VI. Betrayal, Suffering, Death, and Resurrection (Luke 22:1–24:53)


VI. Betrayal, Suffering, Death, and Resurrection (22:1–24:53)

22:1-6 As the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover (see Exod 12:1-28) approached, the plot to kill Jesus began to unfold (22:1). The chief priests and the scribes could not figure out a way to seize him without causing a riot among the people (22:2). That’s when Satan entered Judas, one of the Twelve, and inspired him to betray Jesus for money (22:3-5). The religious leaders accepted his offer. They were leery of the crowd’s enthusiasm for Jesus, so they wanted Judas to betray him to them when the crowd was not present (22:6).

22:7-13 On the day that the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed, the Lord sent Peter and John to make preparations (22:7-8). He gave them detailed instructions regarding where they were to go, what they would find, and what they should do. Upon entering the city, they would find a man carrying a water jug and follow him to a house (22:10). This guy would be easy to spot because such a task was typically carried out by women. Then they were to tell the owner of the house that the Teacher wanted a guest room where he could share the Passover with his disciples (22:11). The man, probably a follower of Jesus, would oblige and show them a furnished room upstairs that they could use (22:12). Everything happened just as he had told them (22:13). Thus, Jesus demonstrated his supernatural, detailed knowledge of the future.

22:14-20 The hour came (22:14). The time had come for the passion of the Christ. His suffering and death was linked to the Passover because he would be its fulfillment (22:15). Jesus Christ is “our Passover lamb,” sacrificed for us (1 Cor 5:7). He informed the disciples that he would not eat this meal again until he reigned in his kingdom (22:16). Then he took the bread and the cup and instituted a meal (22:17-20) that the church has partaken of together ever since: Communion or the Lord’s Supper.

He broke the bread and gave it to them, symbolizing his broken body offered up for them. Just as these first disciples did, the church today eats this bread together in remembrance of him (22:19). The cup symbolizes the new covenant that he was establishing in his blood, which has been poured out for our sins (22:20). As the church partakes of this meal together, we affirm our common faith in Christ’s substitutionary atoning sacrifice, our new covenantal, unified relationship with him, and his ongoing spiritual presence in our lives. As the apostle Paul told the church in Corinth, “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). We remember his death for us in the past and utilize its power and provisions for us in the present, until he returns for us in the future.

22:21-23 Jesus announced that one of the Twelve, one of those sitting at the table with him, would betray him (22:21). This no doubt shocked them. They had no idea who the betrayer could be, and they began to argue among themselves (22:23). Thus, Jesus demonstrated his omniscience by announcing what would happen beforehand.

But he also made it clear that his betrayal involved both divine sovereignty and human responsibility. The Son of Man would go away (be killed) as . . . determined (22:22). In other words, what was about to happen had been foretold long ago in Scripture. It was God’s predetermined plan to sacrifice his Son—the Suffering Servant—to atone for sin (see Isa 53:5-6). Christ’s death on the cross was a fulfillment of God’s Word. But, at the same time, woe to that man by whom he is betrayed (22:22) meant Judas was accountable for his actions. He was no puppet being forced to do something against his will. He chose to betray Christ for profit and was responsible for his sin.

22:24-30 Jesus had just informed the disciples of his own impending suffering and death (22:14-20). Then he added that one of them—his closest companions—would betray him (22:21-22). Yet, surprisingly, they started to dispute with one another about which one of them should be considered the greatest (22:24). At that point, Jesus rebuked them for talking like unbelievers. Among the Gentiles, kings would lord it over their subjects, exalting themselves and expecting their people to serve and honor them (22:25). But this was not to be the path to greatness for Christ’s disciples: It is not to be like that among you. Instead, their focus should have been on a mindset of servanthood. Serving was the road to true greatness and was what Jesus himself had modeled for them (22:26-27). Their greatness would come in the kingdom because of their faithfulness in Christ’s trials (22:28). They would attain high kingdom privilege—ruling with Christ and enjoying fellowship with him (22:29-30)—not as a result of exalting themselves, but as a result of serving God and others.

