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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Luke 24

 

 

Verse 1

CONTENTS

In folding up his Gospel, Luke relates in this Chapter, the necessary Witnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus. The Lord makes a Manifestation of himself upon a great Variety of Occasions; and having given his final Commission to his Disciples, he ascends in their Presence, visibly to Heaven.


Verses 1-12

"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. (2) And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. (3) And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. (4) And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: (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? (6) He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, (7) Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (8) And they remembered his words, (9) And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. (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. (11) And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. (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."

I detain the Reader, immediately at his entrance into this Chapter, to remind him, that the blessed doctrine contained in it, is the most momentous and interesting which can possibly engage his attention.

For, as God the Holy Ghost taught the Church, by Paul: If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and the faith of God's people is also vain: Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God! 1 Corinthians 15:14. See, Reader! the infinite importance of the thing itself, and let that importance arrest your closest attention, to regard, with suitable thankfulness and affection, the vast chain of evidences the Lord the Spirit hath granted the Church of this most glorious event, in the certainty of which the sure resurrection of all the mystical body of Christ is included.

In those verses we have the account as related by Luke. There is a beautiful variety, and yet a uniform sameness, to the relation of the fact itself of our Lord's resurrection; as delivered by the several Evangelists: but this was evidently intended by the Holy Ghost, for the more full and satisfying testimony to the glorious truth, springing forth from so many quarters. And Paul, years after, was brought into a personal acquaintance with the Lord Jesus, when Christ called to him from heaven; and which became an additional proof in confirming this precious doctrine. Last of all, (saith Paul) alter Christ had been seen of above five hundred brethren at once, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 1 Corinthians 15:6-8.

I do not think it necessary to notice to the Reader the consternation of those godly women; neither of the eleven Apostles, at the first account of Christ's resurrection. It is enough to observe from it, how little disposed their minds were to the faith of it, notwithstanding all the discourses of Jesus, which one might have supposed would have prepared them for the event. Reader! I pray you learn from it, that nothing short of God the Holy Ghost's influence in teaching, can bring home a feeling sense of his truths, to his people. The Lord must take away the stone out of the heart, as well as roll it from the mouth of the sepulchre, or we shall not enter into a joyful apprehension of the resurrection of Jesus.


Verses 13-35

"And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. (14) And they talked together of all these things which had happened. (15) And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. (16) But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. (17) And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? (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? (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: (20) And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. (21) But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. (22) Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; (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. (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. (25) Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: (26) Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? (27) And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (28) And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. (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. (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. (31) And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. (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? (33) And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, (34) Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. (35) And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread."

The relation of this interview between Christ and the two disciples, is given in so beautiful and interesting a manner, that I have always thought it receives an injury, rather than good, from all attempts by comment. Indeed it needs no illustration, for it explains itself. The demand of Jesus, when he said, Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory? is a question which at once answers the demand; and doth in fact yet more strongly confirm the truth. I beg the Reader not to overlook in those words of our Lord, how blessedly he shews, what the Spirit of Christ, which was in the Prophets all along testified, on those two great branches of the Lord's Person and Ministry, namely, Of the sufferings of Christ; and of the glory that should follow. 1 Peter 1:11. For these comprehended the whole. I have sometimes been led to wish, that this heart-warning discourse of Jesus, had been recorded. But I have as often found grace, to check the wish, as improper. Nay, I have learnt the blessedness intended from the Concealment. For it prompts the soul under divine teaching, to search after Christ, in all those Scriptures from whence the Lord preached, to those two disciples. We read, that the Lord began at Moses, and all the Prophets; and not confining himself to these, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself. Hence we are taught, as plain as words can make it, that the whole body of Scripture is concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. And shall not I look for the Lord Jesus in all? (I have said to myself, as often as I have thought upon this passage,) Is my Lord as one pearl of great price in this field of his divine word; and shall not I as a spiritual merchant-man seek diligently for him through all, till I find him? And am I not encouraged to hope, that as Jesus drew near to those disciples while in the way, and discoursing about their Lord; so will he draw near to me? And if Jesus made their hearts burn with holy fervor, will he not make mine? If Old Testament saints, and New Testament believers, were made partakers of such mercies then; why not the humble followers of Jesus now? Jeremiah 20:9; Malachi 3:16.


