A. The resurrection of Jesus is discovered.
1. (1-3) Women followers of Jesus discover the empty tomb of Jesus.
Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
a. Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning: Jesus was crucified on Friday (or on Thursday by some accounts). After His entombment, the tomb was sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:62-66). The tomb stayed sealed and guarded until discovered by these women on the first day of the week, very early in the morning.
i. A rich man like Joseph of Arimethea would likely have a tomb carved into solid rock; this tomb was in a garden near the place of crucifixion (John 19:41). The tomb would have a small entrance and perhaps one or more compartments where bodies were laid out after being wrapped with linen strips smeared with spices, aloes, and ointments. Customarily, the Jews left these bodies alone for a few years until they decayed down to the bones, then the bones were placed in a small stone box known as an ossuary. The ossuary remained in the tomb with the remains of other family members.
ii. The entrance to the tomb was blocked by a heavy circular shaped stone, securely rolled in a channel, so only several strong men could move it. This was done to ensure that no one would disturb the remains.
iii. John 19:42 specifically tells us that the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea that Jesus was laid in was close to the place of Jesus’ crucifixion (and each of the two suggested places for Jesus’ death and resurrection bear this out). Joseph probably didn’t like it that the value of his family tomb decreased because the Romans decided to crucify people nearby; yet it reminds us that in God’s plan, the cross and the power of the resurrection are always permanently and closely connected.
iv. “This became the day of Christian worship (cf. Acts 20:7). The change from the traditional and biblical Sabbath is in itself a strong evidence of the Resurrection because it shows the strength of the disciples’ conviction about what happened on that day.” (Liefeld)
b. They, and certain other women with them: These women are of special note. They refers to the women from Galilee who saw Jesus put in the tomb (Luke 23:55-56). Luke agrees with Mark 15:47 and Matthew 27:61 that they included Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James (Luke 24:10). The certain other women with them included Joanna, (Luke 24:10) and others, unnamed (and the other women with them, Luke 24:10).
i. “These women came first, by a wonderful providence, before the apostles, to confute that impudent lie made by the priests, that the disciples had stolen the body away.” (Trapp)
c. Came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared: The body of Jesus was hastily prepared for burial by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (John 19:38-41). The women came to properly complete the hurried job performed immediately after Jesus’ death.
i. Mark 16:3 tells us that the women discussed the problem of what to do with the heavy stone blocking the entrance to the tomb.
d. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus: The actual event of Jesus’ resurrection is nowhere described, but the discovery of it is recorded in some detail. Here, the women who intended to give Jesus’ body a more proper burial discover that the stone was rolled away from the tomb, and that the body of Jesus was not inside the tomb.
i. “This lack of spectacular detail itself speaks for the historicity of the New Testament documents. There is no attempt on the part of the writers to embellish the event of the Resurrection.” (Pate)
ii. Matthew 27:65-66 reminds us that there was a guard set round the tomb. The stone could not have been rolled away by the women (they were not strong enough) or by the disciples (even if they were brave enough, they could not overcome the armed guards). No one else would have wanted to roll away the stone, and Matthew 28:2 tells us that it was an angel who rolled it away.
iii. The stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out. John 20:19 tells us that Jesus, in His resurrection body, could pass through material barriers. The stone was rolled away away so that others could see in and be persuaded that Jesus Christ was and is risen from the dead.
2. (4-8) The angelic announcement of the resurrection.
And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek 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 they remembered His words.
a. As they were greatly perplexed about this: Once the women saw the stone rolled away and the tomb empty, their immediate reaction was that they were greatly perplexed. They did not expect to find an empty tomb. This shows that the resurrection accounts cannot be the product of wishful thinking; they were not even expecting that it could happen.
b. Two men stood by them in shining garments: Even as angels announced the birth of Jesus, (Luke 2:8-15) so they also announced the resurrection of Jesus. The announcement of His birth was made to a few humble people, considered unimportant by the culture; His resurrection announced by angels to a few women.
c. Why do you seek the living among the dead? This was a wonderfully logical question. The angels seemed almost surprised that the women were surprised; after all, the angels had heard what Jesus said regarding His resurrection, and they knew the women had heard it also. They naturally wondered why the women were surprised.
