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.
Luke 24:2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
Luke 24:3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
Luke 24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
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?
Luke 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
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.
Continuing right on in context from the previous chapter, we are told that on the first day of the week (Sunday), the women brought the spices they had prepared to Jesus’ grave very early in the morning. When they arrived, the stone had been rolled away from the opening; so they went into the cave and found that Jesus’ body was missing. This obviously was not what they were expecting. As they were trying to process what could have happened, two men (obviously angels) appeared to them in shining garments. The women were frightened and fell down prostrate before them. The angels calmly asked them why they were looking for someone who was alive among the dead. Jesus had risen as He had told them He would when teaching them in Galilee. He had specifically told them that He would be delivered into the hands of sinful men to be crucified and that He would rise again on the third day.
Though obvious, I think we sometimes forget that the angels are well aware of all that is going on here on earth and are well informed so as to most effectively minister to those of us who are “heirs of salvation” according to the Father’s will.
Hebrews 1:13–14 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
I think Matthew also adds some important information to take into account.
Matthew 27:62–66 “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.”
Pilate had appointed soldiers to keep watch over the tomb so as to effectively squelch any report of a supposed resurrection. Isn’t it amazing that in spite of the irrefutable evidence that Jesus had arisen from the grave just as He had said The chief priests didn’t even consider that they had made a mistake and should repent of their actions. In fact, when the soldiers came to report what had happened, they decided to bribe the soldiers to lie and say that the body had been stolen while they slept.
Matthew 28:11–15 “Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”
Luke 24:8 And they remembered his words,
Luke 24:9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
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.
Luke 24:11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
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.
It seems that the words of the angels triggered their memories; it must have been the point in time that God chose to remove whatever had kept them from understanding.
Luke 9:43–45 “And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.”
The women couldn’t wait to go and report to the eleven apostles and other disciples that were with them. Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James are identified by name; but it is clear that there were others with them. I think that Mary the mother of Jesus must have been with the apostles or surely she would have been named.
The apostles didn’t believe them; that statement surprised me. These women had been strong supporters of the Lord and His disciples. They were obviously excited and eager to share the good news with the others. They were all used to experiencing supernatural things when following Jesus, so why would they doubt the women in light of what Jesus had taught them?
It doesn’t surprise me that Peter was the one identified as running to the grave to see for himself. He had already experienced a tremendous disappointment due to his lack of faith, and he didn’t want to fail yet again. When he got to the grave, he saw the grave clothes but no body. Still, instead of embracing the truth of Jesus’ resurrection, he left still wondering what had happened.
John tells us that Peter didn’t go alone to the grave; though not specifically named, it is widely accepted that he went with Peter. John also points out that the head linen was folded and set apart from the other linen wrappings. (Personal note: This is one of the main reasons that I do not believe that the shroud of Turin is authentic.)
I think it is important to again note that there are discrepancies in the gospel accounts of events regarding the resurrection. Yes, the Holy Spirit inspired every word of scripture; but He spoke through the experiences of the writers. Luke in particular would have been recording what he had heard second hand. It’s also important to remember that each gospel writer directed his account to a different audience with specific purpose. It doesn’t make any witness wrong; it is just a presentation of the facts from different perspectives. All you have to do is listen to the witnesses called in any court case to understand this reality.
Luke 24:13 ¶ And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
Luke 24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
Luke 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
Luke 24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
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?
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?
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:
Luke 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
“two of them” – Evidently referring to two of the disciples in the group that heard the message of the women. One of the men is identified as Cleopas.
The two men headed out that same day to the village of Emmaus, approximately 7 miles from Jerusalem according to Easton’s Dictionary. Naturally, they couldn’t help talking about all that had happened. As they were talking, Jesus joined them; but they did not recognize Him. Again, God had supernaturally hidden Him from recognition. Jesus asked them what they were discussing that had made them so sad. Cleopas decided that this man must have been a stranger to Jerusalem not to know what the big news of the week was. Jesus pressed them to tell Him about it. So he told Him about Jesus of Nazareth, a mighty prophet in word and deed, that the chief priests and Sanhedrin had delivered to Pilate who had condemned Him to death by crucifixion in accordance with their will.
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.
Luke 24:22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
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.
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.
Cleopas went on to explain that they had thought Jesus was the promised Messiah that was to redeem Israel—implying that they had been proven wrong. He went on to note that this had happened three days ago. This day, however, a group of women had gone to the grave early in the morning, but His body was gone. They came back and reported that they had seen angels that told them Jesus was alive. A couple of the disciples then ran to the grave and verified the truth of the women’s report. It was true—Jesus was not there.
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
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.
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.
Luke 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
After hearing the report from Cleopas, Jesus begins to talk to them with an address that is pretty pointed; but I think He is really remarking on the heart of the Jewish people in general as He directs His remarks to the two disciples.
Jesus observes how foolish and slow of heart the people are to believe the words recorded by the prophets. He then poses a question in light of those prophecies (I think with the words of Isaiah especially in mind)—Shouldn’t the Messiah have suffered all that you told me to establish His kingdom (I think is the implication). He then began at Moses and continued on through the prophets to point out all the scriptures that spoke of Him.
As they neared Emmaus, Jesus indicated He had further to go; but they urged Him to stay with them for the night. Jesus consented; and as they sat down to eat, He took the bread and blessed it before breaking it and serving them. Finally, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him. Did they see the nail prints in His hands? Then Jesus immediately vanished out of sight.
