The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Luke 24

Luk 24:1

"And now the evening has come, for which Christ has longed, and he is at peace in the rich man's grave, after dying with the wicked according to the prophetic word, which said that he should make 'his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death.' But who can leave the record of this day without going on to the next chapter with its joyful sequel? The night had come and passed. 'Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.' Never was the saying so wondrously fulfilled as on this new day which begins 'at the rising of the sun.' But another sun had already risen, the sun of righteousness, never more to go down, though it would pass away from the sight of men to return again. This resurrection morning is without clouds. Christ is risen" (CAL, Xd 117:160,161).

THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK: Lit, "day one of the seven". The beginning of a new creation week! Cp Gen 1: a new creation, "day one"! God had said, "Let there be light", and now there was! Cp Col 1:15-18: Jesus the beginning of the new creation! To the disciples, this day (when they understood it later) would mark the beginning of their new lives. This new "Sun" of the morning was to drive away the dark shadows of lost hope, and create a new spirit within the disciples (Isa 9:1,2; 2Co 4:6).

THE WOMEN TOOK THE SPICES... AND WENT TO THE TOMB: As soon as the Sabbath restrictions were past, ie after sunset on Saturday -- the 3 women (close companions of Christ in life) prepare to give their last token of love to their Lord in his death. Early on Sunday morning, at first light in the east, they set out for the tomb. (Did they make two separate visits to the tomb? see Mat 28:1n.)

Luk 24:2

At this time, Mary Magdalene goes to tell Peter and John (Joh 20:2).

THE STONE ROLLED AWAY FROM THE TOMB: Actually, rolled some distance away and laid flat (cp Mat 28:2; Mar 16:4; Joh 20:1).

Was ever a mountain so "large" as the great stone which sealed Christ's tomb? Truly, as miracles go, no miracle has been or could be so great as the one that caused this "very large" stone to be removed, and thus proclaimed Christ's tomb to be open... forevermore.

Jesus had told his followers, "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him' " (Mar 11:23). Of course, we have trouble with moving literal mountains, even as we have trouble explaining this passage.

But seen from a spiritual perspective, isn't the greatest "mountain" of difficulty -- which no man can move -- death and the grave? Engineers with bulldozers and explosives can move even literal mountains. But who among them can move the mountainous "stone" that covers the grave? Not a one!

And even the disciples of Jesus could not move such a stone from the mouth of his sepulcher... not at that time; they were weeping in sorrow, and hiding in fear. It was the faith of Jesus alone -- though he was dead and unconscious in the tomb -- that moved the hand of the angels of God, and rolled back the stone. It may be said that the greatest miracle that Jesus ever performed was this: the blood of this wholly righteous man cried out from the depths of the earth, and the Father heard!

Do WE, today, have faith to move mountains? The answer, I believe, is really another question: 'Do WE have faith that the greatest "mountain" has already been moved?' "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours" (Mar 11:24). Our faith may be -- not a prospective -- but a retrospective faith: we look backward, and ask, 'Do I really believe that the "mountain" has been moved?' If we truly believe that, then -- it is absolutely sure and certain -- ALL THINGS are possible for us!

"Open" things of Luk 24: (1) open sepulchre (v 2); (2) open Scripture (v 27); (3) open door (v 29); (4) open eyes (v 31); (5) open heart (v 38); (6) open minds (v 45); (7) opened heavens (v 51).

Luk 24:4

TWO MEN: Angels (Luk 24:23; Joh 20:12).

Luk 24:5

WHY DO YOU LOOK FOR THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD?: Those who "live" in Christ will not remain among the "dead" things of this world: Col 3:1-3. "If Christ be not risen..." (1Co 15).

AMONG THE DEAD: Other tombs were there.

Luk 24:7

MUST: Cp vv 26,44,46: all from "dei" = "there is need"; from root "to bind".

Luk 24:8

See VL, Disciples, slow comprehension.

Luk 24:10

At least 5 in the group.

Luk 24:12

Second visit by Peter: he only looks in this time, rather than entering (ct Joh 20:6). He goes away -- even closer now to believing (cp vv 23,24).

GOT UP: "Anastasis" -- sig a renewal of hope (ie 1Pe 1:3). Sometimes soon after Christ appears to Peter (1Co 15:5; cp Joh 21).

