The culmination of Messiah's mission, 19:45-24:53

3. The glorification of the Messiah, 23:26-24:53

iv] The empty tomb and the Angels message


The account of the resurrection begins with three (four?) women, some, or all of whom had witnessed Jesus' crucifixion and burial, returning to the grave early on the first day of the week to embalm the body of Jesus. They find the stone rolled away from the grave and meet angels in dazzling garb who ask them why they are seeking the living among the dead. If they had rightly understood Jesus' teachings they would not be so surprised in finding the grave empty. The women return to where the disciples are staying and give them the good news, but the disciples are in no mood to listen to what seems little more than "an idle tale." None-the-less, Peter runs to the tomb to confirm the women's story.


"The Son of Man must be handed over to sinner and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." The gospel proclaims that Christ is risen, and because he live we live also. The story proclaims the fact of the resurrection and hints at its redemptive power, without which power "your life is futile and your are still in your sins", 1Cor.15:7.


i] Context: See 23:26-31. The Empty Tomb, detailing the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus, is the fourth episode of a series of six dealing with The Glorification of the Messiah, 23:26-24:53.


ii] Structure: This narrative, The empty tomb, presents as follows:

Setting, v1;

The women find the tomb empty, v2-3;

The appearance of two angels, v4-7;

"he is not here, he is risen.

Response, v8;

"they remembered his words."

The women's report is not believed, v9-11;

Peter runs to the tomb, v12


iii] Interpretation:

In Luke's gospel, this resurrection story is the first of three, each occurring in or near Jerusalem on the same day. Each appearance serves as a realization of Christ's prophetic words. The three stories are probably sequential, although Luke seems to be aware that there were a number of appearances over an extended time.

The episode / pericope demonstrates that God is in control since the events unfold exactly as Jesus had predicted. The disciples show themselves, as usual, slow of understanding, but their feeble faith cannot hinder the inevitable glorification of the Son of Man.


iv] Synoptics:

Commentators diverge on probable sources; suggestions range from edited versions of Mark, or Matthew, or even John, so Nolland. Schneider suggests Mark is the prime source and that the differences are down to the local oral tradition used by Luke.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 24:1

The resurrection of Jesus, v1-12. i] The introduction - setting. Matthew says that the women went to "look at the tomb" on the first day of the week. It is most likely that Joseph anointed Jesus on the Friday afternoon. The usual practice was to anoint the body with perfumed oils, wrap it in a linen cloth or sheet and place it on a bed of spices. The anointing takes place soon after death due to bodily decomposition. So, what were the women actually up to? Had the Sabbath barred their involvement in this act of devotion?

de "-" - but, and. Introducing a contrast following the men in 23:56. The ladies observed the Sabbath, "but" on the first day of the week....

th/ .. mia/ adj. "on the first day" - on the first. The dative is adverbial, temporal; "very early on Sunday morning", Barclay.

twn sabbatwn (on) gen. "of the week" - of the week, Sabbath. Here "week". The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

orqrou baqewV "very early in the morning" - Luke adds to the synoptic tradition with, "at early dawn", NRSV.

ferousai (ferw) pres. part. "took" - [they came] bringing. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "they came", as NIV, or possibly adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their coming; "they came to the tomb bringing the spices they had prepared."

hlqon (ercomai) "the women went" - they came. Luke tells us who the "they" are in verse 10, namely three ladies. Mark adds Salome, but leaves out Luke's Joanna. Were there four? Given that the tomb was guarded (Matthew) and that it was covered by a stone, how did the women intend to perform the anointing? It is likely that attending to the body would be allowed and the guards would certainly be useful when it came to moving the stone.

epi + acc. "to [the tomb]" - Spacial; "to, up to."


ii] The women find the tomb empty, v2-3: . The tradition is clear, when the ladies reach the tomb they find the stone rolled aside and the grave empty.

ton liqon (oV) "the stone" - Interesting that it is not "a stone." The definite article may indicate that the stone was quite a famous stone and still well known to the gospel writers. A stone shaped like a round disk, covering a hewn out chamber, was common in Palestine for a wealthy person's grave.

