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Luke 24


The Resurrection of Jesus He Is Risen The First Easter The Resurrection The Empty Tomb. The Angel's Message
  24:1-12 24:1-12 24:1-7 24:1-8
      24:8-12 The Apostles Refuse to Believe the Women
        Peter at the Tomb
The Walk to Emmaus The Road to Emmaus On the Road to Emmaus The Walk to Emmaus The Road to Emmaus
24:13-27 24:13-27 24:13-27 24:13-17a 24:13-17
  The Disciples Eyes Opened   24:25-27 24:25-27
24:28-35 24:28-35 24:28-35 24:28-32 24:28-32
      24:33-34 24:33-35
Appearance to the Disciples Jesus Appears to His Disciples Commissioning of the Disciples Jesus Appears to His Disciples Jesus Appears to the Apostles
24:36-43 24:36-43 24:36-43 24:36 24:36-43
  The Scriptures Opened   24:40-43 Last Instructions to the Apostles
24:44-49 24:44-49 24:44-49 24:44 24:44-48
The Ascension of Jesus The Ascension   Jesus is Taken Up to Heaven The Ascension
24:50-53 24:50-53 24:50-53 24:50-53 24:50-53

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



A. The details of the post-resurrection events differ among the four Gospels. This exemplifies the genuineness of the eyewitness accounts and also the evangelistic purposes of each Gospel to a select target group. See Fee and Stuart, How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth, pp.127-148.


B. Remember the Gospel writers were not writing a history in the western, modern sense, but recording selected facts to better present the Christian message. Their purpose is not historical record, but primarily theological truth (cf. John 20:3-31). The Bible's primary purpose is to bring us to a personal confrontation with a holy God through His crucified Son.


C.  Luke's sources about the post-resurrection period is different from the other Gospels. In Luke the forty day period between Jesus' appearance in the upper room and His ascension from the Mount of Olives are structured as if they all happened in one day (Easter Sunday)!


D. There are several Greek manuscript variations in this chapter. Luke contains most of the shorter readings found in the western family (MSS D and W) of Greek manuscripts when compared to the Alexandrian family (MSS א and B). Here is a list of the shorter readings (from A. T. Robertson, An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, pp. 226-227).

1. Luke 5:39

2. Luke 10:41-42

3. Luke 12:19,21,39

4. Luke 22:19b,20,62

5. Luke 24:3,6,9,12,36,40,52,53

Notice how many of these shorter (possibly original) readings are in Luke 24!


 1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." 8And they remembered His words, 9and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now 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. 11But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12But 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.

24:1 "the first day of the week" This first workday ran from Saturday at twilight to Sunday at twilight. This is a Hebrew idiom going back to Gen. 1:5,8,13,19,23,31, where evening is always mentioned first. This was the very day that the first fruits were offered in the Temple. Jesus appears to the disciples several weeks in a row on Sunday night. This sets the precedent for Sunday as a special meeting day for believers to commemorate the Lord's resurrection (cf. John 20:19,20; Luke 24:36ff; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).

▣ "early dawn" This is literally "at deep dawn." John's Gospel says it was still dark (cf. John 20:1). It seems the women left the places they were staying while in Jerusalem before dawn, but arrived at the tomb after sunrise.

▣ "they" These women are named in Luke 24:10 and Mark 16:1. See Special Topic: Women Who Followed Jesus at Luke 8:3.

▣ "the tomb" We get the English word "memorial" from this Greek word.

▣ "bringing the spices" These were to anoint the body (cf. Mark 16:1). Apparently they did not know of Joseph and Nicodemas' activity or their hurried preparations had been incomplete.


24:2 "the stone rolled away" This is a perfect passive participle. The type of tomb in which Jesus had been laid had a grove in front of the rock wall face into which a round stone was placed to seal the tomb. This was a very large and heavy stone (cf. Mark 16:4), which these women could not have moved. Matthew 28:2 states that an earthquake, apparently caused by an angel, knocked the stone away from the door of the tomb. The stone's removal was not to let Jesus out, but to let us in!

24:3 This verse is an important witness to the humanity of Jesus, which was challenged by an early heretical movement later called Gnosticism (see definition in the glossary appendix). These women fully expected to find Jesus' physical body.