22:31 Not only did Jesus foretell his approaching betrayal and death (22:14-22), but he also foretold the disciples’ failure—especially Peter’s: Simon, Simon, look out. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. The “you” in Greek is plural, so Satan wanted to wreak havoc on all of the disciples. Yet, Jesus addressed Simon Peter. That’s because Peter served as the de facto leader of the group. His failure would be the worst and could lead to the defeat and defection of the rest of the disciples. But Jesus intended to use him to restore the others.

Notice that Satan needed permission. If you are a child of God, then, Satan has no power over you unless God grants it. The devil is powerful, but he’s God’s devil. He operates under the sovereign hand of God. Why would God grant a satanic request? Though Satan simply wants to harm and destroy, God uses Satan’s activity for his own holy purposes. The Lord sometimes allows Satan to tempt us in order to draw out the evil that’s in us—evil of which we may not even be aware. By doing this, he reveals to us our sinful tendencies and weaknesses so that he might lead us to repent. We are not as strong as we think we are.

22:32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. Jesus didn’t pray that Peter would not fail. He prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. He prayed for his faith to be strengthened and not shattered. Then he said, When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. According to Matthew, Jesus foretold that “all” of the disciples would run away that night, and they did (Matt 26:31, 56). So Jesus exhorted Peter to encourage and help them afterwards.

Notice that Jesus didn’t tell Peter, “If you turn back,” but “When you have turned back.” Jesus told Peter that he had prayed for him, and then he assured him that his prayer was effectual. As a result, Peter would be a humbler and more effective tool in the hands of his Master. Jesus prophesied Peter’s failure, his repentance, and his usefulness. This gives hope to believers who have fallen. Jesus offers a road to spiritual recovery and future ministry usefulness when they repent (see John 21:15-17).

22:33-34 Peter was full of confidence in himself and not yet ready to believe that he could fail so significantly: I’m ready to go with you both to prison and to death (22:33). In other words, he assured Jesus, “You can count on me to endure jail time and execution alongside you. I’m your man!” But Peter didn’t realize how frail he was. It would only take the accusations of a servant girl to cause him to fall to pieces (22:56-57; cf. Matt 26:69-70). In just a few hours, he would deny three times that he even knew who Jesus was (Luke 22:34). This is a clear illustration of Proverbs 16:18: “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” What happened to Peter can happen to you, if you’re long on pride and short on humility. “Whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall” (1 Cor 10:12).

22:35-38 Previously, Jesus had sent the disciples to do ministry without supplies, and their needs were met (22:35; see 10:1-12). But at this point he urged them to make preparations and take supplies, even a sword for self-defense (22:36), for the environment was about to become hostile. Jesus would be counted as a lawless man in fulfillment of Scripture (22:37).

Notice that when they told him that they already had two swords, he said that was enough (22:38). Jesus’s goal was not a military overthrow. They were not to become a militia.

22:39-42 As usual they went to the Mount of Olives where they spent the night (22:39; see 21:37). Once there, he admonished his disciples to pray that they might not fold under the pressure of the temptation they were about to face (22:40). They would need strength and divine assistance. Then Jesus withdrew from them for a time of private prayer (22:41): Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. These words tell us Jesus knew the suffering he was about to face. In his humanity, he wanted to avoid the intense physical and spiritual anguish if it were possible. Yet, he wanted even more to do the will of his Father: Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done (22:42).

22:43-46 In response to his prayer, an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him (22:43). His anguish was so great and his prayers so fervent that his sweat became like drops of blood (22:44).

After such intense personal prayer, Jesus found his disciples fast asleep, heedless of his warning to pray for themselves (22:45). He rebuked them for seeking physical rest when what they needed more than anything was spiritual strength (22:46). Most of us are willing to prepare ourselves to meet physical threats. Few of us, however, are willing to engage in the deep spiritual preparation necessary to meet spiritual threats. Why? We do not recognize the danger.

