Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
1. Now in the evening of the Sabbaths,  which began to dawn towards the first of the Sabbaths, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulcher. 2. And lo, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and approached, and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3. And his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment was white as snow. 4. And through fear of him the guards trembled, and became as dead men. 5. But the angel answering, said to the women, Fear not; for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified. 6. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay: 7. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, lo, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall you see him: lo, I have told you.
1. And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the wife of James, and Salome, bought spices to come and anoint him. 2. And very early in the morning of the first day of the Sabaths,  They come to the tomb at the rising of the sun.  3. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb? 4. And having looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away; for it was very great. 5. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe; and they were afraid. 6. But he saith to them, Be not terrified: you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified; he is risen, he is not here: lo, the place where they laid him. 7. But go away, tell his disciples and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall you see him, as he said to you.
1. And on the first day of the Sabbaths, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, carrying the spices which they had prepared, and some women with them. 2. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3. And having entered, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4. And it happened, while they were in consternation on this account, lo, two men stood near them in shining garments. 5. And when the women were terrified, and bowed their face to the earth, they said to them, Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6. He is not here, but is risen: remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7. Saying, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of the wicked men, and be crucified and rise again on the third day. 8. And they remembered his words.
We now come to the closing scene of our redemption. For the lively assurance of our reconciliation with God arises from Christ having come from hell as the conqueror of death, in order to show that he had the power of a new life at his disposal. Justly, therefore, does Paul say that there will be no gospel, and that the hope of salvation will be vain and fruitless, unless we believe that Christ is risen from the dead, (1 Corinthians 15:14.) For then did Christ obtain righteousness for us, and open up our entrance into heaven; and, in short, then was our adoption ratified, when Christ, by rising from the dead, exerted the power of his Spirit, and proved himself to be the Son of God. No though he manifested his resurrection in a different manner from what the sense of our flesh would have desired, still the method of which he approved ought to be regarded by us also as the best. he went out of the grave without a witness, that the emptiness of the place might be the earliest indication; next, he chose to have it announced to the women by the angels that he was alive; and shortly afterwards he appeared to the women, and, finally, to the apostles, and on various occasions.
Thus he gradually brought his followers, according to their capacity, to a larger measure of knowledge. He began with the women, and not only presented himself to be seen by them, but even gave them a commission to announce the gospel to the apostles, so as to become their instructors. This was intended, first, to chastise the indifference of the apostles, who were like persons half-dead with fear, while the women ran with alacrity to the sepulcher, and likewise obtained no ordinary reward. For though their design to anoint Christ, as if Ire were still dead, was not free from blame, still he forgave their weakness, and bestowed on them distinguished honor, by taking away from men the apostolic office, and committing it to them for a short time. In this manner also he exhibited an instance of what Paul tells us, that he chooses those things which are foolish and weak in the world to abase the loftiness of the flesh. And never shall we be duly prepared to learn this article of our faith in any other manner than by laying aside all pride, and submitting to receive the testimony of the women. Not that our faith ought to be confined within such narrow limits, but because the Lord, in order to make trial of our faith, determines that we shall become fools, before he admits us to a more ample knowledge of his mysteries.
So far as regards the narrative, Matthew says only that the two Marys came to see the sepulcher; Mark adds a third, Salome, and says that they bought spices to anoint the body; and from Luke we infer, that not two or three only, but many women came. But we know that it is customary with the sacred writers, when speaking of a great number, to name but a few of them. It may also be conjectured with probability, that Mary Magdalene, with another companion--whether she was sent before, or ran forward of her own accord arrived at the grave before the rest of the women. And this appears to be conveyed by the words of Matthew, that those two women came for the purpose of seeing; for without seeing Christ:, they had no means of anointing him. He says nothing, in the meantime, about the purpose which they had formed of doing honor to him; for the principal object which he had in view was, to testify of the resurrection.
But it may be asked, how could this zeal of the women, which was mixed with superstition, be acceptable to God? I have no doubt, that the custom of anointing the dead, which they had borrowed from the Fathers, was applied by them to its proper object, which was, to draw consolation, amidst the mourning of death, from the hope of the life to come. I readily acknowledge that they sinned in not immediately raising their minds to that prediction which they had heard from the lips of their Master, when he foretold that he would rise again on the third day.  But as they retain the general principle of the final resurrection, that defect is forgiven, which would justly have vitiated, as the phrase is, the whole of the action. Thus God frequently accepts, with fatherly kindness, the works of the saints, which, without pardon, not only would not have pleased him, but would even have been justly rejected with shame and punishment. It is, therefore, an astonishing display of the goodness of Christ, that he kindly and generously presents himself alive to the women, who did him wrong in seeking him among the dead. Now if he did not permit them to come in vain to his grave, we may conclude with certainty, that those who now aspire to him by faith will not be disappointed; for the distance of places does not prevent believers from enjoying him who fills heaven and earth by the power of his Spirit.
Mark 16:1. And when the Sabbath was past. The meaning is the same as in Matthew, In the evening, which began to dawn towards the first day of the Sabbaths, and in Luke, on the first day of the Sabbaths. For while we know that the Jews began to reckon their day from the commencement of the preceding night, everybody understands, that when the Sabbath was past, the women resolved among themselves to visit the sepulcher, so as to come there before the dawn of day. The two Evangelists give the name of the first day of the Sabbaths, to that which came first in order between two Sabbaths. Some of the Latin translators  have rendered it one, and many have been led into this blunder through ignorance of the Hebrew language; for though ('chd) sometimes means one, and sometimes first, the Evangelists, as in many other passages, have followed the Hebrew idiom, and used the word mian, one.  But that no one may be led astray by the ambiguity, I have stated their meaning more clearly. As to the purchase of the spices, Luke's narrative differs, in some respects, from the words of Mark; for Luke says that they returned into the city, and procured spices, and then rested one day, according to the commandment of the law before pursuing their journey. But Mark, in introducing into the same part of the narrative two different events, at--tends less accurately than Luke to the distinction of dates; for he blends with their setting out on the journey what had been previously done. In the substance of the fact they perfectly agree, that the women, after having observed the holy rest, left home during the darkness of the night, that they might reach the sepulcher about the break of day.
We ought also to recollect what I have formerly suggested, that the custom of anointing the dead, though it was common, among many heathen nations, was applied to a lawful use by the Jews alone, to whom it had been handed down by the Fathers, to confirm them in the faith of the resurrection. For without having this object in view, to embalm a dead body, which has no feeling, would be an idle and empty solace, as we know that the Egyptians bestowed great labor and anxiety on this point, without looking for any advantage. But by this sacred symbol, God represented to the Jews the image of life in death, to lead them to expect that out of putrefaction and dust they would one day acquire new vigor. Now as the resurrection of Christ, by its quickening vigor, penetrated every sepulcher, so as to breathe life into the dead, so it abolished those outward ceremonies. For himself, he needed not those aids, but they were owing to the ignorance of the women, who were not yet fully aware that he was free from corruption.
3. And they said among themselves. Mark alone expresses this doubt; but as the other Evangelists relate that the stone was rolled away by the angel, it may easily be inferred, that they remained in perplexity and doubt as to what they should do, until the entrance was opened up by the hand of God. But let us learn from this, that in consequence of having been carried away by their zeal, they came there without due consideration. They had seen a stone placed before the sepulcher, to hinder any one from entering. Why did not this occur to them, when they were at home and at leisure, but because they were seized with such fear and astonishment, that thought and recollection failed them? But as it is a holy zeal that blinds them, God does not charge them with this fault.
Matthew 28:2. And, lo, a great earthquake. By many signs the Lord showed the presence of his glory, that he might more fully prepare the hearts of the holy women to reverence the mystery.  For since it was not a matter of little consequence to know that the Son of God had obtained a victory over death, (on which the principal point of our salvation is founded,) it was necessary to remove all doubts, that the divine majesty might be openly and manifestly presented to the eyes of the women. Matthew says, therefore, that there was an earthquake, by which the divine power which I have mentioned might be perceived. And by this prodigy, it was proper that the women should be allowed to expect nothing human or earthly, but to raise their minds to a work of God which was new, and surpassed the expectations of men.
