Luke chapter 24

English Standard Version

13That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, "What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" 19And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see." 25And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

13And behold, on that very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, which was sixty stadia from Jerusalem. 14And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. 17And He said to them, 'What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?' And they came to a stop, looking sad. 18One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, 'Are You possibly the only one living near Jerusalem who does not know about the things that happened here in these days?' 19And He said to them, 'What sort of things?' And they said to Him, 'Those about Jesus the Nazarene, who proved to be a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20and how the chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and crucified Him. 21But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22But also some women among us left us bewildered. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, 23and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. 24And so some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.' 25And then He said to them, 'You foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to come into His glory?' 27Then beginning with Moses and with all the Prophets, He explained to them the things written about Himself in all the Scriptures.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

New King James Version

What does Luke chapter 24 mean?

Luke 24 gives the account of Jesus' followers learning of His resurrection and how it fulfills Old Testament prophecy. Jesus has been crucified. Joseph of Arimathea buried Him. The women watched and then returned to the city to prepare more burial spices. They spend Friday evening to Saturday evening observing the Sabbath, then rise Sunday to buy more spices and go to the tomb (Mark 16:1; Luke 23:44–56).

Luke 24:1–12 describes how the women bring their spices to the tomb. It presents a little "chiasm," a mirrored structure:

A. 1–3: The women find the empty tomb.

B. 4–7: The angels report Jesus is risen.

C. 8: The women remember Jesus' promises.

B' 9–11: The women report Jesus is risen.

A' 12: Peter finds the empty tomb.

The empty tomb is the most significant event of this passage. Yet the entire chapter strongly focuses on the belief and understanding of how prophecy—from Jesus and the Old Testament prophets—has been fulfilled. Mark 16:1–8 covers the women's discovery and their conversation with an angel. Matthew 28:1–10 and John 20:1–18 include how the women meet Jesus and John goes with Peter.

In Luke 24:13–27, Jesus meets two disciples who are traveling to Emmaus; the men don't recognize Him. They're puzzled when Jesus acts like He doesn't know what has happened in Jerusalem; they give Him a short account. Jesus calls them foolish for not understanding the prophets and explains how the crucifixion is predicted in the Old Testament. Only Luke records this conversation in its entirety.

Luke 24:28–35 finds Jesus in Emmaus, enjoying the hospitality of the two men. As He breaks the bread and prays, the men finally recognize Him. He immediately disappears. Despite the late hour, the two men return to the disciples in Jerusalem and learn Peter has seen Jesus, too. The verses labeled as Mark 16:12–13 give a short description of this encounter but are not original to that gospel.

In Luke 24:36–43, Jesus finally appears to the greater number of the disciples. Despite the multiple testimonies, the other disciples think He's a ghost. He shows them His wounds and eats some fish to prove He's real. John 20:19–29 adds that Thomas is not at this first meeting, so Jesus returns to relieve his doubts.

Luke 24:44–49 is probably a synopsis of what Jesus teaches throughout His forty days on earth between His resurrection and ascension. He shows His disciples how He fulfilled the prophecies in the Jewish Scriptures. This makes Jesus the object of the Scriptures. Then He gives them an oblique commission to spread that understanding. He probably had to say this several times to different groups. He ends right before His ascension with instructions to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes. In Matthew 28:16–20, Jesus gives the Great Commission. John 21 records Jesus' reconciliation with Peter including a prophecy of how Peter would die and an assertion that John is not immortal.

Luke 24:50–53 is the only account of Jesus' ascension in the Gospels. He leads the disciples to Bethany, blesses them, and rises to heaven. The disciples worship Him and return to Jerusalem where they bless God in the temple. Acts 1:1–11 gives more details, including Jesus' commission to spread the gospel (Acts 1:8).

Having finished the story of Jesus' life and ministry, Luke concludes his letter to Theophilus (Luke 1:1–4). Luke writes a second book directed to Theophilus—Acts—which outlines how the disciples receive the Holy Spirit and build the church in Judea and Samaria. The bulk of Acts, however, is the story of how Paul brings the gospel to the Gentiles.

The timeline of events directly after Jesus' resurrection is not immediately clear when reading the Gospels separately. This is what seems to happen:

•Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and Joses and the wife of Clopas, and other women, go to the tomb; an angel has already rolled the stone away (Matthew 28:1–4; Mark 16:1–4; Luke 24:1–2, 10).
•Mary Magdalene sees the empty tomb and runs ahead to tell Peter and John that Jesus' body is missing (John 20:1–2).
•Two angels tell the remaining women Jesus' body is gone because He has risen and they need to tell the disciples (Matthew 28:5–7; Mark 16:5–8; Luke 24:3–9).
•The group of women meet Jesus who repeats the angel's charge to tell the male disciples (Matthew 28:8–10).
•Peter and John race to the tomb, find it empty, and return to the room (Luke 24:12; John 20:3–9).
•Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb, speaks with the angels, and finally meets Jesus (John 20:11–17).
•The women tell the men they have seen Jesus. It's unclear if Mary Magdalene has caught up with the others or if she arrives later (Matthew 28:8; Luke 24:10; John 20:18).
•Jesus meets the two men on the road to Emmaus. They return to Jerusalem the same night (Luke 24:13–35).
•Jesus appears to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).
•As the disciples are talking to the two men, Jesus appears. Thomas is not present (Luke 24:36–43; John 20:19–24).
•Eight days later, Jesus returns to the group to reassure Thomas (John 20:24–29).

Except for Jesus' ascension, the sequence of the next events is uncertain:

•Jesus meets seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee; He reconciles Peter's role as an Apostle (John 21:1–25).
•About five hundred people see Jesus in Galilee (1 Corinthians 15:6).
•Jesus appears to His half-brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7).
•Jesus gives the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16–20).
•The disciples finally understand how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies (Luke 24:44–49).
•Jesus tells the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit; then He ascends into heaven (Luke 24:50–53; Acts 1:1–11).

The above sequence and other reasonable explanations depend on the technique of telling the story of one point of view completely before beginning another. In this sequence, Luke tells the full story of the women before going back and saying Peter left to check out the tomb, which happened in the middle of the women's story.

Another possibility is that John 20:2–10 tells the story from John's point of view before going back and telling what Mary Magdalene had experienced earlier. In this case, John 20:11–17 is the same event as Matthew 28:9–10: Mary Magdalene was with the women when they met Jesus. When the women—as represented by Mary—arrive and tell the disciples that the tomb is empty, Peter and John run off immediately; they don't hear the women say they have met Jesus until after they return (John 20:2–10). John recorded the events as he heard the news, not as they happened. Whether it's John and Peter in the gospel of John, or the two men going to Emmaus in Luke (Luke 24:13–24), the timeline depends on the men not listening to the women's full story. That's not a gender issue; the men didn't believe each other, either.
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