And lo, two of them. Although Mark touches slightly and briefly on this narrative, and Matthew and John say not a single word respecting it; yet as it is highly useful to be known and worthy of being remembered, it is not without reason that Luke treats it with so much exactness. But I have already mentioned on various occasions, that each of the Evangelists had his portion so appropriately assigned to him by the Spirit of God, that what is not to be found in one or two of them may be learned from the others. For there are also many appearances which are mentioned by John, but are passed over in silence by our three Evangelists.
Before I come to the minute details, it will be proper to begin with stating briefly, that those were two chosen witnesses, by whom the Lord intended, not to convince the apostles that he was risen, but to reprove their slowness; for though at first; they were of no service, yet their testimony, strengthened by other aids, had at length its due weight with the apostles. Who they were is uncertain, except that from the name of one of them, whom we shah find that Luke shortly afterwards calls Cleopas, we may conjecture that they did not belong; to the eleven. Emmaus was an ancient, and by no means inconsiderable, town, which the Romans afterwards calledNicopolis and was not at a great distance from Jerusalem, for sixty furlongs are not more than seven thousand and four hundred paces. But the place is named by Luke, not so much on account of its celebrity, as to add certainty to the narrative.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
13. two of them] It is expressly implied in vs. 33 that they were not Apostles. One was Cleopas (an abbreviation of Cleopatros), of whom we know nothing, for the name is not the same as Clopas (=Alphaeus or Chalpai, Joh_19:25), though they may have been the same person (see on 6:15). The other is unknown, and unconjecturable. There is no shadow of probability that it was St Luke himself (Theophylact). This exquisite narrative is given by St Luke alone, though mentioned in Mar_16:12, Mar_16:13.
went] Rather, were going.
a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs] Omit “about,” which has nothing to sanction it in the text. The distance (6½ miles) shews that Emmaus could not have been the Emmaus of 1Ma_3:40; 1Ma_9:50, &c. (Amwâs or Nicopolis), which is 176 furlongs (22 miles) from Jerusalem, Jos. B. J. ii. 20, § 4, or the Galilaean Emmaus or “Hot Springs” (Jos. B. J. iv. 1, § 3, vii. 6, § 6). It may be the Emmaus of Jos. B. J. vii. 6, § 6 (Kulonieh Succah, iv. 5), which according to one reading was 60 furlongs from Jerusalem. Had the Emmaus been 160 furlongs distant (as in the reading of א, I, K, N, &c.) they could not have returned the same evening to Jerusalem.
13-32. The Manifestation to the Two Disciples at Emmaus. This narrative forms a counterpart to that of the manifestation to Mary Magdalen in Jn. There is a condensed allusion to the incident in the appendix to Mk. (16:12, 13); but the narrative is peculiar to Lk. and is among the most beautiful of the treasures which he alone has preserved for us. He almost certainly obtained his information from one of the two disciples, and probably in writing. The account has all the effect of personal experience. If this is accepted, then Cleopas may be regarded as the narrator; for Lk. would know and be likely to name the person from whom he received the account.
The fact that Lk. was almost certainly a Gentile (Col_4:10-14), and that in the preface to his Gospel he indicates that he was not an eye-witness, renders the conjecture of Theophylact. that Lk. was the unnamed disciple who went with Cleopas to Emmaus, very improbable. This disciple was evidently a Jew (vv. 20, 27, 32) or a proselyte. Lk. may have been a proselyte before he was a Christian, and his preface may mean no more than that he was not one of those “which from the beginning were eye-witnesses”: but nothing is gained by such conjectures. In the Acts he uses the first person plural, when he himself was present. Why does he not do the same here, if he was one of the two? It would have added greatly to “the certainty” which he wished to impart to Theophilus, if he had assured him that he himself had talked and eaten with Jesus on the very day of His Resurrection. But the hypothesis still finds sup porters, e.g. Lange, Godet, Bp. Alexander. Origen twice gives Simon as the name of the unnamed disciple (Cels. 2:62, 68). This may be an erroneous interpretation of ὥφθη Σίμωνι (ver. 34). Epiphanius conjectures Nathanaei, which could hardly be right, if Nathanael is Bartholomew (ver. 33). But all such conjectures are worthless. Probably Lk. himself did not know who the other was.
13. Καὶ ἰδού. As often, introduces something new and unexpected: 1:20, 31, 36, 2:25, 5:12, 18, 7:12, etc.
δύο ἐξ αὐτῶν. Not of the Apostles (ver. 10), as is shown by ver. 33, but of the disciples generally. A direct reference to πᾶσιν τοῖς λοιποῖς (ver. 9) is not manifest. For ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ἡμέρᾳsee sma1l print on 10:7, and contrast AV. and RV.
ἐξήκοντα. The reading ἕκατον ἐξήκοντα (א I K1N1Π and some other Gk. Lat. and Syr. authorities) is “an Alexandrian geographical correction, though not of the type of Γεργεσηνῶν or Βηθαβαρά; evidently arising from identification of this Emmaus with the better known Emmaus which was later called Nicopolis. The identification is distinctly laid down by Eus. Hier. Soz., though they do not refer to the distance” (WH. 2: App. p. 72). Syr-Sin. has “threescore.”
Ἐμμαούς. The fortified town afterwards called Nicopolis cannot be meant, although all Christian writers from Eusebius to the twelfth century assume that it is meant. It is 176 stadia, or 20 English miles, from Jerusalem; and it is absurd to suppose that these two walked about 20 miles out, took their evening meal, walked 20 miles back, and arrived in time to find the disciples still gathered together and conversing (ver. 33). Yet Robinson contends for it (Res in Psa_3. pp. 147-151). El Kubeibeh, Which Isa_63 stadia from Jerusalem, on the road to Lydda, is probably the place. It is about 7 miles N.W. of Jerusalem, in the beautiful Wady Beit Chanina, and the tradition in its favour dates from the crusades. Of other conjectures, Kulonieh and Beit Mizzeh are too near (36 to 40 stades), and Khamasa is not near enough (72 stades). But Caspari is very confident that Kulonieh is right (p. 242). See D.B.2 and Schaff’s Herzog, art. “Emmaus”; also Didon, J.C. App. U.
Vers. 13-35. The meeting with the risen Jesus on the way to Emmaus.
And, behold, two of them. This long piece, which relates in a singularly vivid and picturesque manner one of the earliest appearances of the Risen, is peculiar to St. Luke. St. Mark (Mar_16:12, 13) mentions it, but as it were only in passing. This Gospel, written probably after the Gospels of SS. Matthew and Mark, holds a middle place between the earliest apostolic memoirs represented by the first two Gospels and the last memoir, that of St. John, which was probably put out in its present form by the apostle “whom Jesus loved” some time in the last fifteen years of the first century. Writers of varied schools unite in expressions of admiration for this singularly beautiful “memory of the Lord.” Godet styles it one of the most admirable pieces in St. Luke”s Gospel. Renan, belonging to another, perhaps the most cheerless of all schools of religious thought, writes thus: Lepisode des disciples d”Emmaus est un des recits les plus fins, les plus nuances qu”il y ait duns aucune langue” (“Les Evangiles,” p. 282). Dean Plumptre speaks of “the long and singularly interesting narrative peculiar to St. Luke.” He says, “It must be looked upon as among the ” gleaning of the grapes,” which rewarded his researches even after the full vintage had apparently been gathered in by others” (i.e. St. Matthew and Mark). The “two of them,” although doubtless well known in the apostolic age, seem to have held no distinguished place in early Christian history (see note on ver. 18, where Cleopas is mentioned). That same day. The first day of the week the first Easter Day. The events of the early morning of the Resurrection have been already commented upon. To a village called Emmaus. This Emmaus, the narrative tells us, was about sixty furlongs some six miles and a half from the holy city. It was situated east-south-east from Jerusalem. The name is connected with the modern Arabic term Hammam (a bath), and indicates probably, like the Latin Aquae, or the French Aix, and the English “Bath,” or “Wells,” the presence of medicinal springs; and this may possibly account for St. Luke the physician”s attention having in the first instance been drawn to the spot. This Emmaus is now called Kulonieh. A curious Talmudical reference, quoted by Godet, belongs to this place Emmaus, now Kulonieh: “At Mattza they go to gather the green boughs for the Feast of Tabernacles” (Talmud, “Succa,” 4:5). Elsewhere it is said that “Maflza is Kulonieh.
Vers. 13-35. Emmaus.
