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Bible Commentaries
Luke 24

Layman's Bible CommentaryLayman's Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-10

The Resurrection

The Empty Tomb

(Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-10; John 20:1-18)

The women have respected the Sabbath rest But at dawn they set out. Matthew does not say, as do Mark and Luke, that they come to embalm the body. They know indeed that they cannot do it (Matthew 27:66). And has Jesus not been embalmed beforehand? (Matthew 26:12). They come just to be there, as we also go to the tomb of a beloved person. Then, too, do they perhaps hope for the miracle which the chief priests fear? Had not Jesus foretold his resurrection?

"And behold, there was a great earthquake" (vs. 2; see 27:51-54) . To the darkness of judgment succeeds the resplendent light of the Resurrection, the descent of an angel. The guards become "like dead men," terrified by the heavenly vision. But to the women who have believed, the angel says, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus." God turns his face of mercy toward those who seek him (see Luke 1:30; Luke 5:10; Revelation 1:17-18).

Jesus grants to these humble women whom he has healed and saved, and who love him with a great love, the grace of being messengers of the Resurrection. The angel commands them to go find the disciples. Jesus will meet them in Galilee. The women run toward the city, full of fear and of joy. How could they not fear a God so powerful? How could they not tremble for joy? Their Master, the crucified of yesterday, is living! And behold, a new favor. Jesus himself comes to meet them and salutes them, doubtless with the classic Hebrew salutation of "Peace" (see Luke 24:36, margin). Then "they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him" (vs. 9; see 28:17). This term "worshiped" points to the supervening change the Master they venerate is become "the Lord," the One whom they adore as God himself, the One before whom they prostrate themselves.

Ah, certainly, the stories of the Resurrection are full of mystery. None of the Gospels tells us "how" it happened. The story of the angelic appearances, the record of the appearances of Jesus himself, the place of these appearances (Galilee, Jerusalem), differ from one Gospel to another. Three elements, nevertheless, are common to all four Gospels the empty tomb, the announcement of the Resurrection to the women, and the meeting of the disciples with the Risen One. The tradition preserved by Matthew accentuates, as it has already done in connection with the death of Jesus, the objective character of the event the earthquake, the testimony of the guards, their fright. What he wishes to emphasize is that we are not dealing here with "visions," which could be purely subjective, but rather with a sovereign intervention of God.

But the intervention of God is ever recognized as such solely by faith. Matthew sets over against the humble and adoring faith of the women the unbelief of the chief priests (vss. 11-15). To the very end they remain closed against all evidence. They bribe the guards to circulate the report that the body of Jesus had been carried off by Jesus’ own disciples (vss. 11-15). The evangelist concludes: "This story has been spread among the Jews to this day." We certainly have here the echo of a very ancient controversy between Jews and Christians on the subject of the empty tomb. This controversy explains why Matthew believed it necessary to recount (he alone does it) the two episodes in Matthew 27:62-66 and Matthew 28:11-15.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Luke 24". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/luke-24.html.
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