TEV"the body of the Lord"
NJB, REB"Jesus"
NRSV"the body"

The shorter reading (i.e., "the body") occurs in MSS D and some Old Latin MSS. However, this is the only place in Luke's Gospel where Jesus is called "the Lord Jesus," although the title is common in Acts.

Some later minuscules (i.e., 579 from the 13th century; 1071 from the 12th century; 1241 from the 12th century and lectionary 1016 from the 12th century) have "the body of Jesus."

The longer form occurs in MSS P75, א, A, B, C, L, W, 070, and most versions. The UBS4 rates it as"B" (almost certain).

24:4 "two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing" This refers to angels (cf. Luke 24:23; Acts 1:10; John 20:12).

Angels are always depicted as males except in Zech. 5:9. The participle "dazzling" is used by Luke only here and in Luke 17:24, where it refers to the transfiguration event. Luke uses the related term "lightning" several times also (cf. Luke 10:18; 11:36; 17:24). Matthew uses this term to describe the angel (cf. Matt. 28:3).

This is a good example of the variety between the four Gospels.

1. Mark 16:5 has "a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe"

2. Matthew 28:2-3 has "an angel of the Lord descended from heaven. . .his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow"

3. John 20:12 has "two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet"

Our western mindset asks questions such as

1. which one is historically accurate

2. which one is true to reality

These kinds of questions turn the Gospels into western, cause-and-effect, sequential histories, but they are not. They are evangelistic tracts, written for different people groups. The Gospel writers under inspiration had the right to

1. select

2. arrange

3. adapt

Jesus' words and deeds for theological purposes. Do not let the details block the big picture and big purpose!

24:5 "bowed their faces to the ground" This was a sign of respect and awe (cf. Mark 16:8).

"the living One among the dead" "The living One" is an article with a present active participle. Jesus cannot be found in a tomb (among the dead ones) because He has been raised! This phrase is unique to Luke.

24:6 "He is not here, but He has risen" The resurrection is the central pillar of the Christian faith (cf. 1 Corinthians 15). This shows God's approval of Jesus' life and sacrifice. This is a recurrent theme of Peter (cf. Acts 2:24-28,32, 3:15,26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 1 Pet. 1:13, 3:18,21), and Paul (Acts 13:30,33,34,37; 17:31; Rom. 4:24, 8:11; 10:9; 2 Cor. 4:14). This is confirmation of the Father's acceptance of the Son's substitutionary death (cf. 1 Corinthians15). Theologically all three persons of the Trinity were active in Christ's resurrection: the Father (Acts 2:24; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30,33,34; 17:31); the Spirit (Rom. 8:11); and the Son (John 2:19-22; 10:17-18).

This phrase, though disputed by Westcott and Hort, is found in MSS P75, א, A, B, C3 (C* has the same phrase without "but"), L, and 070. It is only omitted in MS D and several Old Latin MSS. This same angelic comment is found in Matt. 28:6 and Mark 16:6.

See Special Topic: The Kerugma of the Early Church at Luke 24:27.

▣ "Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee" This refers to Jesus' predictions about His death (cf. Luke 9:21-22,44; 17:25; 18:31-34). This is a good example of the similarities and differences between the Synoptic Gospels. Matthew has the angel telling them to tell the Apostles to meet Him on a mountain in Galilee (cf. Matt. 26:32; 28:7,10), while Luke has the angel telling them to remember Jesus' words spoken in Galilee.

1. Did the angel say both things?

2. Did one of the Gospel writers or their sources hear it differently?

3. Did one of the Gospel writers or their sources deliberately modify the angel's message?

These questions are unanswerable. However, believers assert that the Holy Spirit led the Gospel writers, so we must allow these divergent accounts to exist side-by-side and affirm their inspiration!

24:7 "the Son of Man" This term was not used in rabbinical Judaism. Its significance comes from Ezek. 2:1 (human person) and Dan. 7:13 (divine person), where it combines deity and humanity (cf. 1 John 4:1-3). This was Jesus' self-chosen title. See Special Topic at Luke 17:22.

