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Bible Commentaries
Luke 24

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Verses 1-8

The Women At the Empty Tomb

The Sabbath is over and a whole week has passed. During that week events took place that will bring the history of the world and eternity to their fulfilment according to God’s plan. The old is over, the new has come. Symbol of this is “the first day of the week” which is the day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. With His resurrection a completely new order of things begins.

The women are not yet aware of this. They are still attached to the old order of things. Their love for Christ brought them to the tomb very early that day. They want to give the Savior their last honors by anointing His body with the spices which they have prepared. Despite their love, which is very praiseworthy, they are ignorant of the resurrection which was also prophesied by Him.

When they reach the tomb, they find the stone rolled away. The tomb is open! As a result, much more opens in this chapter: the Scriptures are opened (Luke 24:27), eyes are opened (Luke 24:31), the mind is opened (Luke 24:45), and heaven is opened (Luke 24:51). The stone has not been turned to allow the Lord Jesus to go out. He has already risen before the stone was rolled away by the angels. He can also enter somewhere despite closed doors (John 20:19). The stone is rolled away to let the women and us go inside to look into the tomb.

The women can enter the tomb in this way. That is what they do. There they discover that the body is not there. The tomb is empty. This is the first proof of the victory of God’s grace. Now grace and mercy can go out to man. It is remarkable that the Holy Spirit speaks of “the Lord Jesus” the first time the Name of the Lord Jesus is mentioned after His resurrection. It is the distinctive Name by which Christians speak of their Lord. The women do not understand that the tomb is empty and are embarrassed about it. They have seen for themselves that His body was placed in it (Luke 23:55).

Then suddenly there are two men with them in dazzling clothing. The light of the day and the light of their clothes belong together. The resurrection of Christ is a radiant event, but it causes fear among women. At the sight of these men, angels, they bow with their faces to the earth. Then the angels speak the beautiful, significant words that testify that He should not be sought among the dead. He is “the Living One”. The old has finished, a new period has begun.

It is unthinkable to find anything of the living One among the dead. What is connected with life is of a totally different order than what is connected with death. The first testimony of the resurrection of Christ comes from the mouth of an angel. Because He is raised, He is no longer in the tomb. God has fully accepted His work and has found His joy in raising Him from the dead. Said with respect, God could not have done anything else. His Son has accomplished the work commissioned to Him perfectly, so His resurrection is an act of God’s righteousness. The angel does not say any of this, but we know it from the rest of the New Testament and especially from Paul’s letters.

The angels also remind the women of what the Lord Himself has said. So they could have known better. The angels also quote the words He spoke to them when He was still in Galilee. Then the light breaks through in their thoughts.

The memory of His words gives them the conviction and boldness and strength to testify to it to others. There is no talk of miracles. Luke always emphasizes the words of the Lord. As Christians, we have nothing but the Word of God. We are called to believe in it.

Verses 9-12

Response of the Disciples

The women turn their backs on the tomb and go to the eleven disciples and all who are with them to tell them what they have experienced. The three women who were at the tomb are mentioned by name. They have seen the empty tomb and together they bear witness to the events for the apostles. But the apostles cannot be convinced. On the contrary, they call what the women say “nonsense”, foolishness, and they do not believe them. The disciples are believers, but they are not open to the Word. What they hear does not fit into their thinking.

Although they don’t believe what the women say, one of the apostles, Peter, wants to take a look in the tomb. He runs to the womb. When he stoops and looks in the tomb, he sees the linen wrappings only. What he sees in the tomb speaks of peace and order. That is all. With Peter It doesn’t come further than amazement at what happened. He returns in his own circumstances, without the Word and what he has seen having any effect. In this way, the Word can also pass us by in a meeting without doing anything to us.

Verses 13-14

On the Way From Jerusalem to Emmaus

What is needed to come to the conviction of the truth of God’s Word is that the Lord Himself touches our hearts. We see that in the next history that we only find in this Gospel written by Luke. “That very day”, that is the day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, two of His disciples are going from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Jerusalem has nothing more to offer them. Everything is over. They also leave the company of the believers. For them it is no longer necessary. Just like Peter, they go away, home.

Their thoughts are still full of all that has happened. It all made a deep impression. It is beautiful as followers of the Lord to share the things we have experienced. It is even more beautiful if the basis for this is Scripture and not just feelings.

Verses 15-18

The Lord Jesus Joins Them

Because their hearts are busy with the good things, the most beautiful thing happens: the Lord Jesus comes to them and walks with them. He has a resurrection body that is of a very different nature than the body of His humiliation. Yet He is the same Person. We too may be concerned with the Lord’s things, but we are not on the right track in our thinking. Then He wants to come to us to get our thinking back on the right track. In this case, he makes sure that the two disciples do not recognize Him. This is necessary so that they may pour out their whole heart for Him. He invites them to say what concerns them.

