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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 24:44

Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Law;   Types;   Unbelief;   Thompson Chain Reference - Dead, the;   Fulfilment of Prophecy;   Mortality-Immortality;   Prophecy;   Resurrection;   The Topic Concordance - Blindness;   Disciples/apostles;   Evangelism;   Gospel;   Hearing;   Holy Spirit;   Jesus Christ;   Resurrection;   Scripture;   Sending and Those Sent;   Suffering;   Understanding;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Prophecy;   Prophets;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Law;   Prophets;   Psalms, the Book of;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Canon;   Jesus christ;   Law;   Luke, gospel of;   Pentateuch;   Predestination;   Remnant;   Scriptures;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Appear, Appearance;   Biblical Theology;   Christ, Christology;   Convert, Conversion;   Mission;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Bible;   Hagiographa;   Pentateuch;   Psalms;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bible;   Canon of the Old Testament;   Jesus Christ;   Job;   Lamentations;   Old Testament;   Pentateuch;   Prophet;   Psalms;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Disciples;   Fulfill;   Hagiographa;   History;   Lord's Day;   Luke, Gospel of;   Torah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Canon of the Old Testament;   Incarnation;   Psalms;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Atonement;   Christ, Christology;   Cleopas ;   Discourse;   Foresight;   Fulfilment;   Inspiration;   Interpretation;   Manuscripts;   Moses;   Moses ;   Necessity;   Old Testament (I. Christ as Fulfilment of);   Presentation ;   Promise (2);   Psalms (2);   Resurrection of Christ (2);   Scripture (2);   Sin (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Bible,;   Numbers as Symbols;   36 Ought Must;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Selah;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Law;   Scripture;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Prophets;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Law of Moses, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bible, the;   Canon of the Old Testament;   Inspiration;   Law in the New Testament;   Law in the Old Testament;   Quotations, New Testament;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Bible;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Bible Canon;   Triennial Cycle;  
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 18;  

Clarke's Commentary

Verse 44. The law - the prophets - the psalms — This was the Jewish division of the whole old covenant. The LAW contained the five books of Moses; the PROPHETS, the Jews divided into former and latter; they were, according to Josephus, thirteen. "The PSALMS included not only the book still so named, but also three other books, Proverbs, Job, and Canticles. These all," says the above author, "contain hymns to God, and rules for the conduct of the lives of men." Joseph. Cont. App. i. 8. This account is imperfect: the common Jewish division of the writings of the old covenant is the following, and indeed seems to be the same to which our Lord alludes: -

I. The LAW, תורה thorah, including Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

II. The PROPHETS, נביאים, nabiaim, or teachers, including Joshua, Judges, the two books of Samuel, and the two books of Kings: these were termed the former prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: these were termed the latter prophets.

III. The HAGIOGRAPHA, (holy writings), כתובים kethuvim, which comprehended the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the two books of Chronicles. The Jews made anciently only twenty-two books of the whole, to bring them to the number of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet; and this they did by joining Ruth to Judges, making the two books of Samuel only one; and so of Kings and Chronicles; joining the Lamentations to Jeremiah, and making the twelve minor prophets only one book.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

163. Sunday night in Jerusalem (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23)

While the disciples were together discussing these miraculous appearances, Jesus suddenly appeared among them in the room, even though the doors were locked. This made them think they were seeing a ghost who could pass through walls, but Jesus calmed their fears by showing them his body of flesh and bones, complete with the scars of crucifixion. He also ate some fish, showing that his body had normal physical functions (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-20).

Jesus gave the group of disciples the teaching he had given the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:44-46). They were witnesses of his ministry, death and resurrection, and he entrusted to them the task of taking his message to all nations. Equipped by his Spirit, they would be his representatives in the world. This was a great responsibility, because as they preached the gospel, people would either believe it and be forgiven, or reject it and suffer judgment (Luke 24:47-49; John 20:21-23).

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And he said unto them, These are my words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me.

In this and verses following, Luke telescopes a number of events which took place during a period of some forty days. See Luke's own words in Acts 1:3. Summers very properly called this verse (and to the end of the chapter) "a summary of Jesus' teachings between his resurrection and his ascension."[16]

Jesus accepted the Old Testament in its entirety as the word of God; and here, as Childers said, "Jesus is referring to the full gamut of Messianic prophecy, from the first promise in Genesis 3:15 to the book of Malachi."[17]

The threefold division of the Old Testament is also indicated here by Jesus, these being the Torah, the Nebhi'im, and the Kethubhim,[18] corresponding to the three divisions Jesus here mentioned, the same being the ones recognized by the Jews. This gives a clue to the inspired reckoning of the divisions of the Bible. See article, "The Golden Candlestick," in my Commentary on Hebrews, Hebrews 9:2. The divisions of the Old Testament are: the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, as here; and in the New Testament, four divisions, the Gospels (which are central to the whole Bible), the Acts, the Epistles and the Revelation, thus making seven divisions in the entire Bible.

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Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

These are the words - Or this is the “fulfillment” of what I before told you respecting my death. See Luke 18:33; Mark 10:33.

While I was yet with you - Before my death. While I was with you as a teacher and guide.

In the law of Moses - The five books of Moses - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Among the Jews this was the first division of the Old Testament, and was called the “law.”

The prophets - This was the second and largest part of the Hebrew Scriptures. It comprehended the books of Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, which were called the “former prophets;” and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve smaller books from Daniel, to Malachi, which were called the “latter prophets.”

The psalms - The word here used probably means what were comprehended under the name of “Hagiographa,” or holy writings. This consisted of the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and the two books of Chronicles. This division of the Old Testament was in use long before the time of Christ, and was what he referred to here; and he meant to say that in “each of” these divisions of the Old Testament there were prophecies respecting himself. The “particular” subject before them was his “resurrection from the dead.” A most striking prediction of this is contained in Psalms 16:9-11. Compare it with Acts 2:24-32; Acts 13:35-37.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

44. These are the words. Though it will afterwards appear from Matthew and Mark that a discourse similar to this was delivered in Galilee, yet I think it probable that Luke now relates what happened on the day after his resurrection. For what John says of that day, that he breathed on them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost, (John 20:22) agrees with the words of Luke which here immediately follow, that he opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. By these words Christ indirectly reproves their gross and shameful forgetfulness, that, though they had long ago been fully informed of his future resurrection, they were as much astonished as if it had never been mentioned to them. The import of his words is: “Why do you hesitate as if this had been a new and unexpected occurrence, while it is only what I frequently predicted to you? Why do you not rather remember my words? For if hitherto you have reckoned me worthy of credit, this ought to have been known to you from my instructions before it happened.” In short, Christ tacitly complains that his labor has been thrown away on the apostles, since his instruction has been forgotten.

All things which are written concerning me. He now rebukes them more sharply for their slowness, by declaring that he brought forward nothing that was new but that he only reminded them of what had been declared by the Law and the Prophets, with which they ought to have been familiar from their childhood. But though they had been ignorant of the whole doctrine of religion, nothing could have been more unreasonable than not to embrace readily what they knew to have undoubtedly proceeded from God; for it was a principle admitted by the whole nation, that there was no religion but what was contained in the Law and the Prophets. The present division of the Scriptures is more copious than what we find in other passages; for besides the Law and the Prophets, he adds, in the third place, the Psalms, which, though they might with propriety have been reckoned among the Prophets, have, something distinct and peculiar to themselves. Yet the division into two par which we have seen elsewhere, (Luke 16:16; John 1:45,) embraces notwithstanding the whole of Scripture.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Smith's Bible Commentary

Chapter 24

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were very perplexed, behold, two men stood my them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And then they remembered his words, And they returned from the sepulchre, and told all of these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women that were with them, which told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed not ( Luke 24:1-11 ).

"Oh, hysterical women. Lord, deliver us!" And they just didn't believe.

Then rose Peter, and he ran to the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and he departed, wondering in himself what it all meant, [what's happened]. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs [or about eight miles]. And as they talked together of all of these things which had happened, it came to pass, that, while they were communing together and reasoning, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him ( Luke 24:12-16 ).

So God sort of put blinders on them and they didn't recognize Him.

And he said unto them, What are you guys talking about as you're walking along here? How is it that you look so sad? And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered and said unto him, Are you a stranger in Jerusalem, you don't know the things which have come to pass in these days? And Jesus said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and they've crucified him. And we trusted ( Luke 24:17-21 )

It's past tense.

we had trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and besides all this, this is the third day since these things were done ( Luke 24:21 ).

"Hey, man, you must be a stranger; you don't know the things that have happened around here. There was this fellow, Jesus of Nazareth, a great guy! Mighty and power in God, and He went around doing good and He brought us hope. We hoped, we had trusted that He was going to be the One to bring deliverance. But they crucified Him, and this is the third day."

And there were certain women also of our company which made us astonished, they went early to the sepulchre; and when they did not find his body, they came, and said that they had a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it was even as the women had said: but they did not see him. Then he said unto them, O fools, slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken ( Luke 24:22-25 ):

What's He do? He takes them right back to the Word, right back to the prophecies.

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to have entered into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself ( Luke 24:26-27 ).

And I'll never forgive Cleopas for not writing them down. This is one of the messages of Jesus that I would give anything to have! How I would love to have heard Him start with Moses and go through the Old Testament and bring out all of the scriptures that related to Him, three hundred prophecies that He fulfilled by His birth, life, death, resurrection. Oh, what I wouldn't give to have this sermon recorded. Wouldn't it be great if they had cassettes or something and we could just listen to this message? Oh my!

And they drew near to the village, where they were going: and Jesus acted like he would just keep going on further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day's almost over. And so he went in to stay with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and he blessed it, and he broke it, and he gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight ( Luke 24:28-31 ).

It's interesting to me that it was when He handed them the bread that they recognized. Is it possible that they then saw the nail prints? And their eyes were opened... "Wow!" And then He vanishes out of their sight, disappears.

And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? ( Luke 24:32 )

Have you ever had a burning heart as you read the Word of God? Has it ever just kindled a fire within your heart? There are a lot of people who look for excitement in their religious experiences. They look for emotional highs. They look to discover some kind of a miracle or phenomena that they can get all excited about; an angel appeared, or some other type of phenomena. These men said, "Did not our hearts burn when He talked to us and opened the scriptures to us?" I think that it is a sign of spiritual health and maturity when a person begins to get that burning heart as he searches the scriptures, as the Holy Spirit begins to open the scriptures to him. I tell you, I get so excited just reading the Word of God. I get so excited, there are times when I just really can hardly contain myself; as God's Spirit begins to open up the scriptures to me just as I'm reading. The Spirit of God just begins to open them up, and I just get so excited. I can't describe to you just how exciting it is to be taught of the Spirit, the truth of God's Word, and suddenly just have the understanding given to you and the scriptures opened up to you. That's healthy. There are some people that get excited when people speak in tongues or when people utter prophecies. I get excited over the Word of God. Some people get excited with visions or dreams. I get excited over the Word of God.

So they rose up in the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem ( Luke 24:33 ),

I'll bet they got back to Jerusalem a lot of faster than they got to Emmaus.

and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them, and they said to them, [Hey,] the Lord is risen indeed, he appeared to Simon ( Luke 24:33-34 ).

Telling these two fellows that came in, "The Lord is risen! He appeared to Simon!" And they said, "Hey, we had an experience."

And they told what things were done as they were on the path, and how he was known to them when he broke the bread. And as they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood in the midst, and he said unto them, Shalom ( Luke 24:35-36 ).

Typical Hebrew greeting.

But they were terrified and frightened, and they thought that they were seeing a ghost. And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? why do these questions arise [in your minds and] in your hearts? Behold my hands, my feet, it is me: handle me, and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see me have ( Luke 24:37-39 ).

Now there are some people that find difficulty here because Jesus is saying, "Handle Me. See if it isn't Me." When earlier in the day He said to Mary, "Touch Me not. I'm not yet ascended to my Father." The words of Jesus to Mary, "Touch Me not," the words "touch Me not" are a poor translation of the Greek. In the Greek, it reads, "Don't cling to Me." Mary was, no doubt, touching Him already. She, no doubt, had a death grip on Him. "You got away from me once, You'll never get away from me again! All right, I'm not going to let You go." And He said, "Don't cling to Me, Mary. Go and tell My disciples that I'm risen." So it wasn't, "Don't touch Me," some mystic thing, but it's just, "Don't cling to Me, Mary. Go tell the disciples I am risen." Here He's saying, "Look, handle Me. See if it isn't Me. Ghosts don't have flesh and bones as you see Me have."

And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy ( Luke 24:40-41 ),

Now it was just too much. "We can't believe it; it's just too much."

and they were wondering, he said unto them, Do you have any meat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and some honeycomb. And he ate it before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all of the things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the psalms ( Luke 24:41-44 ),

The Psalms are filled with prophecies concerning Jesus Christ. There are entire Psalms that are known as Messianic Psalms; Psalms 22 , graphic description of the crucifixion. Psalm 110 , the priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 118...and just over and over, many Psalms. And so He said, "Didn't I tell you that these scriptures must be fulfilled, Moses and the prophets and the Psalms?"

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures ( Luke 24:45 ).

And that's a glorious gift, when God opens your understanding that you might understand. And that happens when you're born again. If you try and read the scriptures without being born again, they're a mystery to you. "For the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them, they are spiritually discerned. But he which is spiritual understands, though he is not understood by any" ( 1 Corinthians 2:14-15 ).

And he said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved the Messiah to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are the witnesses of these things ( Luke 24:46-48 ).

So, here He is commissioning them, that they should go out and preach the repentance and the remission of sins to all nations. "And behold, I sent the promise of my Father upon you..." This is the promise, no doubt, made to Joel in the second chapter of the prophecy of Joel when God said, "And in the last days, saith the Lord, when I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh."

I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with this power from on high ( Luke 24:49 ).

The promise of the Holy Spirit. But they were to wait in Jerusalem until the promise was fulfilled.

Now this translation, "Tarry ye in Jerusalem," was picked up by the Pentecostal churches and they had traditional tarrying meetings where people gathered to tarry to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That's unscriptural. Jesus said, "Tarry in the city of Jerusalem." So to tarry in Santa Ana would not be scriptural.

Jesus was not prescribing the method by which the Holy Spirit should be poured out upon all believers during church history. There was to be that initial day in which the Spirit of God would be poured out upon the church as an abiding gift. They were to wait for that day, they were to wait in Jerusalem for that day. Once the day of Pentecost was fully come and the Holy Spirit was poured out as an abiding gift upon the church, it was never necessary for them to tarry again to receive the Holy Spirit. All that was necessary was for them to by faith receive the gift of God. You don't have to tarry to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It's God's gift. You receive it by just faith. "This gift is unto you and your children and to those that are far off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

And so he led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and he blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven ( Luke 24:50-51 ).

