But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
(a) The first day of the week began at sunset at the end of the Sabbath (Saturday night). But dawn means the women came to the tomb on Sunday morning.
(b) They came to the tomb. At least three women came to the tomb; Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome (Mark 16:1). ). It’s possible that Joanna was also there along with another unnamed woman (see Luke 24:10).
Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.
(a) Mary Magdalene; see entry for Luke 8:2.
(b) Joanna was the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward (Luke 8:3).
If there was ever a woman who was grateful for Jesus, it was Joanna. Jesus had healed or delivered her of evil spirits (Luke 8:2) and it is possible that her son was also healed by Jesus (see entry for John 4:46–50). Joanna provided funds to support Jesus during his ministry (Luke 8:3). Since she was a woman of some means, it’s possible she paid for the spices that had been prepared for Jesus (Luke 23:56).
Joanna is not mentioned as being present at the tomb, but since she brought the report with the other women, it is likely that she was.
(c) Mary the mother of James was also the mother of Joseph (Mark 15:40) and probably the wife of Clopas (John 19:25). If so, Mary was Jesus’ aunt on his father’s side (see entry for Matt. 27:56).
(b) The other women suggests at least two more women were witnesses of the empty tomb. One of these was Salome (Mark 16:1). The other woman is unnamed.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.
Sometime after Simon Peter left the tomb, the Risen Lord appeared to him. See entry for Luke 24:34.
And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.
Two of them. One of the two disciples was named Cleopas (Luke 24:18). If this Cleopas is the Clopas who is mentioned in John 19:25, the other unnamed disciple may be Mary, his wife. This Mary had earlier that morning visited the empty tomb (see entry for Mark 16:1).
Seven miles. In the original language the distance indicated is 60 stadia. A Roman stadion is a little over 600 feet or 185 metres, which gives us a journey of about seven miles or eleven kilometres in total. However, some manuscripts say Emmaus was 160 stadia from Jerusalem, which is considerably further. All we can say for sure is that Cleopas and the other disciple walked there and back on the same day.
But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.
Prevented. Jesus looked different. “He appeared in a different form” (Mark 16:12).
The two disciples knew Jesus as an earthly man, but they had never seen him in his resurrection body. This is not to suggest that Jesus had taken on a radically new appearance, but the two disciples had never seen his glorious resurrection body before. Earthly bodies age and break and the last time they saw Jesus his body was broken and disfigured. This Jesus – the one that walked beside them – looked like a god; glorious, ageless, and without blemish.
Other disciples who failed to recognize the risen Lord include Mary Magdalene (outside the empty tomb; John 20:15) and the disciples in the fishing boat (John 21:4).
One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?”
Cleopas may have been the Clopas who is mentioned in John 19:25.
And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people,
Jesus the Nazarene. A Nazarene was someone from Nazareth, a Galilean town of little consequence. In Judea, Jesus was known as a Nazarene in fulfilment of prophecy (see entry for Matt. 2:23).
“But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning,
(a) Some women. Possibly as many as five women visited the tomb (see entry for Luke 24:10).
(b) Women among us. With this short phrase we witness the beginnings of a profound shift in the male mindset. These men did not care that women were regarded as unreliable witnesses or that men weren’t supposed to talk to women. Nor did they care that their company included female disciples. Because Jesus valued women, they valued women. Because Jesus spoke to women, they spoke to women. For the men who had been with Jesus, everything had changed. Treating women with respect had become the new normal, and it remained normal all through the New Testament.
Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
(a) Moses. There are hundreds of Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, but it seems that Jesus focused on those that pointed to his suffering, death, and resurrection (see previous verse). Moses introduced the Passover Lamb, a clear prophetic symbol of the coming Lamb of God who would be sacrificed for the sins of the world.
(b) The prophets. The prophet Isaiah said the Messiah would be rejected by his own people and led like a lamb to the slaughter (Is. 53:3, 7) and Jeremiah said something similar (Jer. 11:19). Prophets such as David and Zechariah said the hands and feet of the Messiah would be pierced (Ps. 22:16, Zech. 12:10). Zechariah prophesied that the Shepherd would be struck and his sheep scattered (Zech. 13:7).
Psalm 22 presents a startling prophetic account of the crucifixion as it mentions the casting of lots for the Messiah’s clothes (Ps. 22:18) and the “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” phrase uttered by Jesus on the cross (Ps. 22:1). Psalm 31 gives another uncanny picture of the crucifixion. It alludes to the slander and schemes laid against the Messiah (Ps. 31:13) and how he would become an object of dread to those who knew him (Ps. 31:11). This psalm also has the “Into Your hand I commit my spirit” phrase also uttered by Jesus (Ps. 31:5).
Several Old Testament prophecies and events allude to the resurrection of the Messiah. The Sons of Korah give us the Messianic line: “God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol” (Ps. 49:15), while Jonah gives us a picture of a man as good as dead and rising on the third day (Jon. 1:17).