Verses 36-43

"And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (37) But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. (38) And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? (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. (40) And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. (41) And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? (42) And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. (43) And he took it, and did eat before them."

How truly blessed is it to behold, the gracious attention of the Lord Jesus, in thus affording such repeated testimonies of the reality of his resurrection to his disciples, both when separate, and when collected together. And I think the Reader will, with me admire, the palpable evidence the Lord gave of his bodily presence, not only in submitting the pierced hands and feet, through which the nails had passed, when fastening his body to the cross; but also, in the proof the Lord gave of his human nature being alive, in eating of the broiled fish and the honeycomb. Reader! gather from this view of thy Lord's grace, some, at least, of the sweet instructions it brings. Remember that Jesus had now finished redemption-work: and yet there is no change of nature in him. Moreover, He is the same tender, the same all-loving, and lovely Lord Jesus as ever! And, observe the humble fare Jesus partook of, the part of a broiled fish, and of the honeycomb. Humble fare is, for the most part, the fare of the Lord's people; but Jesus partook of it then, and thus sweetly sanctified it forever. But more particularly do I intreat the Reader not to forget, that the very wounds which Jesus shewed to his disciples, to convince them of his person, and of his triumph over death by his resurrection, are the same marks which he everlastingly presents to his Father for them, in pleading the merits of his soul-offering, and death, for their salvation. Paul was commissioned by the Holy Ghost to tell the Church, that Christ's return to heaven, was, to appear in the presence of God for us. Hebrews 9:24. And that his blood speaketh for them to God. Hebrews 12:24. And John was admitted into visions of heaven, purposely to behold Christ as a lamb which had been slain. Revelation 5:6. So, that the Church of God now enjoy, in full testimony of faith, what the Old Testament Saints had in figure represented to them; namely, the High Priest going in before the mercy seat, with the names of Israel to appear before God. Exodus 28:29-30. And this was what the Church so passionately longed for in the coming of Christ. Song of Solomon 8:6. Think, Reader! and may the Lord give me also grace never to lose sight of it; what a blessed encouragement it is, under all deadness in myself, and heart-straitenings in prayer, there is One whose pierced hands and side plead for me, when I have no power to plead for myself. We have, saith John, an advocate with the Father and He is the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 2:1-2.


Verses 44-49

"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. (45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (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: (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) And ye are witnesses of these things. (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."

Though I venture not to enlarge on those very blessed words of the Lord Jesus Christ, for all comments must fail, in attempting to shew their full blessedness, yet I entreat the Reader to ponder deeply every sentence, and consider how the solemnity of the season, when Christ so addressed his disciples, rendered all he said peculiarly affecting. What a moment it must have been! What holy awe the disciples must have felt! How differently the words of Jesus must have operated upon their minds, to all his former discourses before his death; now they beheld him risen from the dead, and as coming from the other world to give them this endearing interview; and by opening their understanding, in giving them suitable apprehensions, both of the vast importance of his mission, and of his unceasing love towards them! And, as all the Lord Jesus then said had respect to his whole Church, as well as to them, the then representatives of his Church, I pray the Reader not to overlook the boundless grace and mercy of Jesus, when giving his parting commission to them, to go forth in his name, as soon as the Father's promise of the Holy Ghost should descend upon them, and in particularly charging them to begin at Jerusalem! Observe, Reader! how the Lord manifested his watchful care over the still beloved city! Jesses had many whom the Father had given to him there. Those Jerusalem-sinners, whose hearts were to be called by sovereign grace on the then approaching day of Pentecost, were there; many of whom had joined the Scribes and Elders in his crucifixion, and were now triumphing in having shed his blood. Yet, to this Jerusalem, this slaughter-house of his Prophets, and himself also, Jesus will have the first proclamation of mercy in his death made! Oh! the riches of his grace! Oh! the boundless love of Christ, which passeth knowledge!

The Reader will, I hope, observe how Jesus hath expressed himself concerning the coming of the Holy Ghost. He calls him the promise of my Father. Sweet consideration! God the Holy Ghost, in one and the same moment is the promise of the Father, Christ's promise, and the sovereign agent, God the Holy Ghost, in his own Almighty power, from his everlasting love, engaged in covenant offices. These things will appear more fully from the consultation of those numberless scriptures which refer to the subject. I beg the Reader to turn to a few in point. Isaiah 44:3-4; Joel 2:28, etc. Isaiah 59:21; John 7:37-39. and John 14:15 and Joh 16 Acts 13:2-4, etc.


