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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 24

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-53

Luke 24:21 . To-day is the third day. Christ was to rise the third day, according to the scriptures, as he had intimated to the disciples. Matthew 20:19. See also Genesis 22:4; Genesis 42:18. Joshua 2:16. Exodus 19:16. Jonah 1:17.

Luke 24:25 . Oh fools, Ω ανοητοι , oh thoughtless men, unwise, unskilled in the scriptures.

Luke 24:44 . All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. The fulfilment of prophecy demonstrates the truth of religion. On this subject the church has ever kept her eye, and traced the gracious superintendence of providence. On the subject of prophecy a distinction is made, Luke 24:26, between the sufferings of Christ, and his subsequent glory. Here the glory of the cross is the introduction to the glory of the crown. More than forty circumstances of his passion are distinctly foretold, and deserve particular attention.

Bishop Hall, in a sermon at Paul’s cross, on good friday, 1609, says, “He must be apprehended. It was fore-prophesied. “The Anointed of the Lord was taken in their nets,” saith Jeremiah. But how? He must be sold: for what? For thirty silver pieces. And what must those do? Buy a field: all foretold. “They took thirty silver pieces, the price of him that was valued, and gave them for the potter’s field,” saith Zechariah (mis-written Jeremiah, by one letter mistaken in the abbreviation.) By whom? “That child of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.” Which was he? It is foretold; “He that eateth bread with me,” saith the Psalmist. And what shall his disciples do? Run away: so saith the prophecy. “I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered,” saith Zechariah. What shall be done to him? He must be scourged and spit upon. Behold, not those filthy excrements could have lighted upon his sacred face, without a prophecy. “I hid not my face from shame and spitting,” saith Isaiah. What shall be the issue? In short, he shall be led to death. It is the prophecy, “The Messiah shall be slain,” saith Daniel. What death? He must be lift up. “Like as Moses lift up the serpent in the wilderness, so shall the Son of man be lift up.” Chrysostom saith well, that some actions are parables; so may I say, some actions are prophecies; such are all types of Christ, and this with the foremost. Lift up, whither? To the cross: it is the prophecy. “Hanging upon a tree,” saith Moses. How lift up? Nailed to it: so is the prophecy. Fæderunt manus. “They have pierced my hands and my feet,” saith the Psalmist. With what company? Two thieves. “With the wicked was he numbered,” saith Isaiah: Where? “Without the gates,” saith the prophecy. What became of his garments? They cannot so much as cast the dice for his coat, but it is prophesied. “They divided my garments, and on my vesture did they cast lots,” saith the Psalmist. He must die then on the cross: but how? Voluntarily. “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” What hinders it?

Lo, there he hangs, as it were neglected and at mercy; yet all the raging jews, all the devils in hell cannot stir one bone in his blessed body. It was prophesied in the Easter-Lamb, and it must be fulfilled in him that is the true Passover, in spite of fiends and men. How then? He must be thrust in the side. Behold, not the very spear could touch his precious side being dead, but it must be guided by a prophecy. “They shall see him whom they have thrust through,” saith Zechariah. What shall he say the while? His very words are forespoken. His complaint, Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani, as the Chaldee, or עזבתני , as the Hebrew in Psalms 22:2. His resignation, In manus tuas, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Psalms 31:5. His request, “Father, forgive them.” “He prayed for his transgressors,” saith Isaiah. And now, when he saw all these prophecies fulfilled, knowing that one remained, he said, “I thirst.” Dominee, quid sitis, saith one. “Oh Lord, what thirstest thou for?” A strange hearing, that a man, yea that God and man dying, should complain of thirst.”

Luke 24:50 . He led them out as far as Bethany. As far only as mount Olivet, Acts 1:12, which is understood to be in the ancient precincts of Bethany.

Luke 24:52 . They worshipped him, by prostration, as the Greek imports, in his ascension. Thus all the churches everywhere worship him, calling on the name of the Lord Jesus. Act 22:16 . 1 Corinthians 1:2. “We therefore pray thee, help thy servants whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.” Common Prayer.