The raiment and the countenance of the angel, too, might be said to be rays by which the splendor of Godhead was diffused, so as to enable them to perceive that it was not a mortal man that stood near them, having the face of a man. For though dazzling light, or the whiteness of snow, is nothing in comparison of the boundless glory of God, but rather, if we wish to know him aright, we ought not to imagine to ourselves any color; yet when he makes known by outward signs that he is present, he invites us to him, as far as our weakness can endure. Still we ought to know that the visible signs of his presence are exhibited to us, that our minds may conceive of him as invisible; and that, under bodily forms, we obtain a taste of his spiritual essence, that we may seek him spiritually. Yet it cannot be doubted that, together with outward signs, there was an inward power, which engraved on the hearts of the women an impression of Deity. For though at first they were struck with amazement, yet it will appear, from what follows, that they gathered courage, and were gradually instructed in such a manner, that they perceived the hand of God to be present.
Our three Evangelists, from a desire of brevity, leave out what is more fully related by John, (20:1-12) which, we know, is not unusual with them. There is also this difference, that Matthew and Mark mention but one angel, while John and Luke speak of two. But this apparent contradiction also is easily removed; for we know how frequently in Scripture instances occur of that figure of speech by which a part is taken for the whole. There were two angels, therefore, who appeared first to Mary, and afterwards to her other companions; but as the attention of the women was chiefly directed to the angel who spoke, Matthew and Mark have satisfied themselves with relating his message. Besides, when Matthew says that the angel sat on a stone, there is in his words (husteron proteron), an inversion of the order of events; or, at least, that order was disregarded by him; for the angel did not immediately appear, but while the women were held in suspense and anxiety by an event so strange and astonishing.
4. Through fear the guards trembled. The Lord struck the guards with terror, as if he had engraved their consciences with a hot iron, so as to constrain them reluctantly to feel his divine power. The terror had, at least, the effect of hindering them from treating with careless mockery the report of the resurrection which was to be spread abroad shortly afterwards. For though they were not ashamed of prostituting their tongues for him, still they were compelled, whether they would or not, to acknowledge inwardly what they wickedly denied before men. Nor can it be doubted that, when they were at liberty to talk freely among their acquaintances, they frankly admitted what they dare not openly avow, in consequence of having been gained over by money.
We must attend to the distinction between the two kinds of terror, between which Matthew draws a comparison. The soldiers, who were accustomed to tumults, were terrified, and were so completely overwhelmed by alarm, that they fell down like men who were almost dead; but no power was exerted to raise them from that condition. A similar terror seized the women; but their minds, which had nearly given way, were restored by the consolation which immediately followed, so as to begin, at least, to entertain some better hope. And, certainly, it is proper that the majesty of God should strike both terror and fear indiscriminately into the godly, as well as the reprobate, that all flesh may be silent before his face. But when the Lord has humbled and subdued his elect, he immediately mitigates their dread, that they may not sink under its oppressive influence; and not only so, but by the sweetness of his grace heals the wound which he had inflicted. The reprobate, on the other hand, he either overwhelms by sudden dread, or suffers to languish in slow torments. As to the soldiers themselves, they were, no doubt, like dead men, but without any serious impression. Like men in a state of insensibility, they tremble, indeed, for a moment, but presently forget that they were afraid; not that the remembrance of their terror was wholly obliterated, but because that lively and powerful apprehension of the power of God, to which they were compelled to yield, soon passed away from them. But we ought chiefly to attend to this point, that though they, as well as the women, were afraid, no medicine was applied to soothe their terror; for to the women only did the angel say, Fear not. He held out to them a ground of joy and assurance in the resurrection of Christ. Luke adds a reproof, Why do you seek the living among the dead? as if the angel pulled their ear, that they might no longer remain in sluggishness and despair.
7. And go quickly, and tell his disciples. Here God, by the angel, confers extraordinary honor on the women, by enjoining them to proclaim to the apostles themselves the chief point of our salvation. In Mark's account of it, they are expressly enjoined to carry this message to Peter; not because he was at that time higher in rank than the others, but because his crime, which was so disgraceful, needed peculiar consolation to assure him that Christ had not cast him off, though he had basely and wickedly fallen. He had already entered into the sepulcher, and beheld the traces of the resurrection of Christ; but God denied him the honor, which he shortly afterwards conferred on the women, of hearing from the lips of the angel that Christ was risen. And, indeed, the great insensibility under which he still labored is evident from the fact that he again fled trembling to conceal himself, as if he had seen nothing, while Mary sat down to weep at the grave. It cannot be doubted, therefore, that she and her companions, in beholding the angel, obtained the reward of their patience.
And, lo, He goeth before you into Galilee. When the angel sent the disciples into Galilee, he did so, I think, in order that Christ might make himself known to a great number of persons; for we know that he had lived a long time in Galilee. He intended also to give his followers greater liberty, that by the very circumstance of their retirement they might gradually acquire courage. Besides, by being accustomed to the places, they were aided in recognizing their Master with greater certainty; for it was proper to adopt every method of confirming them, that nothing might be wanting to complete the certainty of their faith.
Lo, I have told you. By this manner of speaking the angel earnestly assures them that what is said is true. He states this, not as from himself, as if he had been the first to suggest it, but gives his signature to the promise of Christ; and, therefore, in Mark's account of it, he merely recalls to their remembrance the very words of Christ. Luke carries out the address still farther, by saying that the disciples were informed by Christ that he must be crucified, and rise again on the third day. But the meaning is the same; for along with his resurrection he had foretold his death. He then adds, --
Luke 24:8. And they remembered his words; by which we are taught that, though they had made little proficiency in the doctrine of Christ, still it was not lost, but was choked up, until in due time it yielded fruit.
 "Ou, au bout du Sabbaths, comme le jour apparoissoit pour luire pour le premier de la semaine;" -- "or, at the end of the Sabbath, as the day began to dawn for the first of the week."
 "Le premier des Sabbaths; ou, jour de la semaine;"--the first of the Sabbaths, or day of the week."
 "Le soleil estant ja lev?; ou, commen?ant ? se lever, ou, n'estant encore lev?;" -- "the sun having already risen; or beginning to rise, or not having yet risen."
 "Quand il avoit predit qu'il ressusciteroit le troisieme jour."
 "Aucuns En la translation Latine."
 "Et ont ici mis le mot Grec qui signifie Un;" -- "and have put here the Greek word which means One."
 "A Une reverence du mystere."
And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
And they remembered his words,
And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
8. And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to inform his disciples. 9. And while they went to inform his disciples, then, lo, Jesus met them, saying, Hail.  And they approached, and held his feet, and worshipped him. 10. Then Jesus saith to them, Fear not; go, tell my brethren to go into Galilee; and there shall they see me.
8. And they went away quickly, and fled from the tomb; for they were seized with trembling and amazement, and said nothing to any person; for they were afraid. 9. Now, when Jesus was risen early on the first day of the Sabbath,  he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10. She went and told it to those who had been with him, who were mourning and weeping. 11. And they, when they heard that he was alive, and had been seen by her, did not believe.
9. And returning from the tomb, they told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. 10. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and others who were with them, that told these things to the Acts 11. And their words appeared to them as idle fancies, and they did not believe them. 12. And Peter rose, and ran to the tomb, and stooping down, saw the linen clothes placed by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at what had happened.
Matthew 28:8. And they departed quickly. The three Evangelists pass by what John relates about Mary Magdalene, (20:2,) that she returned into the city before she had seen the angels, and complained with tears that the body of Christ had been taken away. Here they mention only the second return to the city, when she, and other women who accompanied her, told the disciples that Christ was risen; which they had learned both from the words and testimony of the angel, and from seeing Christ himself. Now before Christ showed himself, they already ran to the disciples, as they had been commanded by the angel. On the road they received a second confirmation, that they might with greater certainty assert the resurrection of the Lord.
