let us ask ourselves: “How many times has Jesus spoken to us along the road and we have not invited Him in?” (Revelation 3:20).
30-32 After they had reached the house and were ready to eat, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. These disciples had seen Him do this many times before His death (Mark 6:41; 8:6; 14:22). And suddenly their spiritual eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus! And at that moment, He disappeared from their sight.
33-35 Even though it was now dark, the two disciples hurried back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples about their meeting with Jesus. By that time, Jesus had appeared to Peter also. Some of the disciples were now beginning to believe that Jesus was indeed alive, risen from the dead. But others still didn’t believe (see Mark 16:13). And even when Jesus Himself appeared a few minutes later to all of the disciples at once, they still doubted and thought that they were seeing a ghost (verses 37-38).
Jesus Appears to the Disciples (24:36-43)
36-40 While the two disciples from Emmaus were still talking with the other disciples, Jesus Himself appeared before them all. Jesus passed miraculously through the locked door of the room where they were gathered (see John 20:19-20 and comment). The disciples thought they were seeing a ghost, a spirit without a body. But then Jesus showed them the nail wounds in His hands and feet.54 He told them to reach out and touch His body, so that they might know that it was real (1 John 1:1). Jesus was not a ghost. He had a body of flesh and bones. He had a resurrected body, a glorified heavenly body (see 1 Corinthians 15:35-37 and comment).
41-43 The disciples were so filled with amazement and joy that they didn’t know what to think. It was all like a dream. They still couldn’t believe it was really true.
Jesus, knowing the weakness of their faith, asked for something to eat, and then ate it before them. After that, their doubt ended. They knew then that He was truly alive.
A week later, Jesus again appeared to the disciples in Jerusalem (see John 20:2429). Then He appeared to His disciples in Galilee (Matthew 28:16). After that, He appeared to five hundred of the brothers at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6). Then He appeared to James, His own brother (1 Corinthians 15:7). All these appearances took place during the forty days Jesus was on earth between His resurrection and His ascension into heaven (Acts 1:3).
Final Teaching (24:44-49)
44 During the next forty days, Jesus gave His disciples many teachings. Luke mentions only a few of them in this section.
Jesus wanted His disciples to understand the Scriptures. He wanted them to know that what was written in the Old Testament about Himself had now been fulfilled. He had told all these things to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus (see verses 25-27 and comment). Now He began to teach these things to all of the disciples.
45-46 He told them again what He had told them many times before: namely, that the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day (see Mark 8:31; 9:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures (verse 45). Only when our minds are opened by the Holy Spirit can we fully understand the Bible and the preaching of God’s word.
47 Jesus also taught His disciples from the Old Testament that repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations, not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles as well (Isaiah 2:2-3; 49:6; 51:4-6; Matthew 28:19; Romans 15:912). Repentance and forgiveness of sins are the first two steps in man’s salvation. Without repentance there can be no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there can be no salvation (see General Article: Way of Salvation).
48 Then Jesus said, “You are witnesses to these things.” The disciples themselves had seen these things; now they were to go out into the whole world and proclaim these things to others. (see Acts 1:8 and comment).
49 Then Jesus said, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised”—that is, the Holy Spirit (see John 15:16-17,26). Then Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem55 until the Holy Spirit should come upon them and give them the power they would need to be His witnesses (see Acts 1:4-5,8; 2:1-4 and comments). Without the Holy Spirit they would not be able to accomplish anything for Christ (John 15:5). Indeed, without the Holy Spirit, the disciples could never have established Christ’s church.
The Ascension of Jesus (24:50-53)
50-51 Forty days after His resurrection from the dead, Jesus went with His disciples to Bethany, just outside Jerusalem (Mark 11:1,11). After blessing them, He ascended into heaven before their very eyes (Acts 1:9). As they stood looking into heaven, two angels came and said to them, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10-11).
