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Gospel of Luke Chapter 24
Theme: Jesus is raised from the dead ; Jesus leaves Joseph's tomb; Jesus goes down the road to Emmaus; Jesus reveals Himself to two disciples; Jesus goes to the assembled disciples; Jesus reveals Himself to the Eleven; Jesus gives commission to GO; Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit; Jesus ascends to Heaven.
Christ Jesus, Raised From the Dead (Luke 24:1-12)
Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. (KJV)
Now upon the first day of the week . . . on Sunday, which day it appears by what follows, that Jesus rose from the dead, and which was the third day from His death, and so verified the Scriptures, and His own predictions (Mat.12:39-41; 16:4).
Very early in the morning . . . just as the dawn began to break; the first appearance of the morning.
When it was yet dark . . . as in (Jn.20:1). This must be understood of the time when the women set out from the city, for by that time they got to the sepulcher it was at sunrise (Mk.16:2). This reveals their great love, zeal and devotion for Christ Jesus, and great courage and fearlessness to go out of the city at such a time, without any man with them, and to a grave.
They came unto the sepulchre . . . where the Lord Jesus had been laid. These were the women who came with Jesus from Galilee, and who had seen where, and how His Body was buried.
Bringing the spices which they had prepared . . . the women now brought the spices they had prepared on the eve of the Sabbath, to anoint the body, but were forbidden because of the Sabbath (Lk.23:56).
And certain others with them . . . other women, besides Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Joses, and Salome, and other Galilean women. Luke has named no particular women here. There were probably other Jerusalem women, or of Bethany, possibly Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus.
Luke 24:2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. (KJV)
And they found the stone rolled away the sepulchre. . . Joseph had secured the mouth of the tomb with a large stone, in the sight of these women. On their way to the tomb, the women wondered who would roll the stone for them (Mk.16:3). But when they came to the sepulcher, to their surprise, they found the big stone rolled away, which was done by an angel (Mat.28:2).
Luke 24:3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. (KJV)
And they entered in . . . to the sepulcher, being encouraged by the angel that sat on the stone, for the Jews' sepulchers were built large enough for persons to go into (Mk.16:5).
And found not the body of the Lord Jesus . . . they had seen Him put there by Joseph and Nicodemus (Jn.19:38-42), and had seen in what tomb, and in what form He was laid. But, now He was gone.
Luke 24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: (KJV)
And it came to pass as they were much perplexed thereabout . . . the women were very confused about the Body of Jesus, being gone. What happened to it? Who removed it? They never once thought of His being resurrected.
Behold, two men stood by them in shining garments . . . two angels in the form of men. Matthew and Mark mention just one; but John makes mention of two, as here, seen by Mary Magdalene, though in a different posture. They were sitting, one at the head, the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. When the rest of the women came, they had stood up, and stood close by them. They were arrayed in white raiment, as white as snow, as a token of their purity and innocence, and as bearers of good tidings; and as joining in the triumph of their Lord Jesus’ resurrection. Their garments were bright and glittering like lightning, setting forth the glory and majesty of these heavenly beings, that they might be known to be what they were. (Mat.28:3; Mk.16:5).
Luke 24:5 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? (KJV)
And as they were afraid . . . the women were frightened by these angels and their bright apparel and majestic forms, which was quite normal for good men and women, as appears from the cases of Zacharias (Lk.1:12), the Virgin Mary (Lk.1:29) and Daniel (Dan.8:17).
And bowed down their faces to the earth . . . the women through great fear and reverence of these heavenly spirits, bowed down their faces, for they were not able to bear the brilliance of their faces and clothing. Worship of angels is forbidden. (Rev.19:10; 22:8-9). We are to worship GOD and GOD alone!
They said unto them . . . the angels said to the women,
Why seek ye the living among the dead? . . . indicating that Jesus, although He had been dead, He was NOW LIVING, and should not be looked for in the tomb.
Today, Christ Jesus will NOT be found among spiritually dead sinners, or lifeless professors, but among living saints! http://hisservants.org/death_then_what_1.htm
Luke 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, (KJV)
Matthew 28:6 says: Come see the place where the Lord lay . . . not the sepulcher, but the exact spot where His Body was laid. The women had already entered the sepulcher and seen that the Body was gone. Matthew says that the angel invites them to examine the spot marked, as we learn from John 20:7, by the napkin, which had been around His Head, it lying in one place, and the linen clothes in another. The presence of these grave-clothes confirms the statement that He had risen, for had He been carried away they would certainly NOT have left behind His clothes. We must remember that the sepulcher was not a narrow grave, but a place of considerable size. At this time, it seems there were several women and two visible angels moving around in there.
He is not here, but is risen . . . He WAS dead, but now He IS alive! He WAS in the grave, but God did NOT leave Him there, nor suffer Him to see corruption (Ps.16:10). He was NOT stolen away, as the chief priests hired the soldiers to say that He was . . . nor was He removed to another place, as Mary Magdalene first thought, when she found Him gone. He was risen from the dead, by the power of His Father, and by His own power, just exactly as He had before said He would.
Remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee . . . the angels remind the women, of Jesus’ Word, for they had followed Jesus from Galilee along with the apostles when He said the following words to them,
Luke 24:7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (KJV)
Saying, The son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men . . . it is amazing to hear the angels quoting a whole sentence of Jesus to the apostles, also mentioning where it was spoken, and wondering why it was not fresh in the memories of the women, as doubtless it was in theirs! (1 Tim.3:16) "seen of angels," and (1 pet.1:12).
And be crucified, and the third day rise again . . . the angels were to remind the women of these words, which fully confirms their testimony of His resurrection. They would be assured of, upon remembering these words, which they themselves had heard from Jesus’ own mouth; and it now being the third day since the death of Christ. The words of Jesus tell it as it was, that all these things must be; that there was a need for them; partly because of the decrees of God, by which it was determined they should be (Acts 2:23); and partly because of the covenant actions of Jesus, in which He had agreed to them; and too, because of the prophecies of the Old Testament, which spoke out on the things that must be. And too, the Lord's own predictions made all those things necessary, for God CANNOT lie (Tit.1:2), and the law and justice of God required them; for without them, there would be NO obtaining salvation for God's people. (Mat.17:22-23).
Luke 24:8 And they remembered his words, (KJV)
And they remembered his words . . . the women did remember the words of Christ, which it seems that they had forgotten. Their memories were refreshed by the angels, and their understandings opened by the Spirit of God. Saints are far too often likely to forget the gracious and wonderful Promises of God. For us, our hope is that the Holy Spirit of God, will put us in remembrance of them. Thank You Jesus. (Jn.14:26).
Luke 24:9And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. (KJV)
And returned from the sepulchre . . . the women left as soon as the angels finished speaking to them. They fled from the sepulcher in great haste, frightened and amazed, with fear and reverence, because of what they had seen, but with great joy at what was told to them.