22:47-48 As Jesus was trying to rouse his disciples from their spiritual lethargy, a mob arrived. It was led by Judas, who approached his Master and kissed him (22:47). This was the sign to let everyone know whom to arrest. Judas used an act of love as a weapon! He betrayed his Creator with a kiss (22:48).

22:49-51 As they realized what was happening, the disciples asked if it was time to use the sword (22:49; see 22:36-38). Peter didn’t wait for an answer, taking a sword and cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant (22:50; see John 18:10). But Jesus rebuked him. The Scripture had to be fulfilled. The divine plan had to be accomplished. Sin had to be atoned for. So he touched the servant’s ear and healed him (22:51).

22:52-53 Jesus condemned the chief priests, temple police, and the elders for their hypocrisy. They arrested him at night like a criminal (22:52) rather than publicly during the day in the temple so that the crowds could witness it. They didn’t want anyone to see the injustice of their actions because they were cowards, under demonic influence, and operating in the dominion of darkness (22:53).

22:54-62 Once the mob seized Jesus, they took him to the high priest’s house for a mock trial. At a distance, so he wouldn’t be seen, Peter followed (22:54). As he waited in the courtyard outside the high priest’s home, a servant looked at him, recognized him, and accused Peter of being an associate of Jesus (22:55-56). This was Peter’s opportunity to make good on his promise to his Lord: “I’m ready to go with you both to prison and to death” (22:33). Instead, he caved: Woman, I don’t know him (22:57). Before long, in fact, he’d been granted three opportunities to boldly acknowledge his discipleship, and he made three vehement denials that he knew who they were talking about (22:56-60). Thus, he failed just as Jesus had predicted: three denials before the rooster crowed. And as soon as he heard it, Peter’s eyes met Jesus’s. Then Peter remembered, went away, and wept bitterly (22:61-62). It’s easy to forget our spiritual commitment in a crisis.

22:63-65 While at the high priest’s house, Jesus was mistreated brutally. They mocked him and beat him (22:63). This was no arrest and trial of a dangerous man; this was the illegal and cruel treatment of a righteous man whom they hated. They blindfolded him and taunted him to prophesy by declaring which of his captors had hit him (22:64). Luke recognized their words and actions as blasphemous (22:65). They treated the Son of God with disgrace and humiliation rather than with praise and worship.

22:66-69 At daylight, Jesus was taken before the council of elders over which the high priest presided; the body of Jewish religious leaders was known as the Sanhedrin (22:66). They interrogated him directly, demanding that he confess whether or not he believed himself to be the Messiah (22:67). Jesus highlighted their hypocrisy. They had already dismissed his claims as false, no matter the evidence he produced by his teaching and miracles. They would not believe that he was the Messiah if he confessed it, and if he asked them what they thought, they would refuse to answer (22:67-68). They had only one agenda: to condemn him and put him to death. But Jesus had a word for them: From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God (22:69; see Ps 110:1). Though the religious leaders thought they were about to be rid of him, Jesus knew that he would soon be seated in glory at the right hand of his Father.

22:70-71 They asked if he was the Son of God and clearly understood Jesus’s answer in the affirmative, for they declared, We’ve heard it ourselves from his mouth. He had not recanted anything but claimed to be the one who would sit at God’s right hand. The council was satisfied that they had sufficient incriminating evidence from Jesus’s own lips to move forward with their plans.

23:1-5 Since the Jews were unable to execute anyone themselves, they led Jesus before Pilate, the Roman governor (23:1). They accused Jesus of misleading the nation, opposing paying taxes to Caesar (which was a lie; see 20:20-26), and claiming to be the Messiah, a king (23:2). They wanted to make Jesus appear to be an insurrectionist, someone who was a threat to Roman rule. If he was proclaiming himself to be a king and opposing Caesar, then Pilate would have to take action. Yet Pilate found no grounds for charging the man with a crime. Jesus was clearly no threat (23:3-4). Nevertheless, the Jews continued to insist that he caused problems among the people—from Judea to Galilee (23:5).