Now notice, He went as far as Bethany, lifted up His hands and blessed them. And as He was doing it, He was lifted up and went on into heaven. This was forty days after His crucifixion. He had been around among them for forty days. When you go to Jerusalem today on the Mount of Olives, I think there are three different sights where great churches have been built over the spot where Jesus ascended. The Russians have the Church of Ascension, the Lutherans have the Church of Ascension, and the Catholics have the Church of Ascension, all on the top of the Mount of Olives. And one of them, they'll even show you the footprints that He left in the rock when He ascended. It's interesting they're all on the top of the Mount of Olives, when the scripture said He went as far as Bethany. I'm glad there's no Church of the Ascension in Bethany. So you can just go to Bethany and think, "Somewhere in here Jesus ascended." But you don't have a spot. Nor do you have a lot of baubles and trinkets and souvenir salesmen. Where He ascended is not so important as the fact that He did ascend there from Bethany.

And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen ( Luke 24:52-53 ).

They were continually in the temple...which means that when the Holy Spirit descended upon the church, they were probably in one of the rooms of the temple. Because it was ten days after this that the Holy Spirit did descend. And the fact that they were continuing daily in the temple praising and blessing God, means that this phenomena probably took place right there in the temple, in one of the rooms of the temple where they had gathered to worship and praise the Lord. We'll get to that when we get to Acts, the second chapter, but we won't get to that until we get to John, which we will start next week--the first two chapters of the gospel according to John.

Father, give us burning hearts by unfolding to us the truth of Your Word. And may we feel that excitement, that rush, that thrill of having Thy Spirit, Lord, just opening up the truths and giving us understanding and helping us to know You, Your love, Your way, Your will. Lord, as we go forth this week, guide us. May this be a week of spiritual growth. May this be a week of deepening relationship. May we draw closer to You, Lord. And may You work in our hearts and lives by Your Holy Spirit, as You would conform us into the image of Christ and make us true and faithful witnesses of our Lord. Bless us, strengthen us, help us, Father. In the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen. "

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Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

I. The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus 24:13-49

Luke included two of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances in his Gospel, the first one to two disciples and the second to many of the disciples. In both cases the key to their enlightenment was the Hebrew Scriptures.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

2. The appearances to the disciples in Jerusalem 24:36-49

Luke arranged his accounts of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to give the impression that an ever-increasing audience learned of this great event. First, he recorded an announcement of it with no witnesses (Luke 24:1-12). Then he told of Jesus appearing to two disciples (Luke 24:13-35). Next he presented Jesus materializing in the presence of the Eleven minus Thomas (cf. Mark 16:14; John 20:24). Perhaps he meant this presentation to represent the ever-widening circle of witness that the disciples were to give in the world (cf. Acts 1:8). The arrangement does suggest this to the reader, especially since the third incident contains Luke’s version of the Great Commission.

Luke’s account apparently combines two post-resurrection appearances into one. The writer evidently conflated them to give Jesus’ instructions to His disciples continuity. This section is the basis for Luke’s apologetic for Jesus’ bodily resurrection in Acts 1:3-4 and Peter’s witness to Cornelius in Acts 10:40-43.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Jesus reminded the disciples that He had previously taught them that He would fulfill everything written about the Messiah in the Old Testament. The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms were the three major divisions of the Hebrew Bible in Jesus’ day. Fulfillment was a divine necessity (Gr. dei).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

The mission of Jesus’ disciples 24:44-49 (cf. Acts 1:3-8)

All the Gospels contain instances of Jesus giving the Great Commission to His disciples, but evidently He did not just give it once. The contexts are different suggesting that He repeated these instructions on at least four separate occasions. This fact obviously reflects the importance of this instruction. The charge that Luke recorded here and in Acts 1:8 was apparently the last one that Jesus gave. The chronological order seems to have been John 20:21; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20; and Luke 24:46-49 and Acts 1:8. This last one occurred just before Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Barclay's Daily Study Bible

Chapter 24

THE WRONG PLACE TO LOOK ( Luke 24:1-12 )

24:1-12 On the first day of the week, at the first streaks of dawn, the women came to the tomb, bearing the spices which they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They entered in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were at a loss what to make of this--look you--two men stood by them in flashing raiment. They were afraid, and they bowed their faces to the ground. But they said to them, "Why are you looking for him who is alive among the dead? He is not here; he is risen. Remember how he said to you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and that he must be crucified, and that on the third day he would rise again." Then they remembered his words; and they returned from the tomb and brought the news of all these things to the eleven and to the others. Mary Magdalene was there, and Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James. They, and the other women with them, kept telling these things to the apostles. But their words seemed to them an idle tale, and they refused to believe them. But Peter rose up and ran to the tomb; and he stooped down and saw the linen clothes lying all by themselves; and he went away wondering in himself at what had happened.

The Jewish Sabbath, our Saturday, is the last day of the week and commemorates the rest of God after the work of creation. The Christian Sunday is the first day of the week and commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. On this first Christian Sunday the women went to the tomb in order to carry out the last offices of love for the dear dead and to embalm Jesus' body with their spices.

In the east tombs were often carved out of caves in the rock. The body was wrapped in long linen strips like bandages and laid on a shelf in the rock tomb. The tomb was then closed by a great circular stone like a cart-wheel which ran in a groove across the opening. When the women came, they found the stone rolled away.

Just here we have one of those discrepancies in the accounts of the resurrection of which the opponents of Christianity make so much. In Mark the messenger in the tomb is a young man in a long white robe ( Mark 16:5); in Matthew he is the angel of the Lord ( Matthew 28:2). Here it is two men in flashing raiment; and in John it is two angels ( John 20:12). It is true that the differences are there; but it is also true that, whatever the attendant description, the basic fact of the empty tomb never varies, and that is the fact that matters. No two people ever described the same episode in the same terms; nothing so wonderful as the resurrection ever escaped a certain embroidery as it was repeatedly told and retold. But at the heart of this story that all-important fact of the empty tomb remains.

The women returned with their story to the rest of the disciples but they refused to believe them. They called it an idle tale. The word used is one employed by Greek medical writers to describe the babbling of a fevered and insane mind. Only Peter went out to see if it might not possibly be true. The very fact that Peter was there says much for him. The story of his denial of his Master was not a thing that could be kept silent; and yet he had the moral courage to face those who knew his shame. There was something of the hero in Peter, as well as something of the coward. The man who was a fluttering dove is on the way to become a rock.

The all-important and challenging question in this story is that of the messengers in the tomb, "Why are you looking for him who is alive among the dead?" Many of us still look for Jesus among the dead.

(i) There are those who regard him as the greatest man and the noblest hero who ever lived, as one who lived the loveliest life ever seen on earth; but who then died. That will not do. Jesus is not dead; he is alive. He is not merely a hero of the past; he is a living reality of the present.

Shakespeare is dust, and will not come

To question from his Avon tomb,

And Socrates and Shelley keep

An Attic and Italian sleep.

They see not. But, O Christians, who

Throng Holborn and Fifth Avenue,

May you not meet in spite of death,

A traveller from Nazareth?

(ii) There are those who regard Jesus simply as a man whose life must be studied, his words examined, his teaching analysed. There is a tendency to think of Christianity and Christ merely in terms of something to be studied. The tendency may be seen in the quite simple fact of the extension of the study group and the extinction of the prayer meeting. Beyond doubt study is necessary but Jesus is not only someone to be studied; he is someone to be met and lived with every day. He is not only a figure in a book, even if that book be the greatest in the world; he is a living presence.

(iii) There are those who see in Jesus the perfect pattern and example. He is that; but a perfect example can be the most heart-breaking thing in the world. For centuries the birds gave men an example of flight, and yet not till modern times could man fly. Some of us when young were presented at school with a writing book. At the top it had a line of copperplate writing; below it had blank lines on which we had to copy it. How utterly discouraging were our efforts to reproduce that perfect pattern! But then the teacher would come and, with her hand, would guide our hand over the lines and we got nearer the ideal. That is what Jesus does. He is not only the pattern and the example. He helps us and guides us and strengthens us to follow that pattern and example. He is not simply a model for life; he is a living presence to help us to live.

It may well be that our Christianity has lacked an essential something because we too have been looking for him who is alive among the dead.


24:13-35 Now--look you--on that same day two of them were on the way to a village called Emmaus, which is about seven miles from Jerusalem; and they talked with each other about all the things which had happened. As they talked about them, and discussed them, Jesus himself came up to them and joined them on their way. But their eyes were fastened so that they did not recognize him. He said to them, "What words are these that you are exchanging with each other as you walk?" And they stood with faces twisted with grief One of them, called Cleopas, answered, "Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know the things that happened in it in these days?" "What kind of things?" he said to them. They said to him, "The story of Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and in word before God and all the people; and how our chief priests and rulers handed him over to sentence of death and how they crucified him. As for us--we were hoping that he was the one who was going to rescue Israel. Yes--and to add to it all--this is the third day since these things happened. Yes and some women of our number astonished us, for they went early to the tomb, and, when they did not find his body, they came saying that they had seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. And some of our company went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said--but they did not see him." He said to them, "O foolish ones and slow in heart to believe in all the things that the prophets said! Was it not necessary that the anointed one should suffer and enter into his glory?" And beginning from Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them the things concerning himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he made as if he would have gone on; and they pressed him. "Stay with us," they said, "because it is towards evening, and the day is already far spent." So he came in to stay with them. When he had taken his place at table with them, he took bread, and blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them; and their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Was not our heart burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, as he opened the scriptures to us?" And they arose that very hour and went back to Jerusalem and found the eleven gathered together and those with them, and found that they were saying, "It is a fact that the Lord has risen, and he has appeared to Simon." So they recounted all that had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread.

This is another of the immortal short stories of the world.

(i) It tells of two men who were walking towards the sunset. It has been suggested that that is the very reason why they did not recognize Jesus. Emmaus was west of Jerusalem. The sun was sinking, and the setting sun so dazzled them that they did not know their Lord. However that may be, it is true that the Christian is a man who walks not towards the sunset but towards the sunrise. Long ago it was said to the children of Israel that they journeyed in the wilderness towards the sunrising. ( Numbers 21:11.) The Christian goes onwards, not to a night which falls, but to a dawn which breaks--and that is what, in their sorrow and their disappointment, the two on the Emmaus road had not realized.

(ii) It tells us of the ability of Jesus to make sense of things. The whole situation seemed to these two men to have no explanation. Their hopes and dreams were shattered. There is all the poignant, wistful, bewildered regret in the world in their sorrowing words, "We were hoping that he was the one who was going to rescue Israel." They were the words of men whose hopes were dead and buried. Then Jesus came and talked with them, and the meaning of life became clear and the darkness became light. A story-teller makes one of his characters say to the one with whom he has fallen in love, "I never knew what life meant until I saw it in your eyes." It is only in Jesus that, even in the bewildering times, we learn what life means.

(iii) It tells us of the courtesy of Jesus. He made as if he would have gone on. He would not force himself upon them; he awaited their invitation to come in. God gave to men the greatest and the most perilous gift in the world, the gift of free-will; we can use it to invite Christ to enter our lives or to allow him to pass on.

(iv) It tells how he was known to them in the breaking of bread. This always sounds a little as if it meant the sacrament; but it does not. It was at an ordinary meal in an ordinary house, when an ordinary loaf was being divided, that these men recognized Jesus. It has been beautifully suggested that perhaps they were present at the feeding of the five thousand, and, as he broke the bread in their cottage home, they recognized his hands again. It is not only at the communion table we can be with Christ; we can be with him at the dinner table too. He is not only the host in his Church; he is the guest in every home. Fay Inchfawn wrote,

Sometimes, when everything goes wrong;

When days are short and nights are long;

When wash-day brings so dull a sky

That not a single thing will dry.

And when the kitchen chimney smokes,

And when there's naught so 'queer' as folks!

When friends deplore my faded youth,

And when the baby cuts a tooth.

While John, the baby last but one,

Clings round my skirts till day is done;

And fat, good-tempered Jane is glum,

And butcher's man forgets to come.

Sometimes I say on days like these,

I get a sudden gleam of bliss.

Not on some sunny day of ease,

He'll come ... but on a day like this!

The Christian lives always and everywhere in a Christ-filled world.

(v) It tells how these two men, when they received such great joy, hastened to share it. It was a seven miles tramp back to Jerusalem, but they could not keep the good news to themselves. The Christian message is never fully ours until we have shared it with someone else.

(vi) It tells how, when they reached Jerusalem, they found others who had already shared their experience. It is the glory of the Christian that he lives in a fellowship of people who have had the same experience as he has had. It has been said that true friendship begins only when people share a common memory and can say to each other, "Do you remember?" Each of us is one of a great fellowship of people who share a common experience and a common memory of their Lord.

(vii) It tells that Jesus appeared to Peter. That must remain one of the great untold stories of the world. But surely it is a lovely thing that Jesus should make one of his first appearances to the man who had denied him. It is the glory of Jesus that he can give the penitent sinner back his self-respect.

IN THE UPPER ROOM ( Luke 24:36-49 )

24:36-49 While they were still speaking, Jesus stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you!" They were terrified and afraid, because they thought that they were seeing a spirit. He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do the questions arise in your heart? See my hands and my feet--that it is I--myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when he had said this he showed them his hands and his feet. When they still thought it too good to be true, and when they were astonished he said to them. "Have you anything to eat here?" They gave him part of a cooked fish, and he took it and ate it before them.

He said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you--that all the things which stand written about me in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds so that they understood the scriptures; and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the anointed one should suffer and should rise from the dead on the third day; and that repentance in his name and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And--look you--I send out the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in this city until you will be clothed with power from on high."

Here we read of how Jesus came to his own when they were gathered in the upper room. In this passage certain great notes of the Christian faith are resonantly struck.

(i) It stresses the reality of the resurrection. The risen Lord was no phantom or hallucination. He was real. The Jesus who died was in truth the Christ who rose again. Christianity is not founded on the dreams of men's disordered minds or the visions of their fevered eyes, but on one who in actual historical fact faced and fought and conquered death and rose again.

(ii) It stresses the necessity of the cross. It was to the cross that all the scriptures looked forward. The cross was not forced on God; it was not an emergency measure when all else had failed and when the scheme of things had gone wrong. It was part of the plan of God, for it is the one place on earth, where in a moment of time, we see his eternal love.

(iii) It stresses the urgency of the task. Out to all men had to go the call to repentance and the offer of forgiveness. The church was not left to live forever in the upper room; it was sent out into all the world. After the upper room came the world-wide mission of the church. The days of sorrow were past and the tidings of joy must be taken to all men.

(iv) It stresses the secret of power. They had to wait in Jerusalem until power from on high came upon them. There are occasions when the Christian may seem to be wasting time, as he waits in a wise passivity. Action without preparation must often fail. There is a time to wait on God and a time to work for God. Fay Inchfawn writes of the days when life is a losing contest with a thousand little things.

"I wrestle--how I wrestle!--through the hours.

Nay, not with principalities and powers--

Dark spiritual foes of God's and man's--

But with antagonistic pots and pans;

With footmarks on the hall,

With smears upon the wall,

With doubtful ears and small unwashen hands,

And with a babe's innumerable demands."

And then, even in the busyness she lays aside her work to be for a moment with God.

"With leisured feet and idle hands, I sat.