(For a beautiful paraphrase of this Scripture, see the passage in Cowper”s poem “Conversation,” beginning, “It happened on a solemn eventide.” The incident is presented by him as an illustration of converse “such as it behoves man to maintain, and such as God approves.” And it is impossible to resist the appropriateness of the lesson which is enforced.) The time of the memorable appearance is the afternoon, probably between four and six; and its prominent persons are two disciples, not apostles, whom it is impossible to identify. The one is called Klopas or Cleophas, supposed by many to be Alphaeus, the brother of Joseph of Nazareth, and father of James; but the name being a contraction of Cleopatrus, the supposition is scarcely admissible. The other is not mentioned by name, and many conjectures concerning him have been framed. A worthy German pastor once said, “The learned cannot come to any agreement who the other was, and I will give you this good counsel let each of you take his place.” Look at these two men as they journey. “The sun of the Resurrection was enveloped in thick clouds of despondency and sorrow, scarcely penetrated by a ray of light.” It would seem that they had left the gathering of disciples before Mary had brought her tale. What they dwell on is, “True, the body was not in the tomb; but then he was not seen;” and one risen from the dead was a thought which they could scarcely credit. They are not sure even that the women really saw angels; it was, perhaps, only a vision of angels, and, having the notions of their time as to ghosts and apparitions, they incline to the belief that there was no reality in the presence of whom the Maries and Salome and others had spoken. No; he is dead, and the third day has come and gone, and he has not been seen. Let this state of mind be noted. There was no predisposition in Christ”s followers to accept the Resurrection. Far from this, the evidence made way against doubtings, against scepticisms, we might say, of the most obstinate nature. These foolish and slow-hearted men were almost the last people likely to credit the tale. How was it that this temperament, incredulous, despondent, so quickly gave way to one full of worship and great joy? How was it that such men gave up all, travelled hither and thither with the one message ever on their lips, many of them suffering death because they would maintain that the Christ who was crucified did rise, had been seen by them, and is alive for evermore? I can find only one answer to the question They witnessed to truth. “The Lord is risen indeed.” But regard the incident in the light of the thought that the forty days in which Christ showed himself alive after his Passion were intended as a time of preparation for that new form of his presence which began when the day of Pentecost was fully come. Studying the forty-days” period, we can find many hints and suggestions as to the manner of Christ”s intercourse with us, of his coming to us in the Comforter whom he promised until the end of the age. The special teaching of this journey to Emmaus, and all that befell the two, may be gathered under three points:
(1) Christ with us, but unrevealed;
(2) Christ teaching, but personally unrecognized;
(3) Christ revealed and recognized.
I CHRIST WITH US, BUT UNREVEALED. A Stranger asks the cause of the dejection of the two travellers, and, by his sympathy and courtesy, draws out their confidence. Two reasons for not discerning him are given. The one is, (Mar_16:12) that “he appeared in another form” than that with which they were familiar. Not the form of the Shepherd going before them, but that of the Companion in walking and working clothes travelling by their side. But there is the other reason (ver. 16) eyes were holden that they should not know him.” They were not at that time in spiritual light; their vision was narrowed by their great sorrow. Are not these still the reasons why so often we do not see the Christ who is with us as we travel along the thoroughfares of life? He is not in the form in which we expect him. Sometimes he hides himself, that he may get the more fully into our hearts. He is with us, wanting the halo, wanting all that would at once declare him, that he may be more intimately our Friend, “familiar, patient, condescending, free.” And we miss or mistake him, because we cannot see beneath the form, because our minds are self-occupied, or, when intent on higher things, are wanting in the elevation, in the pure sweet light, of the spiritual mind. Only when the spiritual eyes are opened do we know who has been and is with us. But he is with us as we toil on our toilsome way, bearing the heat and burden of the afternoon. It is he who is touching the springs or” our thought and action. It is he who is speaking to us. Fear not, thou weary and heart-sore disciple; when thy comforts seem to be gone, he, the Comforter, is close to thee. Thy tears are falling; he is nigh with his “Why weepest thou?” Thou art seeking thy God, but thy soul is unresting, because it cannot find the Rock; he is nigh with his “Whom seekest thou?” Thou hast left the city”s din behind thee, and art alone with thyself; he is nigh, assuring thee that the fairest vineyards are those which are received from the valley of troubling. Thou art in communion with some kindred spirit, exchanging the fears and joys of the mind that turns to heaven; he is nigh, rejoicing to add himself to the two or three. The story of Emmaus is indeed a figure of the life-pilgrimage. Bear from it the pledge that whosoever is true to the light, is, though halting and uncertain may be his steps, the neighbour to Jesus Christ Jesus himself near and in fellowship with all communing and reasoning.
II And how? TEACHING, ALTHOUGH PERSONALLY UNRECOGNIZED. What Christ was in his dealing with the two, he has been in his dealing with his Church. During the past centuries he has been “teaching and expounding the things concerning himself.” Did he not promise that the Holy Ghost would be the Guide into all truth, through the glorifying of him, the receiving of his and showing it to his own? What is the witness for the fulfilment of this office? It is the history of the past eighteen centuries. The text from which the Holy Ghost has been preaching is that which Jesus sounded (ver. 26); and the way of the sermon is the very way of Christ (ver. 27). Moses and the prophets, apprehended in New Testament light, have, for these centuries, been read, opened up, as the treasury of the things of Christ. Thought and culture, devotion and obedience, stand to-day where they stood yesterday before the mighty “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” Is there not progressiveness in the teaching of the Holy Ghost? There is development in Christianity. It has its permanent, but it has its progressive, element also. It is only by little and little that the higher truth of the kingdom enters the hearts of men. Precept must be on precept, line on line, until the dispensation of the opening, when the Church, gathered fully into the house of the Lord, will receive from-the pierced hand the bread of the eternal life. So in personal history and experience. There is One teaching us, even when we do not recognize who he is. Life is the school in which the Holy Ghost is the Instructor. Christ and Christ”s love, and the meaning of our existence as interpreted in Christ”s cross, is the lesson in which we are taught. We pass from standard up to standard, the book which regulates all the teaching being the Scriptures. Many are the forms which the Holy Ghost, the Teacher, assumes; many are the agencies through which he draws near. But if, with receptive minds, we are yielded to him, he is taking us step by step along the path of the manifold education meant for the disciple of Jesus; expounding as we are able to bear, stooping to our immaturities and weaknesses; a presence in us rather than external to us, stimulating thought and desire, enkindling into fuller flame the smoking flax; so that by-and-by we are able to say, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (ver. 32).
III Behold CHRIST REVEALED AND RECOGNIZED. The village is reached. Must the delightful companionship end? Courteously saluting them, the Stranger apparently is going on. Nay, the sun is about to set; they entreat him not to leave them (ver. 29). He would have gone on if there had been no prayer. The personal desire is essential to the tarrying. But that desire never pleads in vain. How many never plead for the tarrying indeed, do not want it! For the drawing near and journeying with us, no desire from us is needed. Christ does that of his own will. But the tarrying is another matter. He cannot force an entrance; he will be forced. “They constrained him.” He receives sinners for salvation; their reception of him is salvation. (Rev_3:20) At meat with them he is revealed. What it was that disclosed him we cannot exactly say. The whole manner is solemn and striking. At once he takes the head of the table. The Master”s place is conceded to him. And that always prepares for revelation. When the heart is truly yielded to Christ, the moment of the showing of himself is near. He takes the bread; he blesses; he breaks, and gives it to the two. And their eyes are opened, and they know him. There is the voice, the blessing, and I think, the sight of the pierced hands the sight that I expect to have in glory. The meal may not have been a full sacrament. But Christ”s presence and blessing made, the meal sacramental; for that presence and that blessing elevate whatever is ordinary. And the action before us is a consecration of ordinance as well as Word as the means of revelation. The Word prepares for the ordinance; in the ordinance Christ is revealed. Is not this a forecast of the future? Is it not Christ”s will to make himself known to those who sit at meat with him they having first constrained him and being thus spiritually susceptible in the breaking of bread? Observe the signs of the revelation. A new sight (ver. 31); a new energy (ver. 33); a new sympathy (vers. 33, 34); a new eloquence (ver. 35). Joy, joy to the disciples who have seen the Lord. But he has vanished out of their sight. He must not hinder, by his bodily presence, the lifting of the consciousness into the region of the spiritual presence. That on which afterwards they dwell is, not the glimpse they have had of face and hand, but the power of his Spirit, the life-giving force of his Word (ver. 32). The clouds were dispelled by the rising of the Day-star in the heart. That is the sign of Christ with us here. By that we know that it is he who has been talking with us. One day, but not in this present time, we shall see him as he is; he will bless and break and give to us himself, the Bread of life. And then he will not vanish out of our sight. “Oh, then shall the veil be removed, And round me thy brightness be poured; I shall meet him whom absent I loved, I shall see whom unseen I adored.
Vers. 13-32. Privilege; unconscious companionship; incredulity.
In this most interesting narrative, beside a very pleasing and attractive picture, we have a variety of lessons. We may gather instruction respecting
I OUR LORD”S ELECTIVE LOVE. It was a very great favour he granted to these two men. Why, we ask, was it rendered to them? Of one we do not even know his name, and of the other nothing but his name. Why was so rare and high a privilege accorded to these obscure disciples, and not rather to those more prominent and active? In truth, we find ourselves quite unable to decide who are the fittest to receive special favours from the hand of God, or on what grounds he wills to manifest his presence and his power. His selections, we are sure, cannot be arbitrary or irrational. God must have not only a reason, but the best reason, for everything he does. But into the reasons for his choice we often may not enter; they lie beyond our reach. It is not to the acknowledged leaders of the Church that God often chooses to manifest especial privilege, but to those who are simple, unexpectant, unknown. He grants illuminations of his Spirit, peculiar joy and gladness of heart in him, remarkable success in the utterance of his truth, anticipatory glimpses of heavenly glory, to whom he will. And these are quite likely to be found amongst the humbler members of his Church. If there is any law which will guide our judgment it is this that it is to the “pure in heart,” to those who have most perfectly conquered the fleshly passions and are most freed from worldly ambitions and anxieties, who have the simplest and purest hope in him and desire toward him, that he vouchsafes his presence and grants the teaching and inspiration of his Spirit. But Christ”s elective love is fully as much of a fact as it is of a doctrine.