The disciples stand still, astonished and with sad faces. How can anyone be so unknowing about things that are so meaningfully to them! They are so deeply involved in the events that they cannot imagine that there is anyone who knows nothing about it. They do not exchange the latest news in a neutral way. They are intensely grieved because of what has happened. It has touched them and keeps them occupied.

One of the two, of whom Luke gives the name, while keeping the name of the other hidden, does not understand why this stranger asks about the events. Is He not aware of everything that has happened in Jerusalem in the last few days? Surely that cannot be true? Everyone knows about it and talks about it.

Verses 19-24

The Report of Events

With a friendly question “what things?” the Lord invites them to tell Him what may have happened. Immediately they talk to Him about “Jesus the Nazarene”, the Man of Nazareth. Their hearts are still full of Him. They have been impressed by Him as a Prophet. What He has shown and heard makes it clear that God has been present and working in Him for the benefit of His people. They have become convinced of that. Apparently, their faith did not go any further. They have not yet seen in Him the Son of God about Whom death has no power to hold Him. For them, therefore, His death means the end of His history and thus of their hope.

They tell what “the chief priests and our rulers“ have done to Him and how that has shattered all their hopes for the salvation of Israel. They do not blame the Romans for His death, although they are certainly partly to blame. They didn’t think this was possible. They do not understand how God was able to allow their leaders to mistreat and kill Christ. They have hoped, just like their leaders, for a glory without suffering; but unlike their leaders they have seen the Messiah in the Lord Jesus.

But their expectations that He went to Jerusalem to sit there on the throne of His father David, have no ground in Scripture. Such unfounded expectations, which do not come true, have led several people to turn their backs on faith and return to the world. This can happen if Christian work does not deliver what we expected of it or if the preaching of the gospel does not deliver result, or if the community of believers disappoints us.

Christ meets all disappointment by presenting Himself to us. If we see Him as the center of God’s counsel, we will be saved from putting something else at the center. The latter always leads to disappointment. They focus on Israel and their own importance. With us it can be something else.

And it’s already the third day since it happened and still they can’t understand that it ended like this. With all their questions about the course of events, which was so disappointing for them, they tell about another shocking event. Some women “among us” have caused this, women from among the disciples, in other words women they know and who also love the Lord. Those women were early at the tomb. When they came to the tomb, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

Something else happened, or so they stated. They said that they had seen a vision of angels and those angels had said that He is alive. That was very special news. Also, some “of those who were with us“ – these are Peter and John (John 20:3-Ruth :) – went to the tomb immediately after these words. And it was exactly as the women had said. But they did not see Him. So the mystery is not solved. A gap has really been made in their expectations. First by His rejection and then by the announcement that He would live anyway, but whereof there is no evidence to be found.

Verses 25-27

Blame and Teaching of the Lord

After these expressions of their deep disappointment, the Lord takes the floor. From His words, we learn that disappointed expectations in our perceptions of His actions arise from not reading or not well reading and believing what Scripture says. He blames them for this with the words “foolish men and slow of heart to believe”.

A foolish person is one who does not use his mind and therefore does not grasp things he should understand. So Paul also speaks to the Galatians who, against their better judgement, wanted to reintroduce the law (Galatians 3:1; Galatians 3:3). However, it is not only a question of the mind, but also of the heart. Their heart is slow, almost unwilling, to believe. They have read in the prophets what they have all said, but it has not entered in their hearts. That is because they read the prophets only in view of the glory time for Israel. They read selectively, but only the passages that affected them entered in to them.

If they had believed “all” that the Scripture says, they would have known that the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus are the foundation of His future glory. He Himself has time and again clearly foretold that He first had to suffer and that He in that way will enter into His glory. Suffering must necessarily precede glory. The Lord puts it as a question to make it clear to their minds and hearts.

Then the two disciples receive the most brilliant teaching they have ever received on earth from the Scripture. The Lord Himself begins to explain to them what is written about Him in all the Scriptures. He does so in the order of Scripture itself. He begins with the books of Moses, then continues with all the prophets. With this, the Lord gives an example for all explanation of the Scriptures.

Explanation of the Scripture only deserves that name when is explained what is written about Him in the Scriptures. He is the center of the Scripture. Everything relates to Him or is in connection with Him. Let us also remember that the Lord has explained the Old Testament. It is a stimulus for us to also occupy with that part of God’s Word in order to discover the glory of the Lord Jesus there.

Verses 28-32

The Lord Makes Himself Known

Walking and speaking they approached the village where they are on their way to. Time will have flown by. The Lord is about to say goodbye. He does not insist, but tests whether there is a desire to invite Him. This appears to be the case with Cleopas and his companion. They urge Him to stay with them. They express their wish in those wonderful words that the Savior would also like to hear from us: “Stay with us”, and to which He likes to respond.

By the way, it is also towards evening, the day is nearly over. When there is a meeting with the Lord, the day is nearly over. The world around them becomes darker and darker as the light in their heart and home is enlightened by His presence. The Lord goes in with them. He does not seek shelter for one night, but seeks them. He wants to stay with them to never leave again. And they seek Him, for they would like to hear more of this Stranger about Him Who, despite His disappearance, has become more dear to them because by what He has told them.