apokekulismenon (apokuliw) perf. pas. part. "rolled away" - having been rolled away. The participle serves as an object complement of the direct object "stone". The passive implies divine action; "they found the boulder rolled back from the tomb", Williams.

apo + gen. "from" - Expressing separation; "from the entrance of the tomb."


eiselqousai (eisercomai) aor. part. "when they entered" - having entered. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, as NIV.

ouc euJron (erJriskw) aor. "they did not find" - "The body of the Lord was not to be found", Phillips.


iii] The angels appear to the women, v4-7. The tradition as to how many angels appeared to the women and whether they were in, or outside the tomb, is unclear. Given the nature of the vision, there is bound to be some conflict among the eyewitnesses. Luke goes with two. The response of the women is to bow their heads, or more properly, do obeisance - the usual response when confronted with a divine manifestation. The angels go on to underline the significance of the empty tomb - Jesus is alive. While in Galilee, Jesus had prophesied his death and resurrection, Lk.9:22, 18:31-33. The angels remind the women of Jesus' words in the form of a shorthand gospel statement. God's anointed man may be done in by wicked men, but you can't keep a good man down!

kai egeneto (ginomai) aor. "-" - it became. Used "to mark an immediate sequence of events", Culy. "And it happened that ......"

en tw/ aporeisqai (aporew) inf. "while they were wondering" - while they were uncertain, at a loss, perplexed. This construction, the preposition en with the articular infinitive, usually forms a temporal clause, "while ...."

peri + gen. "about [this]" - Expressing reference / respect; "about, concerning."

andreV duo "two men" - Later Luke tells us they were angels. The gospel tradition is varied as to the number and where they actually appeared. Such a vision is naturally going to promote different accounts.

en + dat. "in [clothes]" - Here adverbial, modal, expressing manner - the angel's condition as they stood beside the women.

astraptoush/ (astraptw) pres. part. "that gleamed like lightning" - dazzling, flashing [clothing]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "clothes". "Dressed in dazzling light", Phillips.

epesthsan (efisthmi) aor. "stood beside" - suddenly stood beside, came upon unexpectedly, appeared. "Two men flashed on them in dazzling raiment", Moffatt.

autaiV dat. pro. "them" - Dative of direct object.


genomenwn (ginomai) gen. aor. part. "in [their fright]" - having become [afraid]. This, and the following participle, are both genitive absolutes and so form an adverbial clause, usually temporal, "while filled with fear and head bowed, they said to them ....", but here possibly causal, "because they were terrified and couldn't even look at them, the angels said to them .." The aorist is ingressive where a slight emphasis is placed on the beginning of the action; "at this they were greatly perplexed", Weymouth.

klinouswn (klinw) gen. pres. part. "bowed down" - bowing, bending over, laying. The participle as above. Their attitude implies a recognition of the divine presence. The present tense indicating their continued attitude while the angels spoke. "They were so terrified they could not even look up", Barclay.

ti pro. "why [do you look for]" - why [are you seeking, inquiring after]. Interrogative.

ton zwnta (zaw) pres. part. "the living" - the one living. The participle serves as a substantive. The presence of the articles "the living" and "the dead", may imply proverbial use, but most likely not, so "why are you searching among the dead for him who is alive", Barclay.

meta + gen. "among [the dead]" - Expressing association / accompaniment; "with, in company with", but possibly just spacial, "among".


alla "-" - but. Adversative / contrastive; "He is not here, but he is risen", ESV.

hgerqh (egeirw) aor. pas. "he has risen" - he was raised. The passive (theological passive) may imply divine action; "he has been raised", NAB. Possibly, "he has come back to life", Weymouth.

wJV "how [he told]" - as, like / how. This conjunction is usually comparative, but sometimes adverbial, expressing the manner in which the action proceeds, "in such a way, how", although here the content of what was said is the issue, not the way it was said, ie. virtually standing in for oJti and so forming a dependent statement of indirect speech; "remember what he told you."

uJmin dat. pro. "you" - to you. Dative of indirect object.

