Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

Luke 24

Verse 1

1. To Mary of Magdala. John 20:11-17 (‘Noli me tangere’); Mark 16:9.

Verse 2

2. To other women, who adore Him. Matthew 28:9-10.

Verses 2-12


Verse 3

3. To Peter. Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5.

Verse 4

4. To the Disciples on the way to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-35; Mark 16:12-13.

Verse 5

5. To ten Apostles and others. Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23; Mark 16:14.

Verse 6

6. To the Eleven Apostles. The incredulity of Thomas removed. John 20:26-29.

Verse 7

7. To seven Apostles at the Lake of Galilee. John 21:1-24.

Verse 8

8. To five hundred on a hill of Galilee. Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; 1 Corinthians 15:6.

Verse 9

9. To James, the Lord’s brother. 1 Corinthians 15:7.

Verse 10

10. Before the Ascension. Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:6-9.

Since more Appearances of the Risen Christ than those here narrated were well known to St Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5-7), it may be regarded as certain that they were known also to St Luke. If he here omits them it must be borne in mind (i) that neither he nor any of the Evangelists profess to furnish a complete narrative; (ii) that St Luke especially shews a certain ‘economy’ (as has been already pointed out) in only narrating typical incidents; (iii) that he is here hastening to the close of his Gospel; and (iv) that he has other particulars to add in the Acts of the Apostles.

Verse 11

11. ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν. The frequency of the Hellenistic preposition ἐνώπιον is due to the Hebrew לִפְנֵי. It occurs 36 times in this Gospel and the Acts, but neither in St Matthew nor St Mark; and St John only uses it once (Luke 20:30).

λῆρος. ‘Dotage’ (Rhemish version). The strong word used implies mere nonsensical talk. Soph. Trach. 435, ληρεῖν ἀνδρὸς οὐχὶ σώφρονος.

ἠπίστουν. The imperfect shews persistent incredulity.

Verse 12

12. ὁ δὲ Πέτρος. For the fuller details see John 20:2-9. The ‘but’ implies his readiness to believe. The presence of John, though omitted here, is implied in Luke 24:24. The verse is probably genuine, though omitted in D.

ὀθόνια. A very general term, and perhaps including the linen bands in which the Body had been swathed in spices. Comp. John 20:6-7.

μόνα. Important as incidentally refuting the story disseminated by the Jews (Matthew 28:11-15). Such a stealing of the body was on every ground impossible under the conditions, and had it been possible could only have been a hurried and perilous work. Yet this absurd Jewish fiction was repeated and amplified twelve centuries later in the blasphemous Toldoth Jeshu.

ἀπῆλθεν πρὸς αὑτὸν θαυμάζων. ‘Departed to his own house, wondering.’ So Euthym. πρὸς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ διαγωγήν. Comp. John 20:10, ἀπῆλθον πρὸς ἑαυτούς. The surprise, the alarm, the perplexed incredulity of the Disciples, admitted by all the Evangelists alike, add force to those evidences which so absolutely convinced them of the miracle which they had never contemplated. The stunning blow of the Crucifixion had made them forget the prophecies of Jesus, which even at the time they had been unable to receive with any comprehension or conviction. (See Luke 9:43-45; John 2:18-22; John 6:61-64; John 10:17-18; John 13:31; Matthew 12:38-42; Matthew 16:13-27; Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 10:32-34, &c.)

Verse 13

13. δύο ἐξ αὐτῶν. See Mark 16:12-13. It is expressly implied in Luke 24:33 that they were not Apostles. One was Cleopas (an abbreviation of Cleopatros), of whom we know nothing, for the name is not the same as Clopas (= Alphaeus or Chalpai, John 19:25), though they may have been the same person (see on Luke 6:14; Luke 6:8). The other is unknown, and unconjecturable. There is no shadow of probability that it was St Luke himself (Theophylact).

ἀπέχουσαν σταδίους ἑξήκοντα. The “about” of the A. V[415] has nothing to sanction it in the text. The distance (6½ miles) shews that Emmaus could not have been the Emmaus of 1 Maccabees 3:40; 1 Maccabees 9:50, &c. (Amwâs or Nicopolis), which is 176 furlongs from Jerusalem (Jos. B. J. II. 20, § 4), or the Galilaean Emmaus or “Hot Springs” (Jos. B. J. IV. 1, § 3, VII. 6, § 6). It may be the Emmaus of Jos. B. J. VII. 6, § 6 (Kulonieh), which according to one reading was 60 furlongs from Jerusalem. Had the Emmaus been 160 furlongs distant (as in the reading of אIKN, &c.) they could not have returned the same evening to Jerusalem. In the Talmud (Succah, IV. 5) we are told that Maüza (with the article Hamaüza) was the place where the palms were gathered for the feast of Tabernacles; and elsewhere that Maüza was Kulonieh.