And told all these things . . . that the stone was rolled away from the tomb, that the Body of Jesus was gone; that they had seen two angels, who had told them, that Christ was risen, and had reminded them of some words Jesus had spoken to the apostles, in their hearing, in Galilee.
Unto the eleven, and to all the rest . . .the eleven apostles, but also to the seventy disciples (Lk.9:22; 10:1), and many others that were gathered together, perhaps the hundred and twenty (Acts 1:15). One version wrongly reads, "to all the twelve"; because Judas was not now one of them, nor alive; and Matthias was not yet chosen (Acts 1:23,26).
Luke 24:10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. (KJV)
It was Mary Magdalene . . . Mary Magdalene was truly repentant, a true believer in Christ, having great affection for Him after Christ Jesus had cast out seven devils from her (Lk.8:2; Mk.16:9).
And Joanna . . . the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, one that had been a follower of Christ Jesus, and had ministered to Him of her substance (Lk.8:3).
And Mary the mother of James . . . this James was called James the less (Mk.15:40,47). This Mary was the wife of Cleophas (Jn.19:25).
And other women that were with them . . . as Salome, the mother of Zebedee's children (Mk.15:40; 16:1), and others, that came from Galilee.
Which told these things unto the apostles . . . these women told all that they had witnessed.
Luke 24:11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. (KJV)
And their words seemed to them as idle tales . . . the words of these women seemed as things too good to be true. The utter disbelief of the friends of Jesus when these reports of His resurrection were brought to them is remarkable! It is contrasted with the obvious dread of the Sanhedrin, that SOMETHING was going to happen after three days had gone by. The apostles were clearly astonished at their Master's rising from the dead, while on the other hand, the chief priests and Jewish leaders would really have been surprised if something startling had NOT happened (Mat.27:63-66). These utterly wicked men were short-sighted to counteract the fulfilment of the Crucified One's Word . . . a fulfilment they clearly looked to as an unlikely possibility. The utter surprise of the apostles at the Resurrection of Christ Jesus, which in their Gospels they fully acknowledge, is in fact, truth of the authenticity of these records of the event.
And they believed them not . . . the apostles believed not. This is proof that they did NOT expect Jesus’ resurrection; proof that they were not easily deceived; and that nothing but the clearest evidence could enlighten them. They had no thought, nor expectation of Christ's rising from the dead; they did not know that He was to rise again, according to the Scriptures; nor did they understand Him when He told them of His rising again; and had no faith in it, no hope concerning it, and could not acknowledge it, when it was told them. They simply did NOT believe the report which the women brought to them.
Luke 24:12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. (KJV)
Then arose Peter . . . even though Peter did not believe the report of the women, he had listened carefully to it, and was aroused and startled by it, and wanted to know the truth.
And ran unto the sepulchre . . . not alone, but with John, being in a hurry to see how things were (Jn.20:2-8).
And stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves . . . the clothes in which the Body of Jesus was wrapped, lay by themselves without His Body, in one place, and the napkin that was around His Head, carefully wrapped in another place by itself. It was very plain that the Body had NOT been stolen, nor taken away . . . NOT by friends or enemies! Neither friends nor foes would have taken the pains or the time, as to have stripped the body, but would have carried off the Body, clothes and all! (Jn.20:5).
And departed . . . still puzzled, after seeing these things, Peter and John then left the tomb, going to their own home (Jn.20:10).
Wondering in himself at that which was come to pass . . . Peter was confused that the Body should not be there, and yet the clothes remained, and in such a neat display. He was mixed up, not knowing what to make of it. As for a resurrection, as yet, he had NO idea of that, but still, he could not explain the removal of the Body, either by friends or foes, and the clothes left behind.
We see the affection and respect that these adoring women showed to Christ Jesus, after He was dead and buried. They surprisingly see the stone rolled away, and the grave empty. God’s children often puzzle themselves about things which instead should comfort and encourage them. They look to find their Master still in His grave-clothes. Jesus had risen! He IS ALIVE!
The angels assure the women that He is risen from the dead, and He is risen by His own power. These angels from Heaven did not bring a new Gospel, but remind the women of Christ's Words, and teach them how to apply them. May we too apply those Words to ourselves.
We may wonder about the apostles . . . they believed Jesus to be the Son of God and the true Messiah. He had often told them that He must die and rise again (Mat.17:9; 20:19; 26:32; 27:63; Lk.18:33; 24:7), and then enter into His glory (Lk.24:26). They had seen Him more than once, raise the dead, WHY did they not believe He could raise Himself?
I think that all our mistakes about our awesome God, spring from our ignorance or our forgetting the Words Christ has spoken. Peter ran to the tomb, this Peter who so recently had ran from his Master. He was amazed at all that he saw. There are many things that confuse and puzzle us, which would be plain and profitable, IF we rightly understood the Words of Christ.
Jesus Reveals Himself to Two Disciples (Luke 24:13-34)
Now Luke brings us to the road to Emmaus, an interesting road to be on. We know about the Jericho road . . . that is where you fall among thieves (Lk.10:30). May we all take the Emmaus road instead, where we meet the resurrected Lord.
Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. (KJV)
And behold two of them went that same day . . . I think this was probably two of the disciples, not of the eleven apostles, for it is certain that one of them was not an apostle; but two of the seventy disciples, or of the group of the hundred and twenty that were together (Lk.10:1; Acts 1:15). It seems that one of these was Cleophas or Alphaeus (Lk.24:18), the other is by some, thought to be Luke, who, out of modesty, does not mention his name. Others have thought that Cephas was the other person (1 Cor.15:5). Some think that the Apostle Peter was one of the two. It is all just guesses. It really is not that important for us to know. "Same day" is the first day of the week, Sunday, the day on which Christ Jesus rose from the dead; and the third day from His death. These two men travelled,
To a village called Emmaus . . . Emmaus was about seven miles or so from Jerusalem. The two possibly lived there and were going home after the Passover.
Luke 24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. (KJV)
And they talked together . . . the two talked as they went along the road,
Of all these things which had happened . . . they both loved the Lord Jesus, and spoke of all that had happened to Him, and especially they might be talking of what they had heard that morning from the women, that had been at the tomb of Christ, and reported that He was risen.
Luke 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. (KJV)
And it came to pass, that while they communed together and reasoned . . . about the truth and reliability of the report.
Jesus himself drew near, and went with them . . . He came up to them, as if He had been a traveler on the road, and overtook them, joining them and travelled with them.
Luke 24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. (KJV)
But their eyes were holden that they should not know him . . . this simply means that they did not know who He was. It does not seem that there was anything supernatural or miraculous in it, or that God used any power to blind them. Consider: #1. Mark 16:12 says that He appeared in another form, meaning different from His usual appearance. #2. They really were not expecting to see Him. They did not believe that He was alive and it would have to be the strongest proof to convince them that He was really risen from the dead.