I, foolish, fussy, blind as any bat,

Sat down to listen, and to learn. And lo,

My thousand tasks were done the better so."

The quiet times in which we wait on God are never wasted; for it is in these times when we lay aside life's tasks that we are strengthened for the very tasks we lay aside.

THE HAPPY ENDING ( Luke 24:50-53 )

24:50-53 Jesus led them out as far as Bethany; and he raised his hands and blessed them; and as he was blessing them he parted from them, and was borne up into heaven. And when they had worshipped him they returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the Temple praising God.

The ascension must always remain a mystery, for it attempts to put into words what is beyond words and to describe what is beyond description. But that something such should happen was essential. It was unthinkable that the appearances of Jesus should grow fewer and fewer until finally they petered out. That would have effectively wrecked the faith of men. There had to come a day of dividing when the Jesus of earth finally became the Christ of heaven. But to the disciples the ascension was obviously three things.

(i) It was an ending. The days when their faith was faith in a flesh and blood person and depended on his flesh and blood presence were over. Now they were linked to someone who was forever independent of space and time.

(ii) Equally it was a beginning. The disciples did not leave the scene heart-broken; they left it with great joy, because now they knew that they had a Master from whom nothing could separate them any more.

I know not where his islands lift

Their fronded palms in air;

I only know I cannot drift

Beyond his love and care.

"I am sure," said Paul, "that nothing--nothing in life or death--can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." ( Romans 8:38-39.)

(iii) Further, the ascension gave the disciples the certainty that they had a friend, not only on earth, but in heaven. Surely it is the most precious thing of all to know that in heaven there awaits us that self-same Jesus who on earth was wondrous kind. To die is not to go out into the dark; it is to go to him.

So they went back to Jerusalem, and they were continually in the Temple praising God. It is not by accident that Luke's gospel ends where it began--in the house of God.

-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)

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Barclay, William. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "William Barclay's Daily Study Bible". 1956-1959.

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

Luke 24:44

These are the words -- Or this is the “fulfillment” of what I before told you respecting my death. See Luke 18:33; Mark 10:33.

while I was still with you -- Before my death. While I was with you as a teacher and guide.

in the law of Moses -- The five books of Moses - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Among the Jews this was the first division of the Old Testament, and was called the “law.”

and the Prophets -- This was the second and largest part of the Hebrew Scriptures. It comprehended the books of Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, which were called the “former prophets;” and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve smaller books from Daniel, to Malachi, which were called the “latter prophets.”

and the Psalms -- The word here used probably means what were comprehended under the name of “Hagiographa,” or holy writings. This consisted of the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and the two books of Chronicles.

This division of the Old Testament was in use long before the time of Christ, and was what he referred to here; and he meant to say that in “each of” these divisions of the Old Testament there were prophecies respecting himself.

concerning me -- The “particular” subject before them was his “resurrection from the dead.” A most striking prediction of this is contained in Psalms 16:9-11. Compare it with Acts 2:24-32; Acts 13:35-37.

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Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. 2021.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he said unto them, these are the words which I spake unto you,.... Or this is the substance of them, the sense and meaning of them; for what follows, we do not find any where expressed in so many words:

while I was yet with you; that is, whilst he was in his state of humiliation, whilst he dwelt among them, and had his abode with them; otherwise he was now with them, but not to continue with them; in a short time he was to ascend to his God, and their God, to his Father, and their Father:

that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me: concerning his sufferings, and death, and resurrection from the dead, spoken of in Genesis 3:15

Psalms 16:10 and in this he refers to what he had said to his disciples in Matthew 16:21 and alludes to the usual distinction among the Jews of the books of the Old Testament into the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa; among which last stands the book of Psalms, and is put for the whole; a division often to be met with in both their Talmuds a, and other writings b.

a T. Hieros. Shekalim, fol. 47. 3. T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 15. 1. & 18. 2. & 21. 1. Roshhashana, fol. 32. 1. Taanith, fol. 8. 1. & 16. 1. & 20. 1. & 30. 1. Megilla, fol. 21. 2. & 24. 1. Bava Bathra, fol. 8. 1. & 13. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 106. 1. b Zohar in Lev. fol. 39. 2.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Christ's Interview with the Apostles.

      36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.   37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.   38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?   39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.   40 And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.   41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?   42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.   43 And he took it, and did eat before them.   44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.   45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,   46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:   47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.   48 And ye are witnesses of these things.   49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

      Five times Christ was seen the same day that he rose: by Mary Magdalene alone in the garden (John 20:14), by the women as they were going to tell the disciples (Matthew 28:9), by Peter alone, by the two disciples going to Emmaus, and now at night by the eleven, of which we have an account in these verses, as also John 20:19. Observe,

      1. The great surprise which his appearing gave them. He came in among them very seasonably, as they were comparing notes concerning the proofs of his resurrection: As they thus spoke, and were ready perhaps to put it to the question whether the proofs produced amounted to evidence sufficient of their Master's resurrection or no, and how they should proceed, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and put it out of question. Note, Those who make the best use they can of their evidences for their comfort may expect further assurances, and that the Spirit of Christ will witness with their spirits (as Christ here witnessed with the disciples, and confirmed their testimony) that they are the children of God, and risen with Christ. Observe, 1. The comfort Christ spoke to them: Peace be unto you. This intimates in general that it was a kind visit which Christ now paid them, a visit of love and friendship. Though they had very unkindly deserted him in his sufferings, yet he takes the first opportunity of seeing them together; for he deals not with us as we deserve. They did not credit those who had seen him; therefore he comes himself, that they might not continue in their disconsolate incredulity. He had promised that after his resurrection he would see them in Galilee; but so desirous was he to see them, and satisfy them, that he anticipated the appointment and sees them at Jerusalem. Note, Christ is often better than his word, but never worse. Now his first word to them was, Peace be to you; not in a way of compliment, but of consolation. This was a common form of salutation among the Jews, and Christ would thus express his usual familiarity with them, though he had now entered into his state of exaltation. Many, when they are advanced, forget their old friends and take state upon them; but we see Christ as free with them as ever. Thus Christ would at the first word intimate to them that he did not come to quarrel with Peter for denying him and the rest for running away from him; no, he came peaceably, to signify to them that he had forgiven them, and was reconciled to them. 2. The fright which they put themselves into upon it (Luke 24:37; Luke 24:37): They were terrified, supposing that they had seen a spirit, because he came in among them without any noise, and was in the midst of them ere they were aware. The word used (Matthew 14:26), when they said It is a spirit, is phantasma, it is a spectre, an apparition; but the word here used is pneuma, the word that properly signifies a spirit; they supposed it to be a spirit not clothed with a real body. Though we have an alliance and correspondence with the world of spirits, and are hastening to it, yet while we are here in this world of sense and matter it is a terror to us to have a spirit so far change its own nature as to become visible to us, and conversable with us, for it is something, and bodes something, very extraordinary.

      II. The great satisfaction which his discourse gave them, wherein we have,

      1. The reproof he gave them for their causeless fears: Why are you troubled, and why do frightful thoughts arise in your hearts?Luke 24:38; Luke 24:38. Observe here, (1.) That when at any time we are troubled, thoughts are apt to rise in our hearts that do us hurt. Sometimes the trouble is the effect of the thoughts that arise in our hearts; our griefs and fears take rise from those things that are the creatures of our own fancy. Sometimes the thoughts arising in the heart are the effect of the trouble, without are fightings and then within are fears. Those that are melancholy and troubled in mind have thoughts arising in their hearts which reflect dishonour upon God, and create disquiet to themselves. I am cut off from thy sight. The Lord has forsaken and forgotten me. (2.) That many of the troublesome thoughts with which our minds are disquieted arise from our mistakes concerning Christ. They here thought that they had seen a spirit, when they saw Christ, and that put them into this fright. We forget that Christ is our elder brother, and look upon him to be at as great a distance from us as the world of spirits is from this world, and therewith terrify ourselves. When Christ is by his Spirit convincing and humbling us, when he is by his providence trying and converting us, we mistake him, as if he designed our hurt, and this troubles us. (3.) That all the troublesome thoughts which rise in our hearts at any time are known to the Lord Jesus, even at the first rise of them, and they are displeasing to him. He chid his disciples for such thoughts, to teach us to chide ourselves for them. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou troubled? Why do thoughts arise that are neither true nor good, that have neither foundation nor fruit, but hinder our joy in God, unfit us for our duty, give advantage to Satan, and deprive us of the comforts laid up for us?

      2. The proof he gave them of his resurrection, both for the silencing of their fears by convincing them that he was not a spirit, and for the strengthening of their faith in that doctrine which they were to preach to the world by giving them full satisfaction concerning his resurrection. Two proofs he gives them:--

      (1.) He shows them his body, particularly his hands and his feet. They saw that he had the shape, and features, and exact resemblance, of their Master; but is it not his ghost? "No," saith Christ, "behold my hands and my feet; you see I have hands and feet, and therefore have a true body; you see I can move these hands and feet, and therefore have a living body; and you see the marks of the nails in my hands and feet, and therefore it is my own body, the same that you saw crucified, and not a borrowed one." He lays down this principle--that a spirit has not flesh and bones; it is not compounded of gross matter, shaped into various members, and consisting of divers heterogeneous parts, as our bodies are. He does not tell us what a spirit is (it is time enough to know that when we go to the world of spirits), but what it is not: It has not flesh and bones. Now hence he infers, "It is I myself, whom you have been so intimately acquainted with, and have had such familiar conversation with; it is I myself, whom you have reason to rejoice in, and not to be afraid of." Those who know Christ aright, and know him as theirs, will have no reason to be terrified at his appearances, at his approaches. [1.] He appeals to their sight, shows them his hands and his feet, which were pierced with the nails. Christ retained the marks of them in his glorified body, that they might be proofs that it was he himself; and he was willing that they should be seen. He afterwards showed them to Thomas, for he is not ashamed of his sufferings for us; little reason then have we to be ashamed of them, or of ours for him. As he showed his wounds here to his disciples, for the enforcing of his instructions to them, so he showed them to his Father, for the enforcing of his intercessions with him. He appears in heaven as a Lamb that had been slain (Revelation 5:6); his blood speaks,Hebrews 12:24. He makes intercession in the virtue of his satisfaction; he says to the Father, as here to the disciples, Behold my hands and my feet,Zechariah 13:6; Zechariah 13:7. [2.] He appeals to their touch: Handle me, and see. He would not let Mary Magdalene touch him at that time, John 20:17. But the disciples here are entrusted to do it, that they who were to preach his resurrection, and to suffer for doing so, might be themselves abundantly satisfied concerning it. He bade them handle him, that they might be convinced that he was not a spirit. If there were really no spirits, or apparitions of spirits (as by this and other instances it is plain that the disciples did believe there were), this had been a proper time for Christ to have undeceived them, by telling them there were no such things; but he seems to take it for granted that there have been and may be apparitions of spirits, else what need was there of so much pains to prove that he was not one? There were many heretics in the primitive times, atheists I rather think they were, who said that Christ had never any substantial body, but that it was a mere phantasm, which was neither really born nor truly suffered. Such wild notions as these, we are told, the Valentinians and Manichees had, and the followers of Simon Magus; they were called Doketai and Phantysiastai. Blessed be God, these heresies have long since been buried; and we know and are sure that Jesus Christ was no spirit or apparition, but had a true and real body, even after his resurrection.

      (2.) He eats with them, to show that he had a real and true body, and that he was willing to converse freely and familiarly with his disciples, as one friend with another. Peter lays a great stress upon this (Acts 10:41): We did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

      [1.] When they saw his hands and his feet, yet they knew not what to say, They believed not for joy, and wondered,Luke 24:41; Luke 24:41. It was their infirmity that they believed not, that yet they believed not, eti apistounton auton--they as yet being unbelievers. This very much corroborates the truth of Christ's resurrection that the disciples were so slow to believe it. Instead of stealing away his body, and saying, He is risen, when he is not, as the chief priests suggested they would do, they are ready to say again and again, He is not risen, when he is. Their being incredulous of it at first, and insisting upon the utmost proofs of it, show that when afterwards they did believe it, and venture their all upon it, it was not but upon the fullest demonstration of the thing that could be. But, though it was their infirmity, yet it was an excusable one; for it was not from any contempt of the evidence offered them that they believed not: but, First, They believed not for joy, as Jacob, when he was told that Joseph was alive; they thought it too good news to be true. When the faith and hope are therefore weak because the love and desires are strong, that weak faith shall be helped, and not rejected. Secondly, They wondered; they thought it not only too good, but too great, to be true, forgetting both the scriptures and the power of God.

      [2.] For their further conviction and encouragement, he called for some meat. He sat down to meat with the two disciples at Emmaus, but it is not said that he did eat with them; now, lest that should be made an objection, he here did actually eat with them and the rest, to show that his body was really and truly returned to life, though he did not eat and drink, and converse constantly, with them, as he had done (and as Lazarus did after his resurrection, who not only returned to life, but to his former state of life, and to die again), because it was not agreeable to the economy of the state he was risen to. They gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honey-comb,Luke 24:42; Luke 24:42. The honey-comb, perhaps, was used as sauce to the broiled fish, for Canaan was a land flowing with honey. This was mean fare; yet, if it be the fare of the disciples, their Master will fare as they do, because in the kingdom of our Father they shall fare as he does, shall eat and drink with him in his kingdom.

      3. The insight he gave them into the word of God, which they had heard and read, by which faith in the resurrection of Christ is wrought in them, and all the difficulties are cleared. (1.) He refers them to the word which they had heard from him when he was with them, and puts them in mind of that as the angel had done (Luke 24:44; Luke 24:44): These are the words which I said unto you in private, many a time, while I was yet with you. We should better understand what Christ does, if we did but better remember what he hath said, and had but the art of comparing them together. (2.) He refers them to the word they had read in the Old Testament, to which the word they had heard from him directed them: All things must be fulfilled which were written. Christ had given them this general hint for the regulating of their expectations--that whatever they found written concerning the Messiah, in the Old Testament, must be fulfilled in him, what was written concerning his sufferings as well as what was written concerning his kingdom; these God had joined together in the prediction, and it could not be thought that they should be put asunder in the event. All things must be fulfilled, even the hardest, even the heaviest, even the vinegar; he could not die till he had that, because he could not till then say, It is finished. The several parts of the Old Testament are here mentioned, as containing each of them things concerning Christ: The law of Moses, that is, the Pentateuch, or the five books written by Moses,--the prophets, containing not only the books that are purely prophetical, but those historical books that were written by prophetical men,--the Psalms, containing the other writings, which they called the Hagiographa. See in what various ways of writing God did of old reveal his will; but all proceeded from one and the self-same Spirit, who by them gave notice of the coming and kingdom of the Messiah; for to him bore all the prophets witness. (3.) By an immediate present work upon their minds, of which they themselves could not but be sensible, he gave them to apprehend the true intent and meaning of the Old-Testament prophecies of Christ, and to see them all fulfilled in him: Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,Luke 24:45; Luke 24:45. In his discourse with the two disciples he took the veil from off the text, by opening the scriptures; here he took the veil from off the heart, by opening the mind. Observe here, [1.] That Jesus Christ by his Spirit operates on the minds of men, on the minds of all that are his. He has access to our spirits, and can immediately influence them. It is observable how he did now after his resurrection give a specimen of those two great operations of his Spirit upon the spirits of men, his enlightening the intellectual faculties with a divine light, when he opened the understandings of his disciples, and his invigorating the active powers with a divine heat, when he made their hearts burn within them. [2.] Even good men need to have their understandings opened; for though they are not darkness, as they were by nature, yet in many things they are in the dark. David prays, Open mine eyes. Give me understanding. And Paul, who knows so much of Christ, sees his need to learn more. [3.] Christ's way of working faith in the soul, and gaining the throne there, is by opening the understanding to discern the evidence of those things that are to be believed. Thus he comes into the soul by the door, while Satan, as a thief and a robber, climbs up some other way. [4.] The design of opening the understanding is that we may understand the scriptures; not that we may be wise above what is written, but that we may be wiser in what is written, and may be made wise to salvation by it. The Spirit in the word and the Spirit in the heart say the same thing. Christ's scholars never learn above their bibles in this world; but they need to be learning still more and more out of their bibles, and to grow more ready and mighty in the scriptures. That we may have right thoughts of Christ, and have our mistakes concerning him rectified, there needs no more than to be made to understand the scriptures.