Verses 13-35


Verse 15

15. αὐτὸς Ἰησοῦς ἐγγίσας. A beautiful illustration of the promise in Matthew 18:20.

Verse 16

16. τοῦ μὴ ἐπιγνῶναι. ‘That they should not recognise Him.’ There are two other instances of the same remarkable fact. Mary of Magdala did not recognise Him (John 20:14), nor the disciples on the Lake (John 21:4). The same thing is evidently implied in Luke 24:37 and in Matthew 28:17; and it exactly accords with the clear indications that the Resurrection Body of our Lord was a Glorified Body of which the conditions transcended those of ordinary mortality. Comp. Mark 16:12.

Verse 17

17. ἀντιβάλλετε. Literally, “cast to and fro.” Compare “discussed a doubt, and tossed it to and fro.” Tennyson.

σκυθρωποί. Matthew 6:16. The true reading seems to be ‘and they stood still’ (ἐστάθησαν, אAB, and some ancient versions; ἔστησαν, L), ‘looking sad.’ They stopped short, displeased at the unwelcome, and possibly perilous, intrusion of a stranger into their conversation.

Verse 18

18. Κλεόπας. See on Luke 24:13. The mention of so obscure a name proves that the story is not an invention. Pii non sua sed aliorum causa memorantur. Bengel.

σὺ μόνος παροικεῖς Ἱερουσαλήμ; ‘Dost thou live alone as a stranger in Jerusalem?’ art thou some lonely sojourner in Jerusalem, come from a distance? Vulg[416] tu solus peregrinus es? Art thou alone a stranger? This rendering is also possible. See Winer, p. 785. For the verb see Ephesians 2:19, and for παροικία, 1 Peter 1:17.

Verse 19

19. δς ἐγένετο. Not “which was,” A. V[417] but ‘who proved Himself.’

δυνατὸς ἐν ἔργῳ καὶ λόγῳ. See Acts 2:22.

Verse 21

21. ἠλπίζομεν. ‘Our hope was.’ This would imply that now their hope was dimmed, if not quenched. This perhaps led to the reading ‘we trust’ (ἐλπίζομεν) in א and some inferior MSS., which Alford calls a “correction for decorum.”

λυτροῦσθαι. The form of the expected redemption is explained in Acts 1:6.

ἀλλά γε. These words properly mean “yet at least,” and in classical writers are separated by some other word. They do not occur again in the N. T.

σὺν πᾶσιν τούτοις. ‘Along with (i.e. beside) all these things.’ The use of σὺν is more general than usual. See Winer, p. 488.

τρίτην ταύτην ἡμέραν ἄγει. The words might be literally rendered ‘He is leading this third day.’ The unexpressed nominative is not ὁ χρόνος or ὁ ἥλιος, but Ἰησοῦς. The expression seems to imply, ‘if there had been any hope it would have been confirmed before now.’

Verse 22

22. ὀρθριναί. ‘At the dawn.’ The idiom by which a circumstance of time or place is expressed by an adjective is quite classical; comp. σκοταῖος ἦλθεν, δαῖτα τένοντο δειελινοί, Aeneas se matutinus agebat, &c. So in English poets we find “the nightly hunter,” “evening sheep,” &c. See my Brief Greek Syntax, p. 82. The Attic form of the word is ὄρθριος.

Verse 23

23. οἳ λέγουσιν. ‘Which say’ (not ‘said’ as in A. V[418]). This mention of a sort of double hearsay (‘women saying—of angels who say’) shews the extreme hesitation which appears throughout the narrative.

Verse 24

24. αὐτὸν δὲ οὐκ εἶδον. This phrase most naturally and tenderly expresses their incredulity and sorrow. It also shews how impossible is the sceptical theory that the Disciples were misled by hallucinations. “Les hallucinés,” says Bersier, “parlent en hallucinés;” but against any blind enthusiasm we see that the Apostles and Disciples were most suspiciously on their guard.