i. “Jesus is not to be thought of as dead: therefore he is not be sought among the dead.” (Morris)
ii. “As places of burial were unclean, it was not reasonable to suppose that the living should frequent them; or that if any was missing he was likely to be found in such places.” (Clarke)
iii. The angels’ question made a point: the living are not to be found among the dead. We should not expect spiritual life among those who do not have it. Many look for Jesus in dead things – religious traditionalism, formalism, man’s rules, human effort and ingenuity. We find Jesus only where there is resurrection life, where He is worshipped in Spirit and in truth.
d. He is not here: These were some of the most beautiful and important words ever spoken by an angel to men. One may look all over Jerusalem and see countless thousands of tombs, but one will never find the tomb of Jesus – because He is not here.
i. Every so often someone claims to have found evidence of the tomb of Jesus or the bones of Jesus. Each claim is found to be untrue, while the testimony of the angels is proved true over and over again: He is not here.
ii. Even the beginning of the resurrection account refutes many of the false alternative theories suggested by some.
· The wrong tomb theory is answered by Luke 23:55; the women knew exactly which tomb Jesus was buried in.
· The wishful thinking theory is answered by Luke 24:4 and 24:11, which note the surprise of the women and the disciples of the news of Jesus’ resurrection.
· The animals-ate-the-body theory is answered by the presence of the stone (Luke 24:2).
· The swoon theory is answered by the presence of the stone (Luke 24:2).
· The grave robber theory is answered by the presence of the Roman guard and seal (Matthew 27:62-66).
e. The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again: To the women, it must have seemed like a long time ago that Jesus said these words (Luke 18:31-33). Nevertheless, they needed to remember them and the angels remind them of what Jesus said.
i. Must is the critical word here; just as much as the crucifixion of Jesus was necessary and ordained, so was His resurrection. Jesus would have never come to the place of Calvary unless there was also an empty tomb of resurrection there.
f. And they remembered His words: The first notes of hope were sounded in the hearts of the women when they remembered Jesus’ words. The empty tomb, the presence of angels, the words of the angels in and of themselves could not change their hearts – but His words could change and cheer their hearts.
3. (9-11) The women tell the apostles and are not believed.
Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.
a. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest: The women who saw the evidence of the resurrected Jesus and remembered His words were excited about what seemed to be the most wonderful news possible – that Jesus was alive and had triumphed over death.
i. They would not be excited if Jesus had only somehow miraculously survived the ordeal of the cross. The news that He was alive meant so much more to them than knowing Jesus was a survivor; it meant He was the conqueror over death and that He was everything they had hoped for and more.
b. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them: These were the women mentioned in Luke 24:1 as those who discovered the empty tomb. Three are mentioned specifically, and then an unnamed group of other women. These were given the privilege of being the first to tell others of the risen Jesus.
i. The only references to Mary Magdalene in the Gospels concern her as a witness of the crucifixion (Mark 15:40 and John 19:25) and of the resurrection (all four gospels) and as one from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons (Luke 8:2, Mark 16:9).
ii. Joanna is mentioned in Luke 8:2 as one of the women who accompanied Jesus and provided for His needs. She is also noted in Luke 8:3 as the wife of Chuza, who helped manage Herod’s affairs (a steward). She was likely a woman of privilege and resources.
iii. Mary the mother of James is only mentioned in connection with the resurrection appearances of Jesus. She was apparently the mother of one of the apostles, James the Less (not James the brother of John).
c. Their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them: Despite their excitement, the testimony of the women was not believed. In fact, to the apostles, it seemed as if the women told idle tales, a medical word used to describe the babbling of a fevered and insane man (according to Barclay).
i. “In the first century the testimony of women was not deemed authoritative. Luke’s inclusion of the incident serves to emphasize his high regard for women.” (Pate)
ii. “The disciples were not men poised on the brink of belief and needing only the shadow of an excuse before launching forth into a proclamation of resurrection. They were utterly skeptical.” (Morris)
4. (12) The apostles come to believe.
But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
a. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb: We know from John 20:3-8 that both Peter and John ran to the tomb together. They saw grave clothes, but not as if they had been ripped off after a struggle. They saw the grave clothes of Jesus lying in perfect order, as if a body had just passed out of them (John 20:6-7). When John saw that, he believed, and Peter marveled. They had not seen the risen Jesus, but they knew that something powerful had happened to cause a body to leave behind the grave clothes in such a manner.
b. Marveling to himself at what had happened: Peter and John both observed what was in the tomb and John believed (John 20:8). This tells us that Peter analyzed the situation; he knew something spectacular had happened because of the condition of the grave clothes, but he because he had forgotten the words of Jesus (John 20:9), he did not yet understand and believe the way John had.
i. You can know that Jesus rose from the dead, but unless you know His words, it won’t make sense. Without knowing the life and teachings of Jesus:
· You don’t know that the resurrection means that the payment that Jesus offered on the cross was perfect and complete.