Luke 24:17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? (KJV)
And he said unto them . . . meaning Jesus said the two men,
What manner of communications are these, that ye have one to another, as ye walk? . . . Jesus asked them what they were talking about, and as suiting all believers, they told Him that they were talking about their Master, Jesus, and what horrible things that had happened to Him.
And are sad? . . . Jesus, by their faces and gestures, as the shaking of their heads, and lifting up and wringing of their hands, could easily tell that they were full of sorrow. They were sad at the overwhelming events that had recently come upon them.
Luke 24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? (KJV)
And one of them, whose name was Cleophas . . . Luke tells us the name of one of the men. He was one of the seventy disciples, and father of the apostles James and Jude, and seemingly the brother to Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Christ.
Answering, said unto him, art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? . . . stranger here means one who had come to stay at a place only for a time, not a permanent resident. Many Jews came up from all parts of the world to Jerusalem, to keep the Passover there. The meaning of this verse may be expressed as follows: What happened that caused our sadness is well known, causing much talk, so that all, even the strangers who have come up for the Passover are well acquainted with it. You must be the only one who has not heard it. It is strange that everybody is well acquainted with it, but you have not heard about it.
Luke 24:19 And he 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: (KJV)
And he said unto them, What things? . . . the Lord Jesus is still appearing as if He was ignorant, in order to prolong the discourse with them, He asks them, What things?
And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet . . . meaning, what had happened to Him, who was commonly known by this Name, and was called so by way of contempt. . . . Do you see what they said? They said that He "was a prophet." They thought Jesus was dead. They did NOT believe that He had risen. They did not believe that He was alive!
Jesus was NOT just a foreteller of things to come, as He foretold His sufferings, death and resurrection, the troubles that would befall His disciples, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the end of the world . . . BUT He was also a preacher of the Gospel, and a very distinguished One, a famous and extraordinary One, He was that Prophet which Moses spoke of that should come (Deut.18:15,18); and who was mighty in deed and word. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power, which He showed by the miracles He did; healing the sick, cleansing lepers, casting out devils, restoring sight to the blind, causing the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, the lame to walk, and raising the dead to life. In the doctrines He taught, which were with such authority, and such as never man spake (Jn.7:46).
Before God and all the people . . . Jesus was sent and anointed by God the Father as a Prophet, Priest and King and approved by Him; who bore a testimony to Him by a voice from Heaven, declaring Him to be His beloved Son; and the works He did were done publicly before men, who glorified God on that account; and the doctrines He taught, were not taught in secret, but in the synagogues and in the Temple, in the hearing of all the people, and to their surprise and admiration. Well Beloved Son: (Mat.3:17; 17:5; Mk.1:11; 9:7; Lk.3:22; 9:35; 2 Pet.1:17).
Luke 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. (KJV)
And how the chief priests and our rulers . . . Jewish civil and religious rulers,
Delivered him to be condemned to death . . . to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor; and the death of the cross. The governor, having first seized Him and examined Him before their Sanhedrim, and pronounced Him guilty of death.
And have crucified him . . . although Pilate passed the sentence, and the Roman soldiers executed it, yet these Jewish rulers are said to have done it, because it was at their request, and through their provocation, that it was done, so Peter charges the Jewish Sanhedrim with it (Acts 4:10).
Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. (KJV)
But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done . . . we trusted, we hoped and expected that He would have redeemed Israel, that He was the Messiah, who would deliver the nation from the Romans. And besides all this . . .it is to be thought that Cleopas states things just as they occurred to his own mind, but he is confused and distracted.
There were so many things that were remarkable in Jesus; so much evidence that He WAS the Messiah! Jesus’ death destroyed their hopes, and the succeeding events had been so devastating that his mind was confused, and he knew not what to think.
The things that Cleopas now states just served to increase his confusion. Today is the third day . . . and we have not seen Him. Did he not begin to remember Jesus’ Promise? The angels had informed the women that He was alive . . . but if He is alive, Cleopas thought, where is He? The Gospel of Luke mentions “third day” 6 times (Lk.9:22; 13:32; 18:33; 24:7,21,46).
The Jews take notice that the Scriptures speak of several remarkable third days; (Gen.22:4; 42:18; Ex.19:16; Josh.2:16; Hos.6:2; Jonah 1:17; Ezra 8:15; Est.5:1). The phrase third day, is found 138 times in the Bible. The term three days is in the Bible about 60 times.
Luke 24:22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; (KJV)
Yea, and certain women also of our company . . . the women who came with the disciples from Galilee (Lk.24:10), and who professed the same faith in Christ Jesus,
Made us astonished . . . surprised us, with the story they brought about His being alive. We cannot know what to think or to say about it. We do not know whether to believe or not. It is far too good to be true, and IF it is as they say, it is remarkable!
Which were early at the sepulchre . . . these women were at the tomb at the very break of day, going to anoint His Body, never thinking about the resurrection of Him. Question: WHY didn’t any of the apostles or disciples go to help them?
Luke 24:23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. (KJV)
And when they found not his body . . . when the women did not find the Body of Jesus in the tomb, as they thought it would be, they were not able to do what they intended with the spices.
They came . . . back from the sepulcher very fast, being afraid, and came to the apostles, where they were gathered,
Saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. . . the women said that they could not find the Body of Jesus, but that they had seen a vision of angels, and that the angels told them that they would not find the dead Body of their Lord, for He had risen. He was alive! (Mat.28:3-5; Mk.16:5-6; Lk.24:4; Jn.20:12). And it seems that these women had seen Jesus alive, as they were returning to the apostles (Mat.28:8-10).
It was NOT a deception of their sight, they really did see both the angels and Jesus; and were certain of their testimony, as well as by their own eyes and ears, that He was indeed risen! Even with all this, so clear and well proven, the apostles and the disciples, just could not believe it. They were simply stunned by it all. They could neither accept it as true, nor discredit it as a hoax. They hoped it might be so, but feared it was not.
Luke 24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. (KJV)
And certain of them which were with us . . . Cleopas goes on, saying that the apostles and brethren, who were together when the women came, and made the above report, especially Peter, who is named (Lk.24:12), and John, who also was with him, as appears from (Jn.20:2), these,
Went to the sepulchre . . . to the tomb of Jesus, to satisfy themselves and their companions, as much as they could, about these things,
And found it even so as the women had said . . . that the body of Jesus was NOT there, and that the linen clothes were laid neatly by themselves,
But him they saw not . . . BUT, they did not find Him nor did they see Him. This made it look very strange and suspicious, that the women should see Him, and NOT His apostles! They did not know what to say about this. This made them uncertain about the fact.