II UNCONSCIOUS COMPANIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. These two men were walking and talking with Christ, receiving his truth and responding to his appeal, their hearts “burning within them” as they held sweet and sacred intercourse with him; yet they did not recognize him; they had no idea that they were having fellowship with the Lord. There is much unconscious companionship with Jesus Christ now. Men are led into belief of the truth, are impressed with the sovereign claims of God upon their service, and of Jesus Christ upon their love; they ask, they inquire, they come to the feet of Christ to learn of him; they come to the cross of Christ to trust in him; they shun what they believe to be offensive, and pursue what they think is right and pleasing in his sight; and yet they are not at rest. They think they may be in a good way or in a fair way to find life; but they do not realize that they are in the right way. The fact is ofttimes that they are walking in the path of life with Christ, but “their eyes are holden that they do not know him.” A Divine One has joined himself to them, as familiarly and unpretendingly as to these two disciples, ingratiating himself into their favour, wooing and winning their trust and their love; but because there has been no period of welt-recognized revolution, no sudden remarkable convulsion, they have failed to perceive that the work wrought within them has been that of his own kind and holy hand. Such souls need to learn that oftenest it is not in the wind, or in the earthquake, or in the fire, but in the still small voice of familiar truth and gracious influence, that Christ comes to the soul in renewing power. If it is in Christ we are trusting, if it is in his service we are most willing to live, if it is his will we are most concerned to do, then it is he himself by whose side we are walking day by day.
III THE STRANGE INCREDULITY OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP. Our Master, who was so gentle and so considerate, here employs a very strong expression (ver. 25). This is the language of serious reproach; it is a weighty rebuke. The disciples of Christ ought to have read their Scriptures better, and they ought to have heeded the reiterated warning and promise he had himself given them of his death and his rising again. But while we wonder at what seems to us their slowness to learn and to believe, are we not as obtuse and as incredulous as they were? Do we not fail to grasp the promises of God as they are written in his Word, as they were spoken by his Son our Saviour? When those things happen which we should expect to happen in connection with the teaching of Divine truth; when the Spirit of God works mightily and mercifully in the souls of men; when hard hearts are broken and stubborn wills are subdued to the obedience of Christ; when wrong and shameful lives are changed into pure and holy ones; when the kingdom of God comes amongst us; are we not surprised, incredulous? Are we not tempted to ascribe these issues to other than heavenly sources? And yet ought not this very result to happen? Is it not precisely what we should have been looking for, and wondering that it did not occur? We shall probably find abundant illustrations of Christian incredulity to match anything of which we read in our New Testament. “Slow of heart” are we to believe all that the Master has said of the presence and the power and the promises of God. C.
Vers. 13-32. Further lessons by the way.
Other lessons beside those already gleaned (see preceding homily) await our hand in this instructive story.
I THE THREAD OF TRIAL WHICH RUNS THROUGH THE FABRIC OF OUR LIFE. On one occasion our Lord asked a question of one of his disciples, and of that question it is said, “This he said to prove him”. (Joh_6:6) There were other occasions, e.g. that of the blind beggars by the wayside, and that of the Syro-phoenician woman, when Jesus said things to prove or to try those who came to him. We have the same thing here. He drew near to these two disciples in the guise of a stranger; he chose to remain unknown to them; he drew them out as if he were one unacquainted with the events which were filling their minds and hearts; he induced them to discover themselves freely and fully both to his own eyes and to theirs; moreover, he was in the act of passing on, and would have gone beyond Emmaus if they had not availed themselves of the opportunity of persuading him to remain. And thus he tried them. The “trial of our faith,” and of our love and loyalty, forms a great part of our Master”s dealing with ourselves. It explains many otherwise inexplicable things in our life. God appears to us other than the kind, gracious, pitiful, considerate Father that he is. Christ seems to be other than the present, strong, faith-rewarding Master that he is. Why does God let such things happen to us? Why does not Christ bring to pass that for which we labour and pray so earnestly? It may be that, in these cases, he is trying us; proving the sincerity and deepening the roots of our faith and love and zeal. We shall be the stronger, and our lives will be the more fruitful, for his action or his lingering, a little further on.
II THE TRUE WAY TO MAKE THE SABBATH A DELIGHT. It was fitting that on the first sabbath of the Christian era there should be recorded an instance in which the day was spent as Christ would have it be. What a pleasant picture this of communion with Christ, of searching the Scriptures, of sitting down at the same table with him! We have here:
1. Communion with our Lord. About one-fourth of the whole day these favoured men were conversing with Christ, opening their minds and outpouring their hearts to him, telling him their hopes and their fears, and receiving kind and illuminating responses from his lips. So should our “fellowship be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” on the “day of the Lord.” And as we may be sure that the way to Emmaus was marvellously shortened that afternoon, and the village houses showed themselves long before they were looked for, so will earnest and loving communion with our living Lord, so will our walking with Christ, make the hours go swiftly by on the wings of holy and elevated joy, and we shall “call the sabbath a delight.
2. Sacred study. (Vers. 27, 32) How wonderful these Scriptures which contain the record of Divine revelation! So short as to be capable of being committed to the memory, and yet so full as to contain all that is needful for our enlightenment and enrichment, for guidance to God and heaven; so dull to the unquickened conscience, and so delightful to the awakened and renewed; holding mysteries insoluble to human learning, and yet intelligible and instructive from Genesis to Revelation to the earnest inquirer after truth and life; valueless in the market, and yet precious beyond all price to all who want to know how to live and how to die. As Christ and the two learners walked and talked, new light shone on the old passages, and the way was too short and the time too soon gone for their interest and their eagerness to be expended.
3. Meeting the living Lord at his table. (Ver. 30) This was not, strictly speaking, a “sacramental” meal to which they sat down. It was not the “Lord”s Supper” of which they partook. But there was about it so much of reverence, of religious earnestness, of holy communion, of sacred joy, that it may well suggest to us that most excellent way of spending some part of “the Lord”s day.
III THE WORTH OF ALL TRUE CHRISTIAN LABOUR. Possibly those who teach may sometimes ask themselves whether it is worth their while to conduct so small a class, to preach to so poor a congregation. Here is the answer to that questioning. If the risen Lord of glory thought it worth his while to walk seven miles and spend two hours in enlightening the minds and comforting the hearts of two humble and obscure disciples; if he was content to spend a good part of his first sabbath in taking a class of two, and pouring from the rich treasury of his truth into their minds, we may not think it unworthy of us to spend time in enlightening or comforting one human heart that craves the succour it is in our power to give. The disciple is not above his Master.
IV THE SECRET OF SPIRITUAL INTEREST, Do we devoutly wish that we knew more of that sacred gladness of which these disciples were so happily conscious as he “talked with them by the way, and opened to them the Scriptures” (ver. 32)? Then:
1. Let us see that we are, as they were, earnestly desirous of knowing more of Jesus Christ. Let us go to our Bible and go up to the house of the Lord with that end distinctly and prominently in view.
2. Let us seek and gain the same Divine illumination. It is still to be had, though that voice is not now heard in our ear. The “Spirit of truth” is with us still, waiting to illumine and to enlarge our hearts; if we seek his aid and open our minds to his entrance, he will “guide us into all the truth”. C. (Joh_16:13)
Vers. 13-35. The risen Christ the best Escort on the pilgrim, age of life.
We left Peter in perplexity, but he and John must have returned to the rest of the disciples, and reported the emptiness of the sepulchre, but that they had not seen the Risen One (ver. 24). John does not seem to have communicated his own convictions unto the others. Most likely he is turning.the matter over in his mind, as contemplative and deep-thinking men will do before giving a public pronouncement. Meanwhile there is a dispersion of some of the disciples that very afternoon. Thomas seems to have gone away, and to have remained away that night. And two of them proceed seven or eight miles into the country to Emmaus, where their home seems to have been. It is these two pilgrims that we are now to follow. They leave the city, and their conversation is sad. They are discussing the bright hopes which have been so lately quenched by the crucifixion of their Lord. It is while so sad that Jesus joins them; for he who had been the “Man of sorrows” and “acquainted with grief” is ever breaking in upon men”s troubles to relieve them. His treatment of these “unwilling sceptics,” as they have been lately called, is most instructive.He probes their sorrow, gets an insight into its cause, gets them to state their hopes, their disappointments, and the rumours they had heard of his resurrection. On this basis, although apparently an unknown Stranger, he proceeds to show them their error and slowness in not believing all that the prophets have spoken about Messiah. Beginning, therefore, at Moses, he expounds to them from all the prophets that Messiah must first suffer, and then enter into his glory. The exposition was so brilliant and interesting, that they felt their hearts burning within them during the process. Then, under compulsion, he enters their lodging at Emmaus, sits down as Guest, then proceeds as Host to distribute the food as at the sacramental meal. Not till then did they recognize their risen Lord in the devout Being who graced their board. Once recognized, and thus dispelling all their doubt, he vanishes into the invisible. Such experience could not be quietly kept at Emmaus. They resolve to return that very night to Jerusalem, to report their interview, and how blessed an Escort Jesus had been in their pilgrimage. They are in time for the manifestation of the Risen One to the assembled disciples. We may learn from the narrative such lessons as these.
I JESUS MAKES HIS ADVENT TO US WHEN OUR SOULS ARE SAD. This is the very spirit of the dispensation. Thus he cried, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. (Mat_11:28) And as the risen Saviour he prefers, we may well believe, the house of mourning to the house of mirth. Not only so, but when souls are in sad perplexity, when they are “unwilling sceptics” it is his delight to come and be their Escort along life”s way, and lead them out of gloom and difficulty into real peace and joy. Now, when we know how accessible he is through prayer, we should never undertake any pilgrimage without securing the companionship of Jesus.