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
They recognized Jesus when he broke the bread and gave it to them. Perhaps they remembered him breaking the bread three nights earlier at the Last Supper, but there is no evidence they were present at that meal. It’s more likely they saw his pierced hands. Although Jesus was clothed with a new and glorious body, he retained the marks of his crucifixion (see John 20:25-27).
And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them,
Returned to Jerusalem. Cleopas and the unnamed disciple got back to Jerusalem well after dark. (They had asked Jesus to stay with them in Emmaus because it was late in the day. “It is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over” (Luke 24:29).) Since Passover takes place at the first full moon of each spring, Cleopas and Mary would have had plenty of moonlight to guide them on their walk back to Jerusalem.
How did they get through the city gate which would have been shut? They most likely entered through a smaller gate manned by watchmen. When Saul was in Damascus, he was told that hostile Jews were watching the gates “day and night” (Acts 9:24).
saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.”
Appeared to Simon. At the start of the day Simon Peter had visited the empty tomb (Luke 24:12). At that time he did not see Jesus, but the Risen Lord had appeared to him some time later. “He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (1 Cor. 15:5). We know nothing about the details of this appearance, but it is significant that the Lord first appeared to the disciple who had denied him.
But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.
Seeing a spirit. The startled disciples did not believe Jesus was really alive. They thought they were seeing a ghost. This was not the first time they had made this mistake (see Matt. 14:26). To demonstrate that he was fully real with a physical body, Jesus ate some fish (Luke 24:43).
And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
He showed them His hands and His feet which evidently retained the marks of his crucifixion (see John 20:25-27).
and He took it and ate it before them.
The Risen Lord ate the fish to dispel the illusion that he was merely a ghost or spirit (see Luke 24:37).
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
(a) The Law of Moses refers to the commandments, ordinances, punishments, and ceremonial observances given to the nation of Israel through Moses (Jos. 8:31). This law is sometimes referred to as the law of commandments (Eph. 2:15) or the law of the Jews (Acts 25:8). See entry for The Law.
(b) The Prophets and the Psalms; see entry for Luke 24:27.
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
He opened their minds to understand. The disciples knew the scriptures, but they did not understand the scriptures. That is, they did not see Jesus in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.
What you look through determines what you see. If you think the Bible is a rulebook for living, you will see rules on every page. Your mind will be closed to the reality of Christ. But if you believe the Bible is the revelation of Jesus, you will see Jesus on every page. The Holy Spirit seeks to reveal Jesus to us through the Scriptures (see John 15:26). If reading the Bible causes us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, we can be sure that we have heard what the Spirit is saying (see entry for Rev. 1:7).
and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
(a) Repentance for forgiveness. The word for has been added and a more accurate translation may be repentance and forgiveness. We don’t repent to get God to forgive us because his forgiveness is a done deal. We repent (change our unbelieving minds) to receive the forgiveness he has provided in his Son.
The good news is God loves you with a love that keeps no record of wrongs. He chooses to remember your sins no more and he holds nothing against you. The cross is the proof. Jesus forgave his killers and he forgave you while you were dead in your trespasses (Rom. 5:8). Because of his great love, he has made a way for you to come home to him. Our repentance is always a response to, and not a cause of God’s kindness (Rom. 2:4).
(b) Forgiveness of sins. The original word for forgiveness (aphesis) is a noun that is sometimes translated as remission and means a letting go or dismissal (Matt. 26:28, Mark 1:4, 3:29, Luke 1:77, 3:3, 4:18, Acts 2:38, 5:31, 13:38, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14, Heb. 9:22, 10:18). On the cross the Lamb of God carried the sins of the whole world (John 1:29, 2 John 2:2). All your sins have been forgiven, cancelled, dismissed and sent away.
On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus told the disciples to preach the remission of sins or the good news of unconditional forgiveness and they did (see entry for Acts 13:38). Because of his great love, God chooses to remember your sins no more (Heb. 8:12, 10:17), and he is no longer holding your sins and trespasses against you (2 Cor. 5:19). However, you will never experience his forgiveness unless you receive it by faith. Only in Christ do we have the forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14).
Further reading: “Is forgiveness something God does or gives?”
(c) Beginning from Jerusalem. The message of grace and forgiveness was for all nations, but it was particularly for the Jews. “Beginning at Jerusalem,” said Jesus, as though he knew there would be some who would deny grace to his killers. “God’s grace is for all, but those in Jerusalem get to hear about it first.” See entry for Acts 1:8.
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- Luke 24:1
- Luke 24:10
- Luke 24:12
- Luke 24:13
- Luke 24:16
- Luke 24:18
- Luke 24:19
- Luke 24:22
- Luke 24:27
- Luke 24:31
- Luke 24:33
- Luke 24:34
- Luke 24:37
- Luke 24:40
- Luke 24:43
- Luke 24:44
- Luke 24:45
- Luke 24:47