Luk 24:13

Vv 13-35: Here is Jesus the great physician and counselor at work. Here were two people in a very distressed state, unable to think straight.

First of all Jesus asked questions: he got them to talk, established a relationship, and so made them receptive to what he had to say. His opening gambit drew from Cleopas only rudeness (people who are hurt often react in this way), but he persisted and they shared their trouble. In this way healing was able to begin.

Second, he explained the Scripture, showing them that what had been puzzling them -- the death of the one whom they thought would redeem them by ending the Roman occupation -- had actually be prophesied centuries before as God's way of redeeming, in the sense of ending the burden and bondage of sin.

Finally, he revealed his presence. "Stay with us," they had said to him on reaching Emmaus. In the deepest sense he did, even after they ceased to see him. What a blessing for them that they were given to hospitality! What they would have missed had they not been!

Jesus is still the great physician and counselor today. We shall receive his healing as we tell him our trouble, let him minister to us from Scripture, and ask him to assure us that as we go through what may feel like fire and flood, he goes with us and will stay with us till the road ends.

Were the two disciples going to Emmaus husband and wife? We know one of them was Cleopas (v 18), and John tells us that his wife Mary went to the foot of the cross during the crucifixion (John 19:25). With both of them in Jerusalem for the passover, it seems probable that Cleopas would travel home to Emmaus with his wife. Luke 24:28,29 supports this, since it appears to say that they live together in the same house.

Luk 24:15

They were so wrapped up in speculations and discussions, that they did not notice the stranger approaching...

Luk 24:16

Do we not always realize that Christ is walking with us? He appeared "in another form" (Mar 16:12). Lesson: even today, Jesus appears to men in other forms -- ie, through us.

Luk 24:17

DISCUSSING: Antiballo: strong word: Ideas and arguments, hopes and guesses, speculations and objections were being thrown back and forth by these two on the way to Emmaus.

DOWNCAST: Sw Psa 43:2, LXX.

Luk 24:18

VISITOR: Gr "paroikeo" = "foreigner", a Diaspora Jew.

Luk 24:19

BEFORE GOD: Baptism and transfiguration.

Luk 24:20

THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND OUR RULERS: They blamed Jews and not Pilate.

Luk 24:21

REDEEM ISRAEL: Ref triumphal entry: Luk 19:11,35; cp Luk 1:68; 2:38; 21:28,31; Tit 2:14; 1Pe 1:18.

REDEEM: Gr "lutroo" = to pay the price, to set free: see Lesson, Redemption.

Luk 24:23

THEY CAME AND TOLD US THAT THEY HAD SEEN A VISION OF ANGELS: Isn't it interesting that the two disciples had no difficulty believing that the women had seen angels; it was the message that they had problems with. We would do well to think on this. We "entertain angels" if we are willing, but do we always see them as such? An "angel" in our lives may be anyone sent by God to stimulate us in beneficial ways.

Luk 24:27

MOSES AND ALL THE PROPHETS: Meaning, the whole of the OT (cp Luk 24:44).

ALL THE SCRIPTURES: Which would have included, at the very least, (1) Isaac: seed of promise, typically slain, and raised in a figure; (2) Joseph: beloved son, rejected by brethren, imprisoned, yet later exalted to be Savior of the world; and (3) Isaiah's suffering Servant, who would afterward see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. And always in Scripture, the double element of suffering and glory.

Luk 24:30

HE TOOK BREAD, GAVE THANKS, BROKE IT AND BEGAN TO GIVE IT TO THEM: But he did not partake of it himself: Luk 22:18.

Luk 24:31

THEIR EYES WERE OPENED AND THEY RECOGNIZED HIM: How did they recognize him? (1) He gave thanks, (2) He was host, (3) Similar to Last Supper, and (4) They saw nail-prints in his hands.

The opening of the eyes of the two who had walked with Jesus echoes Adam and Eve's experience (Gen 3:7) -- when they had taken of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By contrast, the two on the road to Emmaus were associated with the tree of life -- Jesus -- whereas Adam and Eve were barred from it.

Also, the opening of the eyes of Adam and Eve caused confusion and distress whereas the opening of the eyes of the two here caused joy and enlightenment.