The approach of Christ to Cleopas and his fellow disciple, on their way to Emmaus, is a narrative abounding with instruction. Who this disciple was, whether Alpheus, or Nathanael, antiquity has not decided. The indulgent tenderness of Jesus is the conspicuous feature. Mary Magdalene wept most, and the Lord was first seen of her. Peter was drowned in tears with a double sorrow, and the Lord was next seen of him. 1 Corinthians 15:5. These two holy men had stayed in Jerusalem to feast on grief, but were now shortening their journey by an evening walk, and their kind Master would not suffer them to carry their sorrows to Galilee. He approached them as a stranger, not being willing to transport them with joy, but to remove their anguish by arguments from the scriptures; for revelation is at all times the basis of our faith, and the rock of our comfort. By degrees he drew from them the tragic tale of woe. Then personating an enlightened friend of the crucified, he expressed his surprise at their ignorance and want of faith; that during this whole day they had never risen above the national prejudice for a reigning Messiah, to see that Christ was first to suffer, and then to enter into his glory. He wondered that they had not thought on Isaac, who on the third day was raised from the altar, and made the father of nations. He would in order tell them that Joseph was raised up to the right hand of Pharaoh after suffering; and that when his brethren had wept, he discovered himself to them the third day. He would remind them that after the heifer was slain without the camp, the highpriest entered the holy place with its blood. That Christ the stone was first to be rejected of the builders, and then made the head of the corner. He would adduce the more luminous prophecies to the same effect; that David, joining his sorrows to those of the Saviour, had traced his crucifixion, and then predicted the conversion of the heathen to his name: All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn to the Lord. Psalms 22:27. He would bring forward Isaiah’s complete history of the passion, the spitting, the stripes, the slaughter of the Lamb, the oblation of the Saviour’s soul for sin, and the glory that should follow. He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands. Isaiah 53:0. Thus Jesus gave the keys of prophecy to the church.

While the stranger discoursed with the simplicity and ease becoming an inhabitant of heaven, every word shed day on his desponding hearers, and every text carried conviction to the heart. The light of truth shone on their understanding, and fire of the celestial altar kindled in their heart. They saw the scriptures full of Jesus, and were elevated from the depths of sorrow to open visions of the Messiah and his kingdom. But the discourse had deceived the time, and beguiled the way. They were come to Emmaus ere they were aware; and the stranger, as though he had done them little good, was wishing them peace, and proceeding on his way. Nay, nay, hearts so united in the bonds of truth and love must never be dis-joined. They constrained him to stay with them; and in blessing the bread, the grace was so large that the risen Saviour stood disclosed before their eyes. But what was the fire that glowed in their hearts? It was the same that glowed in David’s heart while musing, Psalms 39:3; that revived Isaiah when the seraph touched his lips, Isaiah 6:6; and that which Jeremiah felt when he could not decline the ministry: Jeremiah 20:9. It is in short the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and the love of God shed abroad in the heart. Romans 5:5. On feeling this love the two disciples could not but tell it: and the three prophets above referred to could not but speak for God, and make fresh efforts to convert the wicked from the error of their way.

But how may we find this love; for grace in one creates a longing in all. Take a few hints from the case of these men, and you will surely find it too.

First, we see they were sad; and sorrow and true repentance always presede comfort.

Next, they had scarcely any hope. “We trusted it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.” Now they feared even to hope. In the darkest and most discouraging of our moments, Jesus often comes to revive and cheer us with his love.

They told their troubles to each other, and to the stranger. The human heart will never mend by concealment. Tell it, tell your anguish to the Lord, and take sweet counsel with those that fear his name.

Christ approached them in their trouble, though unknown, and unexpected. He has himself wept and suffered, and deep distress will ever attract his kind regards. He appeared to Mary first, because she wept the most; and he will never fail to draw nigh to those who seek his favour with repentant tears.

The two disciples found their comfort, not in the throng and noise of the multitude; not in religious controversies, factions and disputes, but under the ministry of Jesus while expounding the scriptures. Go and sit under the same word; for the servants of Jesus will seek to comfort mourning souls. Go and wait with expectation, and while the same scriptures are expounded, the same comforts shall descend into the soul. Remember, it is Jesus who has said, “Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find.”

We may add, that this comfort had happy fruits; it induced the disciples to constrain the stranger to abide with them. As the fire in the furnace melts all the ores into one mass, so the lovers of Jesus, though strangers, presently become of one heart and one soul. Very often from the first interview an eternal friendship springs up in the heart.

Those men having told their sorrows, now tell their joys to one another, and also to the church. Religious tears have a happy issue; and there are no joys on this side of heaven more delightful than the communion of saints, when religious interviews and meetings for christians are properly conducted.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 24". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/luke-24.html. 1835.
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