The culmination of Messiah's mission, 19:45-24:53
3. The glorification of the Messiah, 23:26-24:53
vi] Appearances in Jerusalem - the commissionSynopsis
It was the day of resurrection and many of the disciples had gathered in Jerusalem to discuss the reports that Jesus had risen from the dead. "While they were talking about this Jesus himself stood among them." During this appearance, Jesus explains from the scriptures the meaning of his death and resurrection. He then commissions his disciples to be "witnesses" (now to all nations and in the power of the Holy Spirit), he blesses them and then disappears.
Jesus appears to his disciples in such a way as to dispel doubt: It is a group appearance, he shows them his wounds, even asking them whether they want to touch him, and then he joins the disciples in a meal. Obviously, the psychological state of the disciple is by no means settled and so they are filled with doubts - "they still disbelieved for joy", v41. Even so, the purpose of this appearance is not just to dispel their doubts, but rather to commission them to ministry. To this end, Jesus explains how his life, death and resurrection is the culmination of Biblical revelation - the climax of history. It was necessary for Israel's messiah to die and rise again, and that "repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, v45-47. To undertake this mission the disciples will be empowered by the Holy Spirit and to this end Jesus ascends to divine glory and power.
i] Context: See 23:26-31. The appearances in Jerusalem, detailing Jesus' meeting with his disciples, the commission, promise and ascension, is the final episode of a series of six dealing with The Glorification of the Messiah, 23:26-24:53. In the commissioning, Jesus defines the content of the message which the disciples will carry in the power of the Holy Spirit, namely that Christ's atoning sacrifice achieves the forgiveness of sins.
ii] Structure: This narrative, Jesus' appearances in Jerusalem, presents as follows:
Jesus' appearance to the disciples, v36-37;
Confirmation of the resurrection, v38-43:
touch and eating a meal.
Confirmation of scripture, v44-47:
"everything written about me in the Law .. Prophets ... Psalms must be fulfilled."
"the Messiah will suffer and rise ..... and repentance for the forgiveness of sins ...."
Commission of the disciples, v48-49:
"you are witnesses of these things";
"I am sending you ... but wait ... until you are clothed with power form on high."
Luke's abridged account of the ascension, v50-53, serves to round off his gospel, although see note v51. Luke tells us in Acts that Jesus' resurrection appearances continued for forty days and only then was he "carried up into heaven." Luke will give us a full account of the ascension in Acts, but for the present he notes Christ's departure and takes us back to the temple where his gospel account began. Here we see the disciples filled with joy, praising God.
Most of this passage is unique to Luke and was probably sourced directly from one of the disciples. It is interesting to note the points of agreement between v36-43 and John 20:19-23.
v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 24:36
The commission, v36-53: i] Jesus appears to his disciples, v36-37. Jesus appears to his disciples and on seeing him, they react in fear. It may be that by just appearing in their midst, the disciples are shocked, but it is possible that there is something about Jesus that takes their breath away. Note that the phrase "and he said to them 'Peace be with you'", may not originally be part of Luke's gospel, cf., Jn.20:19.
lalountwn (lalew) pres. part. "while [they] were still talking" - [they] speaking. Genitive absolute participle, best treated here as a temporal clause, as NIV.
tauta "about this" - these things. The accusative is best taken here as adverbial, reference / respct; "about / concerning these things." Referring to v35.
en "among" - in [midst]. Expressing space / sphere. A common phrase in Luke, but redundant. "Jesus appeared and greeted them", CEV.
autwn gen. pro. "them" - of them. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.
autoiV dat. pro. "[said] to them" - Dative of indirect object.
uJmin dat. pro. "[peace be] to you" - Dative of interest, advantage.
genomenoi (ginomai) aor. part. "they were" - The participle is adverbial, probably causal, "because they were startled and frightened."
ptohqenteV (ptoew) aor. pas. part. "startled" - having been startled, terrified, alarmed, frightened. This substantive participle and the adjective emfoboi, "afraid", joined by kai, "and", have a similar meaning and are placed together for emphasis, so serving as a compound predicate for the participle genomenoi, "having become"; "they shrank back in terror", Phillips.
qewrein (qewrew) pres. inf. "[thinking] they saw" - [they were thinking] to see. The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of perception expressing what they were thinking (imperf. verb - durative); "they were under the impression they were seeing a ghost", Cassirer.
pneuma (a atoV) "a ghost" - a spirit. Here in the sense of a disembodied person, "apparition", "ghost".
ii] Confirmation of the resurrection, v38-43: Luke emphasizes that Christ's appearing is not ghostly - not just in spirit. This is the real flesh and blood Jesus, although now resurrected and thus transformed. Note, v40 is not found in some ancient manuscripts and may also be drawn from John's gospel.