With fear and great joy. By these words Matthew means that they were indeed gladdened by what the angel told them, but, at the same the were struck with fear, so that they were held in suspense between joy and perplexity. For there are sometimes opposite feelings in the hearts of the godly, which move them alternately in opposite directions, until at length the peace of the Spirit brings them into a settled condition. For if their faith had been strong, it would have given them entire composure by subduing fear; but now fear, mingled with joy, shows that they had not yet fully relied on the testimony of the angel. And here Christ exhibited a remarkable instance of compassion, in meeting them while they thus doubted and trembled, so as to remove all remaining doubt.
Yet there is some diversity in the words of Mark, that they fled, seized with trembling and amazement, so that through fear they were dismayed. But the solution is not very difficult; for though they were resolved to obey the angel, still they had not power to do so,  if the Lord himself had not loosed their tongues. But in what follows there is greater appearance of contradiction; for Mark does not say that Christ met them, but only that he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, while Luke says nothing whatever of this appearance. But this omission ought not to appear strange to us, since it is far from being unusual with the Evangelists.
As to the difference between the words of Matthew and of Mark, it is possible that Magdalene may have been a partaker of so great a favor before the other women, or even that Matthew, by synecdoche, may have extended to all what was peculiar to one of their number. It is more probable, however, that Mark names her alone, because she first obtained a sight of Christ, and in a peculiar manner, in preference to the others, and yet that her companions also saw Christ in their order, and that on this account Matthew attributes it to all them in common. This was an astonishing instance of goodness, that Christ manifested his heavenly glory to a wretched woman, who had been possessed by seven devils, (Luke 8:2,) and, intending to display the light of a new and eternal life, began where there was nothing in the eyes of man but what was base and contemptible. But by this example Christ showed how generously he is wont to continue the progress of his grace, when he has once displayed it towards us; and, at the same time, he threw down the pride of the flesh.
9. And held his feet. This appears not to agree with the words of John, (20:17,) where he declares that Mary was forbidden to touch Christ. But it is easy to reconcile them. The Lord, perceiving that Mary was too eager to embrace and kiss his fleet, orders her to retire; because it was proper to correct the superstition, and to point out the design of his resurrection, which Mary was withheld from perceiving, partly by an earthly and carnal affection, and partly by foolish zeal. Yet at first the Lord permitted her to touch his feet, that nothing might be wanting to give her a full conviction; and, therefore, Matthew immediately adds, that they worshipped the Lord, which was a proof that they fully recognized him.
10. Then Jesus saith to them. We conclude, that it was an improper fear, from which Christ again delivers them; for though it arose out of admiration, still it was opposed to the tranquillity of faith. That they may raise themselves to Christ, the Conqueror of death, they are commanded to be cheerful.  But by those words we are taught that we never know aright our Lord's resurrection, until, through the firm assurance which we have conceived in our hearts, we venture to rejoice that we have been made partakers of the same life. Our faith ought, at least, to proceed so far that fear shall not predominate.
Go, tell my brethren. When Christ ordered them to tell this to the disciples, by this message he again collected and raised up the Church, which was scattered and fallen down. For as it is chiefly by the faith of the resurrection that we are now quickened, so at that time it was proper that the disciples should have that life restored to them from which they had fallen. Here, to it is proper to remark the astonishing kindness of Christ, in deigning to bestow the name of brethren on deserters who had basely forsaken him. Nor can it be doubted that he intentionally employed so kind an appellation, for the purpose of soothing the grief by which he knew that they were grievously tormented. But as the Apostles were not the only persons who were acknowledged by him as brethren, let us know that this message was conveyed by the recommend of Christ, in order that it might afterwards come to us. And, therefore, we ought not to listen with indifference to the narrative of the resurrection, when Christ, with his own mouth, kindly invites us to receive the fruit of it on the ground of our being related to him as brethren. As to the interpretation which some have given to the word brethren, as denoting the cousins and other relatives of Christ,  their mistake is abundantly refuted by the context; for John expressly says that Mary came and told the disciples, (20:18;) and Luke immediately adds, that the women told these things to the apostles. Mark also agrees with them; for he says that Mary came and told it to the apostles, while they were mourning and weeping.
Mark 16:11. And when they heard. The testimony of Mary alone is related by Mark; but I am convinced that all of them in common conveyed the message in obedience to the commands of Christ. And even this passage confirms more fully what I have just now said, that there is no disagreement among the, Evangelists, when one of them specially attributes to Mary Magdalene what the other Evangelists represent as common to all the women, though not in an equal degree. But the disciples must have been held bound by shameful indifference, so that they did not recall to their recollection that what they had often heard from their Master was accomplished. If the women had related any thing of which they had not formerly heard, there would have been some reason for not immediately believing them in a matter which was incredible; but now they must have been uncommonly stupid in holding as a fable or a dream what had been so frequently promised and declared by the Son of God, when eye-witnesses assured them that it was accomplished. Besides, their unbelief having deprived them of sound understanding, they not only refuse the light of truth, but reject it as an idle fancy, as Luke tells us. Hence it appears that they had yielded so far to temptation, that their minds had lost nearly all relish for the words of Christ.
Luke 24:12. And Peter arose, and ran to the tomb. I have no doubt that Luke here inverts the order of the narrative, as may be readily inferred from the words of John, (20:3;) and, in my opinion, the word ran (edramen) might justly be rendered as a pluperfect tense, had run. All who possess a tolerable acquaintance with Scripture are aware that it is customary with Hebrew writers to relate afterwards those occurrences which had been omitted in their proper place. Luke mentions this circumstance for the purpose of showing more strongly the obstinacy of the apostles ill despising the words of the women, when Peter had already seen the empty grave, and had been compelled to wonder at an evident proof of the resurrection.
 "Bien vous soit;" -- "may it be well with you."
 "Au premier jour du Sabbath, ou, de la sepmaine;" -- "on the first day of the Sabbath, or, of the week."
 "Toutesfois le moyen leur defailloit, et elles n'eussent sceu le faire;" -- "yet they wanted the means, and would not have known how to do it."
 "De se resjouir, et ouster toute tristesse;" -- "to be glad, and to lay aside all sadness."
 "Les cousins et autres parens de Christ."
It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
12. And after these things he appeared in another form to two of them who were walking, and were going into the country.
13. And lo, two of them were going, on the same day, to a village which was about sixty furlongs distant from Jerusalem, called Emmaus; 14. And they conversed with each other about all things that had taken place. 15. And it happened, while they were talking and reasoning, Jesus himself approached, and went with them. 16. But their eyes were held that they did not know him. 17. And he said to them, What are those discourses which you hold with each other, while you talk? and why  are you sad? 18. And one, whose name was Cleopas, answering said to him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and knowest thou not those things which have happened there in these days? 19. And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, About Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and in word before God and all the people: 20. And how our chief priests delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21. But we hoped that he would be the person who should redeem Israel; and besides all these things, today is the third day since these things happened. 22. But also some women of our company made us astonished, who went early in the morning to the tomb; 23. And not having found his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24. And some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it to be as the women said; but him they saw not. 25. And he said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all things which the prophets have spoken! 26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to have entered into his glory? 27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures those things which related to himself. 28. And they approached the village to which they constrained him, saying, Remain with us; for it is towards evening, and the day is spent. And he went in to remain with them. 30. And it happened while he sat at table with them, he took bread and blessed,  and broke it, and gave it to them.
Luke 24:13. And lo, two of them. Although Mark touches slightly and briefly on this narrative, and Matthew and John say not a single word respecting it; yet as it is highly useful to be known and worthy of being remembered, it is not without reason that Luke treats it with so much exactness. But I have already mentioned on various occasions, that each of the Evangelists had his portion so appropriately assigned to him by the Spirit of God, that what is not to be found in one or two of them may be learned from the others. For there are also many appearances  which are mentioned by John, but are passed over in silence by our three Evangelists.