23:6-7 When he learned that Jesus was a Galilean, he sent him to Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great and the tetrarch who ruled over Galilee. Herod had put John the Baptist in prison and later beheaded him (3:18-20; 9:7-9). He had heard of Jesus’s ministry and was concerned about him (9:7-9), but he had not yet had a chance to meet him face-to-face. Thanks to Pilate, he now had that opportunity.

23:8-12 For a long time, Herod had been hoping to see Jesus perform a miracle (23:8). But if he thought Jesus was going to do tricks for him, he was sorely mistaken. Herod asked him questions, and the chief priests shouted accusations at him. But Jesus did not answer (23:9-10). Since Jesus wouldn’t act like a performing seal, Herod and his soldiers made a mockery of him instead. They dressed him in bright clothing like a false king and sent him back to Pilate (23:11). Ironically, these circumstances brought Herod and Pilate together. Previously, they had been enemies; their roles in the drama led them to become friends (23:12).

23:13-16 When he had gathered all of the Jewish religious leaders together, Pilate once again declared Jesus innocent. He found no grounds to charge him with a crime—and neither had Herod. Jesus clearly did not deserve the death penalty (23:13-15). But since he wanted to appease the Jewish leaders, Pilate planned to have Jesus whipped before releasing him (23:16). Pilate was not ultimately concerned with justice but with maintaining order.

23:17-19 But the Jewish leaders refused to be pacified so easily. They would only be satisfied with blood. They shouted, Take this man away! Release Barabbas to us! (23:18). Pilate would customarily perform an act of clemency during the Passover and set a Jewish prisoner free. Though he wanted to release Jesus, the leaders demanded Barabbas, a rebel and murderer, instead (23:19). This sheds light on how great their hatred of Jesus was. He had committed no sin. Yet he had won the adoration of the crowds, challenged the leaders’ sacred traditions, and made them look like fools. Their jealousy and anger drove them to petition for the release of a murderer and to condemn a righteous man.

23:20-25 In spite of Pilate’s attempts to set Jesus free, the religious leaders demanded that he crucify him (23:20-21). What’s more, they stirred up the crowds of Jews who were in Jerusalem for the Passover so that Pilate was soon facing an angry mob (see Mark 15:11). The people demanded that Barabbas be set free, indicating that they preferred a murderer to their Messiah. After a third attempt to release Jesus and declare his innocence, Pilate gave in to their demand (23:22-24). He set Barabbas loose and surrendered Jesus to their will (23:25). He preferred public order to justice—expediency to righteousness.

23:26 The other Gospels make it clear that Jesus had endured a brutal beating and scourging by this point (see Matt 27:26-31; Mark 15:16-20; John 19:1-3). So, even though a condemned man was typically forced to carry his cross to the place of crucifixion, Jesus was apparently too weakened to bear the burden. So the soldiers forced someone else to carry the cross: an African man named Simon who was from Cyrene, on the coast of what is now Libya.

23:27-31 A large crowd of people followed him, including sympathetic women who were mourning for him (23:27). Yet even in the midst of his suffering, he warned them not to weep for him but for themselves and their children (23:28), in light of the judgment that was coming on the nation for rejecting the Messiah. When the catastrophe came, those without children would be called blessed because they would not have to endure watching the suffering of their offspring (23:29). Quoting from Hosea 10:8, Jesus described this coming day as a time when people would prefer a horrendous death to divine judgment (23:30). If they do these things when the wood is green (that is, when the Messiah is with them), what will happen when it is dry (after he is gone)? (23:31). Israel could not reject her Messiah without experiencing severe consequences.

23:32-34 Crucifixion was a common method of execution that the Romans inflicted on heinous criminals, so it’s not surprising that two others were to be put to death along with Jesus (23:32). The soldiers took them to the execution site, a foreboding place called The Skull. There they crucified Jesus between the others (23:33). Don’t miss that even as he was being tortured to death, Jesus remembered the purpose for which he came—to open the door of divine forgiveness for all who would receive him. He prayed that the Father would forgive even his executioners, because they did not know what they [were] doing. Yet, even as he pleaded for mercy for them, they gambled for his clothes (23:34), fulfilling prophecy from Psalm 22:18 (see John 19:23-24). Behold our Savior: As sinners mocked him, he interceded for them so that they might repent and be saved.