II WE LEARN THAT JESUS IS OFTEN WITH US WHILE WE KNOW IT NOT. Here was he with these two pilgrims, taking step by step with them to Emmaus, and yet their eyes were so holden that they did not know him. He was near them, but they did not know him. Is not this the case with all of us? He is at our side, he takes every step with us, but we are so blinded with care and preoccupation that we fail to see him or enjoy his society as we should. The omnipresence of Jesus should be the believer”s constant consolation.
III JESUS IS HIMSELF AT ONCE THE GREAT SUBJECT AND THE GREAT EXPOSITOR OF SCRIPTURE. Here we find him, after listening so sympathetically to all the difficulties of the disciples, proceeding to expound to them, “in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself.” “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” And here it is well to notice what is the substance of the whole revelation. It is put in these words of the risen Saviour, “Ought not Messiah to have suffered these things, and to have entered (eiselyein) into his glory?” The Authorized and Revised Versions have alike failed to give the proper rendering here. Our Lord declares that he has entered already into his glory, just as he has already passed through his sufferings. We believe it can be made out from this and other passages that our Lord ascended of course invisibly without disciples as spectators, to heaven, and reported himself on high immediately after telling Mary, “I ascend not “will ascend unto my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (Joh_20:17; cf. also Bush on ” The Resurrection. This supposition of an ascension on the very day of the Resurrection enables us to understand his movements during the rest of the day, and his bestowal of the Spirit, which was conditioned on his glorification, in the evening. (Joh_20:22; cf. Joh_7:39) It also enables us to regard heaven as his head-quarters during the forty days before his visible ascension from Olivet. Upon this interesting subject we cannot now dwell, however; but we content ourselves by pointing it out, and emphasizing the fact of Jesus as the suffering and glorified Messiah being the Hero, the Substance, and the great Expositor of revelation. It is when we look for him in the Word that it becomes luminous and delightful.
IV THE ENTERTAINMENT OF JESUS IS SURE TO LEAD TO SPECIAL BLESSING. These two men insisted on Jesus sojourning with them, because it was towards evening and the day was far spent. And as he sojourned, he was transmuted from Guest to Host, and gave them a sacramental instead of common feast. It is when devoutly asking a blessing on the bread that he is recognized, only, however, to vanish like a vision from their sight. Now we may pass through an analogous experience. Is not this what is meant by the Master when he says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me”? (Rev_3:20) If we are open-hearted, and welcome Jesus, he will enter our hearts and sup with us, taking whatever we have to give him, and delighting in it, and enable us to sup with him. He will change into a Host from being our Guest. It was thus he acted at the marriage of Cana; it was thus he acted at Emmaus; it was thus he acted on the Shore of the Galilaean lake. He may be Guest, but he will soon show himself to be our Host, and give us a feast of fat things.
V LIFE IS LARGELY A LIVING UPON HAPPY MEMORIES. AS soon as the Risen One had vanished, they began to compare notes about the burning heart, and all the happy memories of their journey from Jerusalem. And as they plodded in that night through the dark to report their great discovery, they lived upon the happy memory. But, had they only known it, the risen Jesus was in some way making that return journey to Jerusalem too, making for the same upper room, to reveal himself to the disciples, and their fellowship with him might have been repeated. At all events, we need not live on happy memories, but may enjoy Christ”s spiritual presence and his escort all through the pilgrimage of life. It is this which will make the present life a heaven, not by anticipation merely, but in actual enjoyment; for fellowship with Christ, even though he be unseen, is the chief element of heaven. May we have the great Escort with us all the way! R.M.E
“Two of them.” Two of the disciples. The name of one of them was “Cleopas,” Luk_24:18. Many have supposed that the other was Luke, and that he omitted his own name from modesty. Others have supposed that it was Peter. See Luk_24:34; 1Co_15:5. There is no evidence to guide us here. Dr. Lightfoot has shown that “Cleopas” is the same name as “Alpheus,” who was the father of the apostle James, Mat_10:3.
Emmaus – In regard to the locality of Emmaus, it seems quite probable that it is the same village which is referred to by Josephus (“Jewish Wars,” vii. 6, Section 6), who states that, after the destruction of Jerusalem, Titus gave “Emmaus,” distant from Jerusalem threescore furlongs, to 800 of his troops, whom he had dismissed from his army, for their habitation. Dr. Thomson (“The Land and the Book,” vol. ii. p. 307, 540) regards it as the present Kuriet el ‘Aineb, which Dr. Robinson identifies with Kirjath-jearim. Of this place he says: “Kuriet el ‘Aineb itself would be the proper distance from Jerusalem, and being on the road to Jaffa, and on the dividing ridge between the plain and the mountains, the Roman emperor might have deemed it an advantageous post for a colony made up of his disbanded soldiers, who could keep in check the surrounding country. Certain it is that in these later ages the occupants of this place have controlled the whole adjacent region, and for many a generation exercised their lawless tyranny upon helpless pilgrims.
“It took just three hours’ moderate riding from Kuriet el ‘Aineb to Jerusalem: first, a long descent into Wady Hanina, which passes between it and Soba; then a similar ascent, succeeded by a very steep pass, and a very slippery path down to Kulonia. At this place are some heavy foundations of church, convent, or castle by the road-side, which may be of almost any age, and also gardens of fruit-trees, irrigated by a fountain of excellent water. Kulonia is on a hill north of the road, and appears in a fair way to become a ruin itself before long. The path then winds up a valley, and stretches over a dreary waste of bare rocks until within a mile of the city, when the view opens upon its naked ramparts and the mysterious regions toward the Dead Sea.”
Threescore furlongs – Sixty furlongs, or about seven or eight miles. It is not certain that these were apostles, but the contrary seems to be implied in Luk_24:33. See the notes at that verse. If they were not, it is probable that they were intimate disciples, who may have been much with the Saviour during the latter part of his ministry and the closing scenes of his life. But it is wholly unknown why they were going to Emmaus. It may have been that this was their native place, or that they had friends in the vicinity. They seem to have given up all for lost, and to have come to the conclusion that Jesus was not the Messiah, though they naturally conversed about it, and there were many things which they could not explain. Their Master had been crucified contrary to their expectation, their hopes dashed, their anticipation disappointed, and they were now returning in sadness, and very naturally conversed, in the way, of the things which had happened in Jerusalem.
14.And they were conversing with each other. It was a proof of godliness that they endeavored to cherish their faith in Christ: though small and weak; for their conversation had no other object than to employ their reverence for their Master as a shield against the offense of the cross. Now though their questions and disputes showed an ignorance which was worthy of reproof — since, after having been informed that the resurrection of Christ would take place, they were astonished at hearing it mentioned—still their docility afforded Christ an opportunity of removing their error. For many persons intentionally put questions, because they have resolved obstinately to reject the truth; but when men are desirous to embrace the truth submissively, though they may waver on account of very small objections, and stop at slight difficulties, their holy desire to obey God finds favor in his sight, so that he stretches out his hand to them, brings them to full conviction, and does not permit them to remain irresolute. We ought, at least, to hold it as certain, that when we inquire about Christ, if this be done from a modest desire to learn, the door is opened for him to assist us; nay, we may almost say that we then call for himself to be our Teacher; as irreligious men, by their unholy speeches, drive him to a distance from them.
16.But their eyes were restrained. The Evangelist expressly states this, lest any one should think that the aspect of Christ’s body was changed, and that the features of his countenance were different from what they had formerly been. For though Christ remained like himself, he was not recognized, because the eyes of beholders were held; and this takes away all suspicion of a phantom or false imagination. But hence we learn how great is the weakness of all our senses, since neither eyes nor ears discharge their office, unless so far as power is incessantly communicated to them from heaven. Our members do indeed possess their natural properties; but to make us more fully sensible that they are held by us at the will of another, God retains in his own hand the use of them, so that we ought ever to reckon it to be one of his daily favors, that our ears hear and our eyes see; for if he does not every hour quicken our senses, all their power will immediately give way. I readily acknowledge that our senses are not frequently held in the same manner as happened at that time, so as to make so gross a mistake about an object presented to us; but by a single example God shows that it is in his power to direct the faculties which he has. bestowed, so as to assure us that nature is subject to his will. Now if the bodily eyes, to which peculiarly belongs the power of seeing, are held, whenever it pleases the Lord, so as not to perceive the objects presented to them, our understandings would possess no greater acuteness, even though their original condition remained unimpaired; but no in this wretched corruption, after having been deprived of their light, they are liable to innumerable deceptions, and are sunk into such gross stupidity, that they can do nothing but commit mistakes, as happens to us incessantly. The proper discrimination between truth and falsehood, therefore, does not arise from the sagacity of our own mind, but comes to us from the Spirit of wisdom. But it is chiefly in the contemplation of heavenly things that our stupidity is discovered; for not only do we imagine false appearances to be true, but we turn the clear light into darkness.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
16. that they should not know him] Rather, recognise Him. There are two other instances of the same remarkable fact. Mary of Magdala did not recognise Him (Joh_20:14), nor the disciples on the Lake (Joh_21:4). The same thing is evidently implied in vs. 37 and in Mat_28:17; and it exactly accords with the clear indications that the Resurrection Body of our Lord was a Glorified Body of which the conditions transcended those of ordinary mortality. It is emphasized in Mar_16:12, where we are told that He was manifested in a different form from that which He had worn before.
16. ἐκρατοῦντο. There is no need to assume a special act of will on the part of Christ, “who would no be seen by them till the time when He saw fit.” They were preoccupied and had no expectation of meeting Him, and there is good reason for believing that the risen Saviour had a glorified body which was not at once recognized. Comp. ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ in the appendix to Mk. (16:12), the terror of the disciples (ver. 37), the mistake of Mary Magdalen (Joh_20:14, Joh_20:15), and the ignorance of the Apostles on the lake (Joh_21:4). But it is quite possible that the Evangelist understands the non-recognition of Jesus here and the recognition of Him afterwards (ver. 31) to be the results of Divine volition. For κρατεῖσθαι comp. Act_2:24. See on 18:34.