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: (KJV)
Then he said unto them . . . Jesus said unto them,
O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken . . . this word of reproof sounds strong, but we must remember that the Lord Jesus had already given hints as to the true interpretation of Messianic prophecies (Lk.9:22,44; Mk.14:21), which might have led attentive men to see that they pointed to His suffering and death, as well as to sovereignty and triumph .O fools, the word for “fools” is more plainly, silly or senseless, and is not that which is used in (Mat.5:22; 23:17), but one belonging to a somewhat higher style of language. It is used by the apostle Paul of the “foolish Galatians” (Gal.3:1,3), and elsewhere, and by no other New Testament writer except Peter (1 Pet.2:15), and in the Gospel of Matthew (Mat.7:26; 25:2,3,8).
Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? (KJV)
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory . . . this is mentioned in verse 20, as to His being delivered by the chief priests, to be condemned to death, and to be crucified on the Roman cross. Christ Jesus suffered many things in His personal character, being condemned as a sinful and wicked man, and a friend and encourager of sinners; as a man of immoral principles and practices; as an idolater, a blasphemer, an impostor, a seditious person; as one that was familiar with the devil, and did His miracles with Satan’s assistance (Lk.11:15; Mk.3:22). This went along with a truck load of never ending criticisms and rebukes. ALL these He patiently endured, to teach His people endurance and patience, when they come under the loss of their good name, character and reputation.
Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (KJV)
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets . . . the writings of Moses, starting in the Book of Genesis (Gen.3:15), which is the first prophecy of Him, and speaks of the bruising of his heel, or of the sufferings of death by him.
He expounded unto them in all the scriptures concerning himself . . .concerning the Messiah. It does not seem that Jesus applied the Scriptures to Himself, but left them, most likely, to make the application themselves. He showed what the Scriptures foretold, and they saw that these things did apply to Jesus of Nazareth, and they finally began to be satisfied that He was indeed, the Messiah. The most striking Passages foretelling the character and sufferings of Christ are the following, which we may suppose it possible our Saviour dwelt upon to convince them that, although He was crucified, yet He WAS the Christ. (Gen.3:15; 49:10; Deut.18:15; Num.21:8-9; Isa.9:6-7; 53:1-12; Dan.9:1-27; Ps.16:1-11; 22:1-31; 110:1-7; Mal.4:2-6).
Luke 24:28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. (KJV)
And they drew nigh unto the village . . . as they walked toward Emmaus, they became aware that their conversation was so very delightful, that the way did not seem boring or dull, nor the time at all long.
Whither they went . . . when they got to where they intended to go, this was the end of their journey; so this village was not an intermediate place between Jerusalem and Emmaus.
And he made as though he would have gone further . . . Jesus did not say He would go farther, but He kept on as if it was not His intention to stop, and no doubt He would have gone on if they had not asked Him to tarry.
Luke 24:29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. (KJV)
But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us . . . some versions read: "they held him by force", NOT meaning that they laid hands on Him, and held Him in a forcible manner against his will. This means they were very pressing and persistent with Him, that He would stay with them. They would not take NO, for an answer.
For it is towards evening, and the day is far spent . . . it might have been four or five o'clock in the afternoon.
And he went in to tarry with them . . . for a while, not all night.
Luke 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. (KJV)
And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them . . . when they sat (lay) down at table with the provisions before them,
He took bread and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them . . . as if He was the master of the house, when He was both a guest and a stranger. He blessed the bread, as He had done at common meals, when He ate with His apostles, and as He did, when He fed five thousand one time, and four thousand another time (Mat.14:19; 15:36).
It is not known if just Jesus, and the two disciples sat down to eat, or whether others that belonged to the house sat down with them.
Luke 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. (KJV)
And their eyes were opened, and they knew him . . . not that their eyes were shut before, but what kept them from ‘seeing’ was removed. What had hindered their sight and knowledge was taken away, and it seems that it was the simple action of His taking the bread and blessing it, and breaking it and giving it to them, that caused them to SEE Him! They NOW perceived who He was . . . their dear Lord and Master, for whose death they had been sorrowing, and of whose resurrection they had been doubting.
And vanished out of their sight . . . NOT that Jesus simply vanished as smoke vanishes into the air; but agility (swiftness) was an asset of His risen Body. He very suddenly and swiftly, in a moment, removed Himself from them, so that He could not be seen by them even before He was gone out of the house. Is that how our resurrected bodies will be? I think that is possible.
Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (KJV)
And they said one to another . . . after Jesus had departed from them, being stunned at what had just happened, and that they did not know Him all the while He was with them; they said to one another,
Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? . . . Jesus opened the Scriptures to them concerning Himself, His sufferings, His death and His resurrection, which are in Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. When Jesus had opened the Scriptures to them, their minds and eyes opened wide and they SAW Him! Their hearts were like fire within them, making them fervent in spirit, setting their affections ablaze. The Scriptures were as a burning fire within them. Our heart burn within us . . . this means the deep interest and pleasure that they had felt as Jesus spoke to them, before they knew who He was. It was then that they remembered His previous Words and instruction to them about how the Messiah would suffer and die and be raised again. Jesus’ prophesies His suffering and death: (Mat.12:40; 17:9,12,22; 19:28; 20:18,28; 25:31; 26:2,45,64; Mk.8:31; 9:9,12,31; 10:33; 13:41,62; Lk.9:22,44; 11:30; 22:69; 24:7; Jn.3:14; 6:62; 8:28; 12:23)
While Jesus talked to them of the Christ that they loved so much, their hearts were afire with deep love. This feeling was not confined to them alone. All TRUE believers of Christ Jesus know how precious and tender the Words of the Saviour are, and how the heart glows with love as they think or hear of His life, His sufferings and His death which were on OUR behalf! Thank You Jesus! Burn: (Ps.39:3; Jer.5:14; 20:9; 23:29; Eze.3:14).
Luke 24:33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, (KJV)
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem . . . as late as it was, they hurry back over the miles with the wonderful news that Christ Jesus was indeed ALIVE! He had risen!
And found the eleven gathered together . . . the two disciples knew where the eleven apostles would be; at a certain house that was known to these two, and who met together in the night, for privacy, and for fear of the Jews. The apostles were awake, even though it was late. These are called "eleven", because Judas was now gone from them, and dead (Acts 1:18,25). This was now their total number, although that night, Thomas was not present. (Jn.20:19-24).
And them that were with them . . . possibly the seventy disciples, and other believers, both men and women. (Acts 1:15).
Luke 24:34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. (KJV)
Saying, the Lord is risen indeed . . . the two disciples from Emmaus found the apostles, and those who were with them, and they ALL unanimously testify that Christ Jesus had risen from the dead. (Mk.16:12-13).
And hath appeared unto Simon . . . Jesus appeared to Peter first, before He did to any of the rest, even though Peter had denied Jesus in such a shameful way, revealing the grace and goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He most likely appeared to Peter on purpose, no doubt to comfort him in his anguish; and too, as being the oldest apostle, and a man of character and credit among them, his report would be believed. None of the Gospel writers talk of this appearance to Peter; only the apostle Paul does (1 Cor.15:5). It is certain that it was the same day Christ rose from the dead, and was after the women had seen Him, and after Peter had, been at the sepulcher, but before the return of the two disciples from Emmaus, and before He showed Himself to the rest of the apostles.
