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Luke 24:36-49 Notes

Luke 24:36b-48 - Exegesis

Luke 24 Resurrection Appearances:  Jesus' appearance to the "eleven and their companions" takes place in Jerusalem where the two men who encountered the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus find "the eleven gathered together" (v. 33). Luke has told us that the encounter with the two men on the Emmaus road took place "that very day" (v. 13)-meaning the day of Christ's resurrection. He then tells us that, after recognizing Jesus as he broke bread with them, "They rose up that very hour, returned to Jerusalem" (v. 33), where they met with "the eleven gathered together, and those who were with them" (v. 33). This encounter, then, almost certainly takes place on Easter evening. The place is almost certainly the room where the disciples gathered behind locked doors as related in the Gospel of John (Jn. 20:19-23)-although Luke doesn't specify the place.

     † This is Jesus' third resurrection appearance in Luke's Gospel. The women find the empty tomb, but do not see Jesus (vv. 1-12). Jesus' first resurrection appearance is to Peter, but Luke only mentions that encounter, giving no details (v. 34). Jesus' second resurrection appearance is to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, an incident that Luke records in considerable detail (vv. 13-35).  The Emmaus Road appearance lays the foundation for Jesus' appearance to his gathered disciples (vv. 36-49). There are a number of parallels between the two appearances:

  • Jesus appears to disciples who do not recognize him (v. 16) or who believe that they are seeing a ghost (v. 37).
  • Jesus rebukes the disciples for their failure to believe (vv. 25, 38).
  • Jesus breaks bread for the disciples (v. 30) or eats in their presence (v. 43).
  • Jesus interprets scripture for the edification of the disciples (vv. 27, 44-47).
  • The disciples hearts burn with them as Jesus teaches them (v. 32) or they respond with joy (v. 41).

     † The only distinctive element in this second appearance is Jesus' commission, "Behold, I send out the promise of my Father on you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high" (v. 49) (Fitzmyer, 1573).  Luke tells about their waiting in Acts 1 and their being clothed with power in Acts 2.


36 Now while they were telling these things, Jesus Himself suddenly stood in their midst and *said to them, "Peace be to you." 37 But they were startled and frightened, and thought that they were looking at a spirit. 38 And He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why are doubts arising in your hearts? 39 See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you plainly see that I have." 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and astonishment, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42 They served Him a piece of broiled fish; 43 and He took it and ate it in front of them.

 "As they said these things" (v. 36a). Who are "they"? They include the two disciples from the Emmaus road encounter, the eleven, and companions of the eleven (v. 32-35). The topic of discussion just prior to this appearance of Jesus was his earlier appearance on the Emmaus road. The two disciples who saw Jesus on that occasion were telling "how (Jesus) had been made known to them in the breaking of bread" (v. 35). The apostles were ready to listen to this report, because Peter had also reported seeing the risen Christ (24:34).

"Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, 'Peace be to you'" (v. 36b). Luke doesn't tell us where the disciples were when Jesus appeared to them. Mark says "they sat at the table" (Mark 16:14). In the Fourth Gospel, they were inside a locked room (John 20:19). Nor do any of the Gospels tell us how Jesus entered the room. It is clear from the next verse that Jesus' visit is a great surprise to the disciples.

"But they were terrified and filled with fear, and supposed that they had seen a spirit" (v. 37). Given the

presence and testimony of the Emmaus road disciples, we would think that the gathered disciples would be well prepared for Jesus to appear in their midst but, rather than gladdening them, Jesus' sudden appearance startles and terrifies them. They assume that they are seeing a pneuma-a disembodied spirit or ghost.

"Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is truly me. Touch me and see, for a spirit doesn't have flesh and bones, as you see that I have" (vv. 38-39). Jesus presents two forms of evidence that he is not a ghost but, instead, has a resurrected body. First, he shows them his hands and feet and invites them to touch him. Second, he asks for food and eats it in their presence (vv. 41-43). Neither would be possible if Jesus were a disembodied spirit.

      † In relating this story, Luke has an apologetic purpose-to establish that Jesus has been raised from the dead with a physical body, a fact to which this rather large group of disciples can bear eyewitness testimony. Jesus will call these disciples to be "witnesses of these things" (v. 48), and the effectiveness of their witness will depend on their personal experience of the risen Lord.

This emphasis on Jesus' physical body requires us to consider two popular Greek beliefs-dualism and immortality.