τοῦ μή. This may mean either “in order that they might not” or “so that they did not.” If the latter is adopted, the negative may be regarded as pleonastic. “Were holden from knowing” easily passes into “were holden so that they did not know,” or “were holden that they might not know.” Comp. κατέπαυσαν τοῦμὴ θύειν (Act_14:18) ; κωλῦσαι τοῦ μὴ βαπτισθῆναι (Act_10:47); οὐχ ὑτεστειλάμην τοῦ μὴ ἀναγγεῖλαι (Act_20:27): see also Gen_16:2; Psa_34:14, etc. ; Win. 64:4. b, p. 409. For ἐπιγνῶναι comp. Act_12:14, Act_27:39.
But their eyes were holden, that they should not know him. So Mary Magdalene looked on and failed to recognize at first the Person of her adored Master. (Joh_20:15) So by the lake-shore, as he stood and spoke to the tired fishermen, they who had been so long with him knew him not. Some mysterious change had been wrought in the Person of the Lord. Between the Resurrection and the Ascension, men and women now looked on him without a gleam of recognition, now gazed on him knowing well that it was the Lord. “It is vain,” writes Dr. Westcott, “to give any simply natural explanation of the failure of the disciples to recognize Christ. After the Resurrection he was known as he pleased, and not necessarily at once Till they who gazed on him were placed in something of spiritual harmony with the Lord, they could not recognize him.” The two on their walk to Emmaus, and Mary Magdalene in the garden, were preoccupied with their sorrow. The fisher-disciples on the lake were preoccupied with their work, so that the vision of the Divine was obscured. The risen Christ will surely fulfil his own words, “The pure in heart, they shall see God” but only the pure in heart.
17.What are those discourses which you hold with each other? What was at that time, as we perceive, done openly by Christ, we daily feel to be accomplished in ourselves in a secret manner; which is, that of his own accord he approaches us unperceived for the purpose of instructing us. Now from the reply of Cleopas it is still more evident that, as I have lately mentioned, though they were in doubt and uncertainty about the resurrection of Christ, yet they had in their hearts a reverence for his doctrine, so that they were far from having any inclination to revolt. For they do not expect that Christ will anticipate them by making himself known, or that this fellow-traveler, whoever he may be, will speak of him respectfully; but, on the contrary, having but a small and obscure light, Cleopas throws out a few sparks on an unknown man, which were intended to enlighten his mind, if he were ignorant and uninformed. The name of Christ was, at that time, so generally held in hatred and detestation, that it was not safe to speak of him respectfully; but spurning from him suspicion, he calls Christ a prophet of God, and declares that he is one of his disciples. And though this designation falls greatly below the Divine Majesty of Christ, yet the commendation which he bestows, though moderate, is laudable; for Cleopas had no other intention than to procure for Christ disciples who would submit to his Gospel. It is uncertain, however, if it was through ignorance that Cleopas spoke of Christ in terms less magnificent than the case required, or if he intended to begin with first principles, which were better known, and to rise higher by degrees. Certain it is, that a little afterwards, he does not simply place Christ in the ordinary rank of prophets, but says that he and others believed him to be the redeemer.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
17. that ye have one to another] Literally, “cast to and fro.”
and are sad] The true reading seems to be and they stood still (estathesan, א, A, B, and some ancient versions; estesan, L), looking sad. They stopped short, displeased at the unwelcome, and possibly perilous, intrusion of a stranger into their conversation.
That you have with another (hous antiballete pros allēlous). Anti-ballō is an old verb and means to throw in turn, back and forth like a ball, from one to another, a beautiful picture of conversation as a game of words. Only here in the N.T.
They stood still (estathēsan). First aorist passive of histēmi, intransitive. They stopped.
Looking sad (skuthrōpoi). This is the correct text. It is an old adjective from skuthros, gloomy and ops, countenance. Only here in the N.T.
19.Powerful in deed and in word. Luke has employed nearly the same form of expression in reference to the person of Stephen, (Act_7:22,) where he says of Moses, by way of commendation, that he was powerful in words and in actions. But in this passage it is uncertain if it is on account of miracles that Christ is said to be powerful in actions, (as if it had been said that he was endued with divine virtues which proved that he was sent from heaven;) or if the phrase is more extensive, and means that he excelled both in ability to teach, and in holiness of life and other remarkable endowments. I prefer the latter of these views.
Before God and all the people. The addition of these words ought not to be reckoned superfluous; for they mean that the high excellence of Christ was so well known, and was demonstrated by such undoubted proofs, that he had no hypocrisy or vain ostentation. And hence we may obtain a brief definition of a true Prophet, namely, that to what he speaks he will likewise add power in actions, and will not only endeavor to appear excellent before men, but to act with sincerity as under the eyes of God.
A prophet – A teacher sent from God. They did not now call him the “Messiah,” for his “death” had led them to doubt that, but they had no doubt that he was a distinguished “prophet.” The evidence of that was so clear that they “could” not call it in question.
Mighty in deed – Powerful in working miracles, in raising the dead, healing the sick, etc.
In word – In teaching.
Before God and all the people – Manifestly; publicly. So that “God” owned him, and the people regarded him as a distinguished teacher.
21.But we hoped. From what follows it is evident that the hope which they had entertained respecting Christ was not broken off, though at first sight such might appear to be the import of their words. But as a person who had received no previous instruction in the Gospel might be apt to be prejudiced by the narrative which he was about to give respecting the condemnation of Christ, that he was condemned by the rulers of the Church, Cleopas meets this offense by the hope of redemption. And though he afterwards shows that it is with trembling and hesitation that he continues in this hope, yet he industriously collects all that can contribute to its support. For it is probable that he mentions the third day for no other reason than that the Lord had promised that after three days he would rise again. When he afterwards relates that the women had not fouled the body, and that they tad seen a vision of angels, and that what the women had said about the empty grave was likewise confirmed by the testimony of the men, the whole amounts to this, that Christ had risen. Thus the holy man, hesitating between faith and fear, employs what is adapted to nourish faith, and struggles against fear to the utmost of his power.
But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel. And we who were his friends and followers, we thought we had found in him the Redeemer of Israel, King Messiah! Think! the Redeemer crucified! Although the Redeemer, in the sense they probably understood the word, was something very different to the sense we give to it, the idea was still something very lofty and sublime. It in-eluded, no doubt, much of earthly glory and dominion for Israel, but in some definite sense the Gentile world, too, would share in the blessings of Messiah. And to think of the shameful cross putting an end to all these hopes! And beside all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done.
But yet terrible and despairing as was the story of Cleopas and his friend, their tone was not quite hopeless; for they went on, “And now we have come to the third day since they crucified him.” No doubt they dwelt a short space on the expression, “third day,” telling the Stranger how their dead Master, when alive, had bade his friends watch for the third day from his death. The third day, he had told them, would be the day of his triumphant return to them; and, strangely enough, on the early morning of this third day, something did happen which had stirred, excited, and perplexed them. Certain women of their company, who had been early to the grave of the Master, meaning to embalm the corpse, found the sepulchre empty, and they came back reporting how they had seen a vision of angels there, who told them their Master lived. What did it all mean?
We trusted – We hoped and expected.
Should have redeemed Israel – That he was the Messiah, who would have delivered the nation from the Romans.
Besides all this – It is to be observed that Cleopas states things just as they occurred to his own mind. There is little connection. His mind is confused and distracted. There were so many things that were remarkable in Jesus; there was so much evidence that he was the Messiah; their hopes had been so suddenly dashed by his death, and the succeeding events had been so wonderful, that his mind was confused, and he knew not what to think. The things which he now stated served to increase his perplexity. The expressions here are perfectly natural. They bespeak an agitated mind. They are simple touches of nature, which show that the book was not forged. If the book had been the work of imposture, this artless and perplexed narrative would not have been thought of.
Today is the third day … – Jesus had foretold them that he would rise on the third day. This they did not understand; but it is not improbable that they looked to this day expecting something wonderful, and that the visit to the sepulchre had called it to their recollection, and they were more and more amazed when they put all these things together. As if they had said, “The third day is come, and we have not seen him. Yet we begin to remember his promise – the angels have informed us that he is alive – but we do not know how to put these things together, or what to make of them.”
Certain women – See Mat_28:1-7; Joh_20:12.
A vision of angels – An appearance of angels, or they had seen angels. See Joh_20:12.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
23. which said] Rather, which say. This mention of a sort of double hearsay (‘women saying—of angels who say’) shews the extreme hesitation which appears throughout the narrative.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
24. but him they saw not] This phrase most naturally and tenderly expresses their incredulity and sorrow. It also shews how impossible is the sceptical theory that the Disciples were misled by hallucinations. “Les hallucinés,” says Bersier, “parlent en hallucinés;” but against any blind enthusiasms we see that the Apostles and Disciples were most suspiciously on their guard. They accepted nothing short of most rigid proof.