23:35 The Jewish religious leaders who had longed for this day stood scoffing at Jesus as he suffered on the cross. They scornfully urged him to save himself if he were truly God’s Messiah. They observed that he had saved others yet was unable to do the same for himself. However, only by remaining on the cross and sacrificing his own life could he provide salvation. The religious leaders reveled in their “victory,” but they had failed to grasp his mission. Even as he hung dying, the Son was winning the victory for which the Father had sent him.

23:36-38 The soldiers also mocked him. They knew nothing of Jesus’s teaching or ministry. They probably jeered at every criminal they were ordered to execute. But in this case, their ridicule reflected the inscription that Pilate had commanded to be placed on the cross: This Is the King of the Jews (23:37-38; see John 19:19-22). Yet, ironically, the very thing they mocked was true. Before them hung the King of the Jews—and the King of all creation. One day, they will stand before him again. But on that day he will be seated on a throne pronouncing their judgment.

23:39-42 When Matthew and Mark mention the criminals crucified with Jesus, they report that these two taunted him (Matt 27:44; Mark 15:32). But Luke tells us something more. Though both criminals started down the same road that day, at some point one of them chose a different path. Both heard and saw the same things, but they reached different conclusions.

The criminals’ words here reveal the differences between the men. First, they reached different conclusions about who the man in the middle was. The rebellious criminal joined the crowd. He hurled insults at Jesus, ridiculing the idea that he was the Messiah (23:39). But the repentant one recognized that Jesus was both an innocent man who had done nothing wrong and a King about to enter his heavenly kingdom (23:41-42). Your eternal destiny is necessarily connected to your understanding of who Jesus is.

Second, they reached different conclusions regarding their own guilt. The first criminal failed to come to grips with his own sinfulness. There was no admission of blame, no fear of God (20:40). But his companion rebuked him. He rightly concluded that they were being punished justly for their crimes (20:40-41). Without the comprehension that you are a sinner in rebellion against and separated from a holy God, you cannot be saved.

Third, the two men reached different conclusions about what they needed to be delivered from. The unrepentant criminal simply wanted deliverance from his present earthly circumstances. Save yourself and us, he demanded of Jesus, meaning, “Keep us from dying!” (23:39). But the second criminal understood that there was something beyond their present trouble. No matter how bad things were on earth, a much more serious concern awaited. One day, we all must face eternity and—unless we have a mediator—the wrath of God. With a repentant heart, this man recognized Jesus as the mediator he needed: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom (23:42). Hearing Jesus call his Father to forgive his executioners (23:34) was sufficient for this man to change his opinion about Jesus and place saving faith in him.

23:43 In response to the man’s repentance and faith, Jesus told him, Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise. According to the New Testament, all believers are called to obey the Lord by being baptized, locking arms with Christian brothers and sisters in a local church, and growing as disciples by seeking to love God and neighbor. But none of these things can save a person. They are acts of obedience in response to the saving work of God in our lives through Jesus Christ. Salvation comes when we put our faith alone in Christ alone. And that’s what this criminal did. He didn’t have an opportunity to follow the Lord in a life of obedience—though if he had lived he surely would have. Nevertheless, he did exactly what was required in order to be reconciled to God. And later that day, though his physical body died, his spirit and soul went to paradise with King Jesus, awaiting his future bodily resurrection from the dead. This affirms that believers go immediately into God’s presence at death.

23:44-46 As Christ’s death approached, a number of events took place. From about noon . . . until three there was darkness on the land . . . because the sun’s light had failed (23:44). It wasn’t possible for the Son of God to be rejected and killed without it causing an ominous reaction from his creation. When Jesus finally yielded up his life and breathed his last, he entrusted himself to his Father, quoting Psalm 31:5 (23:46).