As soon as the Lord has accepted the invitation and entered with them, He does not take the place of Guest, but of Host. What normally is done by him who invites, the Lord does of His own accord, without asking permission. He takes the bread for dinner, He blesses, He breaks it, and He distributes it to those who have invited Him and with whom He is a guest.

This is not the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, because this happens when the church comes together, i.e. in church context. The Lord also says nothing about thinking of Him, doing in remembrance of Him. He simply breaks the bread for the meal. Yet it is not an ordinary act, but His act. He breaks the bread to make Himself known to His disciples, because breaking the bread He does here means He has surrendered Himself into death.

The moment He breaks the bread and gives it to them, the covering of their eyes is taken away, and they see Who He is. Their eyes are opened and they recognize Him. At the same time He becomes invisible. With this He indicates that their relationship with Him has now come on another basis. For now He has become the object of faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). It is no longer a visible Messiah, but for faith He is as real as if He were physically, visibly, present. How real is our faith? Wouldn’t it really make any difference in practice if He were physically present?

The two disciples are not surprised that the Lord is suddenly invisible. They now understand the situation because they have understood His teaching. He spoke to their heart that first was so slow. He has made it burning for Him. That’s what they say to each other.

When he spoke to them on the road, he addressed their hearts, which are of one feeling, when He opened the Scriptures to them. That is more than just opening and reading the Bible. It is to explain the Scriptures and to give them their true meaning. The teaching of Scripture has the consequence that we understand Scripture. That will do a work in our heart. By listening together to the teaching from God’s Word in which things are connected to the Lord Jesus, the hearts of all are melted together into one heart.

Verses 33-35

Back to Jerusalem

After this wonderful discovery and experience, their whole disappointment has turned into great joy. They have to share this with the other disciples. They no longer think of Him as the One of Whom they hoped He would save Israel. There is still a long way to go before Israel is freed. In that respect, nothing had changed.

However, they have seen the resurrected Lord and through the teaching of God’s Word they have understood that the Lord’s way to glory must go through suffering. As a result their faith and hope have become alive and sound and they go to tell the disciples about it. They want to share that. With us this is the same case. Everything we have seen in the Word of the Lord Jesus will have an effect on our lives. It will make us witnesses, this is inevitably.

When they have arrived in Jerusalem they found the eleven apostles gathered together with a number of others. Before the people of Emmaus can give their enthusiastic testimony, the others already call that the Lord has risen. For it is already known to them through Peter, for the Lord has appeared to him.

We see how quickly the testimonies of the Lord’s resurrection multiply. We hear, as it were, a song from the one answered by others and vise versa on the theme of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in which the personal encounters with Him are sung. How beautiful it would be if this aspect were to be discussed frequently in the Christian meetings. This may literally happen by singing songs; it may also happen in personal testimonies.

After the warm welcome, the two also tell of their meeting with the Lord and how He is made known to them in that action that has spoken to their heart. He spoke to them again in a different way and revealed Himself to them. With them it is the act that speaks of His death. They share that with the others.

Verses 36-43

Appearance to the Disciples

When the hearts are full of the Lord Jesus and the experiences of encounters with Him are exchanged, it is inevitable that He Himself enters in the midst there. He shows Himself to them and speaks the comforting and encouraging words: “Peace be to you.” The reaction of the disciples who see Him for the first time is not encouraging for the Lord. They become afraid of Him and think they see a spirit. They have heard the stories of the others, but haven’t met Him yet. As in previous meetings, the Lord must first lower a barrier of unbelief. There is no spontaneous joy.

He asks them why they are troubled and why do doubts arise in their hearts. He asks these questions because he could have expected a different reaction. Haven’t they already heard several testimonies of His resurrection? Why did they not believe it? But He helps them. He shows them His hands and His feet. In them the wounds of the cross are still visible and they will be visible forever. He will be known by it forever. It is the proof that it is He Himself. He does not send anyone else who tells about His wounds, but He shows them Himself.

He invites them to touch Him and to convince themselves that they do not see a spirit appearance, but a Man. He is still Man after His resurrection and true Man and that He will be forever. He has flesh and bones. He doesn’t speak of blood because He once shed it forever.

The Lord makes His words follow by showing His hands and feet. He emphasizes with this that He, Who stands before them here as the Living One, is the same as the One Who went doing good (with His hands) through the land (with His feet) (Acts 10:38), with the result that He was hanged on the cross and died there.

Then the disciples’ fear turns into joy. It is a joy of their heart and not of their mind. A wave of joy passes through them, their hearts are overwhelmed, but their minds cannot yet grasp it. They hear and see their Lord, but it is still so unreal. The last thing they saw of Him was that He hung dead on the cross, tortured and completely exhausted. For days they have been walking around with this image in their thoughts and now He suddenly stands here as the Risen in a glorified body in front of them. Certainly, it is He, yet it cannot be true.