25.And he said to them. This reproof appears to be too harsh and severe for a weak man such as this was; but whoever attends to all the circumstances will have no difficulty in perceiving that our Lord had good reason for rebuking so sharply those on whom he had long bestowed labor to little purpose, and almost without any fruit. For it ought to be observed, that; what is here said was not confined to these two persons, but, as a reproof of a common fault, was intended to be conveyed by their lips to the rest of their companions. So frequently had Christ forewarned them of his death — so frequently had he even discoursed about a new and spiritual life, and confirmed his doctrine by the inspired statements of the prophets — that he would seem to have spoken to the deaf, or rather to blocks and stones; for they are struck with such horror at his death, that they know not to what hand to turn. This hesitation, therefore, he justly attributes to folly, and assigns as the reason of it their carelessness in not having been more ready to believe. Nor does he only reprove them because, while they had the best Teacher, they were dull and slow to learn, but because they had not attended to the instructions of the Prophets; as if he had said, that their insensibility admitted of no excuse, because it was owing to themselves alone, since the doctrine of the Prophets was abundantly clear, and had been fully expounded to them. In like manner, the greater part of men, at the present day, remain in ignorance through their own fault, because they are obstinate, and refuse to be instructed. But let us observe that Christ, perceiving that his disciples are excessively sluggish; commences with reproof, in order to arouse them; for this is the way in which we must subdue those whom we have found to be hardened or indolent.
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! better translated, O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! The Stranger now replies to the confused story of sorrow and baffled hopes just lit up with one faint ray of hope, with a calm reference to that holy book so well known to, so deeply treasured by every Jew. “See,” he seems to say, “in the pages of our prophets all this, over which you now so bitterly mourn, is plainly predicted: you must be blind and deaf not to have seen and heard this story of agony and patient suffering in those well-known, well-loved pages! When,those great prophets spoke of the coming of Messiah, how came it about that you missed seeing that they pointed to days of suffering and death to be endured by him before his time of sovereignty and triumph could be entered on?”
Expositor’s Greek NT
Ver. 25 f. Jesus speaks.—ἀνόητοι, “fools” (A.V.) is too strong, “foolish men” (R.V.) is better. Jesus speaks not so much to reproach as by way of encouragement. As used by Paul in Gal_3:1 the word is harder. “Stupid” might be a good colloquial equivalent for it here.
26.Ought not Christ to have suffered these things? There is no room to doubt that our Lord discoursed to them about the office of Messiah, as it is described by the Prophets, that they might not take offense at his death; and a journey of three or four hours afforded abundance of time for a full explanation of those matters. Christ did not, therefore, assert in three words, that Christ ought to have suffered, but explained at great length that he had been sent in order that he might expiate, by the sacrifice of his death, the sins of the world, — that he might become a curse in order to remove the curse, — that by having guilt imputed to him he might wash away the pollutions of others. Luke has put this sentence in the form of a question, in order to present it with greater force; from which it may be inferred, that he employed arguments for showing the necessity of his death. The sum of what is stated is, that the disciples are wrong in distressing their minds about their Master’s death, (without which he could not discharge what belonged to Christ; because his sacrifice was the most important part of redemption;) for in this way they shut the gate, that he might not enter into his kingdom. This ought to be carefully observed; for since Christ is deprived of the honor due to him, if he is not reckoned to be a sacrifice for sins, the only way by which he could enter into his glory was that humiliation or emptying, (Phi_2:7,) out of which the Redeemer had arisen. But we see that no trivial offense is committed among at the present day, by the inversion of this order; for among the multitude of those who declare, in magnificent language, that Christ is King, and who extol him by divine titles, hardly one person in ten thinks of the grace which has been brought to us by his death.
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? better translated, ought not the Christ, etc.? “St. Luke dwells on the Resurrection as a spiritual necessity; St. Mark, as a great fact; St. Matthew, as a glorious and majestic manifestation; and St. John, in its effects on the members of the Church… If this suffering and death were a necessity (ouc edei), if it was in accordance with the will of God that the Christ should suffer, and so enter into his glory, and if we can be enabled to see this necessity, and see also the noble issues which flow from it, then we can understand how the same necessity must in due measure be laid upon his brethren” (Westcott). And so we obtain a key to some of the darkest problems of humanity. Thus the Stranger led the “two” to see the true meaning of the “prophets,” whose burning words they had so often read and heard without grasping their real deep signification. Thus he led them to see that the Christ must be a suffering before he could be a triumphing Messiah; that the crucifixion of Jesus, over which they wailed with so bitter a wailing, was in fact an essential part of the counsels of God. Then he went on to show that, as his suffering is now fulfilled for the Crucifixion and death were past nothing remains of that which is written in the prophets, but the entering into his glory.
27.And beginning at Moses. This passage shows us in what manner Christ is made known to us through the Gospel. It is when light is thrown on the knowledge of him by the Law and the Prophets. For never was there a more able or skillful teacher of the Gospel than our Lord himself; and we see that he borrows from the Law and the Prophets the proof of his doctrine. If it be objected that he began with easy lessons, that the disciples might gradually dismiss the Prophets, and pass on to the perfect Gospel, this conjecture is easily refuted; for we shall afterwards find it stated, that all the apostles had their understanding opened, not to be wise without the assistance of the Law, but to understand the Scriptures. In order that Christ may be made known to us through the Gospel, it is therefore necessary that Moses and the Prophets should go before as guides, to show us the way. It is necessary to remind readers of this, that they may not lend an ear to fanatics, who, by suppressing the Law and the Prophets, wickedly mutilate the Gospel; as if God intended that any testimony which he has ever given respecting his Son should become useless.
In what manner we must apply to Christ those passages respecting him which are to be found in every part of the Law and the Prophets, we have not now leisure to explain. Let it suffice to state briefly, that there are good reasons why Christ is called the end of the law, (Rom_10:4.) For however obscurely and at a distance Moses may exhibit Christ in shadows, rather than in a full portrait, (Heb_10:1,) this, at least, is beyond dispute, that unless there be in the family of Abraham one exalted Head, under whom the people may be united in one body, the covenant which God made with the holy fathers will be nullified and revoked. Besides, since God commanded that the tabernacle and the ceremonies of the law should be adjusted to a heavenly pattern, (Exo_25:40; Heb_8:5,) it follows that the sacrifices and the other parts of the service of the temple, if the reality of them is to be found nowhere else, would be an idle and useless sport. This very argument is copiously illustrated by the apostle, (Heb_9:1;) for, assuming this principle, that the visible ceremonies of the law are shadows of spiritual things, he shows that in the whole of the legal priesthood, in the sacrifices, and in the form of the sanctuary, we ought to seek Christ.
Bucer, too, somewhere throws out a judicious conjecture, that, amidst this obscurity, the Jews were accustomed to pursue a certain method of interpreting Scripture which had been handed down to them by tradition from the fathers. But that I may not involve my inquiries in any uncertainty, I shall satisfy myself with that natural and simple method which is found universally in all the prophets, who were eminently skilled in the exposition of the Law. From the Law, therefore, we may properly learn Christ, if we consider that the covenant which God made with the fathers was founded on the Mediator; that the sanctuary, by which God manifested the presence of his grace, was consecrated by his blood; that the Law itself, with its promises, was sanctioned by the shedding of blood; that a single priest was chosen out of the whole people, to appear in the presence of God, in the name of all, not as an ordinary mortal, but clothed in sacred garments; and that no hope of reconciliation with God was held out to men but through the offering of sacrifice. Besides, there is a remarkable prediction, that the kingdom would be perpetuated in the tribe of Judah, (Gen_49:10.) The prophets themselves, as we have hinted, drew far more striking portraits of the Mediator, though they had derived their earliest acquaintance with him from Moses; for no other office was assigned to them than to renew the remembrance of the covenant, to point out more clearly the spiritual worship of God, to found on the Mediator the hope of salvation, and to show more clearly the method of reconciliation. Yet since it had pleased God to delay the full revelation till the coming of his Son, the interpretation of them was not superfluous.
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. The three divisions, the Pentateuch (Moses), the prophets, and all the Scriptures, cover the whole Old Testament received then in the same words as we possess them now. The Lord”s proofs of what he asserted he drew from the whole series of writings, rapidly glancing over the long many-coloured roll called the Old Testament. “Jesus had before him a grand field, from the Protevangelium, the first great Gospel of Genesis, down to Malachi. In studying the Scriptures for himself, he had found himself in them everywhere” (Joh_5:39, Joh_5:40) (Godet). The things concerning himself. The Scriptures which the Lord probably referred to specially were the promise to Eve; (Gen_3:15) the promise to Abraham; (Gen_22:18) the Paschal lamb; (Ex 12) the scapegoat; (Lev_16:1-34) the brazen serpent; (Num_21:9) the greater Prophet; (Deu_18:15) the star and sceptre; (Num_24:17) the smitten rock, (Num_20:11 1Co_10:4) etc.; Immanuel; (Isa_7:14) “Unto us a Child is born,” etc.; (Isa_9:6, Isa_9:7) the good Shepherd; (Isa_40:10, Isa_40:11) the meek Sufferer; (Isa_50:6) he who bore our griefs; (Isa_53:4, Isa_53:5) the Branch; (Jer_23:5 Jer_33:14, Jer_33:15) the Heir of David; (Eze_34:23) the Ruler from Bethlehem; (Mic_5:2) the Branch; (Zec_6:12) the lowly King; (Zec_9:9) the pierced Victim; (Zec_12:10) the smitten Shepherd; (Zec_13:7) the messenger of the covenant; (Mal_3:1) the Sun of Righteousness; (Mal_4:2) and no doubt many other passages. Dr. Davison, in his book on prophecy, pp. 266-287, shows that there is not one of the prophets without some distinct reference to Christ, except Nahum, Jonah (who was himself a type and prophetic sign), and Habakkuk, who, however, uses the memorable words quoted in Rom_1:17. To these we must add references to several of the psalms, notably to the sixteenth and twenty-second, where sufferings and death are spoken of as Belonging to the perfect picture of the Servant of the Lord and the ideal King. His hearers would know well how strangely the agony of Calvary was foreshadowed in those vivid word-pictures he called before their memories in the course of that six-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
28.And they drew near to the village. There is no reason for supposing, as some commentators have done, that this was a different place from Emmaus; for the journey was not so long as to make it necessary for them to take rest for the night at a nearer lodging. We know that seven thousand paces—even though a person were to walk slowly for his own gratification—would be accomplished in four hours at the utmost; and, therefore, I have no doubt that Christ had now reached Emmaus.