  • Dualism divides the world into the physical and the spiritual, saying that the physical world is bad but the spiritual world is good.
  • The concept of immortality, growing out of this dualistic understanding, says that, at death, the good spirit or soul separates from the bad body and continues to live independently of the body.

       † We should note that many Christians today have a very fuzzy understanding of the difference between resurrection (future oriented-God raises a person from the dead after a period of time) and immortality ("now" oriented-life continues after death with no lapse of time). At a funeral, it isn't uncommon to hear Christians say, "That isn't Joe. Joe is somewhere else"-acting as if the body were like a skin shed at death-something no longer important to the deceased person. However, Jesus presents himself to the disciples after the resurrection, not as a disembodied spirit, but as a person in bodily form-a body recognizable by sight and touch-a body capable of eating food. The scriptures teach us that we too shall be resurrected from the dead in bodily form. The body is not some sort of useless debris that we leave behind, but is an integral part of our identity.

       † However, we also need to acknowledge that while resurrection is the central teaching of the New Testament, there are also New Testament scriptures that hint at immortality.

  • In his High Priestly Prayer, Jesus says, "This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ" (John 17:3)-thus giving a "now" dimension to eternal life, which we usually consider to be something that we can experience only in the future.
  • In his classic resurrection chapter that is almost totally future-oriented, Paul speaks of immortality: "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: 'Death is swallowed up in victory'" (1 Corinthians 15:53-54).
  • Jesus incorporates both the "now" and the "future" dimensions in a single sentence when he says, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life (now), and I will raise him up at the last day" (future) (John 6:54).

       † There are also sensitive pastoral issues here:

  • For one thing, we need to be careful about correcting grieving people. It is good to preach resurrection, but not good to take a grieving person to task for saying, "That isn't Joe."
  • Also, the doctrine of resurrection raises questions about people whose bodies were destroyed in an explosion, fire, or other disaster. What becomes of them? The answer is that the God who gave them life (and bodies) originally is quite capable of restoring life (and bodies) in the resurrection.
  • And then there is the issue of cremation-is cremation an obstacle to resurrection? It is hard to

imagine that the God who can resurrect bodies lost at sea or burned accidentally cannot also resurrect cremated bodies. There are other issues to consider, such as the respect with which we treat the dead body. In my opinion, cremation seems at least as respectful as embalming.

  • What about donated organs? If, after a person dies, physicians use various parts of that person's organs to give life or functionality to a dozen people, how can God get all the right parts together in the resurrection? Once again, the God who gave us bodies in the beginning is surely capable of restoring our bodies in the resurrection.

       † Understanding that Luke has an apologetic purpose here (to establish that Jesus has been raised from the dead with a physical body), we might be inclined to doubt the truth of this story. Perhaps Luke has just fabricated the story to make Jesus' resurrection believable. However, the story is credible because of the changed lives of these disciples. Before this appearance, they were defeated and afraid. After this appearance, they will find courage to preach publicly on a street corner in Jerusalem at Pentecost-to bring thousands of Jews into the Christian faith in a very public baptism (Acts 2). They will go on to change the world.

       We should also note that, while Jesus' resurrected body is a physical body, it is apparently different from his pre-resurrection body. He makes surprising appearances from out of nowhere (v. 36). In John's Gospel, he enters a room without regard for a locked door (John 20:19). The Emmaus disciples did not recognize him for the longest time, and the gathered disciples require reassurance that he is not a ghost.

       † Paul talks about the resurrected body in 1 Corinthians 15:35-57, contrasting the physical body and the spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44). In that passage, Paul emphasizes the differences between our original bodies and the bodies that we will obtain after our resurrection. In our Gospel story, however, Luke emphasizes the similarity between Jesus' original body and his post-resurrection body (Stein, 618).

       † The disciples respond to Jesus with joy, disbelief, and wonderment (v. 41). Jesus' sudden appearance overloads their ability to process what is happening. A lifetime's experience tells them that death is the end, but Jesus' sudden presence tells them otherwise. We should not be surprised that they are befuddled. Just imagine how you would respond if you were to bury a loved one only to find that person standing in your midst again, fully alive, a few days later. Joy, disbelief, wonder! Yes! Confusion! Absolutely!


44 Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all the things that are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, "So it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

 "This is what I told you, while I was still with you, that all things which are written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me must be (dei) fulfilled" (v. 44). Jesus first demonstrated the physical reality of his resurrected by body by inviting the disciples to look at him and to touch him and also by eating food in their presence. We have the sense that they watch in stunned silence. Now Jesus takes the next step in the revelatory process, first reminding the disciples of what he said to them earlier-and then helping them to understand the scriptures-scriptures that speak of the Messiah suffering and rising from the dead on the third day (v. 46)-scriptures that speak of "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (v. 47).