Only here is the resurrected body of Christ described in terms of flesh and bones. This serves to defy the idea that Jesus was a mere apparition. Yet, it does not counter the fact that Jesus could appear in a locked room, that his resurrected body is a human body transformed. Jesus' enigmatic statement to Mary, recorded in John's gospel, "don't touch/hold me, I have not yet ascended to the Father", may indicate that the transformation was not yet complete. The vision of Paul on the road to Damascus is more in keeping with the transformed, ascended, glorious Christ.
tetaragmenoi este "troubled" - [why] having been disturbed, agitated, shaken up, alarmed. The participle with the present tense of the verb to-be forms a periphrastic perfect, possibly emphasizing durative aspect; "[why] have you been troubled ..." It is possible to criticize the disciples for their seeming lack of confidence in the presence of the risen Christ, but "such criticism seems perverse. Even if the clearest warning has been given, the surprise and alarm are natural in the presence of a visitant from another world," Luce.
dia ti "Why" - because why. Causal. The construction is used to emphasize the question.
dialogismoi anabainousin en th/ kardia "do doubts rise in [your] minds" - doubts arise in the hearts [of you]. The reasoning of the inner person, for a Jew, took place in the heart, although we identify the center reasoning as taking place in the mind. "Why do you let doubts invade your minds?", Barclay.
idete (eidon) aor. imp. "look" - you see."Examine my hands and feet."
oJti "-" - that. It seems likely that this conjunction serves here to introduce a dependent statement of perception after an assumed cognitive verb; "look at my hands and my feet and see that it is I myself."
autoV "[It is I] myself" - Emphatic. "It is really me."
yhlafhsate (yhlafaw) aor. imp. "touch" - touch, feel [me]. A rare word in the NT. "Handle me."
oJti "-" - that. This second hoti could be causal, "because a ghost ...", or again introducing a dependent statement of perception (poss. epexegetic) expressing what they should perceive, namely that a spirit/ghost doesn't ...."; "handle me, check me out, I mean, a ghost does not have ..."
pneuma (a atoV) "ghost" - spirit, in the sense of an independent expression of a person after their death. By saying he is not such a spirit, Jesus is not implying that ghosts necessarily exist. "An incorporeal being", Abbott-Smith.
kaqwV "as [you see]" - as, like [you see]. Comparative.
econta (exw) pres. part. "[I] have" - [me] having. The participle serves as an object complement, complement of the accusative object eme, "me".
This verse is not found in some manuscripts.
eipwn (eipon) aor. part. "when he had said" - having said. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, as NIV.
autoiV dat. pro. "[he showed] them" - [he showed his hands and feet] to them. Dative of indirect object.
apistountwn (apistew) pres. part. gen. "while [they still] did not believe" - [still] disbelieving [them]. The participle, as a genitive absolute, is usually treated as temporal, as NIV, although possibly causal; "it was because they did not believe ....... that he asked them, ..." "Disbelieve" may not mean faithless or sceptical, but with "amazement", "dumbfounded", NJB, it may lean toward "incredulous". "While they thought it was still too good to be true", Barclay.
apo + gen. "because of [joy]" - for [joy]. The preposition here is usually taken to be causal, as NIV.
qaumazontwn (qoumazw) pres. part. gen. "amazement" - being amazed. This participle probably stands with apistountwn, "disbelieving", and as such is also a genitive absolute rather than genitive after the preposition apo. Therefore adverbial, temporal; "while they did not believe and were lost in amazement, because of their sheer joy, Jesus asked them ....." The disciples were "dumbfounded", overwhelmed in amazement by the presence of a spiritual manifestation of Jesus. It is probably for this reason that Jesus asks for some food. As to the deception of asking for food when he didn't actually need any, "is there any deceit in taking food, which one does not want, in order to put others, who are needing it, at their ease?" Plumber. Note, some manuscripts add "and of a honeycomb", but this is possibly a later addition, given that honey was used in the early church in the liturgy of the sacraments. Of course, just because Jesus doesn't need to eat doesn't mean he can't enjoy a meal.
autoiV dat. pro. "[asked] them" - [said] to them. Dative of indirect object.