And he seemed as if he would go farther. Now as to the question, Can insincerity apply to him who is the eternal truth of God? I answer, that the Son of God was under no obligation to make all his designs known. Still, as insincerity of any kind is a sort of falsehood, the difficulty is not yet removed; more especially as this example is adduced by many to prove that they are at liberty to tell lies. But I reply, that Christ might without falsehood have pretended what is here mentioned, in the same manner that he gave himself out to be a stranger passing along the road; for there was the same reason for both. A somewhat more ingenious solution is given by Augustine, (in his work addressed To Consentius, Book II., chap. 13, and in the book of Questions on the Gospels, chap. 51,) for he chooses to enumerate this kind of feigning among tropes and figures, and afterwards among parables and fables. For my own part, I am satisfied with this single consideration, that as Christ for the time threw a veil over the eyes of those with whom he was conversing, so that he had assumed a different character, and was regarded by them as all ordinary stranger, so, when he appeared for the time to intend to go farther, it was not through pretending any thing else than what he had resolved to do, but because he wished to conceal the manner of his departure; for none will deny that he did go farther, since he had then withdrawn from human society. So then by this feigning he did not deceive his disciples, but held them for a little in suspense, till the proper time should arrive for making himself known. It is, therefore, highly improper to attempt to make Christ an advocate of falsehood; and we are no more at liberty to plead his example for feigning any thing, than to endeavor to equal his divine power in shutting the eyes of men. Our safest course is to adhere to the rule which has been laid down to us, to speak with truth and simplicity; not that our Lord himself ever departed from the law of his Father, but because, without confining himself to the letter of the commandments, he kept by the true meaning of the law; but we, on account of the weakness of our senses, need to be restrained in a different manner.
28. προσεποιήσατο. No unreal acting a part is implied. He began to take leave of them, and would have departed, had they not prayed Him to remain. Comp. His treatment of the disciples on the lake (Mar_6:48), and of the Syrophenician woman (Mar_7:27). Prayers are part of the chain of causation.
The Latin Versions suggest pretending what was not meant: finxit se (b c f ff2), dixit se (1) fecit se (d). simulavit se (e), adfectabat se (a). But all of these. excepting the last, support προσεποιηοιήσατο (א A B D L) against προσεποιεῖτο (P Ξ Γ Δ Λ Π). The προσποιεῖθαι did not continue, The verb does not occur elsewhere in N.T. Comp. Job_19:14.
In this verse οὖ for οἶ or εἰς ἥν is a genuine; not in 22:1O.
Made as though (prosepoiēsato). First aorist active middle (Some MSS. have prosepoieito imperfect) indicative of prospoieō, old verb to conform oneself to, to pretend. Only here in the N.T. Of course he would have gone on if the disciples had not urged him to stay.
Constrained (parebiasanto). Strong verb parabiazomai, to compel by use of force (Polybius and lxx). In the N.T. only here and Act_16:15. It was here compulsion of courteous words.
Is far spent (kekliken). Perfect active indicative of klinō. The day “has turned” toward setting.
30.He took bread. Augustine, and the greater part of other commentators along with him, have thought that Christ gave the bread, not as an ordinary meal, but as the sacred symbol of his body. And, indeed, it might be said with some plausibility, that the Lord was at length recognized in the spiritual mirror of the Lord’s Supper; for the disciples did not know him, when they beheld him with the bodily eyes. But as this conjecture rests on no probable grounds, I choose rather to view the words of Luke as meaning that Christ, in taking the bread, gave thanks according to his custom. But it appears that he employed his peculiar and ordinary form of prayer, to which he knew that the disciples had been habitually accustomed, that, warned by this sign, they might arouse their senses. In the meantime, let us learn by the example of our Master, whenever we eat bread, to offer thanksgiving to the Author of life, — an action which will distinguish us from irreligious men.
30. ἐν τῷ κατακλιθῆναι. “After He had sat down”; not “as sat, He sat” etc. (AV.), nor dum recumberet (Vulg.): see on 3:21. In N.T. in the verb is peculiar to Lk. (7:36, 9:14, 15, 14:8): see on 9:14.
λαβὼν τὸν ἄρτον. “He took the bread” that was usual, or “the loaf” that was there. That this was a celebration of the eucharist (Theophylact), and a eucharist sub unâspecie, is an improbable hypothesis, To support it Maldouatus makes ἐν τῷκατακλ mean `“after He had supped, ” as a parallel to μετὰ τὸ δειπῆσαι (22:20). But the imperf. ἐπεδίδου is against the theory of a eucharist. In the Last Supper there is no change from aor. to imperf such as we have here and in the Miracles of the Five Thousand (κατέκλασεν καὶ ἐδίδου, 9:16) and of the Four Thousand (ἔκλασεν καὶ ἐδιδου Mar_8:6). In none of the Gospels is the imperf used of the eucharist (22:19; Mar_14:22;Mat_26:26) nor in 1 Cor in 11:23. Wordsworth, although he regards this as a eucharist, points out that “bread” was to the Jews a general name for food, including drink as well as meat; and that to “eat bread” and “break bread” are general terms for taking refreshment. That the bread was blessed in order that it might open the eyes of the disciples is also improbable: the εὐλόγησεν is the usual grace before meat. It was the breaking of the bread on the part of Jesus, rather than their own partaking of the bread, which d them to see who He was: see ver. 35.
And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. There was a deep significance in the concluding act of this memorable appearance of the risen Lord. This taking the bread, and blessing it, and breaking it, and then giving it to them, was no ordinary act of courtesy, or welcome, or friendship, which, from a master or teacher might be shown to his disciples. It resembles too closely the great sacramental act in the upper room, when Jesus was alone with his apostles, for us to mistake its solemn sacramental character. The great teachers of the Church in different ages have generally so understood it. So Chrysostom in the Eastern, and Augustine in the Western Church; so Theophylact, and later Beza the Reformer all affirm that this meal was the sacrament. It taught men generally, even more plainly than did the first sacred institution teach the twelve, that in this solemn breaking of bread the Church would recognize their Master”s presence. So generally, in fact, has this Emmaus “breaking of bread” been recognized by the Catholic Church as the sacrament, that later Romanist divines have even pressed it as a scriptural demonstration for the abuse which administered the elements under one form (compare, for instance, the “Refutation of the Confession of Angsberg,” quoted by Stier, in his comment on this passage of Luke, “Words of the Lord Jesus”). How unnecessary and forced such a construction is, Bishop Wordsworth points out in his note on Luk_24:30, “It may be remembered that bread (artov) was to the Jews a general name for food, including drink as well as meat Thus bread became spiritually an expressive term for all the blessings received from communion in Christ”s body and blood, and the klasiv artou , or “breaking of bread,” was suggestive of the source from which these blessings flow, (viz.) Christ”s body (klwmenon) broken; (1Co_11:24) hence klasiv artou in Act_2:42 is a general term for the Holy Eucharist.”
30.] I believe that there was something in the manner of His breaking the bread, and helping and giving it to them, which was his own appointed means of opening their eyes to the recognition of Him. But we must not suppose any reference to, much less any celebration of, the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Neither of these disciples was present at its institution (but see Wieseler’s conjecture, which is at all events worth consideration, in note on ver. 13); and certainly it had never been celebrated since. With this simple consideration will fall to the ground all that Romanists have built on this incident, even to making it a defence of administration in one kind only. See Wordsw., who gives, in reply, a solution as artificial and unwarranted as the argument of the R. Catholics: shewing the danger of departing from the plain sense of Holy Scripture in search of fanciful allusions. The analogy of such a breaking and giving with His institution of that holy ordinance becomes lost, when we force the incident into an example of the ordinance itself. The Lord at their meal takes on Him the office of the master of the house (which alone would shew that it was not their house, but an inn), perhaps on account of the superior place which His discourse had won for Him in their estimation:—and as the Jewish rule was, that “three eating together were bound to give thanks” (Berac. 45. 1, cited by Meyer), He fulfils this duty. In doing so, perhaps the well-known manner of His taking bread, &c., perhaps the marks of the nails in His hands, then first noticed, or these together, as secondary means,—but certainly His own will and permission to be seen by them, opened their eyes to know Him.
And their eyes were opened. By these words, we are taught that there was not in Christ any metamorphosis, or variety of forms, by which he might impose on the eyes of men, (as the poets feign their Proteus,) but that, on the contrary, the eyes of beholders were mistaken, because they were covered; just as, shortly afterwards, he vanished from the eyes of those very persons, not because his body was in itself invisible, but because God, by withdrawing their rigor, blunted their acuteness. Nor ought we to wonder that Christ, as soon as he was recognized, immediately disappeared; for it was not advantageous that they should any longer behold him, lest, as they were naturally too much addicted to the earth, they might desire again to bring him back to an earthly life. So far, then, as it was necessary to assure them of his resurrection, he made himself visible to them; but by the sudden departure, he taught them that they must seek him elsewhere than in the world, because the completion of the new life was his ascension to heaven.