Jesus Goes to the Assembled Disciples
Reveals Himself to the Eleven (Luke 24:35-45)
Luke 24:35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. (KJV)
And they told what things were done in the way . . . this still means the two men from Emmaus,
when the eleven were done speaking. These two finished their report, which they did with great joy and pleasure; these two disciples authenticate all the more, the Truth of Christ's resurrection, giving them a step by step account, as how when they were travelling, Jesus joined them, and entered into conversation with them, and thus opened the Scriptures in a sweet and powerful way to them . . . yet all the time, their eyes were blind, and they did NOT know WHO He was.
And how he was known of them in breaking bread . . . only when He broke the bread, and gave it to them, did their eyes and mind open, and they saw plainly who He was!
Luke 24:36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (KJV)
And as they thus spake . . . while the two disciples that came from Emmaus, were telling their story, just as they had finished, but were scarcely done speaking,
Jesus himself stood in the midst of them . . . the apostles and all who were assembled together in this certain house, the doors being shut for fear of the Jews. This was on the evening of the same day Christ rose from the dead, late at night. Without hearing the doors open, or the sound of the Feet of Jesus, and without seeing Him come in . . . He, all at once, was there in the midst of them! It is as though He had risen up out of the earth before them. (Mat.18:20).
And saith unto them, Peace be unto you . . . was a common form of greeting among the Jews (Jn.20:19).
Luke 24:37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. (KJV)
But they were terrified and affrighted . . . at the sight of Him, and His sudden appearance amidst them, without being heard or seen, and the doors being shut and bolted. They could not believe it! Even though they had just been speaking of His resurrection, and had had a confirmation of it from the disciples that went to Emmaus,
And supposed that they had seen a spirit . . . they thought that what they saw was a ghost or vision, or a spirit that had appeared in the form of Jesus, but was not Jesus. Supposed that they had seen a spirit (Mat.14:25-26; Mk.6:49).
Luke 24:38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? (KJV)
And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled . . . why are you alarmed or frightened? Why do you doubt? Why are you have uncertainties? The doubts which they had were whether He really was the Christ. He rebukes them for doubting this; for, #1. The Scriptures had foretold His death; #2. Jesus Himself had repeatedly foretold it; #3. They now also had the testimony of Peter that he had seen Jesus alive, and of the angels that He was risen, and the confirmation of the two from Emmaus. After all this evidence, Jesus scolds them for doubting whether He truly was the Messiah.
And why do thoughts arise in your hearts . . . thoughts of whether what they saw was Jesus or an apparition. This had given them much concern and uneasiness, and filled them with fear. (Mat.14:26; Mk.6:49-50).
Luke 24:39 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. (KJV)
Behold my hands, and my feet . . . John adds "and side" (Jn.20:27); meaning the prints of the nails and spear, in His Hands, and Feet, and Side; and the wounds they made.
Handle me and see . . . that you may know by feeling, as well as by seeing. I wonder how many of them actually did handle Him, and feel the scars for themselves.
For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have . . . the glorified Body of the Lord Jesus was flesh and bones, NOT flesh and blood. His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:19) had been shed on the cross. Jesus’ resurrected Body was NOT a restored human body like Lazarus's (John 11). Jesus was well able to appear and to disappear. Jesus' resurrected body was eternal. This is the kind of body we will be given at the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor.15:42-50).
Luke 24:40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. (KJV)
And when he had thus spoken . . . and brought them a way of satisfying themselves by their senses,
He showed them his hands and his feet . . . He held forth his hands and his feet to be seen and handled by them, and of which were the reliable and unfailing proofs by which He revealed Himself to be ALIVE to them, and by which they knew the TRUTH of His incarnation (Jn.1:14), that He had indeed assumed a true and real human body, and of the resurrection of the same body. (Acts 1:3; 1 Jn.1:1).
Luke 24:41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? (KJV)
And while they yet believed not for joy . . . although they had been well prepared to believe the resurrection of Jesus, by the report of the women, the revelation to Simon Peter, and the account of the two disciples that came from Emmaus . . . there was such extreme joy when they were able to SEE Jesus with their own eyes. They could scarcely believe their own senses of seeing and feeling,
And wondered . . . they marveled at the sight of their risen Lord, and at the power of God, which was seen in all this. It was marvelous in their eyes, and was a wonderful confirmation of the TRUTH of His deity, His Sonship and His Messiahship. May this TRUTH also be marvelous in our eyes as well.
He said unto them, Have ye any meat? . . . not that He was hungry, but to give them further proof that He was NOT a spirit, but that He was indeed risen from the dead in a real body, which was able to eat and drink.
Luke 24:42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. (KJV)
And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish . . . which was left over by them at supper, of which they had been eating. Being fishermen, most of them, this was agreeable food to them,
And of an honeycomb . . . not to eat with the fish, but after it.
Luke 24:43 And he took it, and did eat before them. (KJV)
And he took it, and did eat before them . . . He took both the fish and the honeycomb, and ate before them. They watched all the while, and they did not fail afterwards to witness to it (Acts 10:41).
Luke 24:44 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. (KJV)
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you . . . this is the fulfilment of what I before told you about my death. (Lk.18:33; Mk.10:33).
That all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me . . . 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 consisted of 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, these were the holy writings that 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 that in each of these divisions of the Old Testament there were prophecies respecting himself.
The precise subject before them was His resurrection from the dead. A most striking prediction of this is contained in Psalms 16:9-11. Also see: Acts 2:24-32, 13:35-37.
Luke 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (KJV)
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures . . . He not only opened their hearts, to pay attention to what He said, and the proofs He gave of His resurrection from the dead in a true body; but He removed the veil from the eyes of their minds, and they were able to understand what the sacred writings said about this matter.
Jesus Gives the Commission to Go (Luke 24:46-47)
It seems that Luke did not know the special form in which the Commission had been given, he had, at least, learned that forgiveness of sins occupied a prominent place in what had been said on that evening, and that that forgiveness was not limited to the children of Abraham.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (KJV)
Wherever we go, every faithful Christian is obligated through obedience, to share the Gospel. If you are a TRUE believer in Christ Jesus, you are to share the gift of salvation! We are to make disciples of all the nations. See the end of this chapter for more about the Gospel.
Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (KJV)
And he said unto them, Thus it is written . . . in the books of the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms; not what after follows, in so many words, but the matter and substance thereof,
And thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day . . . it was necessary that the Messiah should thus suffer. It was predicted of Him, and ALL things had happened just as it was foretold. (Lk.24:25-26).
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (KJV)
And that repentance and remission of sins . . . repentance is sorrow for sin AND forsaking it. It was right that the need of repentance should be preached among all nations, for all were sinners. Remission of sins is pardon or forgiveness of sins. Repentance: (Acts 5:31; 13:38; 17:30; 20:21).