"must" This is the Greek term dei, which means "a moral necessity." It is used three times in this chapter.

1. Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, Luke 24:7.

2. Necessary for the Christ to suffer, Luke 24:26.

3. All things which are written about Me. . .must be fulfilled, Luke 24:44.

These texts speak of God's pre-determined redemptive plan (cf. Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; 13:29).

▣ "the third day" I think Jesus was only in the tomb about 30 to 38 hours. Jewish time reckoning is different from ours. This phrase has a precarious OT background, only possibly Hosea 6:2 or more probably Jonah 1:17 (cf. Matt. 12:39; 1 Cor. 15:4).

24:8 "they. . .the eleven and all the rest" There were many besides the women and the Apostles who had heard Jesus' teachings and experienced these post-resurrection events (cf. Luke 24:33,36; Matt. 28:17; 1 Cor. 15:5; Acts 1:15).

24:10 This list of women is slightly different from the one in Mark 16:1. This entire verse is omitted by several ancient Greek manuscripts (cf. MSS A, D, W, and the old Latin, and two Syriac versions). The UBS4 rates its inclusion as "B" (almost certain). See Special Topic at Luke 8:3.

▣ "Mary Magdalene" Jesus appeared to this woman first (cf. Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2). She is always listed first in the names of the women who traveled with Jesus.

▣ "Joanna" The only other NT reference to Joanna is 8:3.

▣ "Mary the mother of James" She was the mother of James the Less and Joseph (cf. Mark. 15:40; Matt. 27:56).

▣ "the other women" This includes Salome, James and John's mother (cf. Mark. 15:40; Matt. 27:56). See Special Topic at Luke 8:3.


NASB, TEV"nonsense"
NKJV"like idle tales"
NRSV"an idle tale"
NJB"pure nonsense"

The term lēros is found only once in the Septuagint (IV Macc. 5:11) and only here in the NT. This is a medical term for hysteria or fever-caused hallucinations.

24:11 "they would not believe them" This is an imperfect active indicative. These women told them several times, but the Apostles did not believe. It is so surprising that the Sanhedrin took Jesus' predictions about His resurrection seriously (posted a guard), but the Apostles were totally surprised. This negative comment is evidence of an accurate account.

24:12 This is present in all major Greek manuscripts (P75, א, A, B, L, W. 070, 079) except D and several Old Latin MSS. The UBS4 rates it inclusion as "B" (almost certain), but Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, pp. 212-217, agrees with Westcott and Hort that its exclusion is the original text (cf. RSV, NEB, REB). This text is very similar to John 20:3,5,6,10.

 13And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. 17And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad. 18One 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?" 19And 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, 20and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. 22But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, 23and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see." 25And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" 27Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

24:13 "two of them" The Bible does not say exactly who these two were, but possibly it was Cleopas (cf. Luke 24:18) and his wife or two believers leaving the Passover feast.

▣ "that very day" This must have been Resurrection Sunday (cf. Luke 24:22). This was the first work day after Passover and the day on which the first fruits of the barley harvest were offered at the Temple. Jesus was the first fruits from the dead (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20,23).

▣ "Emmaus" The site is uncertain, but there are several possibilities.

1. About twenty miles west of Jerusalem on the Jaffa road. This is where Judas Maccabaeus attacked and burned the Seleucid General Gorgias' camp in 166 b.c. (I Macc. 3:40,57; 4:1-15).

2. About seven miles northwest of Jerusalem where the Crusaders found an ancient Roman fort called "Castellum Emmaus."

3. About four miles to the west of Jerusalem where the Roman Emperor Vespasian located 800 soldiers (Josephus, Wars 7.6.6).

4. About nine miles west of Jerusalem where a Crusader church was built over the ruins of a Roman fort.

(Information taken from The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 2, pp. 291-301).

▣ "seven miles from Jerusalem" This is really 60 Roman stadia. The city must be close enough to Jerusalem for these two to walk to it and then return to Jerusalem in one day.

There is a Greek variant related to the distance:

1. "60 stadia" is found in P75, A, B, D, K2, L, W, 070 (UBS4 gives this a "B" rating, meaning "almost certain."