At that moment, the curtain of the sanctuary, which separated the holy place from the most holy place, was split down the middle (23:45; see Exod 26:33). The curtain symbolized the separation that existed between a holy God and sinful people. Only the high priest could enter the most holy place to make atonement for Israel’s sins. But through the perfect atoning sacrifice of our “great high priest” Jesus Christ (see Heb 4:14; 7:27; 10:10, 12), human beings everywhere have access to God through him. The way to God is open. You no longer need the Old Testament sacrificial system; you only need Jesus and faith in his work.

23:47-49 Though many who witnessed the crucifixion were unbelievers who insulted Jesus, many others were sorrowful and realized that a miscarriage of justice had taken place. The Roman centurion who oversaw the execution of the three men began to glorify God by declaring Jesus to be a righteous man (23:47). The crowds that had gathered to watch the event went away striking their chests in grief (23:48). Those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance and watched (23:49). They were anxious to know where he would be buried so that they could later anoint his body (see 23:55-56).

23:50-53 Though most of the Jewish religious leaders had opposed Jesus, there were notable exceptions. One of these was a member of the Sanhedrin who was named Joseph. He was a good and righteous man from the Judean town of Arimathea who was looking forward to the kingdom of God (23:50-51). He boldly demonstrated his faith in Jesus by going publicly to Pilate and asking for Jesus’s body so that he might bury him (23:52). Helped by Nicodemus, another Jewish leader who had opposed the Sanhedrin’s plan (see John 3:1-2; 7:50-51; 19:39-40), Joseph wrapped and buried the body in a tomb that had never been used, one cut out of rock (Luke 23:53).

23:54-56 Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried on Friday. The next day was the Sabbath, which began at sundown on Friday (23:54). The women who had followed Jesus from Galilee saw the tomb where he was buried so that they could return on Sunday, after the Sabbath, and anoint his body with spices and perfumes (23:55-56).

24:1-3 On the first day of the week—Sunday—early in the morning, the women came to the tomb with their spices (24:1). The stone covering the opening to the tomb had been rolled away, but Jesus’s body was not there (24:2-3).

24:4-8 As the women puzzled over what had happened, suddenly they realized they weren’t alone. Two others were there. They appeared to be men (24:4), but they were angels (see 24:23; Matt 28:5). Their clothes were dazzling, and the women bowed down in fear (Luke 24:4-5). The angels asked perhaps the most glorious question ever: Why are you looking for the living among the dead? (24:5). Jesus had truly died, but he had risen from the dead as he’d predicted when telling them he would be crucified and rise on the third day (24:6-7; see 9:21-22; 18:31-33). The heavenly rebuke helped the women remember (24:8).

24:9-12 They ran to find the Eleven and all the rest to tell them what had happened (24:9). These weren’t nameless, fictional women but real people: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James (24:10). Women played a prominent role in Jesus’s ministry, supporting him from their own possessions (8:1-3), so they were given the privilege of being the first to learn of the resurrection and to communicate it. Initially, the others disbelieved the women’s testimony (24:11), yet it prompted Peter to run to the tomb to see for himself. When he saw nothing there except the linen cloths that had wrapped Jesus’s body, he went away, amazed and trying to make sense of what had happened (24:12).

24:13-17 Luke cuts to another resurrection account featuring two disciples, one of whom was named Cleopas (see 24:18). These two were traveling to Emmaus, a town located about seven miles from Jerusalem (24:13). As they were discussing what had happened that weekend, the risen Jesus began walking alongside them (24:14-15). However, they didn’t know who he was, for they were prevented from recognizing him (24:16). So he asked them what they were discussing, and they stopped walking and looked discouraged (24:17). Their unbelief prevented them from recognizing him.

24:18-21 Cleopas was stunned: Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days? In other words, he said, “Where have you been, Mister? Don’t you know what’s occurred?” Then they proceeded to explain who Jesus of Nazareth was—to Jesus!

Though he was a mighty prophet of God, the chief priests and leaders saw to it that he was sentenced to death (24:19-20). Yet it wasn’t just the miscarriage of justice that discouraged them; they were discouraged because their hopes had been dashed: We were hoping that he was the one who was about to redeem Israel (24:21). This implies they had expected him to redeem them from Roman rule and set them free. They had put all of their eggs in the Jesus basket. But their dreams had been destroyed; their hearts had been broken.

