Harmony of the Gospels

 HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS

(7) Jesus Appears to Ten Disciples Without Thomas

Scripture: Luke 24:36-43


Tom Lowe

10/16/2008

 

 

Date: Last Sunday—A.D. 30
Location: Jerusalem

 

 

36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43 And he took it, and did eat before them.


36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

It is Easter Sunday morning, late in the evening.  Ten of the apostles, the men from Emmaus, and perhaps others, are gathered in a house somewhere in Jerusalem.  And because they feared the Jews the doors were locked (John 20:19[1]).

Now, while the two disciples who had met Jesus while going to Emmaus, were informing the ten apostles who had gathered together [most likely in the Upper Room in Jerusalem] of their meeting with Jesus, Jesus comes into the room, to remove every doubt, and to give them the fullest evidence of His resurrection. And it is forever true that, wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, He is in the midst of them.

The resurrection body of the Lord Jesus was a literal, tangible body of flesh and bones. It was the same body which had been buried, yet it was changed in that it was no longer subject to death. With this glorified body, Jesus could enter a room when the doors were closed. This is what He did on that first Sunday night when He was raised.  His resurrected body possessed powers that transcended the laws of ordinary matter.  The apostle John reported this in his gospel “When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus  himself  came and stood in the midst, of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you” (John 20:19). Only Jesus Christ can bring peace because of His sacrifice on the Cross. Because of His sacrifice men and women could now have peace with God [Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1[2] )] and enjoy the peace of God [Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).]

The disciples looked up and saw Him, then heard Him say, “Peace to you.” That was the usual salutation among the Jews. It meant “May you prosper in body and soul, and enjoy every heavenly and earthly good!”  It was the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament greeting, “shalom.” His troubled disciples desperately needed peace, the kind of peace that only Christ can give.  By his victory over death, He had overcome sin, the world, and the devil—everything that causes fear and confusion in people.  By recognizing Jesus as the source of peace and the Prince of peace, His people experience the calm assurance needed to fulfill His purpose for their lives.
According to Mark, they were eating the evening meal when He appeared (Mark 16:14[3]).

37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

You may have expected the believers to heave a great sigh of relief and sing a hymn of praise, but that was not what happened.

Of the apostles, apparently only Peter had, up to that time, seen the resurrected Christ. The rest had only heard the stories of the appearances. Now, when confronted with the reality themselves, they were shocked by the sudden and obviously miraculous nature of this appearance. They were seized with panic, thinking it was a ghost; the ghost of their dead Lord, but that it was not Himself in the body (Acts 12:15[4] ; Matthew 14:26[5] ). His entrance through a bolted door lent weight to their idea that he had no physical body. They knew nothing of the possibilities of a resurrected body. 

They had nodded in seeming acceptance of Peter’s report; they continued nodding as they listened to the Emmaus report, but with the sudden appearance of Jesus they gasped, their eyes bulged and their skin crawled as they saw what they took to be a ghostly apparition of Jesus.

One might ask, “But how can it be explained that the men from Emmaus were so startled and frighten, sinse only a few hours ago they had been conversing with Jesus?"  And how was it that Peter, to whom the Lord had also already appeared this very day, was so surprised and so filled with fear?” The answer may be the suddenness of His appearance, and that He apparently materialized out of thin air.

With our limited knowledge, we cannot explain how a human body can be solid flesh and bones and still pass through closed doors and appear and disappear, or how it can be glorified and still carry the marks of the Cross. We do know that one day we will be like Him and share in His glory [“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:1-2)].

38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

The disciples reacted to Jesus’ mystifying appearance the same way you or I would have; they were alarmed or frightened? He knows the thoughts of all men and He was aware of the disciples’ doubts and suspicions concerning whether he was the Christ. He reprimanded them for doubting this and for their hardness of heart [here, as in the previous section, Jesus shows that the heart has much to do with the belief], because they had plenty of reasons to believe He was the Savior:
1. The Scriptures had foretold his death.
2. He had himself repeatedly told them that He must die and rise again.
3. They had now the testimony of Peter that he had seen Jesus alive, and of the angels that he was risen.