Verse 25

25. ὦ ἀνόητοι. The expression “fools” in the A. V[419] is much too strong. It is not ἄφρονες (see Luke 11:40), but ἀνόητοι, ‘foolish,’ ‘unintelligent.’ (Galatians 3:1)

Verse 26

26. οὐχὶἔδει παθεῖν τὸν Χριστόν; ‘Behoved it not the Messiah to suffer?’ It was a divine necessity, Matthew 26:54; John 12:24; John 12:32; John 11:49-52; Acts 17:3; 1 Peter 1:10-11. Thus St Luke mainly dwells on the Resurrection as a spiritual necessity; St Mark as a great fact; St Matthew as a glorious and majestic manifestation; and St John in its effects on the minds of the members of the Church. (Westcott.)

Verse 27

27. ἀπὸ ΄ωϋσέως. The promise to Eve (Genesis 3:15); the promise to Abraham (Genesis 22:18); the Paschal Lamb (Exodus 12); the Scapegoat (Leviticus 16:1-34); the brazen serpent (Numbers 21:9); the greater Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15); the star and sceptre (Numbers 24:17); the smitten rock (Numbers 20:11; 1 Corinthians 10:4), &c.

πάντων τῶν προφητῶν. Immanuel, Isaiah 7:14. “Unto us a Child is born, &c.” Isaiah 9:6-7. The Good Shepherd, Isaiah 40:10-11. The Meek Sufferer, Isaiah 50:6. He who bore our griefs, Isaiah 53:4-5. The Branch, Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:14-15. The Heir of David, Ezekiel 34:23. The Ruler from Bethlehem, Micah 5:2. The Branch, Zechariah 6:12. The lowly King, Zechariah 9:9. The pierced Victim, Zechariah 12:10. The smitten Shepherd, Zechariah 13:7. The Messenger of the Covenant, Malachi 3:1. The Sun of Righteousness, Malachi 4:2; and many other passages. Dr Davison, in his admirable and standard book on Prophecy, pp. 266–287, shews that there is not one of the Prophets without some distinct reference to Christ except Nahum, Jonah (who was himself a type and Prophetic Sign), and Habakkuk, who however uses the memorable words quoted in Romans 1:17. We cannot suppose that our Lord went through each prophet separately, but only that He pointed out “the tenor of the Old Testament in its ethical and symbolical character.”

διερμήνευσεν. Vulg[420] interpretabatur (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:28).

ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γραφαῖς. Fragmentarily (πολυμερῶς) and multifariously (πολυτρόπως), Hebrews 1:1, e.g. in the Psalms passim, and in the types of Joshua, &c.

τὰ περὶ ἑαυτοῦ. Comp. Luke 21:37, τὰ περὶ ἐμοῦ. Here we may understand γεγραμμένα from γραφαῖς.

Verse 28

28. προσεποιήσατο. It is of course implied that He would have gone further, but for the strong pressure of their entreaty. Comp. Mark 6:48. We learn from these passages how needful it is to win Christ’s Presence by praying for it.

Verse 29

29. παρεβιάσαντο. Acts 16:15.

μεῖνον μεθ' ἡμῶν. It is this beautiful verse which has furnished the idea of Lyte’s dying hymn, ‘Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.’

τοῦ μεῖναι. Comp. Hebrews 13:2, “thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Verse 30

30. τὸν ἄρτον. ‘The loaf.’ Comp. Luke 22:19. Our Lord seems, by a kind of natural authority, to have assumed the position of host; which shews that they were at an inn. By one of the melancholy perversions of Scripture in the interests of mistaken dogma and practice, this passage is applied to defend the Romish custom of “communion in one kind.”

Verse 31

31. ἄφαντος ἐγένετο. See on Luke 24:16. ἄφαντος is a poetic word for the Attic prose word ἀφανής. It does not occur in the LXX[421], Apocrypha, or elsewhere in the N. T.

Verse 32

32. οὐχὶ ἡ καρδία ἡμῶν καιομένη ἦν; The expanded imperfect. Comp. Luke 21:24 ἔσται πατουμένη, Luke 23:51 ἦν συγκατατεθειμένος, Acts 8:28 ἦν ὑποστρέφων, Mark 13:25 ἔσονται ἐκπίπτοντες, &c. The metaphor is common, “The heart may burn without a sigh.” Byron.

ὡς ἐλάλει ἡμῖν. “Never man spake like this man,” John 7:46.

Verse 33

33. ὑπέστρεψαν. “They fear no longer the night journey from which they had dissuaded their unknown companion.” Bengel.

Verse 34

34. Σίμωνι. The same appearance, to Simon alone, is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:5, but there is not even a tradition as to the details. (The passage in 1 Corinthians 15:4-8 is the earliest written allusion to the facts of the Resurrection.)

Verse 35

35. ἐξηγοῦντο. ‘They narrated.’ The word occurs four times in the Acts and in John 1:18.