optou gen. adj. "[a piece of] broiled [fish]" - broiled, backed, cooked, roasted, grilled. Genitive in agreement with "fish" which serves as a partitive genitive, as NIV.
labwn (lambanw) pres. part. "he took it and [ate it]" - having taken [he ate]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "he ate", as NIV.
enwpion + gen. "in their presence" - before, in front of. Spacial. Jesus may have had a meal with the disciples, but this is not the point Luke is making. Jesus, the resurrected Lord, ate in their presence, before their very eyes. Jesus "ate it as they watched", CEV.
iii] The confirmation of scripture, v44-47. Jesus reminds his disciples that everything that has transpired, from his birth to his resurrection, has served to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies concerning the promised messiah. All three areas of the scriptures speak of Christ: the law, the prophets and the writings. Luke goes on to give us a summary of the prophetic truth now fulfilled in Jesus. The messiah will suffer and die, but rise again, and as a consequence, forgiveness of sins is offered to all who repent, to both Jews and Gentiles.
Eipen de proV outouV "He said to them" - Some suggest that this phrase introduces a new incident, possibly Jesus' farewell words to his disciples just before the ascension. The argument can be sustained, but probably the words introduce an immediate sequel.
mou gen. pro. "[this is what] I [told you]" - [these words] of me [which I spoke]. The genitive may be taken as adjectival, possessive, or verbal, subjective, or even ablative, expressing source/origin.
wJn (eimi) pres. part. "while I was [still]" - [still, yet] being. The participle of the verb "to be" is adverbial, probably forming a temporal clause, as NIV. "Being with you" over the period of the last three years, not just now. Jesus has always been just a visitor with us. The good news is that we can now visit with him.
sun + dat. "with [you]" - Expressing association.
oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Jesus had told his disciples, namely that everything written ...... must be fulfilled.
dei "must" - it is necessary. A divine necessity that is driven by a divine plan revealed in the scriptures. "Had to happen", CEV.
plhrwqhnai (plhrow) aor. pas. inf. "be fulfilled" - to be fulfilled, completed. The infinitive forms a noun clause, subject of the verb "is necessary / must." The gospel begins with the statement, "the time is fulfilled", that is, the promises in scripture concerning the coming messiah and his kingdom are now being realized in the person of Jesus Christ, and therefore, "the kingdom of God is at hand." "Must come true", Barclay.
ta gegrammena (grafw) - perf. pas. part. "that is written" - the things having been written. The participle is adjectival, limiting "everything must be fulfilled". Often used in the perfect of binding legal documents, the authority of which cannot be questioned. Such was written of Jesus in the scriptures.
peri + gen. "about [me]" - Reference / respect; "concerning me."
en + dat. "in" - Expressing space/sphere.
yalmoiV (oV) "the Psalms" - psalms. Given that Jesus mentions "the Law of Moses" and "the Prophets" it is quite possible that the third section of scripture, namely "the Writings", which includes the Psalms, is intended.
tote adv. "then" - Temporal adverb serving to form a temporal clause, as NIV.
dihnoixen (dianoigw) aor. "he opened" - he opened up, revealed. Sometimes argued as the giving of the Spirit in line with the giving of the Spirit in John's gospel, Pentecost being the empowering of the Spirit. This is unlikely. Either a spiritual gift of understanding, or a simple explanation of how the scriptures are fulfilled in him; "he explained everything to them so that they were able to understand the scriptures", Barclay, cf. CEV.
tou sunienai (sunihmi) pres. inf. "so they could understand" - to understand. The genitive articular infinitive forms either a final clause expressing purpose, "in order to understand", or a consecutive clause expressing result, "with the result that they understood the scriptures". "So that they could understand the scriptures", Phillips.
autoiV dat. pro. "[he told] them" - [he said] to them. Dative of indirect object.
oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of direct speech, expressing what Jesus said.
ouJtwV adv. "this is what [is written]" - thus [it has been written]. Adverb of manner; "in this way." Either referring to the content of the scriptural teaching concerning Christ, as NIV, "so this is what is written", cf. Fitzmyer, or possibly causal, "because the scripture must be fulfilled", Bock.
paqein (pascw) aor. inf. "will suffer" - to suffer. As with "rise" and "will be preached", the infinitive may be classified as forming a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what has been written, namely "that the messiah will suffer ....." The accusative ton criston, "the Messiah" serves as the accusative subject of the infinitive. The infinitive could also be classified as epexegetic of the adverb ouJtwV, "thus" = "this", ie. "that which has been written", "namely that the Messiah will suffer ...." It is best translated in the future tense. Luke here gives a summary of the scriptural teaching concerning the messiah - he suffers, rises and is proclaimed to all peoples.