39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

They probably imagined that it was the soul only of our blessed Lord which they saw and this implies that the spirit may exist separate from the body. That was the view of the apostles, and our Savior distinctly approves of that belief; but soon they were to be convinced of the identity of His person and the reality of His resurrection; because:
1.  They saw his body.
2.  They heard him speak.
3.  They handled him.
4.  They saw him eat a piece of broiled fish and honeycomb, which they gave him.

Jesus quickly corrected their mistaken theology by drawing attention to his completely physical body. He said, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” The object here was to convince them that his body had really come to life. But even with these clear words, given in the context of correcting a false view of the nature of Christ’s resurrected body, there still persist some false cults and “isms” who maintain the heresy of a “spiritual resurrection” of Christ. The fact that Jesus said flesh and bones rather than “flesh and blood” does not necessarily indicate that His body had no blood. One can say, but flesh and bones usually do operate with blood. However, the life principle in a resurrected body may not be in its blood, but in the spirit of God.

We receive comfort from the fact that the Resurrected Christ is as sympathetic and loving as was this same Savior before His crucifixion.  With marvelous humbleness he “showed them his hands and his feet” probably with the twofold purpose of proving to them (a) “I am not a ghost,” and (b) “I am indeed your Lord and Savior.”

40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

And when he had said this, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have”, he showed them his hands and his feet and his side. [These members not only showed that he was not a disembodied spirit, but they served to identify His body with that which they had seen crucified, and hence the person who now spoke was the Jesus whom they had known and lost.]

41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

Their joy was so great, and his appearance was so sudden and unexpected, that they were bewildered, and still sought more evidence of the truth of what they wished to believe. This is a natural reaction to all they had recently experienced. We have expressions similar to “they yet believed not for joy” in our language. We may say, “The news is too good to be true”; or, “I cannot believe it; it is too much for me.”

When Jesus asked for “any meat,” that does not mean meat in the sense we think of it, but in the old English sense, denoting anything to eat.

42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

Honey flourished in Palestine, and was a very common article of food. Bees lived in caves, in piles of rocks, in the hollows of trees, and were also kept in man made hives, like we do. The disciples probably gave the Lord just what they were planning on eating, and what was ready at the time, broiled fish and a honeycomb.

43 And he took it, and did eat before them.

He told them to handle him and see him, and now He ate real food they gave Him; broiled fish and part of a honeycomb. All this was done to satisfy them that be was not, as they supposed, a spirit. There could be no better evidence, since He appealed to their senses, and performed acts which a disembodied spirit could not do.

 


Remarks


After the Resurrection He appeared to them over a period of forty days and occasionally ate with them (Acts 1:4[6]).  Peter told Cornelius, “He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead” (Acts 10:41).

After this, none of the Eleven ever again doubted the reality of the Resurrection.  In the following months Jesus had their attention is perhaps he had never had it before.  This was so important, because he continued to impart to them the eternal essentials of the gospel and the details of their mission.


____________Scripture Reference________________

  [1]Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
  [2]The first great benefit enjoyed by those of us who have been justified by faith is peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The war is over. Hostilities have ceased. Through the work of Christ all causes of enmity between our souls and God have been removed. We have been changed from foes to friends by a miracle of grace. 

  [3]And afterward c as they spake these things [while the two from Emmaus were telling their story], he was manifested unto the eleven themselves as they sat at meat. 

  [4]And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. 

  [5]And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

 
  [6]And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 

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 In 564 B.C., the spectators at the Olympic games saw the most incredible athletic victory of all time. Arrichion was competing for his third consecutive championship in pankration, an event that combined boxing and wrestling. During the match, Arrichion’s opponent got him in a suffocating stranglehold. In a desperate attempt to escape the life-threatening choke hold, Arrichion dislocated his opponent’s ankle. In great pain, Arrichion’s opponent released him from the death hold and raised his hand in defeat. Just as the rival conceded defeat, Arrichion died. Due to the sequence of events, Arrichion was ruled the winner and he became the only Olympic athlete who has ever won by dying. On that first Good Friday, Jesus pulled off a similar type of victory. When in the throws of death, he dealt his opponent a decisively defeating blow and then died the victor. Unlike Arrichion, Jesus also defeated death and arose three days later with the victor’s crown on his head.

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