Before I come to the minute details, it will be proper to begin with stating briefly, that those were two chosen witnesses, by whom the Lord intended, not to convince the apostles that he was risen, but to reprove their slowness; for though at first; they were of no service, yet their testimony, strengthened by other aids, had at length its due weight with the apostles. Who they were is uncertain, except that from the name of one of them, whom we shah find that Luke shortly afterwards calls Cleopas, we may conjecture that they did not belong; to the eleven. Emmaus was an ancient, and by no means inconsiderable, town, which the Romans afterwards called Nicopolis and was not at a great distance from Jerusalem, for sixty furlongs are not more than seven thousand and four hundred paces.  But the place is named by Luke, not so much on account of its celebrity, as to add certainty to the narrative.
14. And they were conversing with each other. It was a proof of godliness that they endeavored to cherish their faith in Christ: though small and weak; for their conversation had no other object than to employ their reverence for their Master as a shield against the offense of the cross. Now though their questions and disputes showed an ignorance which was worthy of reproof -- since, after having been informed that the resurrection of Christ would take place, they were astonished at hearing it mentioned--still their docility afforded Christ an opportunity of removing their error. For many persons intentionally put questions, because they have resolved obstinately to reject the truth; but when men are desirous to embrace the truth submissively, though they may waver on account of very small objections, and stop at slight difficulties, their holy desire to obey God finds favor in his sight, so that he stretches out his hand to them, brings them to full conviction, and does not permit them to remain irresolute. We ought, at least, to hold it as certain, that when we inquire about Christ, if this be done from a modest desire to learn, the door is opened for him to assist us; nay, we may almost say that we then call for himself to be our Teacher; as irreligious men, by their unholy speeches, drive him to a distance from them.
16. But their eyes were restrained. The Evangelist expressly states this, lest any one should think that the aspect of Christ's body was changed, and that the features of his countenance were different from what they had formerly been.  For though Christ remained like himself, he was not recognized, because the eyes of beholders were held; and this takes away all suspicion of a phantom or false imagination. But hence we learn how great is the weakness of all our senses, since neither eyes nor ears discharge their office, unless so far as power is incessantly communicated to them from heaven. Our members do indeed possess their natural properties; but to make us more fully sensible that they are held by us at the will of another, God retains in his own hand the use of them, so that we ought ever to reckon it to be one of his daily favors, that our ears hear and our eyes see; for if he does not every hour quicken our senses, all their power will immediately give way. I readily acknowledge that our senses are not frequently held in the same manner as happened at that time, so as to make so gross a mistake about an object presented to us; but by a single example God shows that it is in his power to direct the faculties which he has. bestowed, so as to assure us that nature is subject to his will. Now if the bodily eyes, to which peculiarly belongs the power of seeing, are held, whenever it pleases the Lord, so as not to perceive the objects presented to them, our understandings would possess no greater acuteness, even though their original condition remained unimpaired; but no in this wretched corruption, after having been deprived of their light, they are liable to innumerable deceptions, and are sunk into such gross stupidity, that they can do nothing but commit mistakes, as happens to us incessantly. The proper discrimination between truth and falsehood, therefore, does not arise from the sagacity of our own mind, but comes to us from the Spirit of wisdom. But it is chiefly in the contemplation of heavenly things that our stupidity is discovered; for not only do we imagine false appearances to be true, but we turn the clear light into darkness.
17. What are those discourses which you hold with each other? What was at that time, as we perceive, done openly by Christ, we daily feel to be accomplished in ourselves in a secret manner; which is, that of his own accord he approaches us unperceived for the purpose of instructing us. Now from the reply of Cleopas it is still more evident that, as I have lately mentioned, though they were in doubt and uncertainty about the resurrection of Christ, yet they had in their hearts a reverence for his doctrine, so that they were far from having any inclination to revolt. For they do not expect that Christ will anticipate them by making himself known, or that this fellow-traveler, whoever he may be, will speak of him respectfully; but, on the contrary, having but a small and obscure light, Cleopas throws out a few sparks on an unknown man, which were intended to enlighten his mind, if he were ignorant and uninformed. The name of Christ was, at that time, so generally held in hatred and detestation, that it was not safe to speak of him respectfully; but spurning from him suspicion, he calls Christ a prophet of God, and declares that he is one of his disciples. And though this designation falls greatly below the Divine Majesty of Christ, yet the commendation which he bestows, though moderate, is laudable; for Cleopas had no other intention than to procure for Christ disciples who would submit to his Gospel. It is uncertain, however, if it was through ignorance that Cleopas spoke of Christ in terms less magnificent than the case required, or if he intended to begin with first principles, which were better known, and to rise higher by degrees. Certain it is, that a little afterwards, he does not simply place Christ in the ordinary rank of prophets, but says that he and others believed him to be the redeemer.
19. Powerful in deed and in word. Luke has employed nearly the same form of expression in reference to the person of Stephen, (Acts 7:22,) where he says of Moses, by way of commendation, that he was powerful in words and in actions. But in this passage it is uncertain if it is on account of miracles that Christ is said to be powerful in actions, (as if it had been said that he was endued with divine virtues which proved that he was sent from heaven;) or if the phrase is more extensive, and means that he excelled both in ability to teach, and in holiness of life and other remarkable endowments. I prefer the latter of these views.
Before God and all the people. The addition of these words ought not to be reckoned superfluous; for they mean that the high excellence of Christ was so well known, and was demonstrated by such undoubted proofs, that he had no hypocrisy or vain ostentation. And hence we may obtain a brief definition of a true Prophet, namely, that to what he speaks he will likewise add power in actions, and will not only endeavor to appear excellent before men, but to act with sincerity as under the eyes of God.
21. But we hoped. From what follows it is evident that the hope which they had entertained respecting Christ was not broken off, though at first sight such might appear to be the import of their words. But as a person who had received no previous instruction in the Gospel might be apt to be prejudiced by the narrative which he was about to give respecting the condemnation of Christ, that he was condemned by the rulers of the Church, Cleopas meets this offense by the hope of redemption. And though he afterwards shows that it is with trembling and hesitation that he continues in this hope, yet he industriously collects all that can contribute to its support. For it is probable that he mentions the third day for no other reason than that the Lord had promised that after three days he would rise again. When he afterwards relates that the women had not fouled the body, and that they tad seen a vision of angels, and that what the women had said about the empty grave was likewise confirmed by the testimony of the men, the whole amounts to this, that Christ had risen. Thus the holy man, hesitating between faith and fear, employs what is adapted to nourish faith, and struggles against fear to the utmost of his power.
25. And he said to them. This reproof appears to be too harsh and severe for a weak man such as this was; but whoever attends to all the circumstances will have no difficulty in perceiving that our Lord had good reason for rebuking so sharply those on whom he had long bestowed labor to little purpose, and almost without any fruit. For it ought to be observed, that; what is here said was not confined to these two persons, but, as a reproof of a common fault, was intended to be conveyed by their lips to the rest of their companions. So frequently had Christ forewarned them of his death -- so frequently had he even discoursed about a new and spiritual life, and confirmed his doctrine by the inspired statements of the prophets -- that he would seem to have spoken to the deaf, or rather to blocks and stones; for they are struck with such horror at his death, that they know not to what hand to turn. This hesitation, therefore, he justly attributes to folly, and assigns as the reason of it their carelessness in not having been more ready to believe. Nor does he only reprove them because, while they had the best Teacher, they were dull and slow to learn, but because they had not attended to the instructions of the Prophets; as if he had said, that their insensibility admitted of no excuse, because it was owing to themselves alone, since the doctrine of the Prophets was abundantly clear, and had been fully expounded to them. In like manner, the greater part of men, at the present day, remain in ignorance through their own fault, because they are obstinate, and refuse to be instructed. But let us observe that Christ, perceiving that his disciples are excessively sluggish; commences with reproof, in order to arouse them; for this is the way in which we must subdue those whom we have found to be hardened or indolent.