      4. The instructions he gave them as apostles, who were to be employed in setting up his kingdom in the world. They expected, while their Master was with them, that they should be preferred to posts of honour, of which they thought themselves quite disappointed when he was dead. "No," saith, he, "you are now to enter upon them; you are to be witnesses of these things (Luke 24:48; Luke 24:48), to carry the notice of them to all the world; not only to report them as matter of news, but to assert them as evidence given upon the trial of the great cause that has been so long depending between God and Satan, the issue of which must be the casting down and casting out of the prince of this world. You are fully assured of these things yourselves, you are eye and ear-witnesses of them; go, and assure the world of them; and the same Spirit that has enlightened you shall go along with you for the enlightening of others." Now here they are told,

      (1.) What they must preach. They must preach the gospel, must preach the New Testament as the full accomplishment of the Old, as the continuation and conclusion of divine revelation. They must take their bibles along with them (especially when they preached to the Jews; nay, and Peter, in his first sermon to the Gentiles, directed them to consult the prophets, Acts 10:43), and must show people how it was written of old concerning the Messiah, and the glories and graces of his kingdom, and then must tell them how, upon their certain knowledge, all this was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus.

      [1.] The great gospel truth concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ must be published to the children of men (Luke 24:46; Luke 24:46): Thus it was written in the sealed book of the divine counsels from eternity, the volume of that book of the covenant of redemption; and thus it was written in the open book of the Old Testament, among the things revealed; and therefore thus it behoved Christ to suffer, for the divine counsels must be performed, and care taken that no word of God fall to the ground. "Go, and tell the world," First, "That Christ suffered, as it was written of him. Go, preach Christ crucified; be not ashamed of his cross, not ashamed of a suffering Jesus. Tell them what he suffered, and why he suffered, and how all the scriptures of the Old Testament were fulfilled in his sufferings. Tell them that it behoved him to suffer, that it was necessary to the taking away of the sin of the world, and the deliverance of mankind from death and ruin: nay, it became him to be perfected through sufferings," Hebrews 2:10. Secondly, "That he rose from the dead on the third day, by which not only all the offence of the cross was rolled away, but he was declared to be the Son of God with power, and in this also the scriptures were fulfilled (see 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Corinthians 15:4); go, tell the world how often you saw him after he rose from the dead, and how intimately you conversed with him. Your eyes see" (as Joseph said to his brethren, when his discovering himself to them was as life from the dead) "that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you,Genesis 45:12. Go, and tell them, then, that he that was dead is alive, and lives for evermore, and has the keys of death and the grave,"

      [2.] The great gospel duty of repentance must be pressed upon the children of men. Repentance for sin must be preached in Christ's name, and by his authority, Luke 24:47; Luke 24:47. All men every where must be called and commanded to repent,Acts 17:30. "Go, and tell all people that the God that made them, and the Lord that bought them, expects and requires that, immediately upon this notice given, they turn from the worship of the gods that they have made to the worship of the God that made them; and not only so, but from serving the interests of the world and the flesh; they must turn to the service of God in Christ, must mortify all sinful habits, and forsake all sinful practices. Their hearts and lives must be changed, and they must be universally renewed and reformed."

      [3.] The great gospel privilege of the remission of sins must be proposed to all, and assured to all that repent, and believe the gospel. "Go, tell a guilty world, that stands convicted and condemned at God's bar, that an act of indemnity has passed the royal assent, which all that repent and believe shall have the benefit of, and not only be pardoned, but preferred by. Tell them that there is hope concerning them."

      (2.) To whom they must preach. Whither must they carry these proposals, and how far does their commission extend? They are here told, [1.] That they must preach this among all nations. They must disperse themselves, like the sons of Noah after the flood, some one way and some another, and carry this light along with them wherever they go. The prophets had preached repentance and remission to the Jews, but the apostles must preach them to all the world. None are exempted from the obligations the gospel lays upon men to repent, nor are any excluded from those inestimable benefits which are included in the remission of sins, but those that by their unbelief and impenitency put a bar in their own door. [2.] That they must begin at Jerusalem There they must preach their first gospel sermon; there the gospel church must be first formed; there the gospel day must dawn, and thence that light shall go forth which must take hold on the ends of the earth. And why must they begin there? First, Because thus it was written, and therefore it behoved them to take this method. The word of the Lord must go forth from Jerusalem,Isaiah 2:3. And see Joel 2:32; Joel 3:16; Obadiah 1:21; Zechariah 14:8. Secondly, Because there the matters of fact on which the gospel was founded were transacted; and therefore there they were first attested, where, if there had been any just cause for it, they might be best contested and disproved. So strong, so bright, is the first shining forth of the glory of the risen Redeemer that it dares face those daring enemies of his that had put him to an ignominious death, and sets them at defiance. "Begin at Jerusalem, that the chief priests may try their strength to crush the gospel, and may rage to see themselves disappointed." Thirdly, Because he would give us a further example of forgiving enemies. Jerusalem had put the greatest affronts imaginable upon him (both the rulers and the multitude), for which that city might justly have been excepted by name out of the act of indemnity; but no, so far from that, the first offer of gospel grace is made to Jerusalem, and thousands there are in a little time brought to partake of that grace.

      (3.) What assistance they should have in preaching. It is a vast undertaking that they are here called to, a very large and difficult province, especially considering the opposition this service would meet with, and the sufferings it would be attended with. If therefore they ask, Who is sufficient for these things? here is an answer ready: Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you, and you shall be endued with power from on high,Luke 24:49; Luke 24:49. He here assures them that in a little time the Spirit should be poured out upon them in greater measures than ever, and they should thereby be furnished with all those gifts and graces which were necessary to their discharge of this great trust; and therefore they must tarry at Jerusalem, and not enter upon it till this be done. Note, [1.] Those who receive the Holy Ghost are thereby endued with a power from on high, a supernatural power, a power above any of their own; it is from on high, and therefore draws the soul upward, and makes it to aim high. [2.] Christ's apostles could never have planted his gospel, and set up his kingdom in the world, as they did, if they had not been endued with such a power; and their admirable achievements prove that there was an excellency of power going along with them. [3.] This power from on high was the promise of the Father, the great promise of the New Testament, as the promise of the coming of Christ was of the Old Testament. And, if it be the promise of the Father, we may be sure that the promise is inviolable and the thing promised invaluable. [4.] Christ would not leave his disciples till the time was just at hand for the performing of this promise. It was but ten days after the ascension of Christ that there came the descent of the Spirit. [5.] Christ's ambassadors must stay till they have their powers, and not venture upon their embassy till they have received full instructions and credentials. Though, one would think, never was such haste as now for the preaching of the gospel, yet the preachers must tarry till they be endued with power from on high, and tarry at Jerusalem, though a place of danger, because there this promise of the Father was to find them, Joel 2:28.

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Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Luke 24:44". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.

Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible

The last chapter gave in the judgment of present things, another world and eternal things in good and evil, the Lord's instruction for the disciples after the dealings of grace in Luke 15:1-32, and this as the only true power of estimating the present world (that is to say, by the standard of the future the eternal future of God. In order to complete that picture, our Lord gave a sight not only of one blessed man who had lived in what is eternal, while experiencing the bitterness of this evil age, but of another who lived only for the present, despising God's message about eternity.

In Luke 17:1-37 there follow further lessons communicated still to the disciples; and first of all, a solemn warning as to stumbling-blocks. It is possible that offences will come; but woe to him through whom they come! Next, while there is a strong exhortation against stumbling others, there is an equally urgent call to forgive others. We are to be firm against ourselves; we are to be firm for our brethren, even where they touch ourselves. Therefore the apostles, feeling the great difficulty, as indeed it is impossible to nature so to walk, ask of the Lord to increase their faith. The Lord intimates in reply that faith grows, and even in the presence of difficulty. It seeks what belongs not to nature, but to God. On the other hand, in the midst of any answers that God may vouchsafe, and of all service rendered to Him, the admonitory word is added that when we have done all things not when we have failed we are unprofitable servants. Such is the true language and feeling for a disciple's heart. This closes the direct teaching here addressed to His followers (Verses Luke 17:1-10.)

Our Lord is next (ver. Luke 17:11-19) presented in a very characteristic way, showing that faith does not necessarily wait for a change of dispensation. He had been laying, down the duty of faith in many various forms in the early verses of this chapter. It is here shown that faith always finds its place of blessing with God and proves Him superior to forms; but God is only found in Jesus.

In the ten lepers this blessed principle is brought out clearly. The healing of the Lord was equally manifest in all; but there is a power superior to that which cleanses the body, even were it desperately leprous. The power that belongs to and comes out from God is but a small thing, in comparison with the knowledge of God Himself. This alone brings to God in spirit (as it did really by the cross of Christ). Observe, that he who exemplifies this action of divine grace was one that knew not traditional religion as the others did, that had no great privileges to boast of in comparison with the rest. It was the Samaritan in whom the Lord illustrated the power of faith. He had told the ten equally to go and show themselves to the priest; and as they went they were cleansed. One only, seeing he was cleansed, turns back, and with a loud voice glorified God. But the way in which he glorified God was not by merely ascribing the blessing to God. "He fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan."

Apparently this was disobedience; and the others could well reproach their Samaritan fellow that he was unfaithful to Jesus. But faith is always right, whatever appearances may say: I speak not now of a fancy, of course, not of any eccentric humour or delusion too often covered over with the name of faith. Real faith which God gives is never so far wrong: and he who, instead of going on to the priest, recognizes in Jesus the power and goodness of God upon earth, (the instincts of that very faith that was of God working in his heart and carrying him back to the source of the blessing,) he, I say, was the only one of the ten who was in the spirit, not only of the blessing but of Him who gave the blessing. And so our Lord Jesus vindicates him. "Were there not ten cleansed?" said the Saviour; "but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger."

Faith invariably discovers the way to give glory to God. It matters not whether it be in Abraham or in a Samaritan leper, its path is entirely outside the ken of nature, yet faith does not fail to discern it; the Lord assuredly puts His seal upon it, and grace supplies all needed strength to follow.

But this was in its principle the judgment of the Jewish system. It was the power of faith leaving Judaism to itself, mounting in Jesus to the source of both law and grace, but not putting the legal system down. This was for other hands. Faith does not destroy; it has no such commission: angels will have that province another day. But faith finds its own deliverance now, leaving those who are under the law and love not grace, to the law which condemns. For itself it discovers the blessedness of freedom from the law, yet is not lawless to God, but, on the contrary, legitimately bound ( ἔννομος ) to Christ, really and duly subject to Him, and so much the more because not under law. In the present case, the cleansed Samaritan in going to Jesus was very simply under grace, in the spirit that animated his heart and formed his path, as Luke the evangelist here records.

How admirably this tale is adapted to the whole tone and character of the Gospel, I need not delay to prove. It must be plain enough, I think, even to a superficial reader, that as Luke alone gives the account, so to Luke it is most especially adapted for the purpose that the Holy Ghost had in hand in this Gospel, and also in this particular context.

We have further, in our Lord's answer to the Pharisees, who demanded when the kingdom of God should come, a striking revelation, and most suitable to Luke's purpose. "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation." It is not a question of signs, wonders, or outward show. It is not that God did not accompany His message with signs. But the kingdom of God, revealed in the person of Christ, went deeper appeals to faith (not sight), and demands the Holy Ghost's action in the soul to give the sinner to see and enter it. Here it is not a question exactly of entering or seeing, as inJohn 3:1-36; John 3:1-36, but rather the moral character of the entrance of God's kingdom among men. It does not address itself to the senses or the mere mind of man; it carries its own evidence with it to the conscience and the heart. As being the kingdom of God, it is impossible that His kingdom should come, without adequate testimony in love to man, who is sought for it. At the same time man, having a bad conscience and a depraved heart, slights God's word as well as kingdom, and looks for that which would please himself by gratifying his feelings, mind, or even lower nature. Our Lord, however, first of all lays down this great principle: it is no question of a "lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." The kingdom was actually there; for He, God's King was there. Then, after settling this moral truth which was fundamental for the soul, He turns to His disciples, and tells them that the days would come when they should desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and should not see it; for the kingdom will be displayed by and by. "When they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under. heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation." This is the necessary moral order of God. Jesus must first suffer; so "the sufferings of Christ," as Peter said afterwards, "and the glories that should follow." Such is the invariable method of God in dealing with a sinful world, where He brings in, not a test of man, but the effectual work of His own grace. But this presentation to faith now, as we have seen does not hinder the Lord from speaking of another day, when the kingdom of God would be manifest. Before that day of His appearing there might be a premature "Lo here! or, lo there!" The godly must not follow men's cries, but count on the Lord. He compares it to the days of Noe (that is, to the day of God's past judgment of man and his ways); then to the days of Lot.

First of all, then, we have, for the disciples, God's ways in grace, in the Son of man that first suffers, and finally will appear in power and glory. As for the world, careless indifference and enjoyment of present things will characterise the future as the past; but they will be surprised by the Lord in the midst of heedless folly. To this the Lord appends a peculiar, but not less solemn though brief word: "Remember Lot's wife! "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it." Apparently the wife of Lot was rescued by angelic power; she was certainly brought out of the doomed city; but it was only the more strikingly to be the monument of God's all-searching judgment. There she stands alone. The others perished; but she abode a pillar of salt, when Moses wrote the (morally speaking) imperishable memorial of God's hatred of a false heart, which, spite of outward deliverance, gave its affections still to a scene devoted to destruction. And so our Lord adds here what touched, not merely the Jewish system, but the condition and doom of the world at large. He lets us know that in that night two should be in one bed; one taken, and the other left. So two women at the mill; for here we have not to do with human judgments. God will then judge the quick; and so, no matter what the association, the employment, or the sex, whether within doors or without, there can be no shelter or exemption. Two might be ever so closely knit together, but God would discriminate according to the nicety of His own discernment of their state: one should be taken, and the other left. "And they answered, and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body. is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." Wherever there is that which is dead, and consequently offensive morally unto God, there unquestionably will His judgments fall.