The Lord meets them even further in their great amazement. He wants to give them the certainty that He is it really and that He is real. He asks if they have anything to eat. That’s what they have. They have a piece of a broiled fish, which they give Him. The broiled fish speaks of the judgment He has carried. The Lord takes it and eats it before their eyes, to convince them that all that is true is what they perceive. They don’t dream.

Verses 44-49

The Mission Command

Then the Lord reminds them of the words which He spoke to them when He was still with them. With this He points to the time when he travelled through the country together with them. He is with them now, but in a completely different relationship. He will no longer travel with them through the land. Everything that is written about Him in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, that is, the whole Old Testament, is fulfilled. In fact, everything that relates to the future has yet to become reality, but He has laid the foundation for it on the cross. It is only a matter of time that it is also seen and the circumstances are as described.

The Lord opens the minds of the disciples, and what they did not understand before, they understand now (1 John 5:20). He is no longer with them in the same way, but the Word of God always remains with them. That will be the basis of their existence and actions. The Word of God grants Divine authority to all that has happened and to all that is yet to happen.

Then the Lord cites the core of what is written. The core is that He, the Christ of God, the Messiah, the Anointed, had to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. Through His suffering He has taken away everything that is not in harmony with God. By His resurrection on the third day He opened a new world in which everything is completely in accordance with God. In this world there is room for every person who wants to participate in it.

Those people must be invited, they must hear about it. Therefore He commissions His disciples to preach the gospel of God’s grace. He grants them the authority of His Name. They do not come with a self-conceived message, but with the message of grace of the risen Son of Man. In the power of that Name and with the authority of that Name, they may preach repentance through which those who obey it will receive forgiveness of sins. The work for it has been accomplished by Him. This work extends to all nations and is not limited to Jerusalem and Israel.

He wants them to start their preaching in Jerusalem. That makes grace even greater. They must begin with the preaching of grace in the place where the most terrible sin makes forgiveness all the more necessary. Jerusalem is also a child of wrath and stands on the same basis as the Gentiles. The Lord establishes the principle which Paul will later act upon: first the Jew and then the Gentiles (Romans 1:16).

He can precisely send those to whom He says this, for they can speak as eyewitnesses. No one will be able to tell them that it is different, for they have seen Him with their own eyes and heard Him with their own ears. In order to act as a witness, two things are needed, both of which are present here. They must be able to say, ‘That’s it, for we have seen it’ and also, ‘That’s how it had to be, for that’s how God said it in His Word.’

Before they can obey the command, they need something else, and that is the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. No strength is needed to take their place before God. Through the work of Christ they are in Him before God and God sees them in Christ (Ephesians 1:6). To take their place before people and to testify against them, strength indeed is needed. That strength is, and is given by, the Holy Spirit. The Lord promises them that He will send Him. He calls the Holy Spirit here “the promise of My Father”. The Holy Spirit is promised by the Father. When the Lord Jesus is back with the Father, He will send upon them what the Father has promised.

Here it says “I am sending forth … upon you” because the Holy Spirit is presented by the Lord as a robe that comes over them from above. The Holy Spirit certainly comes in them too, but with a view to their service He also comes over or upon them. He will clothe them with strength, so that they may testify fearlessly of the Savior. In themselves they have no strength, but He will give them the necessary strength.

Verses 50-51

The Ascension

Forty days later, the Lord leads them outside Jerusalem. He blesses them not from Jerusalem, but from the place where He has always been together with those who love Him, that remnant that has attached itself to Him and that is dear to Him. In addition, Jerusalem has become a place to which testimony must be given.

Outside the city, there near Bethany, the beautiful end of this Gospel takes place. It is a beautiful ending because it is not a real end. It is a farewell with a rich promise, a farewell with the view of an open sky, a farewell to a Savior Who blesses them and continues to bless them even when they no longer see Him with their natural eyes.

As the Lord blesses them, there arises a distance between Him and them. He is carried up into heaven by the power of God. The Man Jesus Christ goes back to the place He never left as the eternal Son of God and that he has never taken as Man. Now He goes there as Man. Blessing, He says goodbye to them, without really leaving them.

Verses 52-53

Worship and Praise

The disciples have not lost the Lord. He has now only become the object of faith. The first thing they do, after He is carried up, is to worship Him. That is the characteristic activity of the believer in this time of physical absence of the Lord.

After their worship of Him Who alone is worthy of being worshiped because He is God, they return to Jerusalem. There is no longer any fear or sorrow. They are overwhelmed with joy. Their Lord is the great Conqueror. They were not mistaken in Him. Completely convinced of the greatness and glory of His Person and attracted by His grace they go to the temple.