2. "160 stadia" is found in א, K*, 079, and some patristic writers

(cf. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Anchor Bible, vol. 28a, p. 1561).

24:15 "Jesus" Luke uses the name "Jesus" several times without the article (cf. Luke 4:1; 8:41; 9:36,50; 18:37,40; 22:48; 23:28). This, therefore, is not a grammatical way of highlighting Jesus' first resurrection appearance.

24:16 "their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him" This is an imperfect passive indicative. The passive implies the activity of God (see note at Luke 24:31). Jesus' physical appearance was altered to some extent. Several followers did not immediately recognize Him (cf. John 20:11; Matt. 28:16-17; John 21:1-7).

1. Mary of Magdala, John 20:11

2. several apostles, John 21:1-7

3. 500 brothers, Matt. 28:16-17


24:17 "looking sad" This could mean "stern," "gloomy" (cf. Matt. 6:16), or "dejected." They could not believe that someone had not heard about the events of the last week in Jerusalem. It was the talk of the town (cf. Luke 24:18).

24:18 "visiting" During the three main annual feasts, Jerusalem swelled to three times its normal population due to pilgrims from the Diaspora. They thought Jesus was just another pilgrim.

24:19 "What things" Jesus, by asking them questions, was forcing them to articulate the events of the past few days and testify to Him (cf. Luke 24:19-24).

"Jesus the Nazarene" There are two spellings of the term:

1. Nazarēnou, P75, א, B, L, 070, 079, 0124, and some Old Latin and Vulgate versions.

2. Nazōraiou, A, D, K, P, W, X, 063, and some old Latin, Coptic, and Armenian versions. This same form is in Luke 18:37.

The UBS4 gives #1 a "B" rating (almost certain). See Special Topic at Luke 4:34.

▣ "a prophet mighty in deed and word" This was honorific (cf. Luke 7:16,39; 9:8,19). Within Judaism for one to be inspired, as a writer of Scripture, one had to be a prophet. The term here refers not to a predictor, but a powerful forth-teller of YHWH's message. However, this one was not just one prophet in a series. He was the prophet of Deut. 18:15,18. They had not fully grasped the implications of the person and work of Christ.

▣ "and all the people" This is a typical hyperbole (e.g., Luke 18:43). Eastern literature (and speech) is much more figurative and exaggerated. This is one reason westerners tend to misunderstand the NT.

24:20 "the chief priests and our rulers" This same phrase is in Luke 23:13. The Jewish leadership was responsible for Jesus' death. The Sanhedrin did not have this power under Roman occupation (cf. Luke 9:22). They had to trump up a charge that the Romans would deem worthy of death! Also, they wanted Him crucified because of the rabbinical curse attached to crucifixion in Deut. 21:23. This is the very charge made by Peter in his first sermon in Acts.

24:21 "were hoping" This is an imperfect active indicative, which implies they were no longer "hoping."

▣ "it was He who was going to redeem Israel" They still had a nationalistic, militaristic mindset (cf. Acts 1:6-7). The Jews only expected one coming of the Messiah and that coming was to benefit and restore Israel to power and preeminence.

▣ "redeem" This is a term from the slave market which meant "to buy back" (cf. Mark 10:45). See Special Topic at Luke 1:68.

▣ "third day" The Jews had a tradition that the spirit stayed near the body for three days, but beyond this period no resuscitation was possible (cf. John 11:6 and 39).

24:24 "Some of those who were with us" From John's Gospel we know this was John and Peter (cf. John 20:3-10 and possibly Peter only from Luke 24:12).

24:25 The early sermons in Acts often allude to the OT prophecies about the Messiah (Gen. 3:15; Deut. 18:15; 2 Samuel 7; Psalm 16:10,22,118; Isaiah 53). I think it was Jesus Himself who informed these two disciples, who relayed the information to the Apostles in the upper room (cf. Luke 24:27). This post-resurrection appearance becomes a crucial interpretive event for the early church (as does Luke 24:45). It is surprising that this encounter is unique to the Gospel of Luke.