26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things? There is no room to doubt that our Lord discoursed to them about the office of Messiah, as it is described by the Prophets, that they might not take offense at his death; and a journey of three or four hours afforded abundance of time for a full explanation of those matters. Christ did not, therefore, assert in three words, that Christ ought to have suffered, but explained at great length that he had been sent in order that he might expiate, by the sacrifice of his death, the sins of the world, -- that he might become a curse in order to remove the curse, -- that by having guilt imputed to him he might wash away the pollutions of others. Luke has put this sentence in the form of a question, in order to present it with greater force; from which it may be inferred, that he employed arguments for showing the necessity of his death. The sum of what is stated is, that the disciples are wrong in distressing their minds about their Master's death, (without which he could not discharge what belonged to Christ; because his sacrifice was the most important part of redemption;) for in this way they shut the gate, that he might not enter into his kingdom. This ought to be carefully observed; for since Christ is deprived of the honor due to him, if he is not reckoned to be a sacrifice for sins, the only way by which he could enter into his glory was that humiliation or emptying, (Philippians 2:7,) out of which the Redeemer had arisen. But we see that no trivial offense is committed among at the present day, by the inversion of this order; for among the multitude of those who declare, in magnificent language, that Christ is King, and who extol him by divine titles, hardly one person in ten thinks of the grace which has been brought to us by his death.
27. And beginning at Moses. This passage shows us in what manner Christ is made known to us through the Gospel. It is when light is thrown on the knowledge of him by the Law and the Prophets. For never was there a more able or skillful teacher of the Gospel than our Lord himself; and we see that he borrows from the Law and the Prophets the proof of his doctrine. If it be objected that he began with easy lessons, that the disciples might gradually dismiss the Prophets, and pass on to the perfect Gospel, this conjecture is easily refuted; for we shall afterwards find it stated, that all the apostles had their understanding opened, not to be wise without the assistance of the Law, but to understand the Scriptures. In order that Christ may be made known to us through the Gospel, it is therefore necessary that Moses and the Prophets should go before as guides, to show us the way. It is necessary to remind readers of this, that they may not lend an ear to fanatics, who, by suppressing the Law and the Prophets, wickedly mutilate the Gospel; as if God intended that any testimony which he has ever given respecting his Son should become useless.
In what manner we must apply to Christ those passages respecting him which are to be found in every part of the Law and the Prophets, we have not now leisure to explain.  Let it suffice to state briefly, that there are good reasons why Christ is called the end of the law, (Romans 10:4.) For however obscurely and at a distance Moses may exhibit Christ in shadows, rather than in a full portrait, (Hebrews 10:1,) this, at least, is beyond dispute, that unless there be in the family of Abraham one exalted Head, under whom the people may be united in one body, the covenant which God made with the holy fathers will be nullified and revoked. Besides, since God commanded that the tabernacle and the ceremonies of the law should be adjusted to a heavenly pattern, (Exodus 25:40; Hebrews 8:5,) it follows that the sacrifices and the other parts of the service of the temple, if the reality of them is to be found nowhere else, would be an idle and useless sport.  This very argument is copiously illustrated by the apostle, (Hebrews 9:1;) for, assuming this principle, that the visible ceremonies of the law are shadows of spiritual things, he shows that in the whole of the legal priesthood, in the sacrifices, and in the form of the sanctuary, we ought to seek Christ.
Bucer, too, somewhere throws out a judicious conjecture, that, amidst this obscurity, the Jews were accustomed to pursue a certain method of interpreting Scripture which had been handed down to them by tradition from the fathers. But that I may not involve my inquiries in any uncertainty, I shall satisfy myself with that natural and simple method which is found universally in all the prophets, who were eminently skilled in the exposition of the Law. From the Law, therefore, we may properly learn Christ, if we consider that the covenant which God made with the fathers was founded on the Mediator; that the sanctuary, by which God manifested the presence of his grace, was consecrated by his blood; that the Law itself, with its promises, was sanctioned by the shedding of blood; that a single priest was chosen out of the whole people, to appear in the presence of God, in the name of all, not as an ordinary mortal, but clothed in sacred garments; and that no hope of reconciliation with God was held out to men but through the offering of sacrifice. Besides, there is a remarkable prediction, that the kingdom would be perpetuated in the tribe of Judah, (Genesis 49:10.) The prophets themselves, as we have hinted, drew far more striking portraits of the Mediator, though they had derived their earliest acquaintance with him from Moses; for no other office was assigned to them than to renew the remembrance of the covenant, to point out more clearly the spiritual worship of God, to found on the Mediator the hope of salvation, and to show more clearly the method of reconciliation. Yet since it had pleased God to delay the full revelation till the coming of his Son, the interpretation of them was not superfluous.
28. And they drew near to the village. There is no reason for supposing, as some commentators have done, that this was a different place from Emmaus; for the journey was not so long as to make it necessary for them to take rest for the night at a nearer lodging. We know that seven thousand paces--even though a person were to walk slowly for his own gratification--would be accomplished in four hours at the utmost; and, therefore, I have no doubt that Christ had now reached Emmaus.
And he seemed as if he would go farther. Now as to the question, Can insincerity apply to him who is the eternal truth of God? I answer, that the Son of God was under no obligation to make all his designs known. Still, as insincerity of any kind is a sort of falsehood, the difficulty is not yet removed; more especially as this example is adduced by many to prove that they are at liberty to tell lies. But I reply, that Christ might without falsehood have pretended what is here mentioned, in the same manner that he gave himself out to be a stranger passing along the road; for there was the same reason for both. A somewhat more ingenious solution is given by Augustine, (in his work addressed To Consentius, Book II., chap. 13, and in the book of Questions on the Gospels, chap. 51,) for he chooses to enumerate this kind of feigning among tropes and figures, and afterwards among parables and fables. For my own part, I am satisfied with this single consideration, that as Christ for the time threw a veil over the eyes of those with whom he was conversing, so that he had assumed a different character, and was regarded by them as all ordinary stranger, so, when he appeared for the time to intend to go farther, it was not through pretending any thing else than what he had resolved to do, but because he wished to conceal the manner of his departure; for none will deny that he did go farther, since he had then withdrawn from human society. So then by this feigning he did not deceive his disciples, but held them for a little in suspense, till the proper time should arrive for making himself known. It is, therefore, highly improper to attempt to make Christ an advocate of falsehood; and we are no more at liberty to plead his example for feigning any thing, than to endeavor to equal his divine power in shutting the eyes of men. Our safest course is to adhere to the rule which has been laid down to us, to speak with truth and simplicity; not that our Lord himself ever departed from the law of his Father, but because, without confining himself to the letter of the commandments, he kept by the true meaning of the law; but we, on account of the weakness of our senses, need to be restrained in a different manner.
30. He took bread. Augustine, and the greater part of other commentators along with him, have thought that Christ gave the bread, not as an ordinary meal, but as the sacred symbol of his body. And, indeed, it might be said with some plausibility, that the Lord was at length recognized in the spiritual mirror of the Lord's Supper; for the disciples did not know him, when they beheld him with the bodily eyes. But as this conjecture rests on no probable grounds, I choose rather to view the words of Luke as meaning that Christ, in taking the bread, gave thanks according to his custom. But it appears that he employed his peculiar and ordinary form of prayer, to which he knew that the disciples had been habitually accustomed, that, warned by this sign, they might arouse their senses. In the meantime, let us learn by the example of our Master, whenever we eat bread, to offer thanksgiving to the Author of life, -- an action which will distinguish us from irreligious men.
 "Rendit graces;" -- "gave thanks."
 "Car aussi bien il y a pluieurs recits de diverses fois que Christ s'est monstr?;" -- "for there are also many narratives of various times that Christ showed himself."
 "Sept mille et quatre cens paas d'Italie, qui font quatre lieues et demie ou environ;" -- "seven thousand and four hundred Italian paces, which are equal to four leagues and a half, or thereabouts."
 "Et qu'il y eut autres traits de visage qu'auparavant."
 "Cela passeroit la mesure de ce present oeuvre;" -- "that would exceed the limits of the present work."
