Luke 24 – On the Road to Emmaus

(Note: for a summary of the events of this chapter from the resurrection at dawn to Jesus’ first appearances to Mary Magdalene and the other women, please see post at this link.  After the resurrection, Jesus – as He had told the disciples in Matthew 26:32 that He would meet them there – would be with them at the Sea of Galilee, and at a mountain there that He directs them to.  But several other events occur before and after this, the details of which are interspersed throughout the gospels in Matthew 28 and John 20.  And events in a single chapter are in some cases separated by days, and even weeks, as Jesus remained for forty days before the ascension.)

El Kubeibeh, also spelled el-Qubeibeh, is the most likely, of the four traditional sites, as the site of Bible-time Emmaus, on the road to which Jesus appeared to Cleopas and a friend after his resurrection

It is still Sunday, the day that Jesus rose; and two of His disciples were traveling to the village of Emmaus.  One was named Cleopas, but we do not know the name of the other.  We are told in verse 16 that “their eyes were kept from recognizing him” when Jesus drew near.  When He asks them about the conversation they are having, the two men proceed to tell him about Jesus of Nazareth.  They speak of how great he was, how the chief priests and rulers condemned and crucified him.  And now, they say, some women of their company had been to his tomb and found it empty – a fact which others confirmed!  They are clearly distressed.

Jesus then gave them a mild rebuke for being slow to believe what the prophets had spoken.  He then interpreted Scriptures from Moses and the prophets concerning the Christ.   As they reached the village, they urged him to stay with them, as the evening would be coming soon.  He blessed and broke bread with them, and it was at this point that their eyes were opened and they recognized him.  Jesus then vanished from their sight.

That very hour, they went back to Jerusalem and found the eleven, who confirmed to the two traveler’s that yes, Jesus has risen (verse 34) and has appeared to Simon (Peter).  No details here or in the other three gospels are given of that appearance to Peter (although Paul does speak of it in 1 Corinthians 15:5). But given Peter’s intense grief over his denial of Jesus, it was important to reach him quickly; and it was important to get to the rest of the eleven this day as well.

In the 40 days from His resurrection to his ascension to heaven, Jesus appeared many times to His disciples.

Jesus then entered while the men were talking, and they were frightened, as if He was a spirit.  He had them touch him, and even ate some fish in front of them – spending some time to assure them both that he was a living man, and the same Jesus they had known.  He then opened their minds to the Scriptures concerning Him.  Jesus then tells them a bit about the witness they will bear to the world in the great commission, but he says they must stay in Jerusalem until they are “clothed with power from on high” (the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts).  When He tells them to stay in Jerusalem, he means after he is gone.  They will be with him at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1), and on a mountain in Galilee that He has directed them to (Matthew 28:16) before his ascension.  Galilee is three days journey from Jerusalem.

Bethany is about two miles east of Jerusalem, on the east slope of the Mount of Olives.

Luke records Jesus’ ascension to heaven (at the end of forty days) in verses 50-53, as he leads them from Jerusalem to Bethany.  We are told in verses 52-53 that they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.”

Side note: Why did Jesus appear to them in Jerusalem, when He knew that they would meet Him in Galilee – and He had told Mary Magdalene and other disciples as well?  Peter and the other apostles, as well as many other disciples (witness the “road to Emmaus account) were grief-stricken, traumatized, and even afraid for their own lives (John 20:19).  Two very well-written articles that deal with this subject can be found here and here.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

The Savior Slain and Risen \ Week 36 summary posted

This week, we will read first about the crucifixion.  Then we will spend the rest of the week with some details of the time after the Lord’s resurrection from the perspective of the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John.  We know from 1 Corinthians 15:5-9 that Jesus appeared to more than five hundred in the forty days before His ascension to heaven.  We will focus in the next few days mostly on the time from His appearance to the disciples onward.  Today though, let us spend a bit of time on the first hours of the day of His resurrection.

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, one traditional site of Jesus’ burial. It is safe to say that it is not the tomb of Jesus, but it is useful as a realistic example.