Luk 24:32

WERE NOT OUR HEARTS BURNING...?: We, Bre of Christ, also have Christ with us to expound the Scriptures: we have the NT gospels and letters in which Christ and his apostles amplify the OT history and prophecy. To the extent that our Bible classes lack the excitement of those disciples, it is because to that extent we fail to take advantage of the wonderful benefits we have under our very noses. Our hearts should burn within us every time we open our Bibles!

OUR HEARTS: Lit "our heart" (singular): two disciples, but one heart!

OPENED THE SCRIPTURES: And thereby their hearts (v 45).

Luk 24:33

RETURNED AT ONCE TO JERUSALEM: In haste, as in Isa 52:7: "how beautiful... the feet". On the road to Emmaus it was daylight, but their hearts were filled with darkness. On the road to Jerusalem, it was dark, but their hearts were filled with light.

Luk 24:36

WHILE THEY WERE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS: The witnesses were seeking to convince their listeners...

Luk 24:37

STARTLED AND FRIGHTENED: Cp Gen 45:3,12: Joseph's Bre were troubled at his appearance. Cp Exo 19:16: trembling at Sinai.

Luk 24:39

MY HANDS AND MY FEET: Bone of bone, and flesh of flesh: Gen 2:23; 2Sa 19:12. Isa 49:15,16: engraved on the palms of my hands. Jesus uses the very expression introduced by Adam of his newly-formed wife in the Garden of Eden: "bone of bone and flesh of flesh". This indicates the unique mutual sentiment, feeling, emotion and outlook of Adam with his wife, unique among marriages, and typifies the fulfillment in Christ and his Bride (Eph 5: 32). Therein, Christ lays the foundation for the redemption of the apostles, and the future fellowship meal of the kingdom (Luk 24:43).

TOUCH ME AND SEE: Ct Adam and Eve in Eden: Gen 2:17. But here, "touch me and LIVE"!

Luk 24:40

See Isa 49:16.

Luk 24:44

WRITTEN ABOUT ME: Or poss "written FOR me"! The words of the Psalms, and other OT, to guide, instruct Jesus? Cp v 27.

THE LAW OF MOSES, THE PROPHETS AND THE PSALMS: The Jews have no proper name for the OT. They use a word Tank, made up from the initials of Torah, the Law; Neb, the Prophets, and K'thubim, the Writings, being the three groups forming the OT in Jewish reckoning.

Luk 24:45

See VL, Disciples, slow comprehension.

A man needs more than the printed page of the Bible and a good memory to make him wise to salvation. He needs a mind opened to give earnest heed to the heavenly message. He needs eyes opened to behold wondrous things out of God's law. He needs Christ in his heart. And when this takes place, he steps by faith into a world in which no shadow of gloom or fear can isolate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. This then must be our faith. The resurrection of our Savior is more than a fact to believe in; it is also a reality to live by: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20).

Luk 24:46

WHAT IS WRITTEN: Written where? Psa 22; Isa 53; Psa 16:9-11.

Luk 24:47

AND REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS WILL BE PREACHED IN HIS NAME TO ALL NATIONS, BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM: Where, in the Law, Psalms, and Prophets, is this specifically predicted? "All nations" come to worship Christ at Jerusalem: Psa 22:27; 67:2; 72:11,17; 82:8; 86:9; 117:1; Isa 2:2; 66:18,20; Jer 3:17; Dan 7:14; Hag 2:7; Zec 8:23.

Luk 24:50

Here insert the other events described in the last 40 days, including John 21, in Galilee. Luke appears to skip over these events, and a superficial reading would suggest that v 49 here leads immediately into v 50 -- which is not true.

HE LIFTED UP HIS HANDS AND BLESSED THEM: In doing so he is acting as the High Priest: Num 6:24-26!

Luk 24:51

TAKEN UP: "Anaphero": used for presenting an acceptable sacrifice: Heb 7:27; 9:28; 13:15; etc.

Cp Mar 16:19. See Psa 16:11; 110:1. Psa 110:1 became the standard Ascension passage of the early church; it is used in Acts 2:34-36; 7:55,56; Rom 8:34; Eph 1:19-22; 2:6. Compare 1Ti 3:16 and 1Pe 3:22 with Mark 16:19. Also, see Psa 68:18: "You ascended on high."

Luk 24:53

// Act 2:46; 3:1; 5:21,42.

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