 "Un jeu d'enfans;" -- "a game for children."
And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
13. And they went away and told it to the rest, but neither did they believe them. 14. Afterwards he appeared to the eleven while they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw him after he was risen.
31. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him;  and he vanished from their eyes.  32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked to us on the road, and opened to us the Scriptures? 33. And they arose in the same hour,  and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven assembled, and those who were with them, 34. Saying, The Lord is actually risen, and hath appeared to Simon. 35. Then they related what had taken place on the road, and how he had been recognized by them in the breaking of bread. 36. And while they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them, and said to them, Peace be to you. 37. But they were terrified and affrighted, and thought that they saw a spirit. 38. And he said to them, Why are you 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 you see me have. 40. And having said these things, he showed them his hands and his feet.
Luke 24:31. And their eyes were opened. By these words, we are taught that there was not in Christ any metamorphosis, or variety of forms, by which he might impose on the eyes of men, (as the poets feign their Proteus,) but that, on the contrary, the eyes of beholders were mistaken, because they were covered; just as, shortly afterwards, he vanished from the eyes of those very persons, not because his body was in itself invisible, but because God, by withdrawing their rigor, blunted their acuteness. Nor ought we to wonder that Christ, as soon as he was recognized, immediately disappeared; for it was not advantageous that they should any longer behold him, lest, as they were naturally too much addicted to the earth, they might desire again to bring him back to an earthly life. So far, then, as it was necessary to assure them of his resurrection, he made himself visible to them; but by the sudden departure, he taught them that they must seek him elsewhere than in the world, because the completion of the new life was his ascension to heaven.
32. Did not our heart burn within us? Their recognition of Christ led the disciples to a lively perception of the secret and hidden grace of the Spirit, which he had formerly bestowed upon them. For God sometimes works in his people in such a manner, that for a time they are not aware of the power of the Spirit, (of which, however, they are not destitute,) or, at least, that they do not perceive it distinctly, but only feel it by a secret movement. Thus the disciples had formerly indeed felt an ardor, which they now remember, but which they had not then observed: now that Christ has made himself known to them, they at length begin to consider the grace which they had formerly, as it were, swallowed without tasting it, and perceive that they were stupid. For they accuse themselves of indifference, as if they had said, "How did it happen that we did not recognize him while he was talking? for when he penetrated into our hearts, we ought to have perceived who he was." But they conclude that he is Christ, not simply from the bare sign that his word was efficacious to inflame their hearts, but because they ascribe to him the honor which belongs to him, that when he speaks with the mouth, he likewise inflames their hearts inwardly by the warmth of his Spirit. Paul, indeed, boasts that the ministration of the Spirit was given to him, (2 Corinthians 3:8;) and Scripture frequently adorns the ministers of the word with such titles as the following; that they convert the hearts, enlighten the understandings, and renew men so as to become pure and holy sacrifices; but then it is not to show what they do by their own power, but rather what the Lord accomplishes by means of them. But both belong equally to Christ alone, to pronounce the outward voice, and to form the hearts efficaciously to the obedience of faith.
It cannot be doubted that he then engraved an uncommon Mark on the hearts of these two men, that they might at length perceive that in speaking he had breathed into them a divine warmth. For though the word of the Lord is always fire, yet a fiery rigor was at that time manifested in a peculiar and unusual, manner in the discourse of Christ, and was intended to be an evident proof of his divine power; for it is he alone who baptizeth in the Holy Ghost and in fire, (Luke 3:16.) Yet let us remember that it is the proper fruit of heavenly doctrine, whoever may be the minister of it, to kindle the fire of the Spirit in the hearts of men, to purify and cleanse the affections of the flesh, or rather to burn them up, and to kindle a truly fervent love of God; and by its flame, as it were, to carry away men entirely to heaven.
33. And they arose in the same hour.  The circumstance of the time, and the distance of the places, show with what ardor those two men turned to convey the intelligence to their fellow-disciples. As they entered a lodging towards evening, it is probable that the Lord had not made himself known to them before night came on. To perform a journey of three hours in the dead of night was exceedingly inconvenient; yet they rise that very instant, and return in haste to Jerusalem. And, indeed, if they had only gone thither next day, their tardiness might have exposed them to suspicion; but as they chose rather to deprive themselves of the repose of the night than to allow the slightest delay in making the apostles partakers of their joy, the very haste gave additional credit to their narrative. Now whenLuke says that they arose in the same hour,  it is probable that they came to the disciples about midnight. But, according to the testimony of the same Luke, the disciples were at that time conversing together; and hence we learn their anxiety, and industry, and ardor, in spending almost the whole night without sleep, and unceasingly making inquiries at each other, until the resurrection of Christ was ascertained by a multitude of testimonies.
34. Saying, The Lord is actually risen. By these words Luke means that those persons who had brought to the apostles joyful intelligence to confirm their minds, were informed by the disciples respecting another appearance. Nor can it be doubled that this mutual confirmation was the reward which God bestowed on them for their holy diligence. By a comparison of the time, we may conclude that Peter, after having returned from the sepulcher, was in a state of great perplexity and uncertainty, until Christ showed himself to him, and that, on the very day that he had visited the sepulcher, he obtained his wish. Hence arose that mutual congratulation among the eleven, that there was now no reason to doubt, because the Lord had appeared to Simon.
But this appears to disagree with the words of Mark, who says, that the eleven did not even believe those two persons; for how could it be that those who were already certain now rejected additional witnesses, and remained in their former hesitation? By saying that he is actually risen, they acknowledge that the matter is beyond all doubt. First, I reply, that the general phrase contains a synecdoche; for some were harder or less ready to believe, and Thomas was more obstinate than all the rest, (John 20:25.) Secondly, We may easily infer that they were convinced in the same way as usually happens to persons who are astonished, and who do not consider the matter calmly; and we know that such persons are continually falling into various doubts. However that may be, it is evident from Luke, that the greater part of them, in the midst of that overpowering amazement, not, only embraced willingly what was told them, but contended with their own distrust; for by the word actually they cut off all ground for doubt. And yet we shall soon afterwards see that, a second and a third time, in consequence of their astonishment, they fell back into their former doubts.
36. Jesus himself stood in the midst of them. While the Evangelist John copiously details the same narrative, (20:19,) he differs from Luke in some circumstances. Mark, too, differs somewhat in his brief statement. As to John, since he only collects what Luke omitted, both may be easily reconciled. There is no contradiction about the substance of the fact; unless some person were to raise a debate about the time: for it is there said that Jesus entered in the evening, while it is evident, from the thread of the narrative, that he appeared at a late hour in the night, when the disciples had returned from Emmaus. But I do not think it right to insist precisely on the hour of the evening. On the contrary, we may easily and properly extend to a late hour of the night what is here said, and understand it to mean that Christ came to them after the evening, when the apostles had shut the doors, and kept themselves concealed within the house. In short, John does not describe the very commencement of the night, but simply means that, when the day was past, and after sunset, and even at the dead hour of night, Christ came to the disciples contrary to their expectation.
Still there arises here another question, since Mark and Luke relate that the eleven were assembled, when Christ appeared to them; and John says that Thomas was then absent, (20:24.) But there is no absurdity in saying that the number -- the eleven -- is here put for the apostles themselves, though one of their company was absent. We have lately stated--and the fact makes it evident--that John enters into the details with greater distinctness, because it was his design to relate what the others had omitted. Besides, it is beyond a doubt that the three Evangelists relate the same narrative; since John expressly says that it was only twice that Christ appeared to his disciples at Jerusalem, before they went to Galilee; for he says that he appeared to them the third time at the sea of Tiberias, (21:1) He had already described two appearances of our Lord, one which took place on the day after his resurrection, (20:19,) and the other which followed eight days afterwards, (20:26) though, were any one to choose rather to explain the second appearance to be that which is found in the Gospel by Mark, I should not greatly object.