31. διηνοίχθησαν οἱ ὀφθαλμοί. This must be explained in harmony with ver. 16. If the one implies Divine interposition, so also does the other. These two had not been present at the Last Supper, but they had probably often seen Jesus preside at meals; and something in His manner of taking and breaking the bread, and of uttering the benediction, may have been the means employed to restore their power of recognizing Him. Wright’s conjecture that the eucharist was instituted long before the Last Supper is unnecessary. Comp. Gen_21:19; 2Ki_6:20 ; Gen_3:5, Gen_3:7.
For the augment see WH. 2. App. p.161, All three forms, ἠνοίχθην ἐνεῴχθην and ἠνεῴχθην, are found well attested in N.T. Gregory, prolegom, p.121. Syr-Cur. and Syr-Sin. add “immediately” to “were opened.”
ἀφαντος ἐγένετο.“He vanished, became invisible”: comp. ver 37, 6:36, 12:40, 16:11, 12, 19:17. It is very unnatural to take ἐγέετο with ἀπʼ αὐτῶν and make ἄφαντος adverbial: “He departed from them without being seen.” Something more than a sudden departure, or a departure which they did not notice until He was gone, is intended. We are to understand disappearance without physical locomotion: but we know too little about the properties of Christ’s risen body to say whether this was super natural or not. Nowhere else in bibl. Grk. does ἄφαντος occur: in class. Grk. it is poetical. In 2 Mac. 3:34 ἀφανεῖς ἐγένοντο is used of Angels ceasing to be visible. The ἀπʼ αὐτῶν implies no more than withdrawal from their sight: to what extent His presence was withdrawn we have no means of knowing. But His object was accomplished; viz. to convince them that He was the Messiah and still alive, and that their hopes had not been in vain. To abide with them in the old manner was not His object.
The Latin versions vary much, but none of them suggest a mere quiet withdrawal : nusquam comparit ab eis (c e ff2, ) non comparuit ab eis (dr),invisus factus est eis (bf),non apparens factus est ab eis (δevanuit ex oculis eorum (Vulg.). Syr-Sin. has “He was lifted away from them”: so also Syr-Cur. Respecting Jos. Ant. 20:8, 6 see p. 30.
He vanished out of their sight. Not here, not now, can we hope to understand the nature of the resurrection-body of the Lord; it is and must remain to us, in our present condition, a mystery. Certain facts have, however, been revealed to us:
(1) The Resurrection was a reality, not an appearance; for on more than one occasion the Lord permitted the test of touch. He also ate before his disciples of their ordinary food.
(2) Yet there was a manifest exemption flora the common conditions of bodily (corporeal) existence; for he comes through a closed door; he could withdraw himself when he would from touch as well as from sight; he could vanish in a moment from those looking on him; he could, as men gazed on him, rise by the exertion of his own will into the clouds of heaven.
(3) He was known just as he pleased and when he pleased; for at times during the “forty days” men and women looked on him without a gleam of recognition, at times they gazed at him, knowing well that it was the Lord. On the words, “he vanished out of their sight,” Godet writes, “It must be remembered that Jesus, strictly speaking, was already no more with them (ver. 44), and that the miracle consisted rather in his appearing than in his disappearing.” Dr. Westcott expresses the same truth in different language, “What was natural to him before was now miraculous, what was before miraculous is now natural.”
32.Did not our heart burn within us? Their recognition of Christ led the disciples to a lively perception of the secret and hidden grace of the Spirit, which he had formerly bestowed upon them. For God sometimes works in his people in such a manner, that for a time they are not aware of the power of the Spirit, (of which, however, they are not destitute,) or, at least, that they do not perceive it distinctly, but only feel it by a secret movement. Thus the disciples had formerly indeed felt an ardor, which they now remember, but which they had not then observed: now that Christ has made himself known to them, they at length begin to consider the grace which they had formerly, as it were, swallowed without tasting it, and perceive that they were stupid. For they accuse themselves of indifference, as if they had said, “How did it happen that we did not recognize him while he was talking? for when he penetrated into our hearts, we ought to have perceived who he was.” But they conclude that he is Christ, not simply from the bare sign that his word was efficacious to inflame their hearts, but because they ascribe to him the honor which belongs to him, that when he speaks with the mouth, he likewise inflames their hearts inwardly by the warmth of his Spirit. Paul, indeed, boasts that the ministration of the Spirit was given to him, (2Co_3:8;) and Scripture frequently adorns the ministers of the word with such titles as the following; that they convert the hearts, enlighten the understandings, and renew men so as to become pure and holy sacrifices; but then it is not to show what they do by their own power, but rather what the Lord accomplishes by means of them. But both belong equally to Christ alone, to pronounce the outward voice, and to form the hearts efficaciously to the obedience of faith.
It cannot be doubted that he then engraved an uncommon Mark on the hearts of these two men, that they might at length perceive that in speaking he had breathed into them a divine warmth. For though the word of the Lord is always fire, yet a fiery rigor was at that time manifested in a peculiar and unusual, manner in the discourse of Christ, and was intended to be an evident proof of his divine power; for it is he alone who baptizeth in the Holy Ghost and in fire, (Luk_3:16.) Yet let us remember that it is the proper fruit of heavenly doctrine, whoever may be the minister of it, to kindle the fire of the Spirit in the hearts of men, to purify and cleanse the affections of the flesh, or rather to burn them up, and to kindle a truly fervent love of God; and by its flame, as it were, to carry away men entirely to heaven.
33.And they arose in the same hour. The circumstance of the time, and the distance of the places, show with what ardor those two men turned to convey the intelligence to their fellow-disciples. As they entered a lodging towards evening, it is probable that the Lord had not made himself known to them before night came on. To perform a journey of three hours in the dead of night was exceedingly inconvenient; yet they rise that very instant, and return in haste to Jerusalem. And, indeed, if they had only gone thither next day, their tardiness might have exposed them to suspicion; but as they chose rather to deprive themselves of the repose of the night than to allow the slightest delay in making the apostles partakers of their joy, the very haste gave additional credit to their narrative. Now whenLuke says that they arose in the same hour, it is probable that they came to the disciples about midnight. But, according to the testimony of the same Luke, the disciples were at that time conversing together; and hence we learn their anxiety, and industry, and ardor, in spending almost the whole night without sleep, and unceasingly making inquiries at each other, until the resurrection of Christ was ascertained by a multitude of testimonies.
Vers. 33, 34. And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem. “They fear no longer the night-journey from which they had dissuaded their unknown Companion” (Bengel). And found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. Late that evening Cleopas and his friend arrived from Emmaus at Jerusalem. Hastening to the accustomed meeting-place of the disciples of Jesus, to tell their wondrous story of the meeting with the risen Master, they find the eleven together full of joy. Peter had seen and had no doubt conversed with his Master. What a meeting must that have been! The once eager and devoted apostle had probably not gazed on that form in life since he caught the sorrowful look bent on him in the courtyard, when Jesus, bound, passed through and heard his servant denying him with oaths and curses. This appearance to Peter is not recorded in the Gospels. It is, however, placed first of all by St. Paul in his records of the manifestation of the Risen. (1Co_15:4-8)
Expositor’s Greek NT
Ver. 33. αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ: no time lost, meal perhaps left half finished, no fear of a night journey; the eleven must be told at once what has happened. “They ran the whole way from overjoy” (ὑπὸ περιχαρείας), Euthy. Zig
34.Saying, The Lord is actually risen. By these words Luke means that those persons who had brought to the apostles joyful intelligence to confirm their minds, were informed by the disciples respecting another appearance. Nor can it be doubled that this mutual confirmation was the reward which God bestowed on them for their holy diligence. By a comparison of the time, we may conclude that Peter, after having returned from the sepulcher, was in a state of great perplexity and uncertainty, until Christ showed himself to him, and that, on the very day that he had visited the sepulcher, he obtained his wish. Hence arose that mutual congratulation among the eleven, that there was now no reason to doubt, because the Lord had appeared to Simon.
But this appears to disagree with the words of Mark, who says, that the eleven did not even believe those two persons; for how could it be that those who were already certain now rejected additional witnesses, and remained in their former hesitation? By saying that he is actually risen, they acknowledge that the matter is beyond all doubt. First, I reply, that the general phrase contains a synecdoche; for some were harder or less ready to believe, and Thomas was more obstinate than all the rest, (Joh_20:25.) Secondly, We may easily infer that they were convinced in the same way as usually happens to persons who are astonished, and who do not consider the matter calmly; and we know that such persons are continually falling into various doubts. However that may be, it is evident from Luke, that the greater part of them, in the midst of that overpowering amazement, not, only embraced willingly what was told them, but contended with their own distrust; for by the word actually they cut off all ground for doubt. And yet we shall soon afterwards see that, a second and a third time, in consequence of their astonishment, they fell back into their former doubts.
34.] This appearance to Simon (i.e. Peter—the other Simon would not be thus named without explanation: see ch. 5:3 ff.) is only hinted at here,—but is asserted again, 1Co_15:5, in immediate connexion with that which here follows. It is not clear whether it took place before or after that on the way to Emmaus.
Saying – The eleven said this.
Hath appeared to Simon – To Peter. It is not known precisely when this happened, as the time and place are not mentioned. Paul has referred to it in 1Co_15:5, from which it appears that he appeared to “Cephas or Peter” before he did to any other of the apostles. This was a mark of special love and favor, and particularly, after Peter’s denial, it showed how ready he was to pardon, and how willing to impart comfort to those who are penitent, though their sins are great.