52-53 Then the disciples were filled with joy. No longer was there any doubt in their minds that Jesus was the Lord, the Messiah, the Son of God. Then they returned to Jerusalem to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. During that time, they stayed continually in the temple praying and praising God. The Holy Spirit comes to those who spend much time in praise and prayer.
1 A Greek is an inhabitant of Greece, an important country of southern Europe Greek is also the language in which the New Testament was originally written.
2 In the Bible, all people who are not Jews are called Gentiles. Thus the Greeks also are Gentiles.
3 King Herod is mentioned in Matthew 2:1 and comment.
4 Aaron was the brother of Moses, the great leader who led the Jews out of Egypt. AD Jewish priests were descended from Aaron.
5 “Messiah” is a Hebrew word meaning “one anointed by God.” Messiah is another name for “Christ” (see John 1:41; 4:25).
6 Jacob was the grandson of Abraham, the first Jew. Jacob’s other name was Israel. He had twelve sons, from which the twelve tribes of Israel are descended.
7 Though Zechariah could not speak, he no doubt had related to Elizabeth in writing the words that the angel had spoken to him
8 The horn is a sign of strength.
9 Caesar means emperor.
10 There is much historical evidence that Quirinius was governor of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth also. Syria is northeast of Israel. In Jesus’ time, Judea (the southern province of Israel, whose capital is Jerusalem) was part of Syria.
11 Jerusalem was the capital of Judea, the southern province of Israel. Jerusalem was the main city of the Jews. The Jewish temple was located there.
12 Christ means “anointed one” in the Greek language. “Messiah” means the same thing in the Hebrew language.
13 Asher was one of the twelve sons of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. The twelve tribes of Israel are descended from Jacob’s twelve sons.
14 The Roman emperor allowed local rulers like Herod and Philip to administer small sections of the Roman Empire.
15 The Jews atoned for sin by of fering sacrifices.
16 Tax collectors are discussed in Mark 2:14 and comment.
17 See comment on Mark 6:1 and footnote to comment.
18 In New Testament times, books were written on long strips of paper or parchment, which were rolled up into a scroll (see Hebrews 10:7).
19 Jesus added these words from Isaiah 58:6.
20 Notice in this verse that Jesus is talking about all men speaking well of us. When that happens, we should worry! Men of the world with hardened hearts should not be speaking well of us; if they are, it can only mean that we have become too much like them.
There is another sense, however, in which ordinary non-believers should speak well of Christians. They should be able to see Christ in us. They should be drawn to Christ by our good behavior (see Acts 5:12-14; 1 Timothy 3:7).
21 Some ancient manuscripts say “seventy,” instead of seventy-two.
22 At certain times, according to God’s purposes, Christians are protected from physical harm also (see Acts 12:5-11; 28:3-6).
23 Here the Law means the first five books of the Old Testament.
24 Samaritans are mentioned in Luke 9:52 and comment.
25 The Levites were descended from Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. They had responsibility for the services of the Jewish temple. The priests, on the other hand, were descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses, a great grandson of Levi. Only those descended from Aaron could be priests.
26 Jesus is not indifferent to the injustice and inequality found in this world. He will one day judge those who cheat their brother or exploit the poor. However, Jesus’ primary reason for coming to earth was not to redress grievances or right wrongs. His primary reason for coming was to show men the way to the kingdom of heaven.
27 Even a person who has never heard of Christ will still be punished in the next life, because all men have sinned against God in some way. All men know to some extent what God’s will is. Therefore, all men are without excuse (see Romans 1:18-20; 3:10-12 and comments).
28 It is also true that sometimes calamities come on people because they have sinned. But of ten, calamities are not caused by sin. Calamities fall on men for different reasons. For some examples of these reasons, see John 9:1-3; James 1:2-3; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-13 and comments. We cannot judge a man’s sins by the suffering that comes upon him.