       † Luke does not specify which of the earlier words of Jesus he now brings to the disciples attention, but they must surely include his passion predictions (9:22; 18:31-33). Both of these predict his suffering and death at the hands of the Jewish leaders as well as his resurrection on the third day. 18:31 specifies that this will

happen in Jerusalem and that it is in accord with the writings of the prophets.


"Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures" (v. 45). Neither does Luke specify which scriptures Jesus opens their minds to understand. There is no single Old Testament scripture that incorporates all the three major themes of vv. 46-47-three themes that will form the core of the church's kerygma: (1) the suffering and death of the Messiah, (2) his resurrection on the third day, and (3) the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness to all nations. There are, however, a number of Old Testament scriptures that address particular elements. Luke alludes to or quotes a number of these in Luke-Acts (see Bock, 387-389 and Evans, 358-360):

  • Isaiah 53:7-8 says, "He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn't open his mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he didn't open his mouth. He was taken away by oppression and judgment; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living and stricken for the disobedience of my people?" Luke tells us that it was these verses that the Ethiopian eunuch was reading. Philip will use these verses to proclaim the good news about Jesus to him (Acts 8:32-35).
  • Psalm 16:10 says, "For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, neither will you allow your holy one to see corruption." Peter will allude to this verse in Acts 2:27 and Paul will allude to it in Acts 13:35 (in both cases recorded by Luke).
  • Hosea 6:2 says, "After two days he will revive us. On the third day he will raise us up, and we will live before him." This may be the verse to which Jesus refers in Luke 24:46.
  • In Luke 11:29-32, Jesus referred to the sign of Jonah. In Matthew's version Jesus said, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40).
  • Isaiah 49:6 says "I will also give you for a light to the nations, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth." Luke alludes to this verse in Luke 2:32; Acts 1:8; 13:47.
  • Joel 2:32 says, "It will happen that whoever will call on the name of Yahweh shall be saved," which Peter (recorded by Luke) quotes in Acts 2:21.
  • Other Old Testament scriptures that Jesus might have used to open the disciples' minds include Psalms 22; 31:5; 69; 110:1; 118:22-26 and Isaiah 11:10.

"repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his (the Messiah's) name" (v. 47a). While this is not in the imperative mood (Jesus does not say, "You shall proclaim") it nevertheless constitutes Jesus' mission statement for the disciples. They are to proclaim two things-repentance and forgiveness of sins. They are to do so in the name of the Messiah, who is the one who makes forgiveness possible.

"to all the nations, (ethne) beginning at Jerusalem" (v. 47b). The disciples are to proclaim repentance and forgiveness "to all nations" (eis panta ta ethne). The word ethne can mean nations or Gentiles, and these words suggest an opening of the door to Gentile Christians. Luke will spell out in the Acts of the Apostles how the disciples come to grips with understanding the Jewish Messiah to be everyone's Messiah (see especially Acts 10).

       † This proclamation is to begin from Jerusalem, but it will not be limited to Jerusalem. The disciples are to be Jesus' witnesses "in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8-also written by Luke). Prior to Jesus, the Jews had assumed a centripetal model, with the world being drawn toward a central point, Jerusalem. After Jesus, the model reverses, spinning outward from Jerusalem.

In Mark and Matthew Jesus issues even more explicit commissioning statements.  Whereas Luke emphasizes repentance and forgiveness of sins (v. 47), Mark emphasizes preaching the Gospel (Mark 16:15) and Matthew emphasizes making disciples and teaching (Matthew 28:19-20a).

The initial proclamation will take place on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem with Peter's sermon (Acts 2), which will emphasize the three great themes of vv. 46-47:

  • The suffering and death of the Messiah (Acts 2:23, 36)
  • His resurrection on the third day (Acts 2:24, 31-36)
  • The proclamation of repentance and forgiveness to all nations (Acts 2:17, 21, 38-39).


"You are witnesses (martures-from marturia-this is where we get our word "martyr") of these things" (v. 48). A witness was a person who had seen something and could testify to the facts of the case. That was the case with these disciples, who had seen Jesus with their own eyes. They could testify to having seen Jesus after his resurrection (vv. 36-49). They could also testify to seeing him ascend into heaven (vv. 50-53).

       † Now these disciples will testify to what they have seen, and some will be killed as a consequence. They were "to tell the story. To tell it not as hearsay, but as of their own knowledge (I John 1:1). And to tell it at cost. There was no other plan" (Scherer, 433).

