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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Luke 24:36-53

Lu 24:36-53. Jesus Appears to the Assembled Disciples—His Ascension.

36. Jesus … stood—(See on Joh 20:19).

37, 38. a spirit—the ghost of their dead Lord, but not Himself in the body (Ac 12:15; Mt 14:26).

thoughts—rather, "reasonings"; that is, whether He were risen or no, and whether this was His very self.

39-43. Behold, &c.—lovingly offering them both ocular and tangible demonstration of the reality of His resurrection.

a spirit hath not—an important statement regarding "spirits."

flesh and bones—He says not "flesh and blood"; for the blood is the life of the animal and corruptible body (Ge 9:4), which "cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1Co 15:50); but "flesh and bones," implying the identity, but with diversity of laws, of the resurrection body. (See on Joh 20:24-28).

41. believed not for joy, &c.—They did believe, else they had not rejoiced [Bengel]. But it seemed too good to be true (Ps 126:1, 2).

42. honeycomb—common frugal fare, anciently.

43. eat before them—that is, let them see Him doing it: not for His own necessity, but their conviction.

44-49. These are the words, &c.—that is, "Now you will understand what seemed so dark to you when I told you about the Son of man being put to death and rising again" (Lu 18:31-34).

while … yet with you—a striking expression, implying that He was now, as the dead and risen Saviour, virtually dissevered from this scene of mortality, and from all ordinary intercourse with His mortal disciples.

law … prophets … psalms—the three Jewish divisions of the Old Testament Scriptures.

45. Then opened he, &c.—a statement of unspeakable value; expressing, on the one hand, Christ's immediate access to the human spirit and absolute power over it, to the adjustment of its vision, and permanent rectification for spiritual discernment (than which it is impossible to conceive a stronger evidence of His proper divinity); and, on the other hand, making it certain that the manner of interpreting the \ Old Testament which the apostles afterwards employed (see the Acts and Epistles), has the direct sanction of Christ Himself.

46. behoved Christ—(See on Lu 24:26).

47. beginning at Jerusalem—(1) As the metropolis and heart of the then existing kingdom of God:—"to the Jew first" (Ro 1:16; Ac 13:46; Isa 2:3, see on Mt 10:6). (2) As the great reservoir and laboratory of all the sin and crime of the nation, thus proclaiming for all time that there is mercy in Christ for the chief of sinners. (See on Mt 23:37).

48. witnesses—(Compare Ac 1:8, 22).

49. I send—the present tense, to intimate its nearness.

promise of my Father—that is, what My Father hath promised; the Holy Ghost, of which Christ is the authoritative Dispenser (Joh 14:7; Re 3:1; 5:6).

endued—invested, or clothed with; implying, as the parallels show (Ro 13:14; 1Co 15:53; Ga 3:27; Col 3:9, 10), their being so penetrated and acted upon by conscious supernatural power (in the full sense of that word) as to stamp with divine authority the whole exercise of their apostolic office, including, of course, their pen as well as their mouth.

50-53. to Bethany—not to the village itself, but on the "descent" to it from Mount Olivet.

51. while he blessed … parted, &c.—Sweet intimation! Incarnate Love, Crucified Love, Risen Love, now on the wing for heaven, waiting only those odorous gales which were to waft Him to the skies, goes away in benedictions, that in the character of Glorified, Enthroned Love, He might continue His benedictions, but in yet higher form, until He come again! And oh, if angels were so transported at His birth into this scene of tears and death, what must have been their ecstasy as they welcomed and attended Him "far above all heavens" into the presence-chamber, and conducted Him to the right hand of the Majesty on High! Thou hast an everlasting right, O my Saviour, to that august place. The brightness of the Father's glory, enshrined in our nature, hath won it well; for He poured out His soul unto death, and led captivity captive, receiving gifts for men, yea for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Thou art the King of glory, O Christ. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, be lifted up, ye everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in! Even so wilt Thou change these vile bodies of ours, that they may be like unto Thine own glorious body; and then with gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought, they shall enter into the King's palace!

52. worshipped him—certainly in the strictest sense of adoration.

returned to Jerusalem—as instructed to do: but not till after gazing, as if entranced, up into the blue vault in which He had disappeared, they were gently checked by two shining ones, who assured them He would come again to them in the like manner as He had gone into heaven. (See on Ac 1:10, 11). This made them return, not with disappointment at His removal, but "with great joy."

53. were continually in the temple—that is, every day at the regular hours of prayer till the day of Pentecost.

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