The final scene of this Gospel, as well as the opening scene, takes place in the temple (Luke 1:8-Isaiah :). But the difference is great. There, in the beginning, it was a question of fulfilling the obligations of the law by a priest who was Godfearing, but who also showed unbelief and was punished with muteness. He did not believe and could not speak. Here, at the end, we find ourselves before an opened heaven, on the foundation of grace after a finished work for the glory of God. The mouths open to praise to God. These disciples form the core of a new generation of priests.

This Gospel brought us from the law to grace and from earth to heaven. It begins with a single man who cannot speak, it ends with a crowd who cannot remain silent.

What a brilliant end to an overwhelming Gospel in which the riches of grace are unsurpassable presented in the Person Who transcends everything and everyone.

“My beloved is dazzling and ruddy,
Outstanding among ten thousand“ (Song of Solomon 5:10).

“You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips” (Psalms 45:2).

Appendix: The Passion of the Christ


Under this title a movie was screened (in 2004) that made people go to the cinema in huge numbers. If a movie about the suffering of Christ:
1. causes crowded cinema’s,
2. is a blockbuster and
3. moves people to tears,
the Christian who has found his or her Savior in Him may turn to the Scriptures to see if the representation is true. I would like to share with Christians what I have found in the Scripture about my Savior in relation to the three aspects I have just mentioned. This results in a completely different picture than that projected in the cinema.

1. My Savior Does Not Cause Crowded Cinemas

“And they all left Him and fled.“ (Mark 14:50)

When the Lord Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came to earth as a Baby, people were not lining up in the place where He was seen. There was no welcome committee. Yet His coming was announced (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-Isaiah :). Not just a few months in advance, but many centuries ago. And throughout the ages it has been pointed to that great event (Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9).

As Man, His ancestry was impressive enough. He was the promised King, the Son of David (Matthew 1:1). He was entitled to the throne in Jerusalem (Luke 1:32). But His people did not look forward to Him. The pursuit of one’s own interests had suppressed the thought of Him. When He was born, He was placed in a manger, a feeding trough for animals. For there was no place for Him, not even in the inn (Luke 2:7).

When the announcement of His birth penetrated to the court of the reigning monarch, there was movement in Jerusalem (Matthew 2:1-Numbers :). Yes, the religious leaders could answer the question of Herod, where the King of the Jews would be born. From the Scriptures they knew so well, they knew that Bethlehem was the place of birth (Matthew 2:5-Joshua :). However, it did not lead the leaders to go there. Herod did go there. He was represented by a bunch of soldiers. However, the task was not to worship Him, but to kill Him (Matthew 2:16).

He grew up to be an adult Man. Although He was completely different from any other person, He did not stand out. He looked no different from other people, He was not surrounded by any discernible charisma. He had nothing that made Him desirable to His people (Isaiah 53:2).

He spent thirty years in Nazareth, a place spoken of with a certain contempt (John 1:46). There He was “the Son of the carpenter” (Matthew 13:55). There he worked as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Socially not immediately obvious, leading or trendsetting.

When He was thirty years old, He began His public performance in Israel (Luke 3:23). In what He did and said, He proved to be the Son of David (Matthew 21:4-Deuteronomy :; Matthew 21:9), Who had been announced, yes, the promised LORD, Yahweh, Himself (Luke 4:17-Ecclesiastes :; John 12:37-Mark :). God manifested in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), the incarnate Word (John 1:14). But where God is revealed, man’s hatred is also revealed (John 3:20). During His life, the religious leaders tried many times to kill Him. They hated Him because He took away their prestige from the people.

Many people were impressed by what He did and learned. But the initial enthusiasm of the many cooled down over time. That the crowds did appreciate Him, came from the fact that He provided ‘food on the table’. So when they wanted to make Him king, he avoided them and hid Himself (John 6:15).

He had deeper and more far-reaching interests in mind than the physical and temporal. When He pointed this out to them, there were masses of them who quit (John 6:66). He remained with only a handful of disciples.

But also for the disciples chosen and called by Him it became too much at a certain moment. When God gave the enemy the power and the opportunity to capture His Son, all disciples left Him and fled (Mark 14:50). The Savior was alone.

Oh yes, there were enough people around him. There was that crowd with swords and clubs, led by Judas, to capture Him (Mark 14:43). That crowd brought Him to the high priest, where all chief priests, elders, and scribes were gathered (Mark 14:53).

In Jerusalem it was very busy in those days. No, they didn’t come to see their King. Only the fulfilment of a religious obligation had brought them there. But while they are there, this curious process takes place. When Pilate brings the Savior to the people and gives them the choice between Barabbas and Him, the whole crowd calls out that He must be crucified (Mark 15:6-2 Chronicles :).

No one is there at His side when He is crucified. When He hangs on the cross, the passers-by mock Him; the chief priests mock Him among themselves with the scribes. Even the evildoers crucified with Him mock Him (Mark 15:29-Jonah :). No pain, insult or humiliation is spared Him.