       † There still is no other plan. We have not seen the risen Christ with our own eyes, but we have experienced him in our lives. Our responsibility is to tell the story as we have experienced it, and to do so at cost if need be.

       † Over time, fewer and fewer Christians would have seen the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes. However, they would tell the story-and tell it at cost, often at the cost of their own lives. As a result, this word martys would come to mean martyr-those who were killed because of their Christian witness.

LUKE 24:49-53.  THE ASCENSION (50-53 skipped)

49 And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."  The Ascension  50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising God.

These verses are not included in the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) reading, presumably because the RCL deals with verses 44-53 for Ascension, Years ABC. However, the preacher will do well to be familiar with them.

The failure of the lectionary to include verse 49 in this reading seems particularly puzzling. In that verse, Jesus is still with the disciples in Jerusalem and gives them their orders. They are to remain in Jerusalem until they have received "the promise of my Father"-until they "are clothed with power from on high"-until they have received the Holy Spirit.



Extra Commentary Luke:24-36-49

When viewed within the confines of Luke 24, this text presents the third of three resurrection appearances.

Prior to this, there had been the resurrection appearance to Cleopas and an unidentified disciple on the way to and at the meal in Emmaus (Luke 24:13-29a, 29b-32), and an off-stage resurrection appearance to Simon (Luke 24:33-34).

In our verses, the risen Jesus suddenly appears in the midst of his disciples, bidding them peace and demonstrating that he was not some sort of ghost but had a physical resurrected reality (Luke 24:36-42).

He then calls attention to what he had previously spoken regarding the fulfillment of God's plan rooted in Scripture concerning the Messiah's suffering, resurrection, and the preaching of repentance and forgiveness in his name with the disciples as witnesses (Luke 24:44-48).

The text closes with a promise regarding power from on high and a command to remain in the city until the promise is fulfilled (Luke 24:49).

From this perspective, the text may seem reasonably benign and fairly self-contained.

But, when viewed within the context of Luke's meta-narrative, this text marks the midway point in the divine drama. It is akin to closing scenes in such episodic narratives as The Revenge of the Sith or The Two Towers or Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. At one and the same time, our text serves as the closing arch for some central components of the larger story, while immediately establishing the opening framework for newly enacted facets of the grand story.

The text also presents three interlocking hermeneutical circles. These circles become the key to missional outreach throughout Acts (the next episode within the divine drama), and for our missional outreach as Christ's witnesses (the contemporary episode within the divine drama).

The first hermeneutical circle signaled in the text is the dynamic interplay between Scripture and Jesus.

From the start of Luke's gospel, divine prophecies and promises embedded in Scripture find their fulfillment in Jesus (cf. Luke 1:31-33, 46-55, 68-75; 4:18-21, etc.). Of these, the most important is the Messiah's passion and resurrection (Luke 24:6-7, 26-27, 46).

Three significant points should be noted regarding Luke's understanding of the prophecy/promise-fulfillment scheme involving Jesus' death and resurrection.

First, this is not the first time Jesus has spoken about his death and resurrection as divine necessity (see Luke 9:22, 44; 18:31-33; etc.). Prior to the enactment of his death and resurrection, however, the disciples were completely incapable of comprehending Jesus' passion prophecies (Luke 9:45; 18:34). Only now, as the crucified and resurrected Christ stands in their midst interpreting these things via Scripture, are the disciples capable of comprehending (Luke 24:44-45).

Second, at this point in the story Luke's main intention is not to establish which particular scriptural passages are being fulfilled but to demonstrate how all Scripture finds its ultimate meaning in Jesus, particularly in his passion and resurrection.1

Third, the hermeneutical circle between Scripture and Jesus is complete precisely because the one who is interpreting Scripture is Jesus. For Luke, Scripture finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, and Jesus is the ultimate interpreter of the meaning and thrust of Scripture.

The text's next hermeneutical circle involves Jesus and his disciples.

On the one hand, Jesus is telling them about their mission as witnesses or testifiers to the divine salvific scheme established in Scripture and fulfilled by Jesus (the "these things" of verse 48). On the other hand, the testimonial mission of the community entails preaching, repentance and forgiveness in Jesus' name (cf. Acts 2:21, 38; etc.).

Hence, Jesus presents the community of disciples with its mission, and the core of missional outreach returns to God's salvation emanating in Jesus' name.

The final hermeneutical circle involves Scripture and the disciples' mission.