anasthnai (anisthmi) aor. inf. "rise" - to rise again = will rise. The resurrection is always difficult to source in scripture. Acts refers to Ps.16:10 and 110.1. Biblical theology is the key to sourcing the scriptural support for the resurrection of the messiah. The messiah is representative Israel and his resurrection constitutes the enlivening, reconstitution of faithful Israel, as promised in scripture. Christ, as the representative remnant, God's elect, subjected to the bondage of death (Egypt), now, through the cross/suffering (Exodus), gains eternal glory (the promised land).
ek + gen. "from [the dead]" - Expressing source/origin, "from the dead", or standing in place of a partitive genitive, "from among the dead."
th/ trith/ hJmera/ dat. "on the third day" - The dative is adverbial, of time.
metanoian (a) "repentance" - Biblical repentance is not so much a feeling sorry, or even a new-year's resolution to behave properly, but is a change of will or direction, a turning from self to Christ.
eiV + acc. "and [forgiveness] / for [the forgiveness]" - to [forgiveness, remission, release]. Here expressing purpose, as TNIV. The gospel announces divine forgiveness of sin as a gift of grace through faith (Christ's faithfulness on the cross and our response of faith). Repentance "which leads to the forgiveness of sins", Phillips.
aJmartiwn (a) gen. "of sins" - The genitive is usually treated as verbal, objective, but it can also be viewed as adjectival, epexegetic, limiting "forgiveness" by making it more specific / explaining it.
khrucqhnai (khrussw) aor. inf. "will be preached" - to be preached, proclaimed. The infinitive as with paqein, "to suffer", cf. v46. The proclamation of God's mercy to the nations fulfills the third element of the promised blessings to Abraham. "And repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed to all people of every nation."
epi + dat. "in [his name]" - upon [the name of him]. Spacial; expressing a resting upon, thus the ground upon which the authority for the preached word lies, namely, Christ. Christ is the divinely appointed messiah, thus, on the basis of Christ's authority ("his name") a disciple can offer forgiveness of sins to all who repent; "on the basis of (all that) his name (implies)", Plummer.
eiV "to [all nations]" - Spacial, expressing the fact that the message of hope is to go to all nations, cf. Isa.42:6, 49:6.
arxamenoi (arxw) aor. part. "beginning [at Jerusalem]" - having begun [from Jerusalem]. The participle is adverbial, modal. Best understood as "the mission will start in Jerusalem."
iv] The commissioning of the disciples, v48-49: Jesus had opened their eyes to the meaning of the scriptures and now he promises his disciples that, as "witnesses of these things", they will be supported by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. What they must do now is wait in Jerusalem for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
uJmeiV "you" - Emphatic position. "You are the ones who must bear witness to both my crucifixion and my resurrection."
toutwn gen. pro. "of these things" - The genitive is probably adverbial, expressing reference / respect; "you are witnesses with respect to these things"; of Jesus' passion, resurrection, teachings and work, so Nolland.
egw pres. pro. "I" - Emphatic by use and position. That Jesus here does the sending touches on the age old debate as to whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, or the Father and the Son. At least we can say here that Jesus has authority when it comes to the Spirit's sending, or at least, the Spirit's distribution.
apostellw pres. "am going to send" - I send. The present tense is obviously futuristic, but primarily expresses continued action, ie. the bestowal of the gift is ongoing.
ef (epi) + acc. "-" - to / on / into [you]. Spacial. Clearly, the gift of the Holy Spirit is in mind; "I will send down on you", Moffatt.
tou patroV (hr roV) gen. "[what my] Father [has promised]" - the promise [of my Father]. Usually taken as a verbal genitive, subjective, "the promise made by my Father", as NIV, but ablative, source/origin is possible; "the promise from my Father." Obviously the substance of the promise is the gift of the Spirit; "I'm going to send you the gift my Father has promised", Barclay.
de "but" - but, and. Here adversative, as NIV.
uJmeiV pro. "-" - you. Emphatic by use.
kaqisate (kaqizw) aor. imp. "stay" - you must sit, remain, continue. In Acts often with the sense "stay"; "stay for a period of time."
en + dat. "in [the city]" - Expressing space/sphere. The disciples are to remain in Jerusalem until they are "clothed with power from on high."