Yet all the above is “only” the suffering done to Him by men. The heaviest suffering for the Savior comes when He has hung on the cross for three hours. Then the sixth hour of the day has arrived and He is forsaken by God (Mark 15:33-Nahum :). From the sixth until the ninth hour, God executes the judgment of His Son Who was been made sin in those three hours. In those three hours He bears the sins of all those who believe in Him before God, and extermination of those sins takes place in the punishment He receives.

The Savior’s suffering in those hours cannot be known, let alone depicted, by people. In the Psalms, for example Psalm 22, we can get a sense of it. After being abandoned by men, He was abandoned by His God in those three hours. Then He dies.

His burial procession is small. The reason for this is not because He has indicated that ‘the burial will take place in the family circle’. There are no speeches and no flowers, not because the family does not want them. He is also lonely in His death. A few take care of Him. Joseph of Arimathea takes Him from the cross and together with Nicodemus he lays him in a new tomb (John 19:38-Luke :).

Fortunately, the tomb is not the end of the Savior. It heralds a new beginning. He Who was dead is risen from the dead (Luke 24:5). After His resurrection He appeared to many (1 Corinthians 15:4-Ruth :), but not to unbelievers. From His resurrection onwards, he can only be seen through and in faith. “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, [namely,] Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor“ (Hebrews 2:9).

If that is the way my Savior has gone, will He have another way for me? Does He want me to gaze at His sufferings when I sit down comfortably in a cinema chair, together with many others? The Savior’s voice, which is the Word of God, fades away. But whoever can still listen will clearly hear His statement: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master“ (Matthew 10:24-Lamentations :).

And did not the Savior speak somewhere of tribulation in the world (John 16:33)? How so tribulation when Jesus, as a martyr, earns the admiration of the world and those who call themselves His followers, connect with the world in it?

2. My Savior Does Not Fill Cash Registers

“Though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Wealth and honor do not belong to a rejected Savior. When He was born, His cradle was a manger. In it He lay, wrapped in cloths (Luke 2:7). He was rich, but became poor. As God He possessed all the silver and gold of the world (Haggai 2:9). The world and its fullness belonged to Him (Psalms 50:12). Yet He did not use it to campaign and to commend Himself.

On earth He had nothing that reminds us of luxury and prosperity. His parents were poor people. During the more than three years of His journeying through Israel, He lived from what others gave Him from their possessions (Luke 8:3). He had to borrow the donkey he needed (Matthew 21:1-Leviticus :). The same was true for a boat (Luke 5:3). He did not have the money for the temple taxes in his pocket (Matthew 17:24-Daniel :). When He needed a coin to answer a stealthy question, He had to ask others for it (Mark 12:15). He had appointed Judas as treasurer of the company that travelled with him through the country and, like Him, was depended on what others gave from their possessions. He knew that Judas was a thief who stole the community funds from the purse (John 12:4-Joshua :). He did not have a home of his own (Matthew 8:20). The tomb in which He was laid was another’s (Matthew 27:59-1 Peter :).

He also didn’t promise His followers increase in money and goods. On the contrary, He called them to follow Him, which meant that they left everything behind (Matthew 4:18-Song of Solomon :; Matthew 19:27).

Money and possessions are a big stumbling block to follow Him. The story of a rich young man is a good illustration of this. While the Savior is on the way, a young man comes up to Him who wants to know what to do to inherit eternal life. The Savior tells him to sell everything he has and to distribute that money to the poor. The Savior promises him a treasure in the heaven and invites him to follow Him. That is too much to ask. He cannot give up his possessions (Matthew 19:16-Song of Solomon :).

When He sent His disciples out to preach the gospel, they had nothing to take with them that had any value for life on earth (Matthew 10:9). Their message should not be related to money. They themselves had received the gospel for nothing, they had to pass it on for nothing (Matthew 10:8). When money starts to play a role in the proclamation of the gospel, the gospel no longer reaches the heart and conscience of man. Paul had understood that well. With the Corinthians He even refrained the right on support so as not to endanger the purity of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:18).

Greed led Judas to betray his Master. He agreed with the chief priests to hand Him over to them for the small amount of silver (Matthew 26:15). That was the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32; Zechariah 11:12). He was no more worth the chief-priests. For Judas it was enough. Being in the grip of money means to be in the grip of the devil.

Mary forms the greatest possible contrast with Judas. She spent an annual salary to anoint the Savior. Judas and a few other disciples called that waste. However, the Savior expresses His appreciation of it (John 12:3-Deuteronomy :; Mark 14:3-1 Samuel :). What is given and done to Him holds His value forever.

The already mentioned follower of the Savior, Paul, also knew that following the Savior costs everything. He was willing to pay the price. He counted all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. He gave up everything with the desire to become more and more like His Savior (Philippians 3:8-1 Samuel :). His Savior had suffered rejection and reproach; Paul wanted to share in that suffering, even until death (Philippians 3:10-1 Kings :). If we know a bit of Paul’s attitude and if we know anything about the love for His Savior, we cannot imagine him as a spectator in a film. No, he didn’t want to be a spectator. He wanted to be a participant.