The Greek construction of Luke 24:46-47 clearly presents Scripture's core prophetic promise involving the Messiah's suffering, rising, and repentance and forgiveness of sins being preached in his name to all nations. The community's evangelical outreach to the world is not an option, but an indispensible component of the divine salvific plan embedded in Scripture itself. From Acts 1 through Acts 28, the interpretive circle continuously flows from the community to Scripture. Events at hand are always interpreted in light of Scripture (cf. Acts 1:15-20; 2:14-36; etc.).

Thus our text presents Scripture, Jesus the Messiah, and Communal Outreach as the intertwining and indispensible components within God's worldwide plan of salvation. Nevertheless the text also recognizes that something is missing: the Holy Spirit which empowers God's salvific plan involving Scripture, Jesus, and communal outreach.

The promise of being clothed with power from on high in verse 49 immediately moves backwards and forwards in Luke's divine drama.

It recalls Gabriel's explanation to Mary regarding her virginal conception in Luke 1:35, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." Thus, the Holy Spirit which empowered the impossible, a virgin conceiving God's Son, will empower the community to do what is otherwise impossible, testifying to God's salvation flowing to all nations in the name of God's Son.

At the same time, this promise anticipates the incredible events and proclamation empowered by the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-42), as well as the Spirit coming upon Gentiles to demonstrate how God's salvation involves all nations (Acts 10:1-11:18).

When understood in relationship to this grand divine drama, the Gospel lesson for the third Sunday of Easter presents much more than Jesus' final resurrection appearance. It presents the vision of our inclusion within God's salvific plan involving Scripture, Jesus, and Communal Outreach fueled by the Holy Spirit.

1Thus the pervasive description, "everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms" in Luke 24:44.



36While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst. 37But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 40And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43and He took it and ate it before them.


24:36 Some ancient Greek manuscripts (P75, א, A, B, K, L, and many later ones) add "Peace to you" (cf. John 20:19,26). The UBS4 rates its inclusion as "B" (almost certain). It is omitted in MS D and some Old Latin MSS. This is a typical Hebrew greeting (cf. Luke 10:5). In many ways the Gospels of John and Luke share similar accounts of the Passion and its aftermath


24:37 "they were startled and frightened" These disciples had heard Jesus predict His suffering and death several times, but somehow they did not take it seriously. Now they were surprised by His resurrection.

▣ "and thought they were seeing a spirit" In the Matthew (14:26) and Mark (6:49) parallels the word phantasma, from which we get the English word "phantom," is used. Luke is using the term pneuma in a specialized sense (cf. 1 Pet. 3:19). When he records Jesus' words in Luke 23:46 he uses the term in the more normal sense of a personal aspect, which is not dependant on a physical form (cf. Luke 24:39). See Special Topic: Spirit (pneuma) in the NT at Luke 23:46.


24:38 This is a mild reprimand in the form of two rhetorical questions. Doubts and fears are common to humanity, especially in the presence of the spiritual realm. However, they can become stepping stones to great faith and assurance.

       † The first question is a periphrastic perfect passive, the second a present active indicative. The verbal forms in this context are difficult to translate because they deal with a past event described in dialogue.

  1. the two on the road to Emmaus
  2. the two and Jesus
  3. the two and those in the upper room.


24:39 "See My hands and My feet" In the other Gospels this occurs in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, but in John the eating of fish occurs in Galilee. Jesus wanted to assure them of His bodily resurrection. He retained the marks of crucifixion because they are His badge of honor. Psalm 22:16 and here are the only texts which mention His feet being pierced. John 20:27 mentions only His hands and side.

▣ "that it is I Myself" This is a very emphatic statement-ego (I), eimi (I Am), autos (Myself).

▣ "touch Me" This is an aorist active imperative (as is "and see"). The early church used verses 39-43 to refute Gnosticism, which was a depreciation of the physical realm (cf. 1 John 1:1-3). See Special Topic on Gnosticism at Luke 2:40.


24:40 This is another of the disputed shorter readings found in MSS D and some Old Latin manuscripts but present in the vast majority of older uncial manuscripts and P75. UBS4 rates its inclusion as "B" (almost certain).


24:42 "a piece of a broiled fish" Some uncial manuscripts from the eighth through eleventh centuries added a phrase about "honeycomb" (cf. NKJV). The early church incorporated both milk and honey in their celebration of the Eucharist and baptism. The UBS4 gives its exclusion a "B" rating (almost certain).