ἐν τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου. ‘In the breaking of the bread.’ The articles are important as giving to the act a sacramental character. It has been objected that Cleopas and his companion, not being Apostles, had not been present at the institution of the Lord’s Supper; but this was by no means the only occasion on which Christ had solemnly broken bread and blessed it (see Luke 9:16). St Mark adds that some of the disciples received even this narrative with distrust (Luke 16:13), which once more proves that, so far from being heated enthusiasts ready to accept any hallucination, they shewed on the contrary a most cautious reluctance in accepting even the most circumstantial evidence.

The young reader should refer to the beautiful passage of Cowper on this scene in Conversation, beginning

“It happen’d on a solemn eventide,” &c.

Verse 36

36. ἔστη ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν. The words imply a sudden appearance. The Eleven, with the exception of Thomas the Twin, were sitting at supper with the doors closed through their fear of the Jews (John 20:19). This is one of the most remarkable appearances of the Risen Christ. His intercourse with them on this occasion consisted of a greeting [36]; a reproach and consolation (38; Mark 16:14); a demonstration of the reality of His person (39–43; John 20:20); an opening of their understandings (44–46); an appointment of the Apostles to the ministries of remission and witness (47, 48; John 19:21; John 19:23); a promise of the Spirit, for the fulfilment of which they were to wait in Jerusalem [49]. At the close of this great scene He once more pronounced the benediction of Peace, and breathed on them with the words ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ (John 20:22). The fulness with which St Luke has narrated this appearance led him to omit some of the other appearances. See on Luke 24:49.

Verses 36-49


Verse 37

37. πτοηθέντες. Literally, ‘being scared.’

πνεῦμα θεωρεῖν. ‘That they were gazing on a spirit.’ See Luke 24:16.

Verse 38

38. διαλογισμοί. ‘Reasonings.’

Verse 39

39. ψηλαφήσατέ με. “Which we have looked upon and our hands have handled (ἐψηλάφησαν) of the Word of Life,” 1 John 1:1; comp. John 20:20; John 20:27. For other uses of the word see Acts 17:27; Hebrews 12:18.

σάρκα καὶ ὀστέα. “I am not a bodiless spirit” are words attributed to Him in Ignatius (ad Smyrn. 3). Clemens of Alexandria has preserved a curious, but utterly baseless, legend, that St John, touching the body, found that his hands passed through it. From the omission of “blood” with “flesh and bones” very precarious inferences have been drawn.

Verse 40

40. καὶ τοὺς πόδας. Which must therefore have been pierced, and not merely tied to the Cross.

Verse 41

41. ἀπιστούντωνἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς. One of the psychological touches of which St Luke is fond, and profoundly true to nature (comp. Liv. xxxix. 49, Vix sibimet ipsi prae necopinato gaudio credentes).

τι βρώσμιον. ‘Anything to eat;’ see on Luke 3:11, Luke 8:55.

Verse 42

42. ἰχθύος ὀπτοῦ. A meal of fish at Jerusalem might surprise us, if we did not learn from the Talmud that it was regularly supplied from the inexhaustible stores of the Lake of Gennesareth (Life of Christ, I. 142).

Verse 43

43. ἔφαγεν. This was one of the ‘infallible proofs’ appealed to in Acts 1:3; comp. John 21:12-13; “who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead,” Acts 10:41. The importance of this proof in the eyes of the Apostles may also be inferred from Tobit 12:19, where the Angel says “All those days I did but make myself visible to you, and did neither eat nor drink but ye beheld a vision.” Jerome (adv. Pelag. II.) mentions a strange addition in some MSS., viz. that the disciples said that ‘the wickedness and incredulity of the age is a substance which does not permit the true virtue of God to be apprehended through impure spirits; therefore even now reveal Thy justice.’ A few MSS. and versions here add, ‘and gave them the remains.’

Verse 44

44. οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι, i.e. this is the meaning of the words.

οὓς ἐλάλησα. Luke 18:31; Matthew 16:21.

ἔτι ὢν σὺν ὑμῖν. Important as shewing that the forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension were not intended to be a continuous sojourn with the disciples, or an integral portion of the Lord’s human life.

τὰ γεγραμμένα. See on Luke 24:26-27.

νόμῳπροφήταιςψαλμοῖς. This corresponds with the (possibly later) Jewish division of the Old Testament into the Pentateuch, Prophets, and Kethubhim (Hagiographa).