· You don’t know that the cross was the payment and the empty tomb is the receipt.
· You don’t know that death has no hold on redeemed man.
· You don’t know that when God’s love and man’s hate battled at the cross, God’s love won.
· You don’t know that because Jesus was raised from the dead, we can be resurrected in Him.
B. On the road to Emmaus.
1. (13-16) Jesus joins two disciples on a road.
Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
a. Two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus: On this Sunday, these two disciples traveled to Emmaus from Jerusalem. As they walked together (probably returning from the Passover celebration in Jerusalem) it gave them opportunity to talk.
i. These weren’t famous apostles, they were simple and half-anonymous followers of Jesus. “I take it as characteristic of the Lord that in the glory of His resurrection life He gave Himself with such fullness of disclosure to these unknown and undistinguished men… He still reveals Himself to lowly hearts. Here is the Saviour for the common man. Here is the Lord who does not spurn the humble.” (Morrison)
ii. “There is considerable uncertainly about the original location of the village of Emmaus. Luke mentions that it was about seven miles (literally, ‘sixty stadia’) from Jerusalem. If he meant round-trip, the reference would fit rather nicely with a town Josephus identified as Emmaus, which he located thirty stadia from Jerusalem.” (Pate)
iii. “Luke almost certainly obtained his information from one of the two disciples, and probably in writing. The account has all the effect of personal experience.” (Plummer, cited in Geldenhuys)
b. They conversed and reasoned: As they talked, they spoke of the things that were biggest on their hearts – all of these things which had happened, the things regarding the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.
c. Jesus Himself drew near and went with them: Jesus came along side these disciples, and went with them for a while. Yet for a time they were miraculously prevented from seeing who Jesus was.
i. “When two saints are talking together, Jesus is very likely to come and make the third one in the company. Talk of him, and you will soon talk with him.” (Spurgeon)
2. (17-24) The disciples explain what they talked about.
And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who 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 crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”
a. What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad? Jesus opened the conversation by asking them what they had talked about. From this, we can know that Jesus had walked silently with them for a while, just listening as they carried on the conversation.
i. It was evident in their countenance (and perhaps even in their manner of walking) that they were sad. Jesus knew both what they already knew (that they were sad) and what they did not yet know (that they had no reason to be sad).
b. Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened here in these days? Jesus probably smiled when they said this. He knew pretty well what had happened here in these days.
c. What things? In saying this, Jesus skillfully played along with the conversation, encouraging the men to reveal their hearts. Even though He knew their hearts, there was value in them saying it to Jesus.
d. The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth: The men explained what they did know about Jesus.
· They knew His name and where He was from.
· They knew He was a Prophet.
· They knew He was mighty in deed and word.
· They knew He was crucified.
· They knew He promised to redeem Israel.
· They knew others had said He rose from the dead.
e. We were hoping: These disciples had a hope disappointed. Their hope was not truly disappointed; but in some ways their hope was misguided (that it was He who was going to redeem Israel). Jesus would show them that their true hope was fulfilled in Him and His resurrection.
f. Just as the women had said: The only thing these disciples had to go on was the testimony of others, but they were slow to believe. The report of the women meant little to them, and the report of Peter and John who had seen the grave clothes meant little – because Him they did not see.
i. Jesus wanted to know from them what He wants to know from us today: can we believe without seeing with our own eyes? We can believe and must believe based on the reliable eyewitness testimony of other people.
3. (25-27) Jesus teaches them why the Messiah had to suffer.
Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
a. Slow of heart to believe: Jesus told them that the problem with their belief was more in their heart than their head. We often think the main obstacles to belief are in the head, but they are actually in the heart.
b. Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? They should have believed what all the prophets have spoken, that the Messiah would suffer first and then be received in glory.
· They were common, simple men.
· They had lost hope.
· They had lost joy – a sense of spiritual desertion.
· They had not lost desire – they still loved to talk about Jesus.