 44Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; 47and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." 50And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51And it came about that while He was blessing them, He parted from them. 52And they Returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53and were continually in the temple, praising God.

(24:44-49 This account is found only in Luke.)


24:44 "which are written about Me" This seems to be a summary statement of Jesus' 40 day post-resurrection appearances (cf. Luke 24:25-26).

▣ "Moses. . .Prophets. . .Psalms" These represent the three divisions of the Hebrew Canon: Law, Prophets, and Writings. This context says something of the Christocentric unity of the Old Testament (see E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament).

▣ "must be fulfilled" Jesus is found in the OT in symbol, type, and direct prophecy (cf. Matt. 5:17ff).


24:45 "He opened their minds" See note at Luke 24:31. Humanity cannot understand spiritual truths unaided by God. This is the task usually assigned to the Spirit (cf. John 14:16; 16:8-15), but sometime attributed to Jesus (cf. Acts 16:14).


24:46 "Thus it is written" This is a perfect passive indicative, which was a Hebrew idiom for asserting the inspiration of Scripture (cf. Luke 24:44).

▣ "the Christ would suffer" "The Christ" is the Greek translation of "the Messiah" (see Special Topic at Luke 2:11). This truth was the stumbling block for the Jews (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23; 2:2), but crucial for sacrificial redemption.

▣ "rise again from the dead" Verses 46-47 are Luke's Great Commission. The grammatical feature is the use of three aorist infinitives that describe Jesus' mission.

  1. He came to suffer, Luke 24:46 (cf. Luke 24:26)
  2. He came to be raised from the dead, Luke 24:46 (cf. Luke 24:7)
  3. He came that repentance and forgiveness of sin should be proclaimed, Luke 24:47 (cf. Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18)

See Special Topic at Luke 9:22.

▣ "the third day'" This was a predicted event (cf. Hosea 6:2; Jonah 1:17; Matt. 12:40; 16:4; 1 Cor. 15:4). It probably relates to Jonah 1:17.


24:47 This is the key purpose of Jesus' mission. It fully reflects the heart, character, and purpose of God since Genesis 3. To miss this verse is to miss the main thrust of Christianity. Believers must keep the main thing the main thing (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). All else is secondary to this task of worldwide gospel proclamation. Evangelism is not an option, but a mandate!

▣ "repentance" In Greek the term speaks of "a change of mind." In Hebrew it speaks of "a change of action." Both are involved. This is the negative aspect of salvation, as faith is the positive aspect (cf. Mark 1:15; 6:12; Matt. 4:12; 11:20; Luke 13:3,5; Acts 20:21). See Special Topic at Luke 3:3.

▣ "forgiveness of sins" This theme is highlighted in Zacharias' prophecy (cf. Luke 1:67-79). It is the meaning of Jesus' name (YHWH saves, cf. Matt. 1:21). Notice that "baptism" is not mentioned here (cf. Luke 11:4). This verse has often been called "Luke's Great Commission" (cf. Matt. 28:19-20).

▣ "in His name" Jesus' "name" is a Semitic idiom for

  1. His power
  2. His person
  3. His authority
  4. His character.

       † So it means both content and manner! Not only what we proclaim, but the lives of those who proclaim are crucial! See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE NAME OF THE LORD at Luke 9:48.

▣ "to all the nations" This universal element must have surprised these Jewish believers. This very thing is predicted in Mt. 28:14; 28:19; Mk 13:10. Also note Isa. 2:2-4; 51:4-5; 56:7; and see Special Topic at Luke 2:10.


24:48 Here is the Apostolic mandate (cf. John 15:27)! Luke accentuates this in Acts (cf. Acts 1:8,22; 2:32; 4:33; 5:32; 10:39,41; 13:31).


24:49 "I am sending" The Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. This verse shows Jesus' authority in executing the Father's will.

▣ "the promise of My Father" This refers to the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14-16; 20:22; Acts 1:4). Every promise Jesus made to the Apostles in the Upper Room at the Last Supper was fulfilled on Resurrection Sunday!

▣ "stay in the city" These were mostly Galilean people. They would not have stayed in hostile Jerusalem otherwise (cf. Acts 1:4).

▣ "clothed with power" Here this refers to the Pentecostal coming of the Spirit. It is an Aorist middle subjunctive.

       † It is a common biblical metaphor for the spiritual life (cf. Job 29:14; Ps. 132:9; Isa. 59:17; 61:10; Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10,12). The spiritual life is as much a gift and empowering from God as is salvation, but it must be received and implemented (i.e., conditional covenant). It is not automatic! It is Go