"O foolish men and slow of heart" This is a rebuke of these disciples' lack of OT knowledge. What would Jesus say to His church today about their level of Bible knowledge? Doubt, fear, and confusion are the practical result of willful Bible ignorance! We have not because we read not! See SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR FOOLISH PEOPLE at Luke 11:40.

24:26 "it was necessary for the Christ to suffer" Jesus had told His disciples this repeatedly (cf. Luke 9:22; 17:25; 24:26,46). This is what surprised the Jews (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23), however, it had been predicted in the OT (cf. Gen. 3:15; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53; Zech. 10:12; Matt. 16:2). First century Judaism did not emphasize these verses at all.

"and to enter into His glory" This pattern of suffering preceding glory becomes a principle of spiritual maturity (cf. Rom. 8:17; Heb. 5:8).

24:27 This verse and Luke 24:45 give us insight into the Kerygma of Acts. See Special Topic below.


 28And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. 29But they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over." So He went in to stay with them. 30When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32They said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?" 33And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon." 35They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.

24:28-30 This is a very detailed eyewitness account. Luke probably interviewed these two.

24:31 "Then their eyes were opened" This is an aorist passive indicative, which is a reversal of the imperfect passive indicative of Luke 24:16. From Luke 24:35 we learn that they recognized Jesus' characteristic way of blessing the food.

Luke uses this term "opened" (dianoigō) three times in this context:

1.their eyes were opened, Luke 24:31

2. their understanding of OT Scripture increased, Luke 24:32

3. the Apostles' minds are opened to Scripture, Luke 24:45

The Bible is divine revelation, not human discovery. Spiritual truth is a gift from God to blinded, sinful humanity.

▣ "and He vanished from their sight" This may be an allusion to 2 Kgs. 6:17 (LXX dianoigō). The exact mechanism of this is as mysterious as Jesus suddenly appearing in the Upper Room in Luke 24:36 or Philip's experience in the desert (cf. Acts 8:39). The spiritual realm is multi-dimensional, not spacial-temporal.

24:32 "Were not our hearts burning within us This is a periphrastic imperfect passive (A. T. Robertson calls it a middle voice). It was one exciting Bible study (cf. Ps. 19:7-14)! It (kaiō) is used metaphorically in the LXX of Deut. 32:22, but in a judgment sense.

24:33 "and those who were with them" (cf. Luke 24:33,36; Acts 1:15)

24:34 "saying" This must refer to the eleven speaking to the two new arrivals (cf. NJB).

▣ "has appeared to Simon" Jesus appeared to the one who had denied Him. We have no biblical account of this meeting.


24:35 "began to relate" This is another of many imperfects in this context, which can mean the beginning of something or the repeating of something in past time. They rehearse in detail what happened. They now affirmed the women's testimony of Luke 24:22-23.

 36While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst. 37But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 40And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43and He took it and ate it before them.

24:36 Some ancient Greek manuscripts (P75, א, A, B, K, L, and many later ones) add "Peace to you" (cf. John 20:19,26). The UBS4 rates its inclusion as "B" (almost certain). It is omitted in MS D and some Old Latin MSS. This is a typical Hebrew greeting (cf. Luke 10:5). In many ways the Gospels of John and Luke share similar accounts of the Passion and its aftermath

24:37 "they were startled and frightened" These disciples had heard Jesus predict His suffering and death several times, but somehow they did not take it seriously. Now they were surprised by His resurrection.

"and thought they were seeing a spirit" In the Matthew (14:26) and Mark (6:49) parallels the word phantasma, from which we get the English word "phantom," is used. Luke is using the term pneuma in a specialized sense (cf. 1 Pet. 3:19). When he records Jesus' words in Luke 23:46 he uses the term in the more normal sense of a personal aspect, which is not dependant on a physical form (cf. Luke 24:39). See Special Topic: Spirit (pneuma) in the NT at Luke 23:46.

24:38 This is a mild reprimand in the form of two rhetorical questions. Doubts and fears are common to humanity, especially in the presence of the spiritual realm. However, they can become stepping stones to great faith and assurance.

The first question is a periphrastic perfect passive, the second a present active indicative. The verbal forms in this context are difficult to translate because they deal with a past event described in dialogue.