But along with this we have also prayer (Luke 18:1-43), not merely as suitable to a soul's need, and in connection with the word of God received from Jesus, which we have seen in Luke 11:1-54. Here it is prayer out of the midst of circumstances of desolation and deep trial prayer with evil near at hand, as well as divine judgment. Consequently its ultimate bearing is in connection with the tribulation of the last days. But, at the same time, Luke never confines his view to outward facts. Hence, it is said, "He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray." It is the more striking, because the circumstances are evidently limited; while that which He draws from them is universal. The Lord is exhorting to prayer, in view of the final trial; nevertheless, He prefaces it with a plain moral precept on the value. of prayer at all times "that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Certainly God will not be heedless to the continual cry of His own seemingly desolate elect in their fiery trial, where all the might of man is against them; but still the duty always remains true.

Now, it is Luke alone who thus treats the matter; the great moral value attached to prayer, at the same time connected, it may be, with general circumstances of sorrow, but bearing on the circumstances of the last day. The parable is intended to give or increase confidence in the heed God pays to the prayer of distress. Spite of indifference, an unjust judge yields to the importunity of a poor widow. If a bad man so acted, not because of his hatred of the wrong done to her that was oppressed, but to get rid of being always troubled by her cries for justice if it be so even with the unjust, would not God take up the cause of His own elect, that cried unto Him day and night? It could not but be. He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth? (Verses Luke 18:1-8.)

Then follows another parable of a very different character. It is not the value of persistent prayer, and the certainty of God appearing even for the weakest, no matter how apparently deserted (indeed, so much the more, because of it in His own). We have, further, the moral condition of man illustrated in two ways a broken spirit with little light but a real sense of sin, and another soul satisfied with itself in the presence of God. "And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous) and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican." Not that the Pharisee represents a man who denies God, or who is not a religious man. He is religious, but such religion is the most damning thing about him. The evil is not merely his sins, but his religion: nothing more blinding to himself and other men, nothing more dishonouring to God. On the other hand, the poor publican has neither clear light nor peace, but at least he realises the commencement of all true light he has learned enough of God to condemn himself. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." He alone of the two judged things according to his little light. He judged himself truly, and, therefore, was in a moral condition to see other things aright, as God should bring them before him. There was as yet no such privilege known as a purged worshipper having no more conscience of sins. Therefore, the convicted publican is found outside, beating his breast, and standing at a distance, not so much as looking up. It was suitable that it should be so; for Christ's work was not yet wrought, still less applied to his soul. It would have been not faith, but presumption, I do not doubt, at such a time, and under such circumstances, for him to have come nigh. All was in its season. But if God invites a believer now to draw near into the holiest of all, is it not equal presumption for that soul to quarrel with the grace of God displayed in Christ's work of redemption, and to raise questions about its effects for itself? God may, and does, bear with the wound to His own grace; and He has His way of correcting such wrong; but there is no ground in the parable to warrant what is too often founded upon it. We owe it to Christ to resent every misinterpretation which goes to undo what He has done on the cross. The publican before us was not meant to give us a full view of the Christian state, or of the blessings of the gospel, but of a man taught of God to feel his own nothingness as a sinner before Him; and God's estimate of him, in comparison with the man who was satisfied with his state. It is humility founded upon the sense of unworthiness, which is always right as far as it goes. (VersesLuke 18:9-14; Luke 18:9-14.)

Next is set forth humility, founded on our littleness (ver. Luke 18:15-17). Many a man is consciously unworthy, because he feels himself a sinner who has no just sense of his littleness in the presence of God. Our Lord here gives this further lesson to the disciples, and uses a child as the text. We shall find how much it was needed if we look into the Gospel of Luke.

Then we have the ruler, to whom our Lord shows that all was wrong where a soul is not brought to know that there is none good but God. Had he really known how good God is he would have soon seen God in Jesus. He saw nothing of the sort. He knew neither God nor good. He looked upon the Lord merely as good after a human fashion. If He was but a man there was no goodness in Him; it is only in God: God alone is good. If Jesus were not God, He was not good. The young ruler had no right, no just title to say, "Good Master", unless that master were God. This he saw not; and therefore, the Lord proves him, and searches the ground of his heart, and demonstrates that after all he valued the world more than God and eternal life. This he had never suspected in himself before. He loved his natural position; he loved to be a ruler, though a young one; he loved his possessions; he loved what he had of present advantages in the world. He really clave to all these things without knowing it himself. The Lord, therefore calls upon him to give them up, and follow Him. He thought there was no demand of goodness but what he was able to meet; but the trial was too much for him. Man was not good God only. Jesus, who was God, had given up beyond all comparison more, yea, infinitely.

What had He not given up, and for whom? He was God, and proved it not least in a self-abnegation truly divine. (Verses Luke 18:18-25.)

Then we have the hearers and disciples disclosing their thoughts. They began to claim something of credit for what they had given up. The Lord admits that there is no abandonment of faith but what will meet with a most adequate remembrance from the Lord another day.

But, at the same time (verses Luke 18:31-34), He takes unto Him the twelve and says, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished." This is what He was looking for, whatever they were. "For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on; and they shall scourge Him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again; and they understood none of these things. And this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken." It is an important lesson, and not the first time we find it in Luke, and, indeed, in other Gospels also. Nor can it be too often repeated, that lack of intelligence in Scripture does not depend upon the obscurity of the language, but because the will does not like the truth that is taught. This is the reason why difficulties are felt and abound. When a man is made willing to receive the truth, his eye is single and his whole body full of light. The will is the real hindrance. The mind will be clear, if the conscience and the heart be set right. Where, on the contrary, God breaks down the believer, and sets him free in the liberty wherewith the Son makes free, the conscience is purged, and the heart turned towards Himself. All then becomes right: he is brought into the light of God; he sees light in God's light. Was this the condition of the disciples as yet? Were they not still cleaving to their own cherished expectations of Messiah, and an earthly kingdom? They could not understand Him, no matter how plain the words employed. The hardness of His saying lay not in any lack of perspicuity. Never man spake as this man, His enemies themselves being judges; neither was it from any defect in their natural understanding that the disciples were thus slow. The state of the heart, as ever, was in question; the will was at fault, even though they were regenerate. It was their reluctance to receive what Jesus taught that made the difficulty; and it is the same thing still with believers, as with others.

In verse 35 we enter on the closing section of all the historical Gospels, as is well known, that is to say, the entrance into Jerusalem from Jericho. Only there is a difficulty here to some that Luke appears to contradict what we have in the other accounts of this part of Christ's progress. "It came to pass, that as he came nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging." From the other Gospels we know it was when He went out of Jericho, not when He came in. The truth is, that our English version, excellent as it is, goes a little beyond the word of Luke; for our evangelist does not say "When he was come nigh unto Jericho," but "when he was nigh." It is not necessarily a question of coming near, but simply of being in the neighbourhood. The utmost which can or ought to be allowed is, that if the context so required, it might bear the translation (a paraphrase rather) of coming nigh; but this case demands the very reverse. It is evident, whether you go into a place or whether you come out of it, you are equally nigh on one side of the town or on the other. The truth is, that Luke merely states the fact of vicinity here. Further, we know that just as Matthew, for his design, so he displaces facts historically for the purpose of giving a more forcible moral picture of the truth in hand. I have little doubt that in this case the reason for putting the blind man here rather than in leaving, the town was, that for Jericho He reserved the wonderful call of Zaccheus, with the object of bringing that tale of grace, characteristic of His first-advent, into juxtaposition with the question and parable of the kingdom, which illustrated His second advent; for immediately afterwards we have His correction of the disciples, thoughts, that the kingdom of God was immediately going to appear; because He was going up to Jerusalem. They expected that He was going to take the throne of David at once. Accordingly, Luke puts together those two features the grace that illustrates His first coming, and the real nature of the second coming of Christ, as far as regards the appearing of God's kingdom. Now, had the story of the blind man healed at Jericho been left for its historical place, it would have cut the thread of these two circumstances. There is, therefore, in this, as it appears to me, an ample and divine reason why the Spirit of God led the writer to present the cure of the blind man as we find it. But then he does not say what the English version makes him say, "As he was come nigh," but simply, "When he was nigh to Jericho," leaving it open to other Scriptures to define the time with more precision. He only states that it was while the Lord was in the neighbourhood. The other Gospels positively tell us it was as He went out. Clearly, therefore, we must interpret the general language of Luke by the exacter marks of the time and place of those who declare it was as He was going out. Nothing can be simpler. The healing of the blind man was a kind of final testimony that Messiah was there. He was coming in the way, not of the power that once overthrew Jericho, but of grace that showed and could meet the real condition of Israel. They were blind. Had they possessed the faith only to cry to Messiah about their blindness, He was therewith power and willingness to heal them. There was none but a blind man or two to own real need, but our Lord at least healed all who cried. (Verses Luke 18:35-43.)

Then, as He entered Jericho, Zaccheus, the chief of the tax-gatherers, was mightily stirred with the desire to see this wondrous man, the Son of man. Hence he lets nothing stand in the way. Neither personal deficiency, nor the crowd that was there, is allowed to hinder his intense purpose of heart to see the Lord Jesus. He therefore climbs up a sycamore tree by the way; and Jesus knowing well the desire of Zaccheus, and the faith that was at work there however feebly, at once, to his joy and astonishment, invites Himself to his house. "Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully." All fell to murmuring. It was the same tale at the end as at the beginning. "And Zaccheus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold." He had been really a conscientious man. He was a man thus characterised; for it is no promise of what he is going to do, but he mentions that which was no doubt a fact about himself at that very moment. He was what men call a just and good man, yet a chief tax-gatherer and a wealthy one, though they be hard things to put together. Here was a tax-gatherer who, if through in cautiousness or any defect guilty of wrong to another, needed no pressure to restore fourfold. Such was his habit. Our Lord, however, cuts it all short. As a matter of human righteousness it was well; it was the proof that Zaccheus exercised himself as a man to have a conscience void offence in his own way. Nor is this out of keeping with the tenor of Luke's Gospel, as, indeed, it is only here that we have the story at all. Our Lord, however, shows that it was not the time to think or speak of such matters. "This day is salvation come to this house, inasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." How infinite the blessing! Was it a fitting time for speaking of himself? It was not a question of man's walking righteously, or of talking about it. In truth, man was lost; but the Son of man was there to bear his burden. This great and glorious fact superseded all others. Whatever there had been working in him at any time all was now swallowed up in the presence of the Son of man seeking and saving the lost. What can give us amore vivid, true, and blessed representation of the Lord Jesus Christ in His first coming with the grace of God that brings salvation? (Luke 19:1-10.)

Immediately after (and, if I mistake not, expressly put in close conjunction with this) is the parable of the nobleman who goes into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. They were all wrong therefore, in looking for the kingdom of God immediately to appear. Not so. Christ was going away to heaven to receive the kingdom from God there not about to take it from man now and in this world. It is evidently, therefore, a picture of the Lord's return at the second advent, after having received a kingdom. It was not a question of human willingness or power, but of receiving from God. But then, further, He shows that meanwhile His servants are called to occupy themselves till he come. He called His ten servants, and delivered to them ten pounds; and said unto them, "Occupy till I come." Then we find another picture His citizens hating Him; for nothing can be more elaborate than this parable. The Lord's relation to the kingdom at the second advent is contrasted with the grace that flows out in the former part of the chapter. This is the main subject with which the parable opens. Next, we have the place of the servants responsible to use what the Lord gives. Such is another great point shown out here. It is not, as in the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord giving different gifts to different servants, which is equally true; but here it is the moral test of the servants carried out by each having the same sum. This proves yet more than in the other case how far they laboured. They started with similar advantages. What was the result? Meanwhile hatred became apparent in the citizens, who represent the unbelieving Jews settled down in the earth. "When he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded those servants to be called unto Him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy mina hath gained ten minas;" and so with the other; and then we hear of the one who says, "Lord, behold, here is thy mina, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: for I feared thee." There was no confidence in His grace. The consequence is, that, treating the Lord as a froward man, he finds Him froward. Unbelief finds its own response as truly as faith does. As "it is unto thee according to thy faith," so alas! the converse proves true. It is to man according to his unbelief.

Further, we have a remarkable difference in the rewards here. It is not, "Enter into the joy of thy Lord;" but one receives ten cities, another five, and so on. He that was fearful and unbelieving, on the contrary, has his mina taken from him. Again, then enemies are brought forward. The unfaithful servant is not called an enemy, though, no doubt, he was no friend of the Son, and dealt with righteously. But the open adversaries are called into the scene; and as the Lord here pronounces those men His enemies which would not :that He should reign over them, He says, "Bring them hither, and slay them before me." Thus the parable is a very complete sketch of the general results of the Lord's second advent for the citizens of the world, as well as of the occupation and reward of the servants who serve Him faithfully meanwhile. (Verses Luke 19:11-27.)

Next, we have the entrance into Jerusalem. We need not dwell on the scene of the riding in on the colt; but that which is peculiar to Luke claims our attention for a moment. "And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen: saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest."(Ver. 37, 38.) Thus the Spirit of God works to give them a step, and a great step, in divine intelligence beyond the song of the angels at the beginning. What they justly sang at the birth of Jesus was, "Peace on earth: good will that is, God's good will in men," ushered in by glory to God in the highest. Here we have a signal change or converse. "Glory in the highest" is the result, not the introduction; and instead of "peace on earth," (which will, no doubt, be the fruit by and by, as it is according to God's mind, the anticipation from the beginning,) the disciples meanwhile and most appropriately, sing, "Peace in heaven." It was not a question of peace on earth now. The reason was manifest: the earth was unready, was about to judge unjustly, and to be judged. Jesus was on the very point of being cast out and cut off. He was really in heart thoroughly rejected already; but He was shortly to enter on other sufferings, even to the death of the cross. The effect, then, of that which was imminent was not peace for the earth yet, but peace in heaven most assuredly; and therefore we can comprehend how the Lord guided by His Spirit the song of the disciples at the close just as much as at the beginning; that of the angels expressed the general idea of God's purposes the moral effects to spring from the death of the incarnate Son.

After this we hear the murmuring Pharisees rebuked, who would have had the disciples rebuked for their song: if they had not sung it, the stones must have cried out; and the Lord vindicates the blameless (Ver. Luke 19:39-40.)