I now return to the words of Luke. He does not, indeed, say that Christ, by his divine power, opened for himself the doors which were shut, (John 20:26;) but something of this sort is indirectly suggested by the phrase which he employs, Jesus stood. For how could our Lord suddenly, during the night, stand in the midst of them, if he had not entered in a miraculous manner? The same form of salutation is employed by both, Peace be to you; by which the Hebrews mean, that for the person whom they address they wish happiness and prosperity.
37. And they were terrified and affrighted. John does not mention this terror; but as he also says that Christ showed his hands and sides to the disciples, we may conjecture that some circumstance had been omitted by him. Nor is it at all unusual with the Evangelists, when they aim at brevity, to glance only at a part of the facts. From Luke, too, we learn that the terror excited in them by the strangeness of the spectacle was such, that they dare not trust their eyes. But a little ago, they had come to the conclusion that the Lord was risen, (verse 34,) and had spoken of it unhesitatingly as a matter fully ascertained; and now, when they behold him with their eyes, their senses are struck with astonishment, so that they think he is a spirit. Though this error, which arose from weakness, was not free from blame, still they did not so far forget themselves as to be afraid of enchantments. But though they did not think that they are imposed upon, still they are more inclined to believe that an image of the resurrection is exhibited to them in vision by the Spirit, than that Christ himself, who lately died on the cross, is alive and present. So then they did not suspect that this was a vision intended to deceive them, as if it had been an idle phantom, but, seized with fear, they thought only that there was exhibited to them in spirit what was actually placed before their eyes.
38. Why are you troubled? By these words they are exhorted to lay aside terror, and regain the possession of their minds, that, having returned to the rigor of their senses, they may judge of a matter which is fully ascertained; for so long as men are seized with perturbation, they are blind amidst the clearest light. In order, therefore, that the disciples may obtain undoubted information, they are enjoined to weigh the matter with calmness and composure.
And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? In this second clause, Christ reproves another fault, which is, that by the variety of their thoughts they throw difficulties in their own way. By saying that thoughts arise, he means that the knowledge of the truth is choked in them in such a manner, that seeing they do not see, (Matthew 13:14;) for they do not restrain their wicked imaginations, but, on the contrary, by giving them free scope, they permit them to gain the superiority. And certainly we find it to be too true, that as, when the sky has been clear in the morning, clouds afterwards arise to darken the clear light of the sun; so when we allow our reasonings to arise with excessive freedom in opposition to the word of God, what formerly appeared clear to us is withdrawn from our eyes. We have a right, indeed, when any appearance of absurdity presents itself, to inquire by weighing the arguments on both sides; and, indeed, so long as matters are doubtful, our minds must inevitably be driven about in every direction: but we must observe sobriety and moderation, lest the flesh exalt itself more highly than it ought, and throw out its thoughts far and wide against heaven.
39. Look at my hands and my feet. He calls upon their bodily senses as witnesses, that they may not suppose that a shadow is exhibited to them instead of a body. And, first, he distinguishes between a corporeal man and a spirit; as if he had said, "Sight and touch will prove that I am a real man, who have formerly conversed with you; for I am clothed with that flesh which was crucified, and which still bears the marks of it." Again, when Christ declares that his body may be touched, and that it has solid bones, this passage is justly and appropriately adduced by those who adhere to us, for the purpose of refuting the gross error about the transubstantiation of bread into the body, or about the local presence of the body, which men foolishly imagine to exist in the Holy Supper. For they would have us to believe that the body of Christ is in a place where no Mark of a body can be seen; and in this way it will follow that it has changed its nature, so that it has ceased to be what it was, and from which Christ proves it to be a real body. If it be objected, on the other hand, that his side was then pierced, and that his feet and hands were pierced and wounded by the nails, but that now Christ is in heaven without any vestige of wound or injury, it is easy to dispose of this objection; for the present question is not merely in what form Christ appeared, but what he declares as to the real nature of his flesh. Now he pronounces it to be, as it were, a distinguishing character of his body, that he may be handled, and therefore differs from a spirit. We must therefore hold that the distinction between flesh and spirit, which the words of Christ authorize us to regard as perpetual, exists in the present day.
As to the wounds, we ought to look upon this as a proof by which it was intended to prove to us all, that Christ rose rather for us them for himself; since, after having vanquished death, and obtained a blessed and heavenly immortality, yet, on our account, he continued for a time to bear some remaining marks of the cross. It certainly was an astonishing act of condescension towards the disciples, that he chose rather to want something that was necessary to render perfect the glory of the resurrection, than to deprive their faith of such a support. But it was a foolish and an old wife's dream, to imagine that he will still continue to bear the marks of the wounds, when he shall come to judge the world.
Mark 16:14. Afterwards he appeared to the eleven, while they were sitting. The participle (anakeimenois) which some have rendered sitting at table, ought, in my opinion, to be simply rendered sitting; and it is not without reason that I take this view of it, if it be agreed that the Evangelist here describes the first appearance; for it would have been an unseasonable hour of supper about midnight. Besides, if the cloth had been laid,  this would not have agreed with what Luke shortly afterwards says, that Christ asked if they had anything to eat. Now, to sit is the Hebrew phrase for resting in any place.
And upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart. This reproof corresponds more to the first appearance than to the second; for since, the disciples, as John tells us, (20:20) were glad when they had seen the Lord on the day after the Passover, their unbelief was then rebuked. To restrict these words of Mark to Thomas alone, as some have done, appears to be forced; and, therefore, I prefer to explain them simply as meaning, that when Christ first appeared to the apostles, he reproved them for not believing the testimony of eye-witnesses, who informed them of his resurrection. And yet when he condemns their hardness of heart, it is not solely because they did not give credit to men, but because, after having been convinced by the result, they did not at length embrace the testimony of the Lord. Since, therefore, Peter and Mary, Cleopas and his companion, were not the first witnesses of the resurrection, but only subscribed to the words of Christ, it follows, that the rest of the apostles poured dishonor on the Lord by refusing to believe his words, though they had already been proved by their result. Justly, therefore, are they reproached with hardness of heart, because, in addition to their slowness, there was wicked obstinacy; as if they had intentionally desired to suppress what was evidently true; not that they intended to extinguish the glory of their Master, or to accuse him of falsehood, but because their obstinacy stood in the way, and hindered them from being submissive. In short, he does not here condemn them for voluntary obstinacy, as I have already said, but for blind indifference, which sometimes hardens men that otherwise are not wicked or rebellious.
 "Tellement qu'ils le recognurent;" -- "in such a manner that they recognized him."
 "Mais il s'esvanouit de devant eux;" -- "but he vanished from before them."
 "Au mesme instant;" -- "that very instant."
 "Au mesme instant;" -- "that very instant."
 "Au mesme instant;" -- "that very instant."
 "Si la nappe eust est? mise."
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
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.
And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
41. But while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said to them, Have you here any thing to eat? 42. And they presented to him a piece of a broiled fish, and some honeycomb. 43. And he took, and ate, in their presence. 44. And he said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you; that all things which are written in the law Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me, are fulfilled. 45. Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. 46. And he said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it was proper that Christ should suffer, and rise from the dead on the third day; 47. And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48. And you are witnesses of those things. 49. And, lo, send the promise of my Father upon you; but remain you in the city of Jerusalem, till you are endued with power from on high.
Luke 24:41. But while they yet believed not for joy. This passage shows also that they were not purposely incredulous, like persons who deliberately resolve not to believe; but while their will led them to believe eagerly, they were held bound by the vehemence of their feelings, so that they could not rest satisfied. For certainly the joy which Luke mentions arose from nothing but faith; and yet it hindered their faith from gaining the victory. Let us therefore observe with what suspicion we ought to regard the vehemence of our feelings, which, though it may have good beginnings, hurries us out of the right path. We are also reminded how earnestly we ought to struggle against every thing that retards faith, since the joy which sprung up in the minds of the apostles from the presence of Christ was the cause of their unbelief.