Should be preached in his name . . . the Name of the Messiah; by His authority, and as coming ONLY through Him (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12); since the remission of sin is by His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19); and since He is exalted as a Prince (Acts 3:15; 5:31), and a Saviour, to give both repentance and forgiveness of sins to all, whether Jews or Gentiles; and therefore it is fitting and proper that these should be preached. Christ our Saviour: (Lk.1:47; Acts 5:31; 13:23; Phil.3:20; 1 Tim.1:1; 2:3; 4:10; 2 Tim.1:10; Tit.2:10,13; 2 Pet.1:1,11; 3:18; 1 Jn.4:14; Jude 1:25).
Among all nations . . . of the world, where God's elect are; so that they may be brought to repentance, and receive the forgiveness of their sins,
Beginning at Jerusalem . . . from where, according to the Old Testament, the word and doctrine of the Lord were to go forth (Ps.110:2; Isa.2:3), and is especially mentioned, because the Gospel was to be preached first to the Jews (Rom.1:16; 2:10), and be the power of God unto salvation to them, and because that it was in Jerusalem where wicked Jewish rulers lived who had instigated the crucifying of Christ . . . so it is to whom repentance and forgiveness must be preached first and which would be a great encouragement to the vilest of sinners, to hope for mercy and forgiveness, since those who repented, received both. Go ye therefore!
Jesus says that this Gospel is to go to the ends of the Earth.
The few words in Luke 24:47 include the great duty of the apostles, and disciples (us):
#1. To tell of the repentance and remission of sins.
#2. To tell in Jesus’ Name.
#3. To tell all nations.
#4. Beginning at Jerusalem. . . . We are to Go ye therefore!
Jesus Promises To Send the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:48-49)
Luke 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things. (KJV)
And ye are witnesses of these things . . . these people were witnesses of the TRUTH of Jesus’ humanity, having seen, heard and handled Him, both before and after His resurrection from the dead, and of all that He had done, all the miracles that He did in Jerusalem, Judea and Galilee, also of His transfiguration on the mount; His sorrow in the garden, His sufferings in the palace of the high priest, in Pilate's hall, and on the cross; which led to His death on the cross. They were witnesses of His resurrection from the dead, in the same Body, to whom He showed Himself ALIVE by many reliable proofs: the print of the nails in His Hands, Feet and Side; by being handled by them; by eating and drinking in their presence; and by speaking with them for forty days (Acts 1:3). It was their duty, their obligation to also bear witness to the doctrine of repentance, and remission of sins, in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the Earth, which they did. (Acts 1:8; 2:30-32; 10:39-43; 20:21).
Luke 24:49 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. (KJV)
And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you . . . this means the Promise of the Holy Spirit, called the Promise of the Father, because He was promised by the Father to be sent, and poured on the saints in the times of the Messiah (Isa.44:3; Joel 2:28), and because Christ Jesus promised to pray the Father for Him, and to send Him from Him; and that the Father would send Him in His Name. The Holy Spirit would fit and qualify and assist them in bearing a testimony for Christ Jesus, since He would teach them all things (Mat.28:20), guide them into all truth (Jn.16:13), take of the things of Christ, and show them to them, and bring to their remembrance all things they had seen and heard (Jn.14:26). This promise of the Father was to be sent in a very short time (Acts 2),
But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem . . . they were not depart from Jerusalem, they were to be silent; they were not to begin to preach. They were only to join in prayer and Christian conversation, and wait for the Holy Spirit, the Promise of the Father,
Until ye be endued with power from on high . . . the Spirit of God is a spirit of influence and of power; as well as of knowledge, understanding, counsel, love and a sound mind; whereby they would be fortified and inspired with boldness and courage, so they could look their greatest opponents in the face with confidence, and freely, without fear, speak to them. The message was that Jesus died and rose again from the dead, and that, by trusting Him as Saviour and Lord, sinners could be saved. The power to witness to the world is the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Ascends to Heaven (24:50-53)
Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. (KJV)
And he led them out as far as Bethany . . . Bethany was on the eastern descending slope of the Mount of Olives, from which our Lord was taken up to Heaven (Acts 1:12). Bethany was a favorite place of the Lord Jesus. It was the place of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and the Saviour was always pleased to be there. From this place, He ascended to His Father and our Father, and to His God and our God (Jn.20:17). (Mk.16:19-20).
And he lift up his hands, and blessed them . . . I think that the lifting up of His Hands was a prayer gesture, for here Jesus blessed the disciples.
Matthew and John do not record the Ascension. We are not told why, so it is not for us to know.
Luke 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. (KJV)
And it came to pass, while he blessed them . . . just as he was finishing the words, by which he expressed the blessings He bestowed on them,
He was parted from them . . . just as Elijah was parted from Elisha (2 Ki.2:11). Their spiritual union to Him remained, because it is permanent; nor was His gracious Presence from them withdrawn. This parting was not in anger and resentment, this parting was while He was blessing them, and was only in Body. His Heart was still with them; this was a withdrawing of only of His physical Presence from them, and that would be just for a while; because He will come again a second time from Heaven. The saints can expect him, and then they will meet again, and never part again. The saints shall be carried up into Heaven by His almighty power, as God. (1 Thes.4:13-18). http://www.godcannotlie.org/is_jesus_god.htm
Jesus ascended Himself, going up gradually, until He was out of sight to His disciples. The bodies of the saints, when raised, will be like the angels, swift and nimble, and able of moving from place to place, and of ascending and descending; and much like the glorious body of Christ Jesus. (1 Cor.15:48-58).
The last time the disciples saw the Lord Jesus, He was tenderly blessing them in love. We as God’s children, are to look forward with great joy and anticipation for His Coming (1 Cor.15:51-52; 1 Thes.4:13-18). But for all those who deny and reject Jesus as the Saviour of the world, He shall come in judgment of the world (Rev.20:11-15).
Luke 24:52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: (KJV)
And they worshipped him . . . the disciples worshipped Jesus with spiritual worship as God: for by His resurrection from the dead, Christ Jesus was declared to be the Son of God, and both by that, and by His going to His Father, His ascension to Heaven, the disciples were more assured of His proper deity, and divine Sonship; and therefore worshipped Him as God. They would call upon His Name, ascribe blessings, honor and glory to Him; by making Him the Object of their reverence and respect; by trusting in Him; and by doing every duty in His Name. This they ever after continued to do.
And returned to Jerusalem . . . as they were ordered by Jesus, where they were to tarry and wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This they did,
With great joy . . . for although their Lord was parted from them, and was gone to Heaven, this were not sorrowful, as they were at His death. Now there was much joy, because of the glory He had entered and possessed; because of what He was gone to do for them; to appear in the Presence of God for them (Heb.9:24), to make intercession for them (Rom.8:26-27,34; 11:2; 1 Tim.2:1; Heb.7:25), who being our Advocate (1 Jn.2:1), took possession of Heaven to prepare a place for them (Jn.14:1-4), as well as to give gifts to them (Eph.4:8). So, they return to Jerusalem with great joy, full of hope and anticipation, assurance of faith, that they would shortly receive the Promise of the Father.