eti w]n pres. part. "while he was still [in]" - yet/still being [in]. The participle of the verb "to be" is adverbial, forming a temporal clause; "while he was still in Galilee." The mention of Galilee has prompted numerous theories, but it may be nothing more than a factual statement.


legwn (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. The participle is adverbial, temporal; "when he said".

oJti "-" - [saying] that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech; "that it is necessary to be delivered ....." "Remember how he told you, when he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man had to be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and ...", Moffatt.

tou anqrwpou (oV) gen. "[the Son] of Man" - The genitive is adjectival, relational. Clearly used here of Daniel's divine, glorious, reigning, but mysterious messiah.

dei "must" - it is necessary. Often with the sense of divine necessity - the divine will allows the evil crowd to have their way.; "the Son of Man had to be delivered into the power of sinful men", Barclay.

paradoqhnai (paradidwmi) aor. pas. inf. "be delivered" - to be delivered over, betrayed, given over. This infinitive, along with the infinitives "to be crucified" and "to rise again", serve as the subject of the verb "is necessary (must)", and this with the accusative of "the Son of Man", serving as the subject of the infinitives, forms an accusative infinitive construction; "the Son of Man to be delivered over ...... is necessary" = "The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners and .....", CEV.

aJmartwlwn adj. "sinful [men]" - "Wicked / evil men."

anasthrai (anisthmi) aor. act. inf. "be raised again" - to rise again. Interestingly, "crucified" is passive, seeing the action is upon Christ, but "raised" is active, allowing the possibility that Christ performs the action; "be crucified and rise on the third day", Moffatt.

th/ trith/ hJmera/ "on the third day" - Dative of time. The third day is a day of salvation, Gen.22:4.... The angel's reminder of Jesus' promises serves as a summary of the gospel.


iv] The women remember Jesus' prophetic words, v8.

twn rJhmatwn (a atoV) gen. "[then they remembered his] words" - [they remembered] the words, sayings. Genitive of direct object (gen. of the thing) after the verb "remembered".

autou gen. pro. "his" - of him. The genitive is best taken as adjectival, possessive, but possibly verbal, subjective, or ablative, source/origin"; "Then they remembered what Jesus had said", CEV.


v] The women report Jesus' resurrection to the disciples, v9-11. The ladies return to the apostles with the news. The apostles' and some other disciples (probably including Mary the mother of Jesus), are most likely in the city proper. We are unsure how many women went to the tomb, although Luke lists three. Only Luke mentions Joanna. Interestingly, in Mark the women don't tell anyone what they saw, although Mark uses this to dramatize his ending. As far as the disciples are concerned, the women's report seems like an idle tale, nothing more than "nonsense".

uJpostrefasai (uJpostrefw) aor. part. "when they came back" - having returned. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, as NIV; "after they returned from the tomb", TH.

apo + gen. "from [the tomb]" - Expressing source / origin.

aphggeilan (apaggellw) aor. "they told" - they reported, proclaimed, told. A word often used of proclaiming the gospel.

tauta panta "all these things" - these things all. "They told the eleven apostles and the others what had happened", CEV.

toiV endeka adj. "the eleven" - The adjective serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object.


hsan "it was" - there were now. Imperfect of the verb "to be." Missing in some manuscripts, probably dropped in order to sort out the grammar (it does not have a predicate). The sense is probably "they (the women previously mentioned) were Mary ......", Evans.

hJ Iakwbou (oV) gen. "[Mary] the mother of James" - [Mary] the one of James. The genitive is adjectival, relational. The sense may be "mother of", but it could be "sister of", "wife of." cf. Mark 15:40 for "mother of."

