Scripture Study: Luke 24

Luke 24  •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Verses 1-8. It was the first day of the week, very early in the morning, when those dear women came to the sepulcher, bringing with them the spices they had prepared for His embalming. What a surprise awaited them—the stone is rolled away, the sepulcher is empty. They found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were much perplexed about it, two men in shining garments stood by them. Being afraid, they bowed themselves down to the earth. The men said, “Why seek ye the living One among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” Then they remembered His words.
What news! A risen, living conqueror over death and the grave. They could not receive it, till it was accomplished before their eyes; yet He had plainly declared it in the hearing of them all.
Verses 9-11. They returned and told these things unto the eleven apostles and to the others with them, but their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they did not believe them.
Verse 12. But Peter arose, and ran into the sepulcher and, stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed wondering at what had happened. And what would be his feelings as he thought of his own behavior?
Verses 13-16. And, behold, two of them went that same day to Emmaus, a village about seven and one-half miles from Jerusalem. They were talking over all that had happened, and were evidently going away disheartened; their hope that Jesus would set up His kingdom in Israel had died out, and they were sad. How graciously we see the Lord here following them up. While they talked, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. That also is significant, as we shall see.
Verses 17, 18. He opens the conversation by asking them, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” 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?”
Verses 19-24. He said unto them, “What things?” They said, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him. 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. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher; 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. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but Him they saw not.”
Verses 25-37. Then He said unto them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. What an instructive discourse that would be on the sufferings and the glories of Christ, the Messiah of Israel. It seemed generally the way for the Jews to expect a glorious kingdom, but they left out the sufferings. The sufferings of rejection from men, and the sufferings of making atonement before God. Now our attention is directed to them, and how plain these are in such scriptures as Genesis 22; Exodus 12; Numbers 21; Psalm 22 and 69; Isaiah 53. The Lord expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. We would like to have heard such an exposition.
How remarkable it is that they did not know Him. And as they drew nigh to the village, He made as if He would have gone further (that was not His resting place), 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. There is yet another lesson they needed. They sit down to food. He took bread, and blessed—that is, gave thanks—and brake, and gave to them. Then they knew Him. None could give thanks like He could. And He vanished out of their sight. Just when they knew Him, He vanished. How significant! He was there teaching them and leading on their souls. Now they must act on what they knew. And they said one to another, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened unto us the Scriptures?”
They rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together with the others. There they are met with the same story. “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared unto Simon.” That would put Peter all right. Then the two from Emmaus told their story, what He told them by the way, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Just then Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, “Peace be unto you.” But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
Verses 38-53. And He said unto them, “Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 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.” He showed them His hands and His feet, and while they believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, “Have ye here any meat?” And He took from them a piece of broiled fish, and of an honeycomb, and He ate it before them. He proves to them that He was a real man with flesh and bones. Yes, and He is a real man now on the Father’s throne, and forever will be a real man, though Himself the blessed Son of God, God blessed forever.
Then again He opens out the truth of all the Scriptures. It all concerns himself! What full clear truth is here seen that Scripture is the Word of God. Yes, all scripture. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. 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.”
This is not setting up the kingdom in Israel, nor the gathering of the nations. It is the gospel that takes in both Jew and Gentile, as repentant, believing sinners, and begins at Jerusalem guilty, deep-dyed Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. (Isa. 1:1818Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)). God’s grace can meet them, and the disciples were to be His witnesses, bearing His testimony, strengthened in the Lord, walking up and down in His name. (Zech. 10:1212And I will strengthen them in the Lord; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord. (Zechariah 10:12)). The promise of the Father, the enduing with power from on high, was to be given them. Acts 1 tells us He was seen of them forty days, instructing them in the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. We have by the Holy Spirit, and our complete Word of God, all this instruction, and more than they could take in before the Spirit was given. Then He led them out as far as Bethany, that place of sweet refreshing to His spirit, as the outcast at Jerusalem. And He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And as He blessed them, He was parted from them and carried up into heaven; that was the last they saw of Him—His attitude of blessing—it is what He delights to do. Acts 1:10,1110And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:10‑11), tells us they will see Him again. We know Him as the blesser, and wait for His coming again.
And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. It is now joy in a risen and glorified Saviour whom they serve, and for whom they wait.
Going back to the two on the road to Emmaus, we find an illustration of how the Lord leads on souls in the truth, and gathers them to Christ the Center. (Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)).
These two on the road to Emmaus did not know that Christ was risen. They were disheartened, their hope of seeing the kingdom set up by the Lord was dead, but Jesus drew near and went with them, drawing out their souls, and opening out to them the truth of the Scriptures concerning Himself. This warms up their hearts, yet they did not know Him. He made as if he would have gone further, but they constrained Him to tarry with them, and this He does, for they are eager learners, and He is there to feed them along. But they do not know His presence, He is still a stranger to them. Now they sit down to food, and He took bread, and blessed or gave thanks. He is at once made known to them. It was not the Lord’s supper, but it was the Great Shepherd of the sheep speaking to His Father and that was enough. They know Him now, and He vanished out of their sight. He is risen; they know it now, and back to Jerusalem to their own company they go with the news. When they get there the rest are gathered by the same truth, “The Lord is risen indeed.” Jesus comes into their midst, Himself the center of their gathering, and now they are not hearing about Him, they are hearing Him, occupied with Him. He is unfolding the Word to them. On the way to Emmaus, He made their hearts burn within them. It was the light and warmth of the Word ministered to their souls. But at Jerusalem, they had the joy of His presence, as well as the ministry of the Word. How often we see this wonderful way of God leading on souls who are sincerely seeking His way, till they find the heart’s satisfaction in His own presence. He is indeed the Good and Great Shepherd who thus delights to feed and care for His sheep.
“He feeds His flock, He calls their names, And gently leads the tender lambs.”
But He wants the joy of having them gathered to His Name, where His presence in the midst can be realized.
Here Luke’s first Epistle to Theophilus ends. How it refreshes the heart to go over the narrative and see Jesus in the place that He has won. A glorified Man at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
The Holy Spirit has come down to witness to the acceptance of the work of Christ on high. It is the sound of the golden bells that tells us our Great High Priest is there ever living to make intercession for us.
Israel will not know of that acceptance till the Lord comes out as Moses and Aaron, King and Priest, to bless the people. (Lev. 9:2323And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. (Leviticus 9:23)).