Luke 24:53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. (KJV)
And were continually in the temple . . . at the time of worship, at the hours of prayer or of public service; and always privately in an upper room in it, where they, with others, met often, and continued, with one accord, in prayer and supplication (Acts 1:14), a practice worthy of our imitating, whether in the public or private way.
Praising, and blessing God . . . for His Son Jesus Christ, who had died for their sins, was risen again for their justification, and was now ascended into Heaven, to be their Advocate there; and for all spiritual blessings of His Gospel.
Amen . . . let God be praised, and blessed by all the saints, for all that is contained in this Gospel. It is said that the Gospel of Luke was published fifteen years after the ascension of Christ.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that the grave is NOT the end of life. We cannot study the life of Jesus without seeing that His views of Earth were absolutely NOT the views of men in general. To most people, this world is everything; and to possess it, even in some tiny little bit, is their supreme ambition. Even in their more clear moments when they catch a glimpse of worlds other than their own, these far off visions are like twinkling stars so far off . . . out in the blue, and they soon lose sight of them in the haze of all the seeming strangeness.
To Jesus, Earth was just a very small piece of a much bigger whole, a small piece which was just a dull shadow of reality. Heaven, to His mind was NOT a place of silence and stillness . . . it was a place occupied with people whose movements were intelligent and swift as thought itself. With this far off PLACE, Jesus was perfectly familiar, this being Heaven, which was the dwelling place of His Father, and immeasurable hosts of angels, with Whom He was in close and constant contact, with frequent prayer, and the frequent words telling us how near and how very real the heavenly places were to Him. In the Mind of Jesus, Heaven was the highest part of happiness and light.
BUT Jesus was also familiar with another PLACE that He had also created, that being HELL! SO, blissful and glorious Heaven did have its extreme opposite, that of woe and darkness, a strict PLACE of fear and agony, and which He called the fires of Hell (Mat.5:22; 10:28; 25:41; Mk.9:47; Lk.12:5). Jesus is SO very clear that there are TWO invisible realms, far away from Earth, yet closely touching it from totally opposite directions, and to one OR the other of which ALL the paths of human life are headed, to reach their goal and their self-chosen destiny.
Jesus did not often speak the word "death"; that was too human a word. He preferred the softer names of "sleep" or "departure," thus making death the beginning of life, likening it to a triumphal march from bondage to liberty. "The Valley of the Shadow" to Jesus, was NOT a strange, unfamiliar place. He knew all its secrets, and it was His territory, where His will is supreme. "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living," and as we see Moses and Elias coming to the Mount of Transfiguration, we see that the physically dead, have NOT departed so far away as to take no interest in earthly things. How clearly this is seen in the resurrection life of Jesus, with which this Gospel closes! Death and the Grave have done their worst to Jesus. So insignificant is the blank it makes in His Divine Life! The few hours in the grave were but a brief rest in His Life; for the Resurrection morning brought Him to the higher spaces. And so is it with all human life . . . the grave is NOT our goal. Conditions must change, as the mortal puts on immortality, incorruption (1 Cor.15:53-54).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ shows us in what respects the conditions of the after-life will be changed. In Luke 20:27, we read how that the Sadducees came to Jesus, tempting Him. This religious group denied the existence of spirits and the resurrection. They put before Him an extreme, although not impossible case, that of a woman who had been the wife, successively, of seven brethren; and the Sadducees ask, "In the resurrection therefore whose wife of them shall she be?" Jesus answered, "The sons of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: for neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection."
Consider how Jesus plays with the word around which the Sadducee mind revolves. To them marriage was the key-word which locked up the gates of an after-life, and threw back the resurrection among the impossibilities and absurdities. But Jesus unlocks and opens the inner souls of these men, showing how, in spite of their intelligence, their thoughts were wrong. Marriage has its place in the life whose boundaries are birth and death, here on Earth. It exists mainly for the perpetuation and increase of the human race. It has to do with the lower nature of man, the physical, the earthly life; but in the world to come birth, marriage and death all will be gone.
Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.(KJV)
And exactly the same truth is taught by the three following appearances recorded in this Gospel. When they appeared upon the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elias had been residents of the other world, the one for nine centuries, the other for fourteen centuries. But while they possessed the form, and perhaps the features of the old body of Earth, the glorious body they wear now is under conditions and laws altogether different. How easy and floating are its movements! Though their bodies possess no wings, it has the lightness and buoyancy of a bird, moving through the air swiftly and silently as the light pulses through the atmosphere. And too, consider the Body of Christ’s resurrection life. It has not yet become the glorified Body of the heavenly life; it is in its transition state, between the two: yet how changed it is! Lifted above the needs and laws of our earth-bound nature, the risen Christ no longer lives among His own; He dwells apart . . . where . . . we know not. When He does appear He comes in upon them suddenly, giving no warning of His approach; and then, after the bright although brief appearance, He vanishes just as mysteriously as He came, and finally passing on the clouds to Heaven.
I am certain that there is therefore some kind of communication between the body of the old and of the new body, although how far the similarity extends we do not know. We can only fall back on the apostle Paul’s words: 1 Cor.15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (KJV) . . . It is no longer the "natural body," but is now a supernatural one, with a spiritual instead of a material form, and under spiritual laws.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that our character determines our destiny. Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (KJV) . . . A man’s life does NOT consist in the abundance of things he possesses. Earthly wealth should NOT be our goal in this life, and it certainly is NOT the proper wealth according to Jesus! ALL worldly wealth shall be left behind as sediment, when they reach the obstacle of the grave, if not before. A man’s possessions do NOT create the true life, nor do they make the real self! It is NOT what a man HAS, but what a man IS, and a man IS exactly what his heart makes him. The outer life is simply the revealing of the inner soul, and what is called character. The meaning of character, is the elusive and silent influence, the fragrance which the soul unconsciously throws out . . . this fragrance can be either a fragrant (a good smell) or the opposite (a rotten, stinking odor).
In this world, character is more than a just condition, for it gives aim and direction to the whole life. Men do not always reach their goal in earthly things, but in the moral world each man goes to his "own place," the place he himself has chosen and sought; he is the negotiator of his own destiny. What we find to be a law of Earth, is also the law of the Kingdom of Heaven, as Jesus was constantly affirming. Our destiny would be our harvest of our earthly deeds, the hereafter would be the after-here. Jesus shows us how while on Earth we may lay up "treasures in the heavens." He draws a vivid picture of "a certain rich man," whose one estimate of life was "the abundance of the things which he possessed," the size and affluence of his barns, and whose soul was required of him just when he was congratulating himself for the years of plenty, saying: "Take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry". (Lk.12:16-22). Jesus does not give us the destiny of such a soul. He does this in another parable . . . but He pictures it as suddenly torn away, and eternally separated, from all it had possessed, leaving it, possibly, to be squandered or consumed by the fires of lust. In the eyes of this world, such a man would be thought to be wise and happy, but to Heaven, he is the "foolish one," committing the great, the eternal folly.