Verse 45

45. διήνοιξεν. Spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned, 1 Corinthians 2:10-13. On this most important truth see Matthew 11:27; Matthew 13:11; Matthew 16:17; John 16:13; Acts 16:14. “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law,” Psalms 119:18.

τοῦ συνιέναι τὰς γραφάς. Hence the power with which they—till this time so dull and slow of heart—henceforth explained them, Acts 1:16; Acts 1:20; Acts 2:16; Acts 2:25, &c.

Verse 46

46. οὕτως γέγραπται κ.τ.λ. ‘Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer.’ אBCDL.

Verse 47

47. ἄφεσιν. See on Luke 1:77; 1 John 2:12.

εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. See Luke 2:32; Genesis 12:3; Psalms 22:27; Isaiah 49:6.

ἀπὸ Ἱερουσαλήμ. Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2.

Verse 48

48. μάρτυρες. John 15:27. How prominent in the minds of the Apostles was this ministry of witness may be seen from Acts 1:8; Acts 2:32; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:33; Acts 5:30-32, &c.

Verse 49

49. τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν. Both in the Prophecies of the Old Testament (Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:26; Joel 2:28) and by His own mouth (John 14:16-17; John 14:20; John 15:26; John 16:7). Comp. Acts 1:4-5; Acts 1:8. It is difficult not to see in this expression a distinct allusion to the discourses which are recorded by St John alone.

ἕως οὗ ἐνδύσησθε. ‘Until ye put on the garment of.’ For the metaphor see Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:24, &c. We are unclothed till we receive heavenly gifts. “They had been washed (John 15:3), now the clothing is promised.” Bengel.

There are ten recorded appearances of the Risen Christ (including that at the Ascension), of which St Luke only narrates three (the 4th, 5th, and 10th), though he alludes to others (e.g. the 3rd). They are

Verse 50

50. ἐξήγαγεν. Not of course at the conclusion of the last scene, but at the end of the forty days, Acts 1:3.

ἕως πρός. ‘As far as towards Bethany’ (πρός, אBCD, &c.), i.e. “over against,” R.V[422] The traditional scene of the Ascension is the central summit of the Mount of Olives (Jebel et-Tur); but it is far more probable that it took place in one of the secluded uplands which lie about the village. See a beautiful passage in Dean Stanley’s Sinai and Palestine, ch. 3.

Verses 50-53


Verse 51

51. διέστη. ‘He parted.’ Vulg[423] recessit. Not “was parted” (A.V[424]). The verb occurs (in the N.T.) only in Luke 22:59; Acts 27:28. “A cloud received Him out of their sight,” Acts 1:9. This passage however conveys a clearer impression. He stood apart from them (aorist) and was gradually borne into heaven. The latter words are not found in אD.

εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν. See Ephesians 4:8. The withdrawal of His Bodily Presence preceded His Spiritual Omnipresence. The omission of the Ascension by St Matthew and St John would be more remarkable if it was not assumed by them both (John 3:13; John 6:62; John 20:17; Matthew 24:30).

Verse 52

52. εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ. For fuller details see Acts 1:3-12.

μετὰ χαρᾶς μεγάλης. As Jesus had promised (John 16:20; John 16:22). It is remarkable that they shewed great joy now that they were losing for ever the earthly presence of the Lord. It shews their faith in the promise that His spiritual presence should be even nearer and more precious (John 14:28; John 16:7).

Verse 53

53. διαπαντὸς ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ. This expression is one of the links between the Gospel and the Acts (see Acts 2:46; Acts 3:1, &c.).

αἰνοῦντες καὶ εὐλογοῦντες. Acts 2:46; Acts 5:42. ‘Praise is the fruit of joy.’ A characteristic close in accordance with the usual spirit of St Luke. See Introd. p. xxxii, and Luke 2:20, Luke 5:25, Luke 7:16, Luke 13:13, Luke 17:15, Luke 18:43, Luke 23:47.

[Ἀμήν.] Probably a liturgical addition, as it is omitted in אCDL, &c. “The Ascension,” says Godet, “realises in the person of the Risen Son of Man the design of God towards Humanity.” That divinely foreordained purpose (πρόθεσις) was to make of sanctified believers a Family of God’s children like His only Son. Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 2:10. The work of Christ is continued by the Church, enlightened by the Spirit of God at Pentecost, and awaiting its perfection at the Second Advent. “Since then salvation involves these three things—Grace, Holiness, Glory, each Gospel, especially that of St Luke, requires, as its second volume, the Acts; as its third, the Revelation of St John.”

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"Commentary on Luke 24". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.