Then follows that most touching scene, peculiar to and characteristic of Luke Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. It was not at the grave of the one He loved, though about to call from the grave. The weeping in John is in the presence of death, which had touched Lazarus. It is therefore infinitely more personal, though it be also the wondrous sight of One who, coming, with the consciousness of divine power to banish death and bring life into the scene, yet in grace nevertheless did not one whit the less, but the more, feel the power of death as no mere man ever felt, yet as none but a real man could feel. There never was any one that had such a sense of death before as Jesus, just because He was life, the energy of which, combined with perfect; love, made the power of death to be so sensible. Death does not feel death, but life did. Therefore He that was (and not merely had) life, as no one else, weeps in the presence of death, groaning, in spirit at the grave. His having power to banish death weakened His sense of it in no respect. If poor dying man felt it somewhat, the Lord made flesh, the God-man, entered into it in spirit the more because He was God, though man. But here we have another scene, His weeping over that very city that was about to cast Him out and crucify Him. Oh it is a truth for us to treasure in our hearts His weeping in divine grace over guilty Jerusalem, forsaking its own mercies, rejecting its own Saviour the Lord God. Its desolation He predicts, and destruction, because the time of its visitation was unknown. (Verses Luke 19:41-44.) His visit to the temple and its cleansing are mentioned summarily; as also His teaching there daily the chiefs of priest and people, With their desire to destroy Him but hardly knowing how, for all the people hung on Him to hear. In Luke 20:1-47 we have the various classes of religionists and worldly men trooping one after another, hoping somehow to ensnare or accuse the Lord of glory. Each of them falls into the trap which they had made for Him. Accordingly they do but discover and condemn themselves. We have the priests with their question of authority (ver. Luke 20:1-8), then the people hearing the history of God's dealings with them, and their moral condition fully brought out. (Verses Luke 20:9-19.) We have further the crafty spies, hired by the chief priests and scribes, that feigned themselves just, and thought to take hold of His words, and embroil Him with the earthly powers. (Verses Luke 20:20-26.)

We have, after these, the Sadducees denying the resurrection. (Verses Luke 20:27-38.) But here we may pause for a moment; for there are special and profoundly instructive touches peculiar to Luke. More particularly remark this that he alone, of all the evangelists, here characterizes men, in the activities of this life, as "the children of this world," or age. They are persons who live merely for the present. "The children of this world [age] marry, and are given in marriage; but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world [age], and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage, neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels." In the resurrection state there will be no such relations. The difficulty existed for, or rather was made by, unbelief only. Indeed, what else can incredulity ever pretend to? It imagines difficulties, and nowhere so much as in the most certain truth of God. The resurrection is the great truth to which all things turn which the Lord has shown in its final form, too, in His own person now raised from the dead, then just about to follow. This truth was combated and refused by the most active sect among the Jews at that time, the most intellectual and the best informed naturally. These were the persons who most of all set themselves against it.

But our Lord brings in another remarkable point here. Not only is God not the God of the dead, but of the living; but "all live unto him." (Ver. Luke 20:38; Luke 20:38.) Two great truths are here present living unto God after death, and future resurrection, when Jesus comes and brings in the new age. This was especially of value for Gentiles, because it was one of the great problems for the heathen mind, whether the soul existed after death, not to speak of the resurrection of the body. Naturally the Jews, save the unbelieving portion of them, looked for resurrection; but for the Gentiles the Spirit of God gives us our Lord's answer to the Sadducees, both proving the resurrection which is common to all the Gospels, and bringing in the living, of dead men in the separate state. It peculiarly fell within the domain of Luke.

This truth is not confined to the present portion of our Gospel. We have similar teaching elsewhere. Does not the account of the rich man and Lazarus intimate the same thing? Yea, more; not only the existence of the soul separate from the body, after death, of course) but also blessedness and misery at once. They are not absolutely dependent on the resurrection. Besides, there is the final publicly adjudicated portion of misery for body and soul before the great white throne. But, inLuke 16:1-31; Luke 16:1-31, blessedness and misery at once are felt by the soul in the dissolution of the link with the body. The figures, no doubt, are taken, as they must be, from the body. Thus we find the desire for cooling of the tongue, which men of speculative mind use to prove that it was the time of being clothed with a real body. Nothing of the sort. The Spirit of God speaks to be understood, and (if He is to be understood by men) He must deign to use language adapted to our comprehension. He cannot give us the understanding of a state which we have never experienced, unless it be by figures taken from the present state. A similar truth appears also later on in the case of the converted thief. The point there is just the same immediate blessedness, and not merely when the body is raised from the dead by and by. That is what he looked for when he sought to be remembered, when Jesus comes in His kingdom. But the Lord adds more immediate blessedness now: "This day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Depend upon it, we cannot be too stringent in maintaining, the importance both of the resurrection, and of the immediate blessedness or misery of the soul separate from the body before the resurrection. To give up the reality of the soul's existence in either misery or blessedness at once is only a stepping-stone to materialism; and materialism is but a prelude to giving up both the truth and the grace of God, and all the awful reality of man's sin and Satan's power. Materialism always is essentially infidel, though far from being, the only form of infidelity.

Towards the end of the chapter (ver. Luke 20:39-44; Luke 20:39-44) our Lord puts the great question of His own person and the position He was just going to take not on the throne of David but on the throne of God. Was not He Himself, David's Son owned as his Lord by David? On the person and position of Christ depends the whole of Christianity. Judaism, lowering the person, sees not or denies the position. Christianity is based not on the work only but on the glory of the person and place of Him who is glorified in God. He takes that place as man. He who humbled Himself as man in suffering is exalted as man to the glory of God on high.

Then follows the judgment but very briefly on the scribes; and in contrast With their selfish hypocrisy, ("which devour widows' houses and for a show make long prayers") the Lord's estimate of real devotedness is the widow's mites. (Luke 21:1-4.) Mark notices it as the service of faith and so brings it into his Gospel of service. Luke shows it as a question of the heart's state and trust in God. It fell therefore, within the domain of these two.

We have after this the hearts of the disciples proved to be still earthly and Jewish; but the Lord brings before them not the glory and beauty yet in store for Jerusalem but it is judgment specially on the temple. (Verses Luke 21:5-36.) At the same time we have particulars which demonstrate the weighty difference between this description of the judgment of the Jews and Jerusalem, and mark it off from the accounts of either Matthew or Mark. Observe more especially this, that here the Lord Jesus brings before us a very direct and immediate picture of the destruction of Jerusalem that was then imminent. Matthew passes by the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and fixes attention upon that which will take place in the end of the age. Luke gives us this last also closes, at any rate, with the future crisis; but the main point is the central portion of Luke is to point out the destruction then actually at hand as a distinct state of things and time from the circumstances of the Son of man's day. This is made perfectly plain to any one who considers it patiently. He says, "When ye shall sec Jerusalem, not "the abomination of desolation" (not a word about it here for it belongs to the last days exclusively; but "when ye shall see Jerusalem) compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains." Not a word about the great tribulation such as never was since time was; it is simply "days of vengeance." "These be the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled." There is retributive severity, but not a sign appears of its being anything unparalleled. "There shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people." So there was. "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations." This is a matter of fact description of what was really fulfilled to the letter in the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus. Thus there is no exaggerated description. The pretence of commentators, who rush to hyperbole as a cover for their misapplication, is cut off. Not that I allow it any more in Matthew. The only reason why men have so spoken of that evangelist is because they turn aside his prophecy of the end of the age to that which has been already accomplished. When the last days come, be assured they will learn too late that there is no hyperbole with God or His word.

And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Not only is there the sack of the city, the slaughter and captivity of the people, but continual occupation by their enemies till the termination of the period God allows the nations to have the supremacy over Israel. These times are going on now. Jerusalem has been trodden down of the Gentiles for many centuries as every one knows, throughout mediaeval and modern history. It seems particularly thus expressed in order not to continue the phrase to the Romans or previous imperial powers from Babylon downwards. Thus at the present time the Turks are the actual holders of it. The fact is notorious, that Jerusalem has been in the hands of many masters who have dealt hardly with the Jews. So He closes this matter.

Next, He introduces the last days. And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars. There was not a word of all this when He spoke of the siege and capture of the city under Titus. After the Gentile domination is over (which clearly it is not yet), there shall be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and distress of nations; men's hearts failing them forfear; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken and then shall they see not when the Romans of old took the city but, in the future crisis, when these astonishing tokens, heavenly and earthly, are given by God then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

He gives then a parable but not of the fig tree only: this would not be suitable to the largeness of Luke's scope. "Behold the fig-tree and all the trees." The difference between Luke and the others is this not that you have not the Jewish portion in his Gospel but that, moreover all the Gentiles are brought in. How perfect it all is! If it be but a parabolic description, the evangelist for the Gentiles not only gives the fig tree which is in Matthew, but the Gentile trees which are heard of nowhere else. That one tree notoriously applies to the Jews as a nation; the other figure ("all the trees") adds the rest, so as to be universal.

Then the Lord adds some moral considerations for the heart: "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." Need it be remarked here that this again falls in with our evangelist beyond all others? So too the brief picture of His daily occupation in the temple and of His nights apart at Olivet which in no way precluded the people from coming to hear early in the morning. What unwearied travail of love!

In Luke 22:1-71 we see our Lord with the disciples not now as a prophet, but about to become a sacrifice meanwhile giving them the sweetest pledge of His love. On the other hand, there is the hatred of man, the weakness of the disciples, the falsehood of Peter, the treachery of Judas, the subtlety and terrors of the enemy who had the power of death. The day of unleavened bread comes on, and the passover must be killed; and Peter and John go to prepare it. According to the Lord's word, the place was given. "And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." (Luke 22:14-16.) It was the last act of communion of Christ with them. He eats with them: He will not drink. Another cup was before Him. As for this cup, they were to take it, and divide it among themselves. It was not the Lord's Supper, but the paschal cup. He was about to drink of a far different cup, which His Father would give Him the anti-type of the passover, and the basis of the Lord's Supper. But as to the cup before them, He says, "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come." It was about to come morally; for Luke holds to that great principle the kingdom of God was about to be established in what you may call the Christian system. The phrase in Luke does not import some future dispensation or state of things about to be above or below, in visible power, but an imminent coming of God's kingdom, really and truly here. The other Gospels connect it with the future; Luke speaks of what was to be made good shortly "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."

Meanwhile, He gives them also a new thing. (Luke 22:19-20.) He took bread with thanksgiving, brake it, and gave to them, saving, "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant* of my blood, which is shed for you." It was not the point with Luke to say "for many," while this was most appropriate in the Gospel of Matthew, because it intimates the extending of the efficacy of Christ's blood beyond the Jew. The old covenant which condemned was limited. The new covenant (or, rather, the blood of the rejected Christ, the Son of man, on which it was based) refused such narrow barriers. In Luke the same thing, occurs here, as we said applied to His account of the sermon on the mount. It is more personal, and hence deals more closely with the heart and conscience. How many a man acknowledges justification by faith in a general sense, who, the moment you make it personal, would shrink from taking the place of a justified man, as if this would be too much for God to give him! But, in truth it is impossible to go on with God aright, until the personal question is settled by divine grace. So the Lord here settles it for them personally. "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you."

* "Testament" is wrong here, and, indeed, everywhere else in the New Testament, save in the parenthesis ofHebrews 9:16-17; Hebrews 9:16-17.

"And truly the Son of man goeth,......... but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!" An awful moral contrast rises before the spirit of the Saviour. Thus He felt it: as it is said elsewhere, "He was troubled." There is much vagueness in minds as to this merging all in the atonement, to the great detriment of their distinctness even in holding the atonement itself. To me it is a grievous thing, this denial practically of a large part of the sufferings of Christ. Pushed out, it rests on a want of faith in the real humanity of the Lord. I take for granted now that there is a firm hold of His bearing God's wrath on the cross. But even where that is maintained in a general way, at least, it is an awful thing to deny any part of His moral glory; and what is it but denying, this, to shut out those real sufferings which prove the extent and character of His humiliation, exalt and endear Himself in our eyes, and issue in the richest streams of comfort for His saints, who can afford to lose none of His sympathy?

Now, the Lord Jesus did feel the traitor's heartless ways (and we may learn it yet more from Psalms 109:1-31.) Surely also we ought to feel it, instead of merely treating it as a thing, that must be, and which Scripture prepares us for, or which God's goodness turns to gracious ends. All true enough; but are these the platitudes that content us before His troubled spirit? Or is not the sense of His sorrow to fill the heart in presence of this ineffable love, which endured all things for the elect's sake? Yea, it was from all: our Lord has to meet shame in those He loved best. "They began to enquire among themselves which of them it was that should do this thing." (Ver. Luke 22:23; Luke 22:23.) There was honesty in these hearts; but what ignorance! what unbrokenness of self! "There was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted greatest." Other evangelists, as well as Luke, mention that, when He was in the midst of His miracles and teaching, they were full of their unseemly rivalry; Luke mentions it where it was beyond comparison most painful and humiliating in presence of the communion of His body and His blood, and when they had just heard of the presence of the traitor in their midst, who was offering to sell their Master for thirty pieces of silver! "And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth." What grace! what a pattern! But forget not the warning. The patronizing, of the lordly benefactor has no place in Christ's mind for His followers. To serve was the Lord's place: may we prize it! (Verses Luke 22:24-27.)

Another touching, and beautiful trait in our Lord's dealing is here worthy of remark. He tells the disciples that it was they who had continued with Him in His temptations. In Matthew and Mark, and even in John, their forsaking of Christ is very conspicuous a little later. Luke alone tells how graciously He noticed their perseverance with Himself in His temptations. Both, of course, were perfectly true. In Luke it was the reckoning of grace. It was really the Lord who had deigned to continue with them, and had sustained their faltering steps; but He could say, "Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." It is always thus in grace. Matthew and Mark tell us the sad truth that, when He needed the disciples most, they all forsook Him and fled. His rejection was complete; and Old Testament Scripture was amply fulfilled. But, in view of the Gentile calling, New Testament grace has here a happier task.

Again, it is a scene peculiar to Luke, that, in the presence of the Saviour's death, Satan sifts one of the chief followers that belonged to the Saviour. But the Lord turns the sifting, and even the downfall of the saint to ultimate and great blessing not for that soul only but for others. How mighty, and wise, and good the ways of grace! not only its reckoning, but its experiences and its end! It was Simon that furnished the material. "Simon, Simon," says the Lord, "Satan hath desired [demanded] to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Simon, sadly ignorant of himself, is full of bold promises to go to prison or to death; but, says the Lord, "Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." All the evangelists record the fall; Luke alone records Christ's gracious prayer for, and purpose in, his restoration.

Then comes in another communication of our Saviour not more interesting than full of instruction. It is the contrast of the condition of the disciples during His ministry, and that which must be now that He was going to die. It was indeed concurrent with a change of vast import for Himself not awaiting His death, but in many respects beginning before it. The sense of His rejection and His approaching death not only pressed on the Saviour's spirit, but more or less also affects the disciples, who were under the pressure especially of what was done by men. "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors [or], [rather, lawlessness ἀνόμων ]: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough." It is not surprising that the disciples at that time failed to seize His meaning. Though all the rest of His teaching might have taught them better, they took His words in a material sense, and conceived that He urged them to take a literal sword. It is evident He took up the figure of a sword and purse to show, that instead of counting any more on miraculous resources, they must in future use, according to the measure of their personal faith, whatever God furnished them with; that is, they must employ natural things for the Lord, instead of being, as hitherto, shielded by supernatural power in the midst of their foes. We find them afterwards using miracles; but it was for others. In their earlier mission it was never needed. No blow fell upon them. No prison closed its doors upon one of the twelve, or of the seventy. They traversed the length and breadth of the land, everywhere bearing their plain, solemn testimony, ever guarded by God's power: just like their Master Himself. We see how truly miraculous this power was apart from any exertion of it on their own behalf. But now all was to change; and the disciple must be as his Master. Jesus was going to suffer. They must make up their minds to the same thing. Of course, they are not excluded from but exhorted to, the looking up to God, and using faithfully whatever means the Lord gave them.

