Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

Luke Ch.24 / 24 Ch.s


* The resurrection of Christ. (1-12) He appears to two disciples
on the way to Emmaus. (13-27) And makes himself known to them.
(28-35) Christ appears to the other disciples. (36-49) His
ascension. (50-53)

#1-12 See the affection and respect the women showed to Christ,
after he was dead and buried. Observe their surprise when they
found the stone rolled away, and the grave empty. Christians
often perplex themselves about that with which they should
comfort and encourage themselves. They look rather to find their
Master in his grave-clothes, than angels in their shining
garments. The angels assure them that he is risen from the dead;
is risen by his own power. These angels from heaven bring not
any new gospel, but remind the women of Christ's words, and
teach them how to apply them. We may wonder that these
disciples, who believed Jesus to be the Son of God and the true
Messiah, who had been so often told that he must die, and rise
again, and then enter into his glory, who had seen him more than
once raise the dead, yet should be so backward to believe his
raising himself. But all our mistakes in religion spring from
ignorance or forgetfulness of the words Christ has spoken. Peter
now ran to the sepulchre, who so lately ran from his Master. He
was amazed. There are many things puzzling and perplexing to us,
which would be plain and profitable, if we rightly understood
the words of Christ.

#13-27 This appearance of Jesus to the two disciples going to
Emmaus, happened the same day that he rose from the dead. It
well becomes the disciples of Christ to talk together of his
death and resurrection; thus they may improve one another's
knowledge, refresh one another's memory, and stir up each
other's devout affections. And where but two together are well
employed in work of that kind, he will come to them, and make a
third. Those who seek Christ, shall find him: he will manifest
himself to those that inquire after him; and give knowledge to
those who use the helps for knowledge which they have. No matter
how it was, but so it was, they did not know him; he so ordering
it, that they might the more freely discourse with him. Christ's
disciples are often sad and sorrowful, even when they have
reason to rejoice; but through the weakness of their faith, they
cannot take the comfort offered to them. Though Christ is
entered into his state of exaltation, yet he notices the sorrows
of his disciples, and is afflicted in their afflictions. Those
are strangers in Jerusalem, that know not of the death and
sufferings of Jesus. Those who have the knowledge of Christ
crucified, should seek to spread that knowledge. Our Lord Jesus
reproved them for the weakness of their faith in the Scriptures
of the Old Testament. Did we know more of the Divine counsels as
far as they are made known in the Scriptures, we should not be
subject to the perplexities we often entangle ourselves in. He
shows them that the sufferings of Christ were really the
appointed way to his glory; but the cross of Christ was that to
which they could not reconcile themselves. Beginning at Moses,
the first inspired writer of the Old Testament, Jesus expounded
to them the things concerning himself. There are many passages
throughout all the Scriptures concerning Christ, which it is of
great advantage to put together. We cannot go far in any part,
but we meet with something that has reference to Christ, some
prophecy, some promise, some prayer, some type or other. A
golden thread of gospel grace runs through the whole web of the
Old Testament. Christ is the best expositor of Scripture; and
even after his resurrection, he led people to know the mystery
concerning himself, not by advancing new notions, but by showing
how the Scripture was fulfilled, and turning them to the earnest
study of it.

#28-35 If we would have Christ dwell with us, we must be earnest
with him. Those that have experienced the pleasure and profit of
communion with him, cannot but desire more of his company. He
took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. This he
did with his usual authority and affection, with the same
manner, perhaps with the same words. He here teaches us to crave
a blessing on every meal. See how Christ by his Spirit and grace
makes himself known to the souls of his people. He opens the
Scriptures to them. He meets them at his table, in the ordinance
of the Lord's supper; is known to them in breaking of bread. But
the work is completed by the opening of the eyes of their mind;
yet it is but short views we have of Christ in this world, but
when we enter heaven, we shall see him for ever. They had found
the preaching powerful, even when they knew not the preacher.
Those Scriptures which speak of Christ, will warm the hearts of
his true disciples. That is likely to do most good, which
affects us with the love of Jesus in dying for us. It is the
duty of those to whom he has shown himself, to let others know
what he has done for their souls. It is of great use for the
disciples of Christ to compare their experiences, and tell them
to each other.

#36-49 Jesus appeared in a miraculous manner, assuring the
disciples of his peace, though they had so lately forsaken him,
and promising spiritual peace with every blessing. Many
troublesome thoughts which disquiet our minds, rise from
mistakes concerning Christ. All the troublesome thoughts which
rise in our hearts at any time, are known to the Lord Jesus, and
are displeasing to him. He spake with them on their unreasonable
unbelief. Nothing had passed but what was foretold by the
prophets, and necessary for the salvation of sinners. And now
all men should be taught the nature and necessity of repentance,
in order to the forgiveness of their sins. And these blessings
were to be sought for, by faith in the name of Jesus. Christ by
his Spirit works on the minds of men. Even good men need to have
their understandings opened. But that we may have right thoughts
of Christ, there needs no more than to be made to understand the

#50-53 Christ ascended from Bethany, near the Mount of Olives.
There was the garden in which his sufferings began; there he was
in his agony. Those that would go to heaven, must ascend thither
from the house of sufferings and sorrows. The disciples did not
see him rise out of the grave; his resurrection could be proved
by their seeing him alive afterwards: but they saw him ascend
into heaven; they could not otherwise have a proof of his
ascension. He lifted up his hands, and blessed them. He did not
go away in displeasure, but in love, he left a blessing behind
him. As he arose, so he ascended, by his own power. They
worshipped him. This fresh display of Christ's glory drew from
them fresh acknowledgments. They returned to Jerusalem with
great joy. The glory of Christ is the joy of all true believers,
even while they are here in this world. While waiting for God's
promises, we must go forth to meet them with our praises. And
nothing better prepares the mind for receiving the Holy Ghost.
Fears are silenced, sorrows sweetened and allayed, and hopes
kept up. And this is the ground of a Christian's boldness at the
throne of grace; yea, the Father's throne is the throne of grace
to us, because it is also the throne of our Mediator, Jesus
Christ. Let us rely on his promises, and plead them. Let us
attend his ordinances, praise and bless God for his mercies, set
our affections on things above, and expect the Redeemer's return
to complete our happiness. Amen. Even so, Lord Jesus, come