eJwV ou + subj. "until" - Forming an indefinite temporal clause.
endushsqe (enduw) aor. pas. subj. "you have been clothed with" - you may be clothed, dressed. Descriptive language of the gift of the Spirit, although some contend otherwise. "Armed with", REB; "endued with", Moffatt; "given", CEV.
dunamin (iV ewV) "power" - Sometimes translated as a definite noun. Is this a gift of power or a gift of the powerful one? The words dunamiV and pneuma, "spirit", are "virtually synonymous terms since power is what the Spirit supplied", Bock. As far as the fulfilment of scripture is concerned, the promise of the new covenant is more the gift of the divine presence than divine power, although the language does reflect a believer's renewal and gifting for service. "The power", NJB.
ex (ek) + gen. "from [on high]" - from [high]. Expressing source / origin. From the heavenlies = from God.
v] Jesus blesses the disciples and ascends to heaven, v50-53. Jesus and his disciples move out from Jerusalem to the vicinity of Bethany. Here, he blesses them in a typically priestly manner. This images Christ's present priestly role, cf. Heb.8:1ff. Although often taken as an ascension scene, Jesus' "withdrawal" is more likely the same as in 24:31. The phrase "carried up into heaven" is not found in some of the key manuscripts. It is more likely that Luke has ended his gospel with a resurrection appearance and commissioning. Anyway, the disciples do as instructed and return to Jerusalem. Back in Jerusalem, they continue together in prayer, worshipping at the Temple, and waiting for the promised blessing from on high.
de "when [he had led them out]" - Here coordinative; "then he led them out", ESV.
eJwV proV "to the vicinity of [Bethany]" - Together giving the sense "as far as to, to the neighborhood of, over against." Possibly, "in the sight of."
eparaV taV ceiraV "he lifted up [his] hands" - having lifted up the hands. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "blessed", as NIV. Possibly adverbial, temporal; "when he lifted up his hands he blessed them." Given that this is the Jewish stance for prayer, we may simply say that, "he prayed for them."
euloghsen (eulogew) aor. "he blessed [them]" - And "called God's gracious power upon them", TH.
en tw/ + inf. "while he was blessing [them]" - Th2 preposition en with the articular infinitive forms a temporal clause contemporaneous time; "while, during ..."
diesth (diisthmi) aor. "he left" - he went away, moved on, went on, departed, separated [from them]. A rare word with an unclear meaning. This incident is usually depicted as Jesus ascending on a cloud with hands raised for blessing. The verb indicates nothing as to how Jesus departs; he just "went away." Luke describes the ascension in Acts 1:9. In Acts we have the mention of a cloud and the use of verbs which imply upward movement, but is it Jesus himself going upward or is it the cloud/mist which has "hid him from their sight"? It is quite possible that Jesus is enveloped in a cloud, obviously the shechinah glory representing the presence of the divine, and that the cloud then ascends, or better, drifts away.
ap (apo) + gen. "[them]" - from [them]. Expressing separation; "away from."
kai anefereto ein ton ouranon "was taken up into heaven" - Arguments abound as to why some manuscripts have this clause, while others don't. Some argue it was removed to deal with a contradiction between the gospel and Acts. Others argue it was added when the gospel was separated from Acts. If added, which seems likely, then what we have here is a resurrection appearance which ends with Jesus leaving his disciples. This serves as the end of the gospel, with the ascension being described in the first chapter of Acts.
proskunhsanteV (proskunew) aor. part. "then they worshiped [him]" - having did obeisance, homage, devotion, bowed before. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, "and when they had worshiped him." Not found in all manuscripts. The word always carries the sense of obeisance, so "they knelt in worship", Barrett.
meta + gen. "with [great joy]" - with [joy great]. Here adverbial, expressing manner; "they returned to Jerusalem and were very happy", CEV.
dia pantoV "[they stayed] continually" - [they were] continually. Temporal; a shortened version of dia pantoV cronou, "through all time" = "continually." This doesn't mean that they were in the temple continually, rather that the disciples continued with their practice of temple worship. As the years passed, the liberty of the gospel began to free them from these liturgical duties. Persecution also encouraged a drift from the synagogue/temple. Given that we are dealing with hyperbolae: "they continued to attend the temple for worship, praising God."
in + dat. "at [the temple]" - in [the temple]. Expressing space / sphere.
eulogounteV (eulogew) pres. part. "praising [God]" - blessing [God]. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their attendance at the temple.