· They had not yet seen the necessity of the cross.
i. The prophets spoke in Isaiah 53:3-5: He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
ii. Isaiah 50:5-7 is another example of what the prophets taught concerning this. The Lord GOD has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.
iii. Daniel 9:26 shows another prophet regarding these things: The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.
iv. Zechariah 12:10 is yet another example: They will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
c. And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself: Jesus began to teach them what was surely one of the most spectacular Bible studies ever taught. Beginning in Moses and all the Prophets, He told them all about the Messiah.
i. “It is a sign to us that He is still the same, though He has passed into the resurrection glory, that He still goes back to the old familiar Scripture which He had learned beside His mother’s knee.” (Morrison)
ii. He told them that the Messiah was:
· The Seed of the Woman, whose heel was bruised.
· The blessing of Abraham to all nations.
· The High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.
· The Man who wrestled with Jacob.
· The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
· The voice from the burning bush.
· The Passover Lamb.
· The Prophet greater than Moses.
· The captain of the Lord’s army to Joshua.
· The ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer mentioned in Ruth.
· The son of David who was a King greater than David.
· The suffering Savior of Psalm 22.
· The Good Shepherd of Psalm 23.
· The wisdom of Proverbs and the Lover of the Song of Solomon.
· The Savior described in the prophets and the suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.
· The Princely Messiah of Daniel who would establish a kingdom that would never end.
ii. “The Savior, who knows the Word of God perfectly, because of His intimate union with the Spirit who is its Primary Author, expounded to them in broad outline all the Scriptures that referred to Him, from the first books of the Old Testament and right through to the end.” (Geldenhuys)
iii. “We should not understand this as the selection of a number of proof-texts, but rather as showing that throughout the Old Testament a consistent divine purpose is worked out, a purpose that in the end meant and must mean the cross.” (Morris)
d. Expounded to them in all the Scriptures: This describes how Jesus taught them. The idea of expounding is to simply let the text speak for itself; exactly what a Bible teacher should do his or her best to do.
i. The ancient Greek word for expounded (diermeneuo) has the idea of sticking close to the text. In another passage when Luke used this word it is expressed with the word translated (Acts 9:36). When Jesus explained things concerning Himself in the Old Testament He didn’t use fanciful allegories or speculative ideas. He expounded, which means He stuck close to the text.
ii. “The Scripture was a familiar book to them. And what did our Lord do when He met with them? He took the book they had studied all their lives. He turned to the pages that they knew so well. He led them down by the old familiar texts.” (Morrison)
4. (28-32) Jesus is revealed to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
a. He indicated that He would have gone farther: Jesus acted as if He might continue on farther, but did not want to force His company on these disciples. But they constrained Him shows that even though they didn’t know this was Jesus in their midst, they knew they wanted to spend as much time as they could with this man.
i. “It is a very strong word that, ‘they constrained him’; it is akin to the one which Jesus used when he said, ‘The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence.’ They not only invited him, but they held him, they grasped his hand, they tugged at his skirts, they said he should not go.” (Spurgeon)
b. He took bread, blessed and broke it: These men were not present at the last supper Jesus had with his twelve disciples; they knew nothing of the sacramental nature of breaking bread in theological terms.
i. “It was in no sense a sacramental meal, as we use that word sacrament in our theology. It was a frugal supper in a village home of two tired travellers, and another. Yet it was then – in the breaking of bread, and not in any vision of resurrection splendor – that they knew that their companion was the Lord.” (Morrison)
c. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him: Though it was not what might be called a sacramental meal, there was something in it that showed them who the mysterious and wise guest was. Before their eyes were restrained (Luke 24:16); now their eyes were opened and He was known to them in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:35).
i. Morrison suggested several ways that they might have recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread:
· The way He took the place of host with “the quiet air of majesty.”
· The way He gave the blessing over the meal they would eat.
· The pierced hands that gave them the bread.
ii. “However it was, whether by word or hand, they felt irresistibly that this was He. Some little action, some dear familiar trait, told them in a flash this was the Christ.” (Morrison)
iii. Jesus may be right in front of you, walking with you and sitting down with you at every meal – and your eyes could be restrained from seeing Him. We therefore should pray that God would open our eyes to see Jesus as He is, as being with us all the time.
d. He vanished from their sight: As soon as their eyes were opened to who Jesus was, He left miraculously and they both said what was on their hearts. Their hearts burned as they heard Him speak and teach.
e. Did not our heart burn within us while He talked: Even when they didn’t know it was Jesus, even when they didn’t believe He was risen from the dead, their heart still burned because of the ministry of God’s Word and of Jesus, the Living Word of God.
i. God’s word can have this same effect on our heart, even when we don’t know that it is Jesus doing that work.
ii. Neither of them knew the other’s heart burned until Jesus left. After that, they could have a fellowship of flaming hearts together. One reason Jesus left was so that they would love one another, and minister to one another.