He also passed this on to the Corinthians. In that church there were those of such believers who had and were fat, lazy gluttons. They were as wealthy as they were well-off, they were rich (1 Corinthians 4:8). Those are the people you see today in their gala clothing from their lavishly decorated houses in their shiny A-class cars equipped with the latest technology and hear their driver say that they should head to the cinema. On their preheated seat they get in the car already in the mood by watching the previews of the movie. When they arrive at the cinema, they draw their thick wallet with a grand gesture, count down the money for a ticket (if they have not already received it as a present with their car or secured it through the presale) and let themselves be accompanied to their place with the necessary respect. There they go down. Just turn off the smartphone and they are ready to enjoy a two-hour spectacle.

Stop there for a moment, says Paul. Do you know what it is about us, who have been sent into the world by the Savior, to testify of Him? We are not going to spend our good money looking at a spectacle to entertain us or get a spiritual kick. We ourselves are a spectacle (1 Corinthians 4:9). We have become as the offscouring of the world, the refuse of all (1 Corinthians 4:13). No Oscar or Golden Calf for the best role or the best script. We don’t get an applause , like the maker of the movie. He received a standing ovation from Full Gospel Businessmen after showing a few scenes. The hands, Paul says, we get are not to applaud but to slap us, to grab us and throw us into prison. Instead of becoming rich and satiated, we suffer hunger. Instead of being honored, we are reviled (1 Corinthians 4:11-2 Kings :). That’s part of it if you follow the Savior.

3. My Savior Seeks No Tears of Pity

“Stop weeping for Me.” (Luke 23:28)

It must have been a touching sight to see the Savior walking through the streets of Jerusalem. Exhausted by all the tortures he suffered and endured, he aroused the pity of a number of women who apparently were very concerned about Him. They expressed this by mourning and lamenting Him (Luke 23:27). Then the Savior stands still. He turns around and addresses the women. It must have been dead quiet for a moment, there in that street of Jerusalem. He is always Lord of the situation, even when He appears to be the plaything of the feelings of His people and their leaders.

Then His impressive words sound, words that are meant to bring them to the right insight into the situation in which they find themselves. People who can’t keep their eyes dry because they are emotionally affected by so much suffering are people who don’t have an eye for their own needs. The Savior does not seek such compassion. He warns the women of the judgment to come. God’s righteous wrath will erupt over this greatest of all injustice ever done on earth (Luke 23:30).

But also hear the Savior’s grace. He calls on the women to weep for themselves and their children. He wants them to understand the malicious offence they are guilty of. The Son of God is about to be murdered, proving man’s supreme wickedness. There is no greater wickedness imaginable than the rejection of the Son of God Who, in love and grace, has shown God on earth.

Every human being is guilty of the death of the Son of God. The Jews have played their part in this. They have in boldness called His blood upon them (Matthew 27:25). All the persecutions they have known in the course of their history shall fade away at the time of distress which shall yet come before them (Matthew 24:21; Jeremiah 30:7).

But not only the Jews are guilty. The Gentiles also have their share in the death of the Son of God. The inscription on the cross, which was to serve as an accusation, but reflected reality, was written in three languages (John 19:20). These three languages symbolize the Jews and their religion (Hebrew) and the Gentiles in their politics (Latin) and wisdom (Greek).

All mankind is guilty before God because of sin (Romans 3:23). Every human being is a sinner and deserves hell. Whoever does not see a martyr in the Savior, but Someone Who voluntarily surrendered Himself into the hands of sinful people because this was the Father’s will to save those same sinful people, will weep over himself. He who sees and acknowledges that he is also guilty of the death of the Son of God, will weep over himself. Such a person will recognize the need for the Savior to be forsaken by God on the cross because of his or her sins.

Some time ago, a woman who was known in the city as a sinner had come to the Savior. She had entered the house where the Savior was and wept behind Him, at His feet. She made His feet wet with her tears. To her He addresses the words full of grace: “Your sins have been forgiven.” Then He lets go her in peace (Luke 7:36-Philippians :). Thus is the Savior to everyone who comes to Him with repentance for his or her sins.

The Savior seeks tears of sincere repentance for sins, not tears as a result of an emotional touch. He seeks sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10), not sorrow that gives the human feeling a certain satisfaction.

A Few More Remarkable Things

Did I see the movie? No. I do not need that at all. Or rather: everything in me resists that. I find it unprecedented boldness when a mortal man born in sin dares to play for Jesus. If then the actor, who has this boldness in this movie, also dares to say that he plays Jesus ‘exactly as He was’, He has thus shown to have not the slightest respect for the holy and high Person of the Son of God, Who is God and Man in one Person.

The Lord Jesus is brought down to the level of sinful man, who is again offending against Him. The mystery of the Person of the Son of God is not given to people to comprehend (Matthew 11:25-Daniel :), but to admire and worship. Whoever does not admire and worship it as inconceivable, Divine mystery, will be consumed by it.