Verses 50-53

"And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. (51) And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. (52) And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: (53) And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen."

The Evangelist hath made a long step, from this first day of Christ's resurrection, to the day of his ascension, which this paragraph relates. Luke himself, who was the writer of this Gospel; was the writer also of the Acts of the Apostles. And in the opening of the records there, he speaks of Jesus having shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3. But the Evangelist takes no notice in his Gospel of any further appearance of Christ during those forty days after his resurrection, beside those we have gone through, but at once proceeds to record the particulars of his ascension.

He led them as far as Bethany. If the town of Bethany, where Lazarus and his sisters dwelt, be meant, that place was very memorable to Jesus; and numberless instances of past events were upon Jesus's mind. And if, as some have thought, there was a little mount so called close to the Mount of Olives, the garden of Gethsemane was at the foot of it, and still more interesting scenes then opened to the Lord. See Mark 11:1. I do not venture to decide, but I merely direct the Reader to that memorable prophecy of Zechariah, Zechariah 14:4. whether this prediction referred to this great event? I think it might. But I also think, there may be a day yet to be seen, when it will be more fully realized. Job 19:25.

I have only in the close of Luke's Gospel, and in this most interesting scene of our Lord's ascension, to beg the Reader to observe the several sweet and precious things here recorded. The farewell of Jesus! How affectionate and how tender! He was now going to his Church above, The Abrahams, and the Isaacs, and the Jacobs, waited and longed for his coming. But amidst all this, Jesus's heart was still with his redeemed below. He said himself, I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you. John 14:18. Precious Lord! Sure I am from this proof, if there were no other, (and there are thousands,) thy Church on earth is as dear to thee as thy Church in heaven.

There is somewhat very gracious, that Jesus, while in the act of blessing his Church, should be parted from them, and carried up into heaven. Yes! this was not without significancy. The blessing of Jesus is continued. It is one great whole. There is no interruption. The Jewish High Priest typified Christ in the lifting up of his hands. He, however, prayed for it. Jesus commanded it. Our Great High Priest ascended therefore, while blessing, as if to say that his blessing is forever. And, as in the instance of Manoah, Christ ascended in the fragrancy of his own incense. Judges 13:20.

The joy of the Apostles forms a blessed conclusion to this most precious Gospel of Luke. They worshipped him as God. They had now sweet and precious views, since Jesus opened their understanding, to the apprehension of the Person, Work, Offices, Character, and Relation of the Lord, Jesus; and were now only waiting the Ordination of God the Holy Ghost, as promised, to send them forth in the ministry. They waited therefore daily in the temple for this blessing, praising and adoring the Lord. And the Evangelist hath put an Amen to the whore, as one of the precious names of Jesus, in confirmation of the glorious record. Amen. Reader! can You and I, from a conscious interest in the saving truths, put to it our Amen, as our Jesus? Isaiah 65:16; Revelation 3:14.


Verse 53

REFLECTIONS

Reader! ponder well the blessed contents of this chapter. Never, surely, was there upon earth any record given to any one matter of fact, as plainly, as fully, and as circumstantially, to bear down with a full stream of evidences all opposition, as the testimony to the Resurrection of Jesus. But while the vast chain of testimonies surround the glorious citadel of truth, as an impregnable fortress; to the full doctrine of the Person and Salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ; what will the whole be found, where the heart is not renewed by grace? Christ is indeed risen from the dead? but are we risen with him Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. On such the second death hath no power! Oh! for the earnest of the Spirit, by which the souls of the faithful are sealed unto the day of redemption!

Farewell Luke! Blessed be thy God, and my God, the Almighty Savior of both, for the ministry of thy record of Jesus! Ere long, the whole Church will be called home, to enter upon the personal enjoyment of those glorious things which the Lord hath here commissioned thee to deliver to his people! And then will burst forth, from millions of the redeemed souls, the song of salvation to God and the Lamb. In the mean time, may my poor offering of praise be often awakened by grace, through this, and all the other blessed portions of the holy Scriptures of truth, to bless the united source of all covenant mercies, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for all their love and purpose, counsel, will, and pleasure, in Jesus Christ. Amen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Luke 24:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/luke-24.html. 1828.

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