24:22-24 As if that weren’t enough, some women from their group had gone to the tomb that morning but didn’t find his body (24:22-23). Instead, angels testified that he was alive (24:23). Some of their friends went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said (24:24). “We don’t know where he is,” was essentially the complaint these men made to the very man they were looking for! How wonderful that the one they couldn’t find was walking alongside them. “They were prevented from recognizing him” (24:16) because of their disheartening circumstances.

24:25-26 Though they were discouraged, Jesus rebuked them: How foolish you are and how slow. That was not exactly a compliment! Rather than try to encourage them, he first wanted to take them to the truth. When we see the truth rightly, our emotions will follow. He told them they had not believed all that prophets have spoken. Their reading of Scripture had been selective. They needed to be taken back to see all that the prophets had said. It was necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory (2:26).

Jesus is the Son of God, sitting now at the right hand of the Father, crowned with honor and glory. But he had to endure great suffering to get there. The disciples had missed what Scripture said about the Messiah. Likewise, many people today are excited about the promises and blessings of the Bible, but they avoid those passages that talk about trials and pain. However, you can’t have one without the other. We must be willing to accept the total package.

24:27 So what did Jesus do? Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets (that is, the entire Old Testament), he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures. There was no New Testament yet; Jesus was the New Testament. So he helped them to see the Messiah in the Old Testament. Similarly, whether we’re reading about Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, or Isaiah, we must always be looking for Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures because they were written with him in mind. As the saying goes, Jesus is in the Old Testament concealed but in the New Testament revealed.

24:28-30 As they came near Emmaus, their destination, Jesus gave the impression that he was going to continue on his way (24:28). But they urged him to stay, and he accepted their invitation (24:29). They went from Bible study to personal fellowship, from information to relationship. And as they sat down to eat, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them (29:30). Notice what happened. The guest became the host. They invited him in, and he fed them.

24:31-35 At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared (24:31). Their hearts had been burning when he explained the Scriptures to them and the truth of God’s Word had transformed their discouraged hearts. But it was during the breaking of the bread—when they saw the nail prints in his hands—that they realized who he was (24:35). The purpose of the written Word is always to lead us to an experience with the living Word.

Once Jesus disappeared, they hurried off to Jerusalem, making the same seven-mile journey in reverse! They told the Eleven everything that had happened and learned that the Lord had also appeared to Simon (24:33-34).

24:36-43 As they were all standing around sharing their resurrection stories, Jesus himself stood in their midst and greeted them (24:36). At first they were terrified, thinking him a ghost (24:37). But he assured them that he had a real physical body. He encouraged them to touch him and see that he had flesh and bones (24:38-39). Then he showed them his hands and feet with their nail scars (24:40). Finally, he ate a piece of broiled fish to give further proof that he was no apparition but had a resurrected body (24:41-43).

24:44-48 Then he reminded them of what he had told them—that everything written about him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (i.e., the Old Testament) had to be fulfilled (24:44). He had taught them previously, but at this point he opened their minds so that they could fully understand the Scriptures (24:45). As eyewitnesses of Jesus and his resurrection, they were to proclaim the good news to all the nations—that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day and that repentance for forgiveness of sins comes through believing in his name (24:46-48). This gospel was what the apostles preached and is what the New Testament declares.

24:49-51 Jesus commanded them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for what his Father had promised—the Holy Spirit, so that they would be empowered from on high (24:49). Then he led them near Bethany (less than two miles from Jerusalem). As he blessed them, they watched as he ascended into heaven (24:50-51).

24:52-53 After worshiping Christ, they went back to Jerusalem, filled with joy, and continually went to the temple praising God. Worship, joy, praise—that’s where our faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ should lead us.

Thus ends the first part of Luke’s two-part narrative (see 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3). The stage is set for its sequel, the book of Acts.