Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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LUKE - Chapter 24

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Luke 24

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those parts of the Third Gospel that are peculiar to it are commented on here.  For all other parts the reader should consult the Commentaries on the parallel passages in the other Gospels.


3.  The Resurrection of Jesus  24, 1-49

24, 1-12:  The Women at the Grave.  This is similar to but independent of the account in Matt. 28, 1-8 and Mark 16, 1-8; see Commentary there.    4.  Two men: i.e., two angels in human form.  Matthew and Mark speak of only one angel, i.e., the one who speaks to the women.    9.  The eleven: i.e., the twelve Apostles minus Judas.  V.11 is missing in the manuscripts of the so-called "Western Family" of the text and, since it seems to be a summary of John 20, 3-10, is rejected by many textual critics as unauthentic here.  But the vast majority of the manuscripts, including all the best and the oldest, have this verse in Luke.

24, 13-35:  Emmaus.  Peculiar to Luke, but cf. Mark 16, 12 f.    13.  Two of them: i.e., two disciples who were among all the rest (9) distinct from the Apostles (cf. 33).  The exact site of Emmaus is uncertain.  Sixty stadia: about seven miles; hence some authors identify Emmaus with the modern village of Kubeibeh.  But a few manuscripts read "one hundred and sixty stadia"; hence other authors identify Emmaus with Nicopolis, which is about twenty miles west of Jerusalem.  Nicopolis was indeed one of the many places called "Emmaus" (literally "hot springs") in ancient times, but the context hardly allows for a forty-mile round trip on foot by these two disciples on the same day.    16.  That they should not recognize him: Christ's glorified body assumed a somewhat different appearance after the Resurrection; cf. John 20, 14; 21, 4.    21.  We were hoping: these words do not necessarily imply that now they had lost all hope.    24.  Him they did not see: apparently these two disciples had left Jerusalem even before our Lord appeared to the women (Matt. 28, 9; Mark 16, 9; John 20, 11-17); Luke does not mention these apparitions.

30.  He took bread and blessed and broke: these words are so similar to the account of the institution of the Holy Eucharist (22, 19 and parallels), that St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and many other commentators, both ancient and modern, hold that this breaking of the bread (35) refers to the Holy Eucharist.  Though these disciples had not been present at the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, yet they had learned of it from the Apostles and by it immediately recognized Jesus.  Others, however, hold that this refers merely to an ordinary meal.    34.  Appeared to Simon: this apparition of our Lord to St. Peter is not mentioned elsewhere in any of the Gospels but is referred to in 1 Cor. 15, 5.

24, 36-43:  Jesus appears to the Eleven.  This is most probably the same apparition as that mentioned in John 20, 19-23; cf. also Mark 16, 14.    41-43.  Jesus ate in the presence of the Apostles in order to prove to them the reality of His risen body.

24, 44-49:  The Last Instructions of Jesus.  It is not certain whether all of these words were spoken on the same occasion, nor whether this occasion was the evening of Easter Sunday as in 36-43, or shortly before His ascension into heaven.  At least the last part, 46-49, was spoken in Jerusalem (cf. 49b).

4.  The Ascension of Jesus  24, 50-53

24, 50-53:  The Ascension.  Mark 16, 19 also speaks of our Lord's ascension into heaven.  In Luke these last verses of his Gospel form a natural transition to the second volume of his work, i.e., the Acts of the Apostles, which continues the narrative of the Gospel by repeating at greater length the story of Christ's ascension (Acts 1, 1-14).    50.  Toward Bethany: i.e., they walked in the direction of Bethany but did not go as far as that town, for the Ascension took place on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1, 12).    53.  They were continually in the temple: both before and after the descent of the Holy Spirit the Apostles and the early Christians at Jerusalem often went to the temple to pray (cf. Acts 2, 46; 3, 1; 5, 20; 21, 26).  St. Luke ends his Gospel as he began it--with a reference to the temple.

John E. Steinmueller.

Confraternity Bible:

The Women at the Grave  1 But on the first day of the week at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared, 2 and they found the stone rolled back from the tomb.  3 But on entering, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  4 And it came to pass, while they were wondering what to make of this, that, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling raiment.  5 And when the women were struck with fear and bowed their faces to the ground, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living one among the dead?  6 He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he spoke to you while he was yet in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise."

8 And they remembered his words.  9 And having returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven, and to all the rest.  10 Now, it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary, the mother of James, and the other women who were with them, who were telling these things to the apostles.  11 But this tale seemed to them to be nonsense, and they did not believe the women.

12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths laid there; and he went away wondering to himself at what had come to pass.

Emmaus  13* And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which is sixty stadia from Jerusalem.  14 And they were talking to each other about all these things that had happened.  15 And it came to pass, while they were conversing and arguing together, that Jesus himself also drew near and went along with them; 16 but their eyes were held, that they should not recognize him.  17 And he said to them, "What words are these that you are exchanging as you walk and are sad?"

18 But one of them, named Cleophas, answered and said to him, "Art thou the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?"  19 And he said to them, "What things?"

And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be sentenced to death, and crucified him.  21 But we were hoping that it was he who should redeem Israel.  Yes, and besides all this, today is the third day since these things came to pass.  22 And moreover, certain women of our company, who were at the tomb before it was light, astounded us, 23 and not finding his body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he is alive.  24 So some of our company went to the tomb, and found it even as the women had said, but him they did not see."

25 But he said to them, "O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things before entering into his glory?"  27 And beginning then with Moses and with all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things referring to himself.

28 And they drew near to the village to which they were going, and he acted as though he were going on.  29 And they urged him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting towards evening, and the day is now far spent."  And he went in with them.  30 And it came to pass when he reclined at table with them, that he took the bread and blessed and broke and began handing it to them.  31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.  32 And they said to each other, "Was not our heart burning within us while he was speaking on the road and explaining to us the Scriptures?"

33 And rising up that very hour, they returned to Jerusalem, where they found the Eleven gathered together and those who were with him, 34 saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon."  35 And they themselves began to relate what had happened on the journey, and how they recognized him in the breaking of the bread.

Jesus Appears to the Eleven  36 Now while they were talking of these things, Jesus stood in their midst, and said to them, "Peace to you!  It is I, do not be afraid."  37 But they were startled and panic-stricken, and thought that they saw a spirit.

38 And he said to them, "Why are you disturbed, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  39 See my hands and feet, that it is I myself.  Feel me and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."  40 And having said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.  41 But as they still disbelieved and marvelled for joy, he said, "Have you anything here to eat?"  42 And they offered him a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb.  43 And when he had eaten in their presence, he took what remained and gave it to them.

The Last Instructions of Jesus  44 And he said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled that are written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me."  45 Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures.  46 And he said to them, "Thus it is written; and thus the Christ should suffer, and should rise again from the dead on the third day; 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  48 And you yourselves are witnesses of these things.  49 And I send forth upon you the promise of my Father.  But wait here in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high."

The Ascension  50 Now he led them out towards Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them.  51 And it came to pass as he blessed them, that he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.  53 And they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.  Amen.


13: Sixty stadia: about seven miles from Jerusalem.