This, I apprehend, is the clear meaning of His altered language here. The Messiah was about to be openly cut off. The arm that had upheld them, and the shield that had been over them, are removed. So it was with Him. He was now about to face death; first in spirit, then in fact. Such was ever His way. Everything was in that order. He was surprised by nothing. He was not like a mere man who waited till he could not help following, and then went in steel through the trouble. This may be the way of men, to avoid what they can, and think as little as possible of what is painful and disagreeable. It may even be according to men's ideas of a hero, but it is not the truth of Christ. On the contrary, though the true God, He was a true man, and a holy sufferer, having a heart that felt every thing: this is the truth of Christ as man. Therefore He takes all from God, and feels all, as it really was for His glory.

Accordingly our Saviour, at the mount of Olives, (ver. Luke 22:39-46; Luke 22:39-46) shows how true what I have just asserted is; for there it is that He is found first of all telling them to pray, lest they should enter into temptation. Temptation may come and test the heart; but our entering into it is quite another thing. "Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Still farther to show its character, and His unimpeachable relation to God, as well as how really He was a suffering man, "there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." So difficult is the path of faith for men in one direction or another, that (in earlier days when, in the midst of adversaries and full of superstition, men yet clung to the stainless honour of the Son of God)the timid orthodox ventured on the bold step of expunging verses Luke 22:44-45; for what, after all, is so adventurous as this Uzzah-like anxiety for the ark of God? They thought it impossible that the Lord Jesus could suffer thus. Little did they estimate the depth unfathomable of the cross, when God hid His face from Him. Had they discerned this better, and been simple in the faith of His real manhood, and held to the written word about His sufferings on and before the cross, they had not been so easily stumbled. But they were not simple, understood in the Scriptures, and accordingly dared, some to stigmatize these verses, others to strike them out. In modern days they manage things both more prudently and more effectually. They may not obelize or obliterate; but they do not believe them. Men pass them over as if there was nothing for the soul in them, as if the Saviour Son of God condescended to a show, a pantomime, instead of enduring the severest conflict and anguish that ever had been the portion of a human heart on this earth. Never was any thing but reality in Jesus; but if in the days of His flesh there was one passage more affecting than another, any thing which more than another presents to us His sorrows clearly, graphically and with solemn instruction for us, anything for God Himself above all glorifying (the cross alone excepted) it was this very scene where Jesus avoids and wards off no suffering, but bends to every stroke, (and what was He spared?) seeing God's hand in all.

Now their hour was come, and the power of darkness. Before this they could not lay hands upon Him; but now, the active work done, and Himself definitively refused, Jesus accepts all humiliation, shame, and suffering. But he does not see man merely. He does not look at the devil, or Jews, or Gentiles. He feels all man did and said, and owns His Father. He knew full well that His Father could have hindered every pang had He been so pleased could have turned Israel's heart could have broken the nations. But now the Jew is left to abhor Him, the Gentile to despise and crucify Him. Against the holy servant Jesus whom God had anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathering together; but was it not to do whatsoever God's hand and God's counsel determined before to be done? He saw God His Father above and behind all the secondary instruments, and bowed and blessed, even while He prayed with blood-sweat. He would erect no barricade of miracles to shelter Himself. To weigh before God such circumstances as then surrounded Jesus, to anticipate in His presence what was coming, did not lessen, but rather increased the depth of all; and so we find Him praying earnestly to His Father that, if it were possible, the cup should pass away from Him. But it was not possible; and so He adds, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Both were perfect. It would have been hardness, not love, had the cup been treated as a light thing: but this could never be with Jesus. It was part of the very perfection of Jesus that he felt and deprecated the awful cup. For what was in that cup? The wrath of God. How could He wish for the wrath of God? It was right to deprecate it: it was like Jesus, notwithstanding, to say, "Thy will be done." Both the deprecation and the acceptance were thoroughly perfect both equally in their due place and season. Who fails to see it, or would harbour a doubt, that knows who Jesus was, and what the glory of His person? It is not a question, however, of His merely being God; and you destroy the value of the suffering if you do not give full place to His humanity. Not that His Godhead ever made His suffering less; else the result would have been some nondescript estate which was neither Godhead nor manhood, but somewhat made up of both. It was an early error to suppose an impassible Christ. There is no worse invention against the truth, unless it be the lie which denies Him to be God the Son. An unsuffering impassible Christ is of Satan, not the true God and eternal life. It is a false chimera of the enemy. Be assured, that if the suffering be so real and precious to God, it is a dangerous thing to pare down, fritter away, or deny any part of it. For us it is the question of what God tells us in His word of the sufferings of Christ not whether we understand all He says about them. Be assured that we know but in part, and have much to learn, especially of that which does not touch our own immediate necessities; but there is one thing we are always responsible for and that is, to submit to God, to believe Him, even though we enter very little into the depths of all that He has written for us of Jesus.

Only this I would add. It does not become such as say they do not understand this or that, to take the place of being judges. It is intelligible that those who know should judge; not so, as it appears to me, that people should take the place of judging who confessedly do not know. It were wise, not to say becoming humility, to wait and learn.

Next we see Judas, who approaches and kisses Christ: the Lord of glory is betrayed by the apostle. The final scene comes on apace; and not more surely, according to the word of Christ, the murderous malice of the priests, than the energy of Peter, so fatal, to himself, who could not face the difficulty into which his self-confidence carried him. He that could not pray with his Master, but slept in the garden, breaks down without his Master before a servant girl. The rest fled. John tells the tale of his own shame, with Peter's. The scene is complete. There is not a witness for Jesus now. He is alone. Man has it apparently all his own way, in mockery, blows, and blasphemy; but yet he is only accomplishing the will, the purpose, and the grace of God. (Ver. Luke 22:63-65.) The chapter closes with Jesus before the council of elders, chief priests, and scribes. "Art thou the Christ?" was too late now: they had proved that they would not believe. From henceforth [not] ["hereafter,'' as in the A.V.] shall the Son of man be sitting on the right hand of the power of God. It is the well-known transition, we see everywhere, on the rejection of the Messiah. "Art thou then the Son of God?" said they all. He owns to the truth; and they need no more to condemn Him.

In Luke 23:1-56 Jesus is found not before Pilate only, but Herod; and the two men who heretofore hated each other are here reconciled, now that it is a question of rejecting Jesus. It is only Luke who gives us this touch. What a league of peace over the rejection of the Saviour! At any rate the scorning of Jesus proceeds; and Pilate, carried away against his conscience by the will of the people, gave sentence that it should be as they required. Jesus is led away to the cross, and Simon is compelled to bear it after Jesus; for now man shows his needless cruelty in every form

The women that were there lament with the crowd after Jesus: there was much of human feeling in this, though not faith or real love. Why not lament for themselves; for in truth there were days of sorrow coming, when they should say, "Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare; and the paps that never gave suck." "Then they shall begin to say to the mountains fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" Jesus was the green tree; and if Jesus was so treated, what should be their fate, as set forth fully by that dry tree, which was Israel? Undoubtedly Israel ought to have been the green tree of promise; but it was only a dry tree waiting, for judgment. But Jesus, the green tree(where there was all the vigour of holy ways and obedience), was far from honour, and now on His way to the cross. Such was man, to whom He had been delivered! What would be God's judgment of man? (VersesLuke 23:27-31; Luke 23:27-31.)

And they crucified Jesus between two malefactors the one on the right hand, and the other on the left and Jesus says, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." They part His raiment, and cast lots for it. The people behold, the rulers deride, and the soldiers mock; but a superscription was written over Him in Greek, and Roman, and Hebrew letters This is the King of the Jews. (VersesLuke 23:32-38; Luke 23:32-38.)

Jesus works the great work of salvation in the heart of one of the malefactors. It was a real work within: it was not merely a work ever so perfectly done outside. Most assuredly there never was a soul saved but the work was done for him done alone by Jesus He alone suffering, the sinner saved. But where the heart knows the work done for the soul, there is a work done in that very soul. So it was here: and it is of great importance that those who maintain the work for, should equally maintain the work in. Even in this case, where the effect was produced rapidly, the Spirit of God has given us the great moral traits of it. First of all appears a hatred of sin in the fear of God; then the repentant heart rebukes the shameless evil of his fellow, who feels that it is, least of all, a time thus to sin boldly in the presence of death, and of God's judgment. "We indeed justly; but this man hath done nothing amiss." Evidently there was more than righteousness here. There was a sense of grace, as well as of sin, and sensitiveness about God's will. There was delight in "this man," Jesus, whose holiness made such an impression, that the poor felon, now a believer, could challenge all the world, and feel no more doubt of the Lord's blameless life than if he had witnessed it all through. How great is the simplicity and assurance of faith! Who was he that could correct the judgment of priests or governor? "This man hath done nothing amiss." It was a crucified robber! He forgot Himself in Christ the Lord thus vindicated. Then he turns to Jesus, and says, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Yes! and Jesus will remember could not put Him aside. He never cast out either a soul that came to Him, or a prayer that was founded on His glory, and desired association with Him. It could not be. He came down to associate with the poorest and feeblest on earth. He is now gone on high to associate with Himself there those who were once, possibly, the worst on the earth, now with Himself above, cleansed of course (need we say it?) cleansed by water and blood. And so with this soul whom grace had now touched. "Lord, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom." What more convincing proof that the man had not an anxiety about his sins? for if he had, he would, of course, have put it forward. He would have said, "Lord, do not remember my sins." Nothing of the sort was uttered, but "Lord, remember me." What would Christ's kingdom be to him, if his sins were not blotted out? He so counted on His grace, that no doubt or question remained, and he asks to be remembered by Jesus at His advent, ascribing the kingdom to Him who was hanging on the cross. He was right; and Jesus replies with ineffable grace, and according to that style so worthy of God (compare Psalms 132:1-18), which not only answers the prayer of faith, but invariably surpasses it. God must be God in His recognition of faith, as everywhere else. We saw on the mount of transfiguration that there is a blessedness beyond that of the kingdom, where government is not in question. This is not the theme predicted by prophets, but a glory which the person of Jesus alone can account for, and His grace alone introduce to. So here Jesus says to the converted robber, "This day shalt thou be with me in paradise" at once, by virtue of His blood, the companion of Christ in the garden of divine joy and delight. (Verses Luke 23:39-43.)

Then the Spirit of God notices the darkness which reigned, and not merely in the lower air around the earth; for the sun was darkened, the splendid orb of natural light, which rules the day. The veil of the temple, too, which characterized the whole system of the Jewish religion, was rent from top to bottom. This was not the effect of an earthquake, nor of other physical causes. The natural light disappeared, and Judaism vanished, that a new and true light might shine, making him who saw it free of the holiest of all. Luke groups the external facts together, and leaves the Lord's death more alone with its moral adjuncts.

"And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost." Here there is no cry to God in the sense of being forsaken, when His soul was made an offering for sin. This was given appropriately by Matthew and Mark. Nor is it as the consciously divine person, the Son, pronouncing the work finished for which He had come. It is the ever perfect man, Christ Jesus, with unwavering confidence committing His spirit into His Father's keeping. (Compare Psalms 16:1-11; Psalms 31:1-24) It was the atoning One. On the cross, and nowhere else, was expiation effected; there was His blood shed; there His death, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet knew what it was to have the face of God hid from Him in judgment of sin our sin. But the words here are no expression of His suffering, as thus abandoned and atoning, but of the peaceful departure of His spirit, as man, into the hands of God the Father. He is drinking the cup in Matthew and Mark; He, the true, but rejected Messiah, the faithful servant, now suffering for sin, who had laboured in grace here below. But here the Saviour is viewed in His absolute dependence and trust in Him, whom He had set before Him, as in life always, so with equal affiance of heart in death. It was the province of John to show Him even then above all circumstances in personal glory. It is beyond all controversy, that here the human side of Christ's death is more vividly portrayed than in any of the Gospels perfect, but human; just as in John it is the divine side, though care is taken to prove particularly there its reality, as well as the witness of its efficacy for sinful man. The consistency of this with all we have seen in Luke, from first to last, is unquestionable: Son of God of the Highest, as of David also; but He is emphatically, and in every detail, the Son of man.

Remark here the absence of a crowd of circumstances of the deepest interest to the Jew, when grace makes him meek, and obedient in heart of solemn warning to him, whatever the unbelief which shuts up his heart and seals his ears, to the truth Here is no dream and message from Pilate's wife; here no awful episode of Judas . In remorse and despair, casting the price of innocent blood into the very sanctuary, and going away to hang himself; here no imprecation of His blood on them and on their children; here no detail of the guilty people's unconscious accomplishment of the living oracles of God in the Psalms and Prophets; nor here any allusion to the earthquake, and the rent rocks, and opened graves, or the subsequent appearing of risen saints to many in the holy city. All this has its due place in the Gospel for the circumcision. Luke tells us what had the largest bearing on the Gentiles, on the heart, its wants, and its affections. We see the people beholding, the rulers also with them sneering, the soldiers mocking with vulgar brutality, but Jesus dealing in ineffable grace with a justly crucified malefactor. No doubt there was the deepest of suffering for Himself. Certainly, too, His suffering, though not confined to the cross, there culminated, as there alone was sin judged; there God's necessary intolerance of it was proved, when only, but most really, imputed to Christ. Thus, the only perfect man, the last Adam, who was there rejected of the Jews, and despised of men, with a loud voice, which denied the exhaustion of nature in His death, commended His spirit, as man, to His Father. It is not here, therefore, One speaking in the sense of God's abandonment (as we saw in Matthew and Mark), though this cup He had, indeed, drank to the dregs. But in this Gospel the last words are of One who, whatever the forsaking of God for sin, was perfectly tranquil, and peacefully committed Himself to His Father. It is the act and language of Him whose confidence was unlimited in the One He was going to. He had come to do His will, and had done it in the face of growing scorn and rejection; and God had not guarded Him from the murderous hate of man, but contrariwise, delivered Him into their hands, greater things being in counsel and accomplishment than if He had been received. The truth is the sum of what all tell us. Those who believe God, instead of being fettered to the traditions of a school, good or bad, must open their mouth wide for Him to fill with His good things old and new. He who on the cross tasted, for expiation, the unutterable woe of which Matthew and Mark speak, is the same Jesus who, Luke tells us, never wavered for a moment, not merely in His obedience, but in unreserved confidence in God; and the expression of this, not of atonement, I read in the precious words, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." (VersesLuke 23:44-46; Luke 23:44-46.)