We need to keep a few things in mind.  First, as is often the case with the Scriptures, events recorded in the four gospels are not always in chronological order.  Also, as we have discussed before, each of the four was written to a different audience; and we find things phrased differently, as well as additional events in one gospel not found in another.  Finally, we have seen time and again that there are some things we would like to know that the scriptures just do not tell us.  In this case, the commentator James Burton Coffman says it best: “…it was part of the Father’s wisdom to give men just the amount of revelation which would leave them free to make their own moral decision.

The resurrection accounts of the gospels are favorite citations for those unbelievers who feel compelled to invest their time trying to find alleged contradictions.  Of course, such allegations are baseless.  Putting the four gospel accounts together gives us a more complete picture of the events of that great morning.  For a complete comprehensive and easy to read harmonization of the four gospels, I recommend the following book (also available in Kindle format): “The Fourfold Gospel” by John McGarvey (ISBN-10 # 1936341018, ISBN-13 # 978-1936341016).

Keeping Coffman’s caveat  in mind, the following is a summary of the events in all four gospels (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-18) of the early morning of the resurrection up to Jesus’ first appearances to Mary Magdalene and the other women:

1.  Several women came to the tomb of Jesus before dawn on the first day of the week (Sunday) with spices to anoint His body.  From the four gospels, we know that group included at minimum Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (Jesus’ mother), Salome, and Joanna.

2. The Sabbath ended at sundown on Saturday.  The key sentence in Luke 23:56 is that on the Sabbath, the women “rested according to the commandment.”  This means that they would not be preparing the spices and ointments until the Sabbath was over (at sundown).

3. The women set out for the tomb with the spices while it was still dark on the first day of the week.  The translation of the grammar used in Mark confuses many, but the key to understanding is that Mark 16:1-2 simply distinguishes the fact that when they went very early on the first day of the week, they did it in the morning – not just after sundown on Saturday!

4. There was a great earthquake, and an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled away the stone and sat on it.  The fear that brought to the guards is stated – along with the statement that they became like dead men.  Perhaps they were just paralyzed with fear, or perhaps they were made unable to move.  We are not told.  The point is that the seal was broken, and the stone would not be allowed to be moved back in front of the tomb.

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, one traditional site of Jesus’ burial. It is safe to say that it is not the tomb of Jesus, but it is useful as a realistic example.

5.  At this point, we know from John that it was Mary Magdalene who ran to tell Peter and John that (as she believes) someone has taken the body.  John and Mark both indicate that Mary had left the other women.  While she is gone, two angels speak to the women she had separated from, telling them that Jesus had risen and they must tell the disciples “and Peter” that He is risen and that they must go to Galilee. Many of the guards leave to go tell the Sanhedrin what has happened, while the other women leave to find the disciples.  It is important to get word to all the disciples.  But Peter is mentioned separately probably because it is important that in his grief, he does not think he would be cast off because of his denial (in Matthew 26:69-75).

6. Peter and John run to the tomb and eventually both go inside and leave, satisfied that Jesus is gone.  John “believes” but Peter is puzzled about what happened.  They went back home and the other women would come tell them (as well as the other disciples) what the angels had said to them.

7. Mary, back at the tomb weeping after Peter and John had left, now looks into it for the first time and sees it empty except for the angels – sitting at the head and foot where Jesus had laid.  Perhaps from her tears blinding her or perhaps prevented from truly “seeing” (as with the disciples in Luke 24:16), she does not react to the angels or recognize Jesus until He calls her name (John 20:16).  Jesus tells her not to delay by clinging to Him, but to go to tell the disciples that He is going to His Father (and their Father).

8. Mary does go and tell the disciples that she has seen the Lord.  The other women are met by Jesus on their way (Matthew 28:9); and they are allowed the delay briefly, as they take hold of His feet and worship Him.  Then He sends them to continue on to the disciples as well.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 36 (September Week 1) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about John 12, Matt 24 and 25, John 13, and John 14, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.