5. (33-35) They tell the good news.
So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.
a. So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem: After a seven mile walk one way, they were so excited that they went seven miles back – and probably much faster on the return. They had the passion to tell the great news of Jesus’ resurrection.
b. The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon: They had mutual confirmation of the resurrection of Jesus. Though the risen Jesus was not physically in their midst, His resurrection had been confirmed by more than two witnesses.
C. Jesus teaches His disciples and ascends into heaven.
1. (36-43) Jesus appears to the eleven.
Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.
a. As they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them: This seems to be the same late Sunday meeting Jesus had with the eleven described in John 20:19-25. In his Gospel, John specifically wrote that Jesus appeared to them when the doors were shut (John 20:19). It seems that Jesus suddenly and perhaps miraculously appeared to the disciples in the midst of a closed room without making an obvious entrance.
b. Peace to you: These were words with new meaning, now that Jesus had risen from the dead. Now, true peace could come between God and man and among men.
i. “About the Lord there were the air and style of one who had peace himself, and loved to communicate it to others. The tone in which he spake peace tended to create it. He was a peace-maker, and a peace-giver, and by this sign they were driven to discern their Leader.” (Spurgeon)
c. Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: Jesus first displayed His wounded hands and feet to the disciples. In this Jesus wanted to establish both His identity and His bodily existence, and that it was in a transformed state the same body He had before the cross, upon the cross, and set in the tomb.
i. It is remarkable to consider that the resurrection body of Jesus retains the wounds He received in His sufferings and crucifixion. There are many possible reasons for this.
· To exhibit the wounds to the disciples, that they would know that it was the very same Jesus.
· To be the object of eternal amazement to the angels.
· To be His ornaments, trophies of His great work for us.
· To memorialize the weapons with which He defeated death.
· To serve as advocates in His perpetual intercession for us.
· To preserve the evidence of humanity’s crime against Him.
ii. “In the apostles’ case the facts were tested to the utmost, and the truth was not admitted till it was forced upon them. I am not excusing, the unbelief of the disciples, but I claim that their witness has all the more weight in it, because it was the result of such cool investigation.” (Spurgeon)
d. Handle Me and see: Jesus wanted to assure them that He was a real, physical body, though of a different order than our own bodies. The resurrected Jesus was not a ghost or phantom.
i. “He distinctly denied that His resurrection was of His Spirit only, for He invited them to touch His hands and His feet. The evidences of a material body are abundant.” (Morgan)
ii. “The account is precisely concerned to refute the notion that Jesus only arose in spirit, or as a ghost. Rather, He arose in spirit and in body; that is, in a spiritual body.” (Pate)
e. A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have: Some make much of the fact that Jesus said His body had flesh and bones and not the more normal phrasing of flesh and blood. The idea is that perhaps the resurrection body of Jesus did not have blood, and perhaps neither will ours. It is also possible that Jesus said flesh and bones because blood could not be felt, but bones can be discerned by touch.
f. They still did not believe for joy, and marveled: Curiously, for that moment joy kept them from faith. This may have been true in the sense that we may believe something to be too good to be true. Yet it is also true that God wants from us a reasoned, thought-out faith, not a giddy easy-believism. Jesus wanted them to think and believe.
i. “Then a great joy, like a tide, swept over them. And they could not believe, they were so glad. Not long ago Christ found them sleeping for sorrow (Luke 22:45), and now He found them disbelieving for joy. Do not forget, then, that joy can hinder faith. It may be as great a foe to faith as sorrow sometimes is.” (Morrison)
ii. There were several times previous to this when joy hindered faith, in the sense of something being too good to be true.
· In Genesis 45:25-26, Jacob could not believe that Joseph was alive because the news seemed to be too good.
· In Job 9:16, Job said that if God would have answered him he would not have believed it.
· In Psalm 126:1 it seemed too good to be true that God again turned Israel’s captivity.
· When Peter was set free from prison in Acts 12, the church didn’t believe it (Acts 12:13-14).
iii. “Their joy was so great that for a moment it was even an impediment to their faith.” (Geldenhuys)
g. Have you any food here? To demonstrate both His identity and the reality of His spiritual body, Jesus ate in their presence. In most of Jesus’ resurrection appearances, He eats with the disciples.
i. This would be another powerful evidence that this was the same Jesus, doing something with them that He did many times before.