1. the two on the road to Emmaus

2. the two and Jesus

3. the two and those in the upper room.


24:39 "See My hands and My feet" In the other Gospels this occurs in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, but in John the eating of fish occurs in Galilee. Jesus wanted to assure them of His bodily resurrection. He retained the marks of crucifixion because they are His badge of honor. Psalm 22:16 and here are the only texts which mention His feet being pierced. John 20:27 mentions only His hands and side.

"that it is I Myself" This is a very emphatic statement—ego (I), eimi (I Am), autos (Myself).

▣ "touch Me" This is an aorist active imperative (as is "and see"). The early church used verses 39-43 to refute Gnosticism, which was a depreciation of the physical realm (cf. 1 John 1:1-3). See Special Topic on Gnosticism at Luke 2:40.

24:40 This is another of the disputed shorter readings found in MSS D and some Old Latin manuscripts but present in the vast majority of older uncial manuscripts and P75. UBS4 rates its inclusion as "B" (almost certain).

24:42 "a piece of a broiled fish" Some uncial manuscripts from the eighth through eleventh centuries added a phrase about "honeycomb" (cf. NKJV). The early church incorporated both milk and honey in their celebration of the Eucharist and baptism. The UBS4 gives its exclusion a "B" rating (almost certain).

 44Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; 47and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." 50And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51And it came about that while He was blessing them, He parted from them. 52And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53and were continually in the temple, praising God.

24:44-49 This account is found only in Luke.

24:44 "which are written about Me" This seems to be a summary statement of Jesus' 40 day post-resurrection appearances (cf. Luke 24:25-26).

▣ "Moses. . .Prophets. . .Psalms" These represent the three divisions of the Hebrew Canon: Law, Prophets, and Writings. This context says something of the Christocentric unity of the Old Testament (see E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament).

▣ "must be fulfilled" Jesus is found in the OT in symbol, type, and direct prophecy (cf. Matt. 5:17ff).

24:45 "He opened their minds" See note at Luke 24:31. Humanity cannot understand spiritual truths unaided by God. This is the task usually assigned to the Spirit (cf. John 14:16; 16:8-15), but sometime attributed to Jesus (cf. Acts 16:14).

24:46 "Thus it is written" This is a perfect passive indicative, which was a Hebrew idiom for asserting the inspiration of Scripture (cf. Luke 24:44).

▣ "the Christ would suffer" "The Christ" is the Greek translation of "the Messiah" (see Special Topic at Luke 2:11). This truth was the stumbling block for the Jews (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23; 2:2), but crucial for sacrificial redemption.

▣ "rise again from the dead" Verses 46-47 are Luke's Great Commission. The grammatical feature is the use of three aorist infinitives that describe Jesus' mission.

1. He came to suffer, Luke 24:46 (cf. Luke 24:26)

2. He came to be raised from the dead, Luke 24:46 (cf. Luke 24:7)

3. He came that repentance and forgiveness of sin should be proclaimed, Luke 24:47 (cf. Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18)

See Special Topic at Luke 9:22.

▣ "the third day’" This was a predicted event (cf. Hosea 6:2; Jonah 1:17; Matt. 12:40; 16:4; 1 Cor. 15:4). It probably relates to Jonah 1:17.

24:47 This is the key purpose of Jesus' mission. It fully reflects the heart, character, and purpose of God since Genesis 3. To miss this verse is to miss the main thrust of Christianity. Believers must keep the main thing the main thing (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). All else is secondary to this task of worldwide gospel proclamation. Evangelism is not an option, but a mandate!

▣ "repentance" In Greek the term speaks of "a change of mind." In Hebrew it speaks of "a change of action." Both are involved. This is the negative aspect of salvation, as faith is the positive aspect (cf. Mark 1:15; 6:12; Matt. 4:12; 11:20; Luke 13:3,5; Acts 20:21). See Special Topic at Luke 3:3.

▣ "forgiveness of sins" This theme is highlighted in Zacharias' prophecy (cf. Luke 1:67-79). It is the meaning of Jesus' name (YHWH saves, cf. Matt. 1:21). Notice that "baptism" is not mentioned here (cf. Luke 11:4). This verse has often been called "Luke's Great Commission" (cf. Matt. 28:19-20).