The same lesson is taught in the parables of the House-builders (Lk.6:47), and of the Talents (Lk.19:12). In each of these, there comes the unavoidable test, the reckoning of the Lord, a test which leaves the obedient ones secure and happy, the faithful promoted to honor and rewards, but the disobedient, if not buried in the ruins of their false hopes, with no shelter from the unforgiving storm, and the unfaithful and slothful servant stripped of even the little he had, and condemned to eternal dishonor and shame.
In another parable, that of the Rich Man and Lazarus, (Lk.16:19-31), we have a light thrown upon our subject which is very bright. In a few graphic words Jesus draws for us the picture of very strange contrasts. The one is rich, dwelling in a palace, whose imposing entrance looked down upon the bad-mannered crowd. This one was clothed in garments of purple which only great wealth could purchase, and faring lavishly every day. With his perpetual banquets, the rich man lived his selfish, sensual life. His thought was centered on himself alone. He had no thoughts or sympathies for anyone outside his little world. His thoughts certainly did not travel the short distance to the poor beggar who is cast daily at his gate, in hopes that some of the crumbs of the banquet may fall within his reach. Such is the contrast . . . extreme wealth, and extreme poverty. One with hordes of friends, the other friendless . . . for the verb shows that the hands which laid him down by the rich man’s gate were not the gentle hands of affection, but the rough hands of duty or of a cold charity. The one clothed in splendid attire, the other not possessing enough even to cover his sores; the one gorged to near bursting, the other shrunken and starved. Such were the two characters Jesus portrayed in the parable . . . and then, lifting up the veil of shadows, He shows us how the noticeable contrast reappears in the other world, but with a very strange reversing of facts.
Now the poor man is blessed, but the rich man is in utter distress; the one is embraced in Abraham’s bosom, the other enclosed in flames; the one has all the abundant delights of Paradise, the other begging for just a drop of water with which to cool the parched tongue.
So many say that this is just a parable, and must not be taken literally. I strongly disagree! The parables of Jesus were NOT simply word-pictures; they all held an essential Truth. And when we eliminate all this symbolic coloring, there is still left this remaining and basic Truth, that being . . . our character determines our destiny! Our eternal future, my friend, is the shadow of our present selves . . . the good shall be blessed, and the evil shall be unblessed, which means accursed or cursed. Heaven and Hell are tremendous realities, whose pleasures and whose pains lie FAR beyond the sound of our weak words.
When the rich man forgot his duties to humanity; when he expelled God from his mansion and forbid mercy from entering his thoughts; when he left Heaven’s orphan to the dogs, he was writing his book of doom, and passing sentence upon himself. The tree lies as it falls, and it falls as it leans. There surely is a place for the unforgiving, the unregenerate, the sensual, the selfish, the unjust and the unclean, but somewhere out there in the outer darkness, they themselves have helped make that place for themselves. Evil could never compromise or blend with the good, the pure can never be in the same eternal place with the vile. Wherever and whatever our final PLACE may be, NO one is an outcast except the one who casts himself out.
Could there not be an after test, so that character itself could be transformed? Isn’t it possible that the "great gulf" will one day disappear, or at least be bridged over? Isn’t there some way for the then repentant to pass out of its purifying fires? Isn’t there a purgatory of something like some religions teach, so that Hell need NOT be permanent? My friend, such indeed, is the belief or hope of millions! BUT . . . "the larger hope" as they call it, as far as the Gospel of Christ is concerned, is NOTHING but a beautiful but deceptive dream!
JESUS HIMSELF WAS/IS THE "RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE," and ONLY He holds in His own Hands, the keys of death and of Hades, and He NEVER ever gives any hint of such a subsequent happening. The Bible speaks again and again of a day of test and examination, when actions shall be weighed and characters scanned, and when men will be judged according to their works. According to works: (Ps.62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Isa.59:18; Jer.21:14; 25:14; 32:19; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:8-9; 18:30; Hos.12:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Rom.2:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).
The "Coming" of the Son of Man, in the glory of His Father, with an entourage of "holy angels" shall be the returning of the Lord, and His reckoning with His servants; while again it is at the end of the age, as the angel-reapers separate the wheat from the tares; or as He Himself, the great Judge, with His "Come ye," passes on the faithful to the heavenly kingdom, and at the same time, with His "Depart ye," drives from His Presence the unfaithful and unforgiven into the outer darkness. Jesus does NOT say one word to suggest that the judgment is NOT final. The unfaithful servant is "cut asunder" (Mat. 25:51), the enemies who would not have their Lord to reign over them are slain (Lk.19:27), and when once the door is shut, it is all in vain that those outside cry, "Lord, open to us (Mat.25:11)!" They HAD an open door, but they slighted and scorned it, and now they must abide by their choice, OUTSIDE the door, OUTSIDE the Kingdom, with the "workers of iniquity," where "there is weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Lk.13:28).
Do you see any larger hope in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man? Do you see the "pains of hell" being lessened? Or, in due course escaped altogether? NO! NO! NO! Millions listen in vain for one tiny bit of hope. In vain the rich man makes his appeal to "father Abraham"; in vain he pleads for good Lazarus to give him one drop of water, in vain he asks for a brief lessening of his pain. Between the rich man and any help or hope, is a "great gulf fixed that none may cross," (Lk.16:26) . . . that NONE may cross! These are the words of Jesus, although here put in the mouth of Abraham. My friend, IF this is not final, what is?
We do NOT know what the judgment may be, that is passed upon those who, although erring, are ignorant. We cannot tell, although Jesus clearly indicates that the number of the stripes will vary; according if they knew, or they did not know, the Lord’s will. BUT, for ALL those who had the light, and turned away from it, who saw what was right, but did it not do it, who heard the Gospel of love, with its great salvation message, and rejected it . . . for these there is only an "outer darkness" of eternal hopelessness according to the Holy Word of Almighty God! And what is that outer darkness? It is the darkness of their own inner blindness, a blindness which was willful and persistent in their stubborn hearts and minds?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ therefore teaches that death does NOT alter our character, that our character defines our destiny, and that our destiny once determined is unchangeable and eternal. Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (KJV)
Gospel of Luke
ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch.3 . . ch.4 . . ch.5 . . ch.6 . . ch.7 . . ch.8 . . ch.9 . . ch.10 . . ch.11 . . ch.12 . . ch.13 . .ch.13 . . ch.14 . . ch.15 . . ch.16 . . ch.17 . . ch.18 . . ch.19 . . ch.20 . .ch.21 . . ch.22 . . ch.23 . . ch.24