2. (44-48) Jesus teaches His disciples.
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”
a. These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you: Jesus almost said, “I told you so” by reminding them that all had happened just as He said it would. To help His disciples take it all in, He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
i. It must have been before this that the disciples were actually born again by God’s Spirit, when Jesus breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).
ii. “In that one hour, in the upper chamber with Christ, Scripture became a new book to the disciples. Never forget how earnestly and constantly our Lord appealed to the testimony of the Word.” (Morrison)
b. It was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: Jesus wanted them to understand that the cross was not some unfortunate obstacle that had to be hurdled. It was a necessary part of God’s redemptive plan for man, and that it would be in the name of a crucified and risen Savior that repentance and remission of sins will be brought to the world.
i. “They were told by their great Master what to preach, and where to preach it, and how to preach it, and even where to begin to preach it.” (Spurgeon)
ii. Should be preached in His name: To preach the gospel in Jesus’ name means to:
· Preach it under His orders.
· Preach it on His authority.
· Preach it knowing repentance and remission of sin come by the virtue of His name.
· Refusing to preach it in our own name.
c. You are witnesses of these things: Jesus solemnly told them that they were witnesses of these things. Not only witnesses of the events surrounding the work of Jesus, but also of the commission itself to spread the gospel. This was a work they were all mutually responsible for.
d. Beginning at Jerusalem: Their work was to begin at Jerusalem; there are many reasons why it was fitting for the preaching of the gospel to begin there.
· Because the Scriptures say it should be so (Isaiah 2:3, Joel 2:32).
· Because that is where the facts of the gospel took place, and the truth of those facts should be tested straightaway.
· To honor the Jewish people and to bring them the gospel first.
· Because it is good to begin where we are tempted not to begin.
· Because the time is short and it is good to begin near to where we are.
· Because it is good to begin where we may expect opposition.
3. (49-53) The Ascension of Jesus.
“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
a. I send the Promise of My Father upon you: They could not do the work Jesus had called them to do unless they were endued with power from on high, and that power would come as the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them.
b. He lifted up His hands and blessed them… while He blessed them: Jesus continued to appear to His people for 40 days following His resurrection. Eventually came the day when He would ascend to heaven. When He did, Jesus left the earth blessing His Church, and He continues to bless them, as much as His people will receive.
i. Nothing but blessing had ever come from those hands; but now, Jesus stands as the High Priest over His people to bless them. “Thus He remains until He comes again, His hands uplifted, and His lips pronouncing the blessedness of His own.” (Morgan)
ii. When Jesus blesses His people, it isn’t just a pious wish like “I hope things work out for you” or “I hope you will be feeling better.” Instead, the blessing of Jesus has inherent power within it.
iii. “If he has blessed you, you shall be blessed, for there is no power in heaven, or earth, or hell, that can reverse the blessing which He gives.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “While we see those uplifted hands, there can be no room for doubt or fear, when other menacing hands are stretched out to harm us or vex us. Whether in life or death, in adversity or prosperity, in sorrow or in joy, we know by that token that we are safe.” (Morgan)
d. He was parted from them and carried up into heaven: Jesus had to ascend so that confidence would be put in the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit, not in the geographical presence of Jesus.
i. Acts 1:3 tells us that this ascension into heaven happened 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection. He spent those 40 days proving the truth of His resurrection and preparing His disciples for His departure.
ii. “He rises by his own power and majesty; he needs no help….He proved the innate power of his Deity, by which he could depart out of the world just when he willed, breaking the law of gravitation, and suspending the laws usually governing matter.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “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.” (Barclay)
iv. “The ascension differs radically from Jesus’ vanishing from the sight of the disciples at Emmaus and similar happenings. There is an air of finality about it. It is the decisive close of one chapter and the beginning of another.” (Morris)
e. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God: This shows the wonderful result of the ministry of Jesus in the disciples’ lives.
· They worshipped Him: This means they knew that Jesus was God, and they gave Him the honor He deserves.
· They returned to Jerusalem: This means they did just what Jesus told them to do. They were obedient.
· With great joy: This means they really believed Jesus rose from the dead, and let the joy of that fact touch everything in their life.
· Continually in the temple praising and blessing God: This means that they lived as public followers of Jesus, and could not hide their love and worship towards Him.
i. “A little before, they could not believe for joy. Now they were joyful just because they believed.” (Morrison)
ii. When God does this kind of work in His people, we say “Amen.”
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission