THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
April 6, 2008
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19 (13)
1 Peter 1:17-23
1a. Context: Luke 24:36b-48
THE APPEARANCE OF THE RISEN CHRIST IN JERUSALEM
This unit closely resembles the account of the walk to Emmaus. There
are these same elements: the risen Christ appears, the disciples do not
recognize him, their doubt is rebuked, food is shared, belief emerges.
There are also, in many respected manuscripts, parallels insertions to
the account in John 20, as both the New RSV and the Rev'd English Bible
point out in their footnotes.
But there are also some unique emphases in this narrative:
1) the strong emphasis on the continuity between the
Scriptures and the Risen Christ;
2) the good news attached to this great event; and
3) the promise of the empowerment of the disciples so that
they can carry out what has been given to them to do.
1b. Text: Luke 24:36b-48
Lk. 24:36 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
38 He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost
does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."
40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have
you anything here to eat?"
42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
43 and he took it and ate in their presence.
44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with
you-- that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled."
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,
46 and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from
the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be
proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
48 You are witnesses of these things.
Greek Text: Luke 24:36b-48
36ταυτα δε αυτων λαλουντων αυτος εστη εν μεσω αυτων και λεγει αυτοις, ειρηνη υμιν. 37πτοηθεντες δε και εμφοβοι γενομενοι εδοκουν πνευμα θεωρειν. 38και ειπεν αυτοις, τι τεταραγμενοι εστε, και δια τι διαλογισμοι αναβαινουσιν εν τη καρδια υμων; 39ιδετε τας χειρας μου και τους ποδας μου οτι εγω ειμι αυτος: ψηλαφησατε με και ιδετε, οτι πνευμα σαρκα και οστεα ουκ εχει καθως εμε θεωρειτε εχοντα. 40και τουτο ειπων εδειξεν αυτοις τας χειρας και τους ποδας. 41ετι δε απιστουντων αυτων απο της χαρας και θαυμαζοντων ειπεν αυτοις, εχετε τι βρωσιμον ενθαδε; 42οι δε επεδωκαν αυτω ιχθυος οπτου μερος: 43και λαβων ενωπιον αυτων εφαγεν. 44ειπεν δε προς αυτους, ουτοι οι λογοι μου ους ελαλησα προς υμας ετι ων συν υμιν, οτι δει πληρωθηναι παντα τα γεγραμμενα εν τω νομω μωυσεως και τοις προφηταις και ψαλμοις περι εμου. 45τοτε διηνοιξεν αυτων τον νουν του συνιεναι τας γραφας. 46και ειπεν αυτοις οτι ουτως γεγραπται παθειν τον χριστον και αναστηναι εκ νεκρων τη τριτη ημερα, 47και κηρυχθηναι επι τω ονοματι αυτου μετανοιαν εις αφεσιν αμαρτιων εις παντα τα εθνη αρξαμενοι απο ιερουσαλημ: 48υμεις μαρτυρες τουτων.
Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition
© 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition
© 1975, United Bible Societies, London
2. Analysis: Luke 24:36-49
The most striking thing about the text itself may be its plainspokenness
and the power that is contained in Luke's direct style of reporting.
απιστεοο. I disbelieve. -"Out of joy." The Jerusalem Bible captures the
meaning admirably: "Their joy was so great they still could not believe it,
and they stood there dumbfounded (thaumadzoo--I wonder greatly.)
Or, REB: "It seemed too good to be true." The risen Lord shows them his hands, his feet and says 'Touch" (Πσεελαπηεεσατε) and see" ( ιδετε). There is a fish, already broiled (reminding us of the scene on the shore of the Sea of Galilee). It is ready for eating, and
he eats it, ενοοπιαν ("before their very eyes").
In such matter of fact reporting Luke is not entering into questions
about the resurrection body, as Paul later does (1 Cor. 15). He is making
one point, which Ignatius, the 2nd Century bishop of Antioch
paraphrased, "See that I am not a bloodless ghost" (Craddock, p 289).
v 44, Πλεεροο, fulfill. Having reported the facts, Luke turns to the lesson
to be learned. Christ speaks of the fulfillment of 1) what he himself had
spoken when with them, and 2) what is perhaps of even greater
significance, the continuity between what they have now experienced
and the promises of the Scriptures (γεγραμμενα , "what has been
written), promises found in the three major sections which speak of the
coming Messiah, the Law of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms. We
might paraphrase: "It's been there all the time, and now you know it."
But what is the meaning of these things that have taken place? As in
the Emmaus experience, the Christ himself must open their minds and
give them understanding. The significance and nature of the Messiah's
mission is then laid out. It is given in words so plain and direct that
what Christ says may become, for some, little more than a cliche. But
each word contains dynamite and deserves respectful attention.
Πατηειν--"Suffer." Αναστεεναι εκ νεκρον--"rise from the dead."
κεερισσοο. This is a most powerful verb: 'I proclaim, herald."
The suffering and death of the Christ are to be proclaimed so that
people are led to repentance (μετανοια, a turning around) and
forgiveness of sins (αμαρτια - the effects in the soul's broken
relationship with God).
αρξαμενοι. The Expositor's Greek Testament: "We have to suppose a
pause and then Jesus resuming [and saying] to the eleven -
"beginning," the implied though not expressed thought being: this
preaching of repentance is to be your work - beginning at Jerusalem."
v. 49. επαγγελιαν του πατροσ. The Messiah has carried out his
mission. He has in turn commissioned his disciples . But how
shall be able to do this? Jesus says he will "send the promise of
my Father upon you."
κατηισατε: Expositor's Greek: "sit still, patiently but with hope."
And the promise itself? ενδυσεστηε (from ενδυοο) to be clothed,
invested with power from on high.
3. Strategy: Luke 24:36-49
As we have seen, verses 44-49 contain instruction, commission and
promise, not only to the disciples but to us. There are many sides
to these three themes, and we venture to suggest some as part of a
1. The nature of discipleship . The Risen Christ is real, not a
bloodless ghost. By the very sequence of events he demonstrates that
for those who follow him there will be suffering before the
resurrection, trial before glory. "'See my hands and feet' (v. 39)
is Christ's word to the church. Easter is forever joined to Good
Friday, and to follow the risen Christ is to follow one who bore the
cross" (Craddock, p. 290).
2. The centrality and importance of Scripture. There is eradicable
linkage between Jesus and the Old Testament. His work rests upon
the prophecies of the Old Testament. His work opens up the meaning
of the Old Testament. When he speaks of fulfilling what was written,
he is saying about of himself, "This was God's plan all along. Now
3. Good News for all who have failed God. Without apology the
suffering, death, and resurrection of the Christ is to be proclaimed
as God's call to understand that the way is open to repentance and
the forgiveness of sins. This was his plan from the beginning, and
now the secret is out. The mission of the Messiah has been made
clear. For the disciples in the upper room life had become a living
death. They were like men trapped in the tunnel of a mine which has
caved in. And they had themselves caused that cave-in. They hear
tapping above. They look up. A hole appears in the roof of the
tunnel. Light appears. They see the face of their rescuer. They
are filled with inexpressible joy. They have been brought back for
the dead. And this experience of the risen Christ is to be behind
their preaching to others, that they might be rescued as well. Both
the disciples then and now are infused with a desire to look to the
Scriptures, Old and New, and rejoice in all that has been written to
reveal to us the everlasting love of God.
4. A Mission To All People. The risen Christ makes it very clear:
What we have cannot be kept to ourselves. It is for all people, and
always has been. Going to all the nations was not a second choice
after the Jews rejected the gospel, Luke would remind us. It was
always there. But Christ's disciples have always had trouble
actualizing the incredible wideness of God's mercy. "After twenty
centuries, preaching a crucified Christ and accepting all people
equally continue as problems haunting the corners of the church,
awaiting full and free resolution" (Craddock, p. 291).
5. The Help of the Holy Spirit. The promises of God never cease.
We who are given what seems to be such a daunting commission are
offered along with the first disciples the promise that help is on
the way. This help will come in the form of being clothed with power
from on high. This is the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
I've been told that when Judges 6:34 speaks of the Spirit of the LORD
taking possession of Gideon, the Hebrew conveys the picture of a man putting on a suit of clothes. In any case, it's a powerful figure for a church
which is so often like a man snuggled under the covers who only
dreams he is dressing.
The promise is the promise of empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
When John the Evangelist speaks of this empowerment, he thinks
of guidance and strengthening. Paul thinks of the Spirit sanctifying
and equipping. Luke thinks of the Spirit moving people and
empowering people to carry out God's mission throughout the world.
4. REFERENCES: Luke 24:36-49
Craddock, Fred B. Interpretation, A Bible Commentary for
Teaching & Preaching. Atlanta, Georgia: John Knox Press,1990.
The Expositor's Greek Testament, Vol. I.
S. MacLean Gilmour, Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 8, The Gospel of
Luke. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1952.
Rienecker, Fritz, Sprachlicher Schlussel zum Grieschen Neuen
Testament, 1956, Brunnen Verlag, GMBH, Giessen und Basel.
5. Hymn Suggestions: Luke 24:36-49
Christ is alive! Let Christians sing (HB 182, LBW 363)
Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands (HB 185-6, LBW 134)
Christ the Lord is Risen Again (HB 184)
Good Christians all, rejoice and sing (HB 205, LBW 144)
Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless (HB 343)
That Easter Day with joy was bright (HB 193, LBW 154)
The strife is o'er, the battle done (HB 208, LBW 135)
Exegete: Vernon R. Schreiber
LEXEGETE © 2008