43. And he took, and ate it in their presence. Here we perceive, on the other hand, how kindly and gently Christ bears with the weakness of his followers, since he does not fail to give them this new support when they are falling. And, indeed, though he has obtained a new and heavenly life, and has no more need of meat and drink than angels have, still he voluntarily condescends to join in the common usages of mortals. During the whole course of his life, he had subjected himself to the necessity of eating and drinking; and now, though relieved from that necessity, he eats for the purpose of convincing his disciples of the certainty of his resurrection. Thus we see how he disregarded himself, and chose always to be devoted to our interests. This is the true and pious meditation on this narrative, in which believers may advantageously rest, dismissing questions of mere curiosity, such as, "Was this corruptible food digested?" "What sort of nourishment did the body of Christ derive from it?" and, "What became of what did not go to nourishment?" As if it had not been in the power of Him who created all things out of nothing to reduce to nothing a small portion of food, whenever he thought fit. As Christ really tasted the fish and the honeycomb, in order to show that he was a man, so we cannot doubt that by his divine power he consumed what was not needed to pass into nourishment. Thus the angels, at the table of Abraham, (Genesis 18:1,) having been clothed with real bodies, did actually, I have no doubt, eat and drink; but yet I do not therefore admit that the meat and drink yielded them that refreshment which the weakness of the flesh demands; but as they were clothed with a human form for the sake of Abraham, so the Lord granted this favor to his servant, that those heavenly visitors ate before his tent. Now if we acknowledge that the bodies which they assumed for a time were reduced to nothing after they had discharged their embassy, who will deny that the same thing happened as to the food?
44. These are the words. Though it will afterwards appear from Matthew and Mark that a discourse similar to this was delivered in Galilee, yet I think it probable that Luke now relates what happened on the day after his resurrection. For what John says of that day, that he breathed on them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost, (20:22) agrees with the words of Luke which here immediately follow, that he opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. By these words Christ indirectly reproves their gross and shameful forgetfulness, that, though they had long ago been fully informed of his future resurrection, they were as much astonished as if it had never been mentioned to them. The import of his words is: "Why do you hesitate as if this had been a new and unexpected occurrence, while it is only what I frequently predicted to you? Why do you not rather remember my words? For if hitherto you have reckoned me worthy of credit, this ought to have been known to you from my instructions before it happened." In short, Christ tacitly complains that his labor has been thrown away on the apostles, since his instruction has been forgotten.
All things which are written concerning me. He now rebukes them more sharply for their slowness, by declaring that he brought forward nothing that was new but that he only reminded them of what had been declared by the Law and the Prophets, with which they ought to have been familiar from their childhood. But though they had been ignorant of the whole doctrine of religion, nothing could have been more unreasonable than not to embrace readily what they knew to have undoubtedly proceeded from God; for it was a principle admitted by the whole nation, that there was no religion but what was contained in the Law and the Prophets. The present division of the Scriptures is more copious than what we find in other passages; for besides the Law and the Prophets, he adds, in the third place, the Psalms, which, though they might with propriety have been reckoned among the Prophets, have, something distinct and peculiar to themselves. Yet the division into two par which we have seen elsewhere, (Luke 16:16; John 1:45,) embraces notwithstanding the whole of Scripture.
45. Then he opened their understanding. As the Lord had formerly discharged the office of Teacher, with little or no improvement on the part of the disciples, he now begins to teach them inwardly by his Spirit; for words are icily wasted on the air, until the minds are enlightened by the gift of understanding. It is true, indeed, that
the word of God is like a lamp,
but it shines in darkness and amidst the blind, until the inward light is given by the Lord, to whom it peculiarly belongs to enlighten the blind, (Psalm 146:8.) And hence it is evident how great is the corruption of our nature, since the light of life exhibited to us in the heavenly oracles is of no avail to us. Now if we do not perceive by the understanding what is right, how would the will be sufficient for yielding obedience? We ought, therefore, to acknowledge that we come short in every respect, so that the heavenly doctrine proves to be useful and efficacious to us, only so far as the Spirit both forms our minds to understand it, and our hearts to submit to its yoke; and, therefore, that in order to our being properly qualified for becoming his disciples, we must lay aside all confidence in our own abilities, and seek light from heaven; and, abandoning the foolish opinion of free-will, must give ourselves up to be governed by God. Nor is it without reason that Paul bids men
become fools, that they may be wise to God,
for no darkness is more dangerous for quenching the light of the Spirit than reliance on our own sagacity.
That they might understand the Scriptures. Let the reader next observe, that the disciples had not the eyes of their mind opened, so as to comprehend the mysteries of God without any assistance, but so far as they are contained in the Scriptures; and thus was fulfilled what is said,
(Psalm 119:18,) Enlighten mine eyes,
For God does not bestow the Spirit on his people, in order to set aside the use of his word, but rather to render it fruitful. It is highly improper, therefore, in fanatics, under the pretense of revelations, to take upon themselves the liberty of despising the Scriptures; for what we now read in reference to the apostles is daily accomplished by Christ in all his people, namely, that by his Spirit he guides us to understand the Scriptures, and does not hurry us away into the idle raptures of enthusiasm.
But it may be asked, Why did Christ choose to lose his labor, during the entire period of three years, in teaching them, rather than to open their understandings from the very outset? I reply, first, though the fruit of his labor did not immediately appear, still it was not useless; for when the new light was given to them, they likewise perceived the advantage of the former period. For I regard these words as meaning, not only that he opened their understandings, that, in future they might be ready to receive instruction, if any thing were stated to them, but that they might call to remembrance his doctrine, which they had formerly heard without any advantage. Next, let us learn that this ignorance, which lasted during three years, was of great use for informing them that from no other source than from the heavenly light did they obtain their new discernment. Besides, by this fact Christ gave an undoubted proof of his Divinity; for he not only was the minister of the outward voice, which sounded in their ears, but by his hidden power he penetrated into their minds, and thus showed that what, Paul tells us, does not belong to the teachers of the Church is the prerogative of Him alone, (1 Corinthians 3:7.) Yet it ought to be observed, that the apostles were not so destitute of the light of understanding as not to hold certain elementary principles; but as it was only a slight taste, it is reckoned to be a commencement of true understanding when the veil is removed, and they behold Christ in the Law and the Prophets.
46. And he said to them, Thus it is written. The connection of these words refutes the calumny of those who allege that outward doctrine would be superfluous, if we did not naturally possess some power of understanding. "Why," say they, "would the Lord speak to the deaf?" But we see that, when the Spirit of Christ, who is the inward Teacher, performs his office, the labor of the minister who speaks is not thrown away; for Christ, after having bestowed on his followers the gift of understanding, instructs them out of the Scriptures with real advantage. With the reprobate, indeed, though the outward word passes away as if it were dead, still it renders them inexcusable.
As to the words of Christ, they are founded on this principle: Whatever is written must be fulfilled, for God declared nothing by his prophets but what he will undoubtedly accomplish." But by these words we are likewise taught what it is that we ought chiefly to learn from the Law and the Prophets; namely, that since Christ is the end and the soul of the law, (Romans 10:4,) whatever we learn without him, and apart from him, is idle and unprofitable. Whoever then desires to make great proficiency in the Scriptures ought always to keep this end in view. Now Christ here places first in order his death and resurrection, and afterwards the fruit which we derive from both. For whence come repentance and forgiveness of sins, but because our old man is crucified with Christ, (Romans 6:6,) that by his grace we may rise to newness of life; and because our sins have been expiated by the sacrifice of his death, our pollution has been washed away by his blood, and we have, obtained righteousness through his resurrection? He teaches, therefore, that in his death and resurrection we ought to seek the cause and grounds of our salvation; because hence arise reconciliation to God, and regeneration to a new and spiritual life. Thus it is expressly stated that neither forgiveness of sins nor repentance can be preached but in his name; for, on the one hand, we have no right to expect the imputation of righteousness, and, on the other hand, we do not obtain self-denial and newness of life, except so far as
he is made to us righteousness and sanctification,
But as we have elsewhere treated copiously of this summary of the Gospel, it is better to refer my readers to those passages for what they happen not to remember, than to load them with repetitions.