Iwanna (a) "Joanna" - Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James are both mentioned by Mark, but Mark has the third woman as Salome (poss. the mother of the sons of Zebadee) rather than Joanna, presumably the wife of Herod's steward. These three, with Susanna, are noted by Luke as those who ministered to Jesus, 8:3.

ai loipai sun autaiV "the others with them" - It is unclear whether Luke intends us to read these others as others with the apostles, cf. v9, or other women with the three listed women who have returned from the tomb to report. The grammar doesn't help, given that the two third person plural verbs, "it was" and "told", do not clearly identify whether or not "the others" are with the object, "the apostles", or the subject, the three women; is it "told the apostles" or "told the apostles and others"? cf. Bock 1897 and Nolland 1191. John only mentions Mary Magdalene, but when Mary reports the resurrection to the apostles she uses the plural "we don't know where they have laid him." A minimum of four women attending the grave solves all the problems! "Told the eleven and all the rest", Ellis.


hpistoun (apistew) imperf. "they did not believe" - they were disbelieving. Imperfect expressing continued action. Not in a religious sense, but in the sense that the women's account was not to be trusted.

autaiV dat. pro. "the women" - them. Dative of direct object.

enwpion + gen. "because [their words]" - before [these words of them]. Usually with a spacial sense; "before, in front of", extending to, as here, "in the opinion of, judgment of", BAGD; "but to them their words seemed to have every appearance of being nothing more than empty chatter", Cassirer.

lhpoV (oV) "nonsense" - empty talk, idle talk, babbling. A hapax legomenon, once only use in the New Testament. "It struck them as sheer imagination", Phillips.


vi] Peter runs to the tomb, v12: None-the-less, Peter (with John, cf. Jn.20:3-9. Note, "companions" plural, Lk.24:24) acts to check out the tomb and finds it empty, with nothing in it but the sheets that once covered Jesus. He leaves "wondering". Going away "wondering" is at least a first step on the road to faith. This verse is not found in some texts so it may be a later addition.

de "[Peter], however," - but, and. Here adversative, as NIV; "but Peter got up and ran to the tomb."

anastaV (anisthmi) aor. part. "got up [and ran]" - having got up [ran]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "ran", as NIV.

parakuyaV (parakuptw) aor. "bending over" - having bent over / stretched to see, peered in. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal; "when he looked in he saw nothing except the linen ...", Moffatt. Possibly here describing a straining of the neck to get a look at the contents of the tomb, but usually taken as "bending over"; "he stooped down and looked in", Barclay.

blepei (blepw) pres. "he saw" - he sees. Historic present tense.

ta oqonia (on) "the strips of linen" - the linen cloths, sheets. One suspects that movies like the "Mummies Curse" have left us with the image of a body bound in bandages, but in reality, the Jews did not mummify their dead. They used a linen sheet or two, loosely wrapped around a body that had been washed with perfumed oil. It was these sheets that Peter saw.

mona adj. "lying by themselves" - alone, only. Object complement, possibly implying that there is something about the way the sheets are placed by themselves. Yet, it is better read the adjective attributively such that it limits by ascribing a quality to the noun "sheets"; they are "alone" - only the sheets are in the grave; Jesus' body is not there. Of course, there is something about the scene that prompts a reaction other than loathing, in Peter's case, "wondering". There is obviously no evidence of grave robbers. John's description of the grave makes particular note of the head towel folded by itself. The scene is one of order, as if someone had just got out of bed. He "saw the linen cloths but nothing else", NJB.

qaumazwn (qaumazw) aor. part. "[he went away] wondering" - amazed, wondering, marveling. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his going. Amazement is always viewed in the NT as a response short of faith, although, given the circumstances, it is not an unreasonable response. Mark, in particular, makes much of the response of "marveling", "being amazed." For Mark, "amazement" is the first step toward faith, but sadly, it is the only step most people take. Mark ends his gospel with the women leaving the tomb "amazed". The tomb is empty; how amazing! Yet, are we willing to make the next step and put our faith in the notion of a risen Lord?

proV + acc. "to [himself]" - [he departed] to [his own house]. Fitzmyer and Carson think that this preposition goes with aphlqen, "departed, went away", rather than qaumazwn, "wondered". So "departed to", presumably with the sense "departed to his own home"; "then he went home amazed at what had happened", Culy.

to gegonoV (ginomai) perf. part. "what had happened" - the thing having happened. The participle serves as a substantive.


Luke Introduction.



[Pumpkin Cottage]