▣ "in His name" Jesus' "name" is a Semitic idiom for

1. His power

2. His person

3. His authority

4. His character.

So it means both content and manner! Not only what we proclaim, but the lives of those who proclaim are crucial! See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE NAME OF THE LORD at Luke 9:48.

▣ "to all the nations" This universal element must have surprised these Jewish believers. This very thing is predicted in Matt. 28:14; 28:19; Mark 13:10. Also note Isa. 2:2-4; 51:4-5; 56:7; and see Special Topic at Luke 2:10.

24:48 Here is the Apostolic mandate (cf. John 15:27)! Luke accentuates this in Acts (cf. Acts 1:8,22; 2:32; 4:33; 5:32; 10:39,41; 13:31).

24:49 "I am sending" The Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. This verse shows Jesus' authority in executing the Father's will.

▣ "the promise of My Father" This refers to the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14-16; 20:22; Acts 1:4). Every promise Jesus made to the Apostles in the Upper Room at the Last Supper was fulfilled on Resurrection Sunday!

▣ "stay in the city" These were mostly Galilean people. They would not have stayed in hostile Jerusalem otherwise (cf. Acts 1:4).

▣ "clothed with power" Here this refers to the Pentecostal coming of the Spirit. It is an Aorist middle subjunctive.

It is a common biblical metaphor for the spiritual life (cf. Job 29:14; Ps. 132:9; Isa. 59:17; 61:10; Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10,12). The spiritual life is as much a gift and empowering from God as is salvation, but it must be received and implemented (i.e., conditional covenant). It is not automatic! It is God's will! He is God's gift!

 50And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53and were continually in the temple praising God.

24:50 "Bethany" Lazarus' home was about one and one half miles from Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives which was the extension of the same ridge.

▣ "lifted up His hands" This was the normal position of Jewish prayer, but here it is probably a priestly gesture (cf. Lev. 9:22).

▣ "blessed them" The prayer is not recorded (but Jesus' high priestly prayer in John 17 is).

24:51 "was carried up into heaven" The other Gospels tell us "in a cloud," which was the transportation of deity (cf. Dan. 7:13).

This phrase is omitted in MSS א*, D, and some Old Latin and Syrian versions. However, the phrase which mentions the ascension is referred to in Acts 1:2. It is present in P75, אi2, A, B, D, K, L, W, and X. The UBS4 ranks its inclusion as "B" (almost certain).

Jesus' ascension is His return to pre-existent glory (cf. John 17:5). He is honored for His accomplished task. See Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed., pp. 796-797. See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE ASCENSION at Luke 9:51.

24:52 "after worshiping Him" This is another phrase present in all of the ancient Greek texts except D and some Old Latin manuscripts. This chapter has the largest number of these so-called "Western non-interpolations" by Westcott and Hort (Luke 24:24:3,6,9,12,36,40,52,53). These textual critics believed that the Alexandrian family of Greek manuscripts (i.e., MSS P46,66,72,75, א, B, A, C, Q, T, 0220) was closer to the original than the other families of manuscripts except in twenty-seven shorter readings found in the Western family (i.e., MSS P37,38,48,69, 0171, O).

▣ "with great joy" Luke's Gospel emphasizes "joy" (cf. Luke 1:14; 2:10; 8:13; 10:17; 15:7,10; 24:41,52). This is so different from their reaction in Luke 24:37-38.

24:53 "in the temple" These were still Jewish people. Their meeting place was not place large enough to accommodate the believing disciples.

The liturgical "Amen" is added by MSS A, B, C2, but is not present in MSS P75, א, C*, D, L, W. The UBS4 gives its exclusion an "A" rating (certain).


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Why did Jesus appear to His followers so often after His resurrection?

2. Were the disciples expecting a resurrection?

3. Why did they not recognize Jesus immediately? Will we recognize one another?

4. Why did Jesus offer so many proofs to them of His physical body's reality?

5. Why are there differing accounts of the resurrection in an inspired Bible?

6. Why did Jesus appear to them for forty days?

7. Are angels still active in our world today?


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