Accordingly, the centurion is mentioned here as owning Jesus to be "a righteous man," whatever man might have judged or done. The people seem conscious that it was all over with them stricken in heart over a deed they could not but feel to be dreadful, though hardly defined. God does not leave man without witness. But, as usual, with men without the revealed light of God, though conscious when sin is done that there is something utterly wrong it is soon forgotten; so here, though not without the sense that the case was desperate, they go not only as sheep without a shepherd, but stumble in the dark night. All His acquaintances and the women are seen in their sorrow not vain surely not; but still they stood far off: (VersesLuke 23:46-49; Luke 23:46-49.)

Yet was this the moment when, spite of a traitorous disciple, spite of another too confident that denied Him with oaths, spite of all who ought to have been faithful forsaking and fleeing, spite of the distant and saddened lookers on who had once followed Him devotedly, God emboldens a man of high station, who might have been then the least expected by us (and, as we are told elsewhere, Nicodemus). Joseph of Arimathea was a man that had waited for the kingdom of God for some time, a good man and just, and a real believer, though he had shrunk from open confession of the Lord Jesus; but now, when fear might naturally have more than ever operated to keep him back, grace made him bold. This, at least, was quite right, and like the God of all grace. If the death of our Lord does not unlock a man's heart and tongue, I do not know what will. So this timid Joseph waxes valiant in fight. The honourable counsellor renounced the expediency and prudence of the past, horrified, no doubt, at their counsel and deed to which he had not assented. But now he does more: he add to his faith virtue. He goes boldly to Pilate, and begs the body of Jesus, Which, being obtained, is worthily laid in the rock-hewn sepulchre, wherein never had man beenlaid. (Verse Luke 23:53.)

"And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.'' (Ver. Luke 23:54-56.) It was affection, but with little intelligence. Their love lingered. over the scene of His death and burial, without for the present in the least realizing, that life which was to be put forth soon so gloriously. Had they not heard His words? Would He, would God, not make them good?

On the morrow of the sabbath, very early indeed in the morning, these Galilean women were there, and some others with them. (Luke 24:1) And they found the stone rolled away, but not the body of Jesus. They were not alone; angels appeared. Two men in shining array stood by these perplexed saints. "And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, [what a rebuke to their unbelief!] Why seek ye the living (One) among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you while he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words." (Ver. Luke 24:5-8; Luke 24:5-8.) This last is ever a great point with Luke the emphatic value always of any part of God's word, but especially of the words of Jesus.

Accordingly, after this was duly reported to the apostles and the rest, one like another incredulous, we have the visit of Peter (accompanied, as John lets us know, by himself), who sees confirmation enough, and departed, wondering, in himself at that which was come to pass. (Verses Luke 24:9-12.)

Luke then ushers in another scene, still more precious, peculiar in its details at least to himself the journey to Emmaus, where Jesus joins Himself to the two downcast disciples, who discoursed, as they went, on the irreparable loss they had sustained. Jesus hears this tale of sorrow from their lips, brings out the state of their hearts, and then opens the Scriptures, instead of merely appealing to the facts in the way of evidence. This employment of the Scriptures by our Lord is very significant. It is the word of God which is the truest, deepest, weightiest testimony, even though the risen Jesus Himself were there, and its living, demonstration in person. But it is the written word which, as the apostle himself shows, is the sole adequate safeguard for the perilous times of the last days. Here, too, the loved companion of Paul proves, in the history of the resurrection, the value of the Scriptures. The word of God here the Old Testament interpreted by Jesus is the most valuable means for ascertaining the mind of God. Every Scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable yea, able to make us "wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus." Hence our Lord expounds to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. What a sample that day was of the walk of faith! Henceforth it was not a question of a living, Messiah on the earth, but of Him that was dead and risen, now seen by faith in the word of God. On the face of the account, this was the great living lesson that our Lord was teaching, us through the two disciples. (Verses Luke 24:13-29.)

But there was more. How is He to be known? There is but one way that can be trusted in which we can know Jesus. There are those in Christendom that descant upon Jesus as ignorant of His glory as a Jew or a Mahometan. Our own day has seen how men can speak and write eloquently of Jesus as a man here below, all the while serving Satan denying His name, His person, His work, when they flatter themselves they are honouring Him, like the weeping women (Luke 23:27), without a grain of faith in His glory or His grace. Hence was it of all importance that we should learn wherein He is to be known. Thus Jesus sets forth the Only way in which He can be rightly known, or that can be confided in. On this alone God can put His seal. The seal of the Holy Ghost is unknown until there is the submission of faith to the death of Jesus. And so our Lord breaks bread with the disciples. It was not the Lord's Supper; but Jesus made use of that act of breaking the bread significantly, which the Lord's Supper brings before us continually. In it, as we know, bread is broken the sign of His death. Thus Jesus was pleased, Himself with them, that the truth of His death should flash upon the two souls at Emmaus. He was made known unto them in the breaking of bread in that most simple but striking action which symbolises His death. He had blessed, broken, and was giving the bread to them, when their eyes were opened, and they recognised their risen Lord. (VerseLuke 24:30; Luke 24:30.)

There is a third supplemental point, which I only touch on His instant disappearance after He was made known to them in the sign of His death. This is also characteristic of Christians. We walk by faith, not by sight. (VerseLuke 24:31; Luke 24:31.)

Thus the great evangelist, who exhibits what is most real for man's heart now, and what most of all maintains the glory of God in Christ, binds these things together for our instruction. Though Scripture was perfectly expounded by Jesus, and though hearts burned as they heard of these wondrous things, still it must be shown in concentrated form that the knowledge which alone can be commended by God or trusted by man is this Jesus known in that which brings His death before the soul. The death of Jesus is the sole foundation of safety for a sinful man. This is the true way of knowing Jesus for a Christian. Anything short of this, anything other than this, whatever supplants it as fundamental truth, is false. Jesus is dead and risen, and so must be known, if He is to be known aright. "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more."

And so, that same hour, we see the disciples returning to Jerusalem, and finding the eleven there, who say, "The Lord hath risen, and appeared unto Simon." (Verses Luke 24:32-34.) Here we have nothing about Galilee. In Matthew, Galilee is the quarter especially noticed. A rejected Messiah, fitly and according to prophecy, finds Himself in Galilee, the despised place. It was so during His life and public ministry (and hence it figures in Mark so prominently). He takes the same place now after His death and resurrection, there resuming relations with His disciples. The godly remnant of the Jews must know the rejected Messiah there. His resurrection did not terminate their path of rejection. The Church knows Him yet more blessedly as ascended, and itself one with Him on high; and its rejection is even more decided. However, in Matthew, Galilee is the sign for a converted Jewish remnant till He come to reign in power and glory. The remnant of the last days will know what it is to be cast outside Jerusalem also, and it is as outcasts that they will find real deepening of faith and due preparation of heart for receiving the Lord when he appears in the clouds of heaven. This Galilean resort Luke does not give here. Substantially Mark gives Galilee for the active life of the Saviour like Matthew, because, as has been said, there His ministry was chiefly exercised, and only occasionally in Jerusalem or elsewhere. Therefore the evangelist of the ministry of Jesus draws attention to the place in which He had ministered most Galilee; but even he does not speak of it exclusively. Luke, on the contrary, says nothing of Galilee at this point. The reason seems to me manifest. His theme is the moral state of the disciples, the way of Christ's grace, the Christian path of faith, the place of the word of God, and the person of Christ, only known safely, according to God, in that which sets forth His death. This at least must he the basis.

There is another truth necessary to be known and proved, His real resurrection, who stood in the midst of them with a "Peace to you;" not without His death, but founded on it, and thus declared. So, in the next scene at Jerusalem, this finds its full display; for the Lord Jesus comes into their midst, and partakes of food before their eyes. There was His body; it was risen. Who could longer doubt that it was really the same Jesus who died, and will yet come in glory? "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself!" As we know, the Lord deigns to go yet farther in John; but there it was to convict Thomas's unbelief, as well as with a mysterious typical meaning behind. He would correct the previously absent and still doubting disciple; it is the sight that is the point there. This is not the question here, but rather the reality of the resurrection, and the identity of Jesus risen with Him they had known as their Master, and withal as still man, not a spirit, but having flesh and bones, and capable of eating with them. (VersesLuke 24:36-43; Luke 24:36-43.)

After this our Lord speaks once more of what was written in Moses and prophets and psalms concerning Him. (Ver. Luke 24:44.) It is the word of God again brought out; not merely to two of them, but its unspeakable value for them all.

Further, He opens their understanding to understand the Scriptures, and gives them their great commission, but bids them remain in Jerusalem till endued with power from on high, when He sends them the promise of the Father. (Ver. Luke 24:45-49.) Here the Lord does not say, "Make disciples of all the Gentiles, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." This most fitly has its place in Matthew, spite (yea, because of) His rejection. The suffering but now risen Son of man takes the universal field of the world, and sends His disciples among all the nations to make disciples, and baptize them into the name of the Trinity. It is not, therefore, the old limits of Israel and the lost sheep, but He extends the knowledge of His name and mission outside. Instead of bringing Gentiles to see the glory of Jehovah shining on Zion, they are to be baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as now revealed fully; and (instead of what Moses commanded) "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."

In Luke we have not the charge of the work committed to the workmen, as in Mark, with signatures of God's gracious power accompanying; but here it is the message of a Saviour dead and risen, the Second Man, according to Scripture, and the moral need of man and the grace of God, who proclaims in His name repentance and remission to all the nations or Gentiles. Therefore, just as we have seen the resurrection of our Lord in connection with Jerusalem, where He had been crucified, so He would have the preaching begun there, not going away, as it were, from the guilty city alas! the holy city, and only the more guilty, because such was its name and privilege. But here, on the contrary, by virtue of Christ's death who put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, all disappears in the presence of the infinite grace of God all blessing secured, if there be but the acceptance of Christ and His work. Hence He says, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer." No doubt man was guilty beyond measure and without excuse. There were mighty purposes of God to be accomplished; and not only must He rise on the third day, but He enjoins that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name repentance necessarily showing the great moral work in man, remission of sins being God's great provision of grace through redemption to clear the conscience. Both were to be preached in His name. Who that believes and understands the cross could dream longer of man's worthiness? Repentance, so far from allowing it, is the perception and confession that there is no good in man, in me; it is wrought by grace, and is inseparable from faith. It is man giving up himself as altogether bad, man resting upon God as altogether good to the bad, and both proved in the remission of sins by Jesus, whom man, Jew and Gentile, crucified and slew. Remission of sins therefore, with repentance, was to be preached in His name. This was the sole warrant and ground. They were to be preached to all the nations, beginning with Jerusalem.

In Matthew the point appears to be the rejection of Jerusalem, the rejecter, because of its Messiah, the discipular remnant starting from the mountain in Galilee; and the presence of the Lord being guaranteed till the end of the age, when other changes come. In Luke all disappears, except grace, in presence of sin and misery. Absolute grace begins, therefore, with the spot which needed it most, and Jerusalem is expressly named.

We have seen how this chapter settles, if I may so express it, the Christian system on its proper basis, bringing out its chief peculiarities with striking force and beauty. More remains of similar character, especially the very distinct privileges of the understanding opened to understand, and the power of the Holy Ghost; the one given then, the other not till Pentecost. "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day....... And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." Thus the Holy Ghost was not given yet as an indwelling person, but rather a reiteration of the Father's promise. Remaining in Jerusalem they should be clothed with power an essential thing for Christianity, and quite distinct from spiritual intelligence already conferred, as is apparent also in Peter's word and way in Acts 1:1-26. In the Gospel of John where the person of Jesus shines so conspicuously, the Holy Ghost is set forth personally, with equal distinctness at least, in Luke 14:1-35; Luke 16:1-31. But here this is not the point, but His power, although He be, of course, a person. It is rather the promise of the Spirit's power to act in man that is brought before us. They, like Christ, must be "anointed with the Holy Ghost, and with power;" they must wait for "power from on high" from the risen and ascended Man.

But even so, the Lord Himself would not terminate the Gospel thus. "And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them." It was a spot that used to be most precious to Him, and, observe it well, was not less precious to Him after He rose from the dead. There is no greater mistake than to suppose, that an object of affection to Him before He died ceases to be such to Him when risen. Hence it would seem to give an open contradiction to those that deny the reality of the resurrection body, and of its proper affections. He was indeed a real man, albeit the Lord of glory. He led them out, then, as far as Bethany, the retreat of the Saviour, to which His heart turned in the days of His flesh. "And he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven." He that filled with blessing the hearts devoted to Him in His life, was still blessing them when He was separated from them for heaven. "And they worshipped him." Such was the fruit of His blessing, and of His great grace. "And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God." It was meet it should be so. He that blesses us not only communicates a blessing, but gives the power that returns to God a blessing the power of real worship communicated to human hearts on the earth, by the Lord Jesus now risen from the dead. They "were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God;" but they were associated in life and love with One whose glory was far above them or any conceivable precincts of the earth, and were soon to be made one with Him, and to be the vessels of His power by the energy of the Holy Ghost, who would make this evident in due time.

May the Lord be pleased to bless His own word, and to grant that those who love Him and it may approach the scripture with still more confidence! If aught which has been said here tends to remove somewhat of mist from any eyes, encourages, simplifies, or otherwise helps in reading God's word, surely my little labour will not have been in vain, either now or for eternity. The Lord alone can make His own word sanctifying. But it is much to believe it to be what it really is, not (as unbelief thinks) a field of darkness and uncertainty, requiring light upon it, but a light itself, which communicates light to the dark, through the power of the Holy Ghost revealing Christ. May we prove that it is indeed like Christ, of whom it speaks, needed, real, and unerring light to our souls; that it is also the sole, adequate, and irrefragable witness of divine wisdom and grace, but this only as revealed in and by Christ! I take it to be a token of great good that, as in early days, the person of Christ was not only the fiercest battleground and prime object of the final struggle of the apostles on the earth, but was the means whereby the Spirit of God wrought to give a deeper and deepening enjoyment of the truth and grace of God more profoundly searching, no doubt, but at the same time more invigorating for the saints), so no otherwise, unless I be greatly mistaken, is it now. I remember the time, though unable to boast of any very lengthened scene to look back on as a Christian, when at least almost all for I will not say all were more engaged in attacking ecclesiastical error, and spreading much of kindred and other truth (and, in its place and time, important truth). But it was truth that did not so directly build up the soul, nor did it so immediately concern the Lord Himself. And although not a few, who then seemed strong and courageous enough, are gone to the winds (and a similar sifting still goes on, and will to the end), yet sure am I that in the midst of all these troubles and humiliations God has been elevating the standard of Christ for those who are firm and faithful. God has shown that His name is, as ever, a stumbling-stone for unbelief; but for the simple and spiritual a sure foundation, and most precious. The Lord grant that even these our studies of the Gospels, which have been necessarily curt and cursory, may nevertheless give an impulse not only to younger saints, but to those who may be ever so old; for assuredly there is no one, whatever may be his maturity, who will not be all the better for a fuller acquaintance with Him who is from the beginning.

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Bibliographical Information
Kelly, William. "Commentary on Luke 24:44". Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible. 1860-1890.