29 The fig tree was of ten used as a sign of the Jewish nation (Hosea 9:10; Joel 1:7; Mark 11:12-14,21).
30 It can be said that all illness is caused by Satan. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been under the curse of death and sickness. This is Satan’s work (Genesis 3:1361,17-19).
31 The Jews thought that all Jews would be saved, but Jesus taught that only those who believed in Him would be saved.
32 All the dead, whether righteous or unrighteous, will be resurrected at the end of the world and receive a new body (see John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; Romans 8:23 and comments). The resurrection of the righteous will be in heaven. For further discussion, see Word List: Resurrection.
33 The parables of Jesus can sometimes have more than one true meaning.
34 In place of the word hell, some translations of the Bible say “Hades.” “Hades” is the place where the spirits of the unsaved dead go to await the final judgment.
35 We must remember that this is a parable. Therefore, it does not give a complete teaching about life after death. For example, the spirits of the dead do not have bodies, fingers, and tongues. Only after the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world will the dead receive new bodies. The rich man’s request that his tongue might be cooled is only meant to signif y the torment he was experiencing.
36 Here the word Moses refers to the first five books of the Old Testament, which were written by Moses. Therefore, the expression, Moses and the Prophets, means the entire Old Testament. The Old Testament is also sometimes called the “Law and the Prophets” (verse 16).
37 To do this, Jesus had to travel down the east side of the Jordan River, because Samaria lay on the direct route between Galilee and Jerusalem. At the city of Jericho, He crossed back to the west side of the Jordan River (Luke 19:1).
38 Leprosy is a communicable disease. In Jesus’ day, there was no medicine for leprosy, as there is now.
39 In the Greek language, which was the language Luke used, the word within in this verse can also mean “among.” Both meanings are true. The kingdom of God is “among” us, because Jesus through His Spirit is among us. The kingdom of God is also “within” us, because Jesus’s Spirit is within us.
Jesus didn’t mean that the kingdom of God was “within” the unbelieving Pharisees. He was saying in a general way that the kingdom of God is within anyone who believes. However, it was true that the kingdom of God was “among” the Pharisees, because Jesus was present among them at that time.
40 Jesus usually referred to Himself as the Son of Man (see Mark 2:10 and comment).
41 Not all ancient manuscripts of Luke contain verse 36. The same verse is found in Matthew 24:40.
42 The chosen ones are those who are chosen by God, that is, believers in Christ.
43 According to Jewish law, the person who takes someone else’s goods must pay back double the amount (Exodus 22:9).
44 Those who welcomed Christ during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem were mostly His own followers (verse 37).
45 The word Jerusalem means “city of peace.”
46 The twelve tribes of Israel are descended from the twelve sons of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. Therefore, the “twelve tribes of Israel” make up the entire nation of Israel.
47 In the Greek text of this verse, the you is pleural.
48 That is enough is a Jewish saying which means “the matter is finished.”
49 This is the same Herod who had earlier put John the Baptist to death, and who afterwards began to think that Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead (see Mark 6:14-16).
50 Judas Iscariot was no longer among the disciples, so they numbered eleven.
51 John had believed when he first saw the empty tomb (John 20:8).
52 The writers of the four Gospels each give part of the account of Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection. Imagine any four men who have witnessed some great event. They each will describe that event from their own viewpoint. One will mention one thing, another will mention another. When the four accounts are put together, one can then obtain a full description of that event. The four Gospels are like that. Everything that each Gospel writer has written is true, but each writer has not included every detail in his own Gospel. Therefore, in order to obtain a full description of Jesus’ life and, in particular, of the events following His resurrection, we must study the four Gospel accounts together.
Even when we do this, however, there will still be many details about Jesus’ life that we shall never know, because they have not been written (see John 21:25).
53 Cleopas may be the same man as the Clopas mentioned in John 19:25, but with a slightly different spelling of his name.
54 The Romans usually hung criminals on the cross by driving great nails through their hands and feet.
55 Jesus gave this command to the disciples after they had returned to Jerusalem from Galilee.