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?
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,
Luke 24:34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
Luke 24:35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
The men realized that there was good reason that their hearts spoke to them as Jesus told them of the scriptures. Like the women, they couldn’t wait to share their experience. That same hour they headed back to Jerusalem and rejoined the eleven apostles and the other followers of Jesus that were with them. The group reported to the two men that Jesus had indeed risen because he appeared to Simon Peter. The two men then gave their own testimony to Jesus’ resurrection and how they hadn’t recognized Him until He broke bread with them.
Luke 24:36 ¶ And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
Luke 24:37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
Luke 24:38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
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.
Luke 24:40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
Luke 24:41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
Luke 24:42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
Luke 24:43 And he took it, and did eat before them.
While they were yet speaking, Jesus appeared in their midst saying, “Peace unto you.” In spite of all they had heard—the disciples were afraid and thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus asks them why they are afraid and why they doubted that He was real. He then tells them to look at His hands and feet, to touch Him and verify that He is real. The disciples were still not convinced, so Jesus asked for some food which He ate right in front of them.
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.
Luke 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
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:
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
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.
As with the two on the road to Emmaus (who were in the group), He reminds them that everything prophesied by Moses, the prophets and in the psalms concerning Him, the Messiah, had to be fulfilled. Finally, He supernaturally enabled them to understand the truth from the scriptures. They understood that Jesus had to die and rise from the grave the third day so that the message of repentance and remission of sins could be preached as the gospel message. It was important that it begin in Jerusalem. In fact, they were those chosen as witnesses to the fulfillment of those prophecies.
Then Jesus gives them a very precious promise; He is going to send a pledge from the Father to empower them to share this message. We now know that pledge or promise is the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit. He would guarantee that all the rest of the prophecies about the Messiah were fulfilled.
Ephesians 1:3 & 12-14 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…. That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Jesus instructs them to wait in Jerusalem until they receive this empowerment from the Father.
Luke 24:50 ¶ And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
Luke 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
Luke 24:52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
Luke 24:53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Luke tells us nothing more about the intervening time that Jesus tarried to testify of His resurrection and provide the final words of instruction and encouragement to the apostles. He takes us directly to the point in time when Jesus returns victorious to heaven to take His seat at the right hand of the Father to await the appointed time for His return to establish the kingdom.
He led them up the Mount of Olives to Bethany and lifted up His hand in blessing over them. While He was blessing them, He was carried up into heaven. His followers then return to Jerusalem with great joy worshipping Him as they went. While they waited according to His instruction, they spent time at the temple praising and blessing God.
“Amen” = trustworthy; so be it
I have just basically gone through this chapter and retold the related events in my own words. There is so much here to think about. Some of my thoughts and observations concerning these events follow.
Obviously, none of Jesus’ followers believed He would be resurrected from the grave. In fact, they didn’t believe it when they saw it without further proof. It is clear to me that the record in scripture is the more believable because of how it reveals the disbelief His own disciples exhibited toward His resurrection.
Having quite a bit of bible study behind me at this point in time, it stands out that Jesus was determined to elevate the status of women in society. It is to women that the resurrection is first revealed. Though I didn’t include it in this narrative, John informs us that Jesus actually appeared to a woman first, Mary Magdalene, after Peter and John left the empty tomb.
Jesus was always intent upon pointing out the accuracy of the prophetic scriptures. He knew it was important that they understand without a doubt that He was the promised Messiah. I think He was also intent on having His Father honored and glorified through the fulfillment of His prophecies.
Jesus showed His interest in the faith of all His disciples—not just the apostles—those we would consider the most important. He appeared to a couple of men traveling home to Emmaus before appearing to the group of apostles.
It stood out to me that sometime after talking to Mary Magdalene and before appearing to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He spent some time with Peter. Jesus doesn’t hold grudges against us for our failures; He is ever concerned about encouraging us to continue to grow in our faith in spite of our failures.
Jesus always boldly spoke the truth. In His concern to grow the faith of the two disciples traveling to Emmaus He spoke with loving rebuke of their attitude toward the scripture. He didn’t tailor His message to what they wanted to hear; He told them what they needed to hear. It’s also clear that He didn’t allow their weakness of faith to keep them from fellowship with Him. He used it as an opportunity to show His love and grow their faith.
Jesus understands our human weaknesses; He didn’t berate the disciples for being so slow to believe the truth even when they saw Him. He allowed them to touch Him and proceeded to eat in front of them to let them process the fact that their eyes were not deceiving them.
According to Jesus’ example, it would seem that our resurrection bodies will be able to materialize and dematerialize at will. Neither will they impede our ability to enjoy food. How cool is that!
I think it was also to strengthen their faith that the Lord graciously chose to let His followers see Him ascend into heaven. I think this helped to strengthen their resolve in light of the opposition and persecution they would face in the future—some even to the point of death. Though they would no longer get to experience the presence of His person, they would soon possess the indwelling Holy Spirit and would never be without His provision and protection. I think this was all vital to the spread of the gospel and the establishment of a firm foundation for the growth of the true church.
Luke is careful to point out that Jesus declared that the gospel was to be preached in His name to ALL nations. It was to begin in Jerusalem with the Jews but was not to be limited to Jerusalem and the Jews.