But there are more comments to make that are not soft. The maker of the movie said that the movie is not only based on the Bible, but also on the visions of the roman mystical ladies Anne Catharina Emmerich and Mary van Agreda. The person who plays for Jesus is convinced roman catholic, just like the maker of the movie. He has prayed to the saints St. Genesius of Arles and St. Antonius of Padua for help for his career as an actor. He also says that he always carried a piece of the real cross with him in a specially sewn bag in his clothes. He also carried other relics with him.

The violent caliber of the movie made the movie inspectors in the US decide that ‘The Passion of the Christ’ is unsuitable for young people. Why that? Isn’t the gospel for everyone? Apparently you have to be able to collect a lot of visual (!) violence to be able to come into contact with the gospel through this movie.

The promotion of the movie as ‘the best means to preach the gospel in the past 2000 years’ is therefore shocking. How much has the gospel been devalued by man’s hand to the level of popular entertainment! This gospel is not the power of God to salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16), for it is another gospel (Romans 1:6). The gospel of Christ is portrayed in a distorted way (Galatians 1:7), adapted to the taste of man. Another Jesus is preached. Whoever accepts this Jesus receives a different kind of spirit which man can bear very well (2 Corinthians 11:4).

In search of experience, emotion, this representation of Jesus gives man a religious feeling. The fact that this movie appeals so much to religious people is simply worrying. It appears to fill a vacuum that is present in the spiritual experience that the masses, consisting of religious and non-religious people, are looking for today. But the salvation of sins does not work. This is only given to man if he calls upon the Name of the Lord in faith. And faith comes through hearing the Word being preached (Romans 10:12-Esther :).

The Pope and Billy Graham, church leaders and evangelical predecessors, the Evangelical Alliance and numerous organizations and churches, all praise the movie. It therefore has a gigantic ecumenical effect.

Someone claimed: ‘After seeing the movie, someone who participates in the Supper will do so in a different way. That’s for sure. But that doesn’t mean in a better, but in a worse way. As I celebrate the Lord’s Supper and reflect upon my Savior’s suffering, I want to think of Him as He is shown in Scripture. Seeing the movie places on my retina a kind of suffering as seen by a man who was also inspired by mystical sources when making the movie. The result is a monster, a mutilation of the Scriptures.

I do not want to think of the suffering of my Savior as interpreted by a sinful, presumptuous man. This can only be a corrupt caricature of Him from whom the angels hide their faces in holy awe (Isaiah 6:2-Leviticus :). The maker does not represent God’s truth, the actor does not represent my Savior.

In addition, some fundamental characteristics of Christian life are violated: those of Christian life in general and of Christian worship in particular as found in Scripture. Christians walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). And they worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:21-Jeremiah :), and not by means of any product of human making that is perceived with the human eye. Against the latter is even explicitly warned by God (Deuteronomy 4:15-Nehemiah :).


I see my Savior when I read the Bible. This applies to every child of God. For all, the appeal is: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn“ (Isaiah 8:20).

Is it possible for individuals to remain standing against so much ecclesiastical and evangelical violence in the faith in the Christ of the Scriptures? Is it possible not to succumb to numerous emotional arguments that have an appearance of authority? Yes! Not in own strength, but in the power of the Lord. The whole armor of God is at our disposal (Ephesians 6:13-Job :). We must remember that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). Hear the encouragement: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses“ (Nehemiah 4:14).


No, I didn’t see the movie. To see Christ the Bible is enough. This applies to every child of God. In the Bible I read how the Savior wants to show Himself to me. He tells me that He and the Father will come to me (John 14:21; John 14:23) if I keep His commandments and His Word.

No, I won’t see the movie. I see something else: I see Christ in glory and that my life with Christ is hidden in God. Therefore I want to seek the things that are above, not on earth. I want to think of the things that are above, where Christ is, while standing with both my feet on the ground and engaged in my daily work (Colossians 3:1-Numbers :).

My Savior certainly sought the salvation of the sinner in His life. For that He gave His life. But even more in His life He sought the honor of His God and Father (John 17:4). For that He gave His life in the first place. In His death He gave back to God the honor we humans had taken from Him. We were disobedient and received our deserved reward in death (Romans 6:23). He was obedient to death and received His deserved reward in His resurrection from the dead and His glorification at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Acts 2:32-Zephaniah :; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3).

The miracle of grace is that all who accept Him may share in the reward earned by Him (Ephesians 2:4-Joshua :). I want to get to know that Savior better by searching His Word. I want to serve that Savior in the power of the Holy Spirit with the full dedication of my heart, every hour of the day and of the night. I want to testify of that Savior to all those around me who do not yet know Him.

I trust that there are still many Christians who (will) share this desire with me. For the glory of God and His Christ and for the joy of His people, who include all who have confessed their sins before God and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord in faith.

Ger de Koning
Middelburg, March 2004, translated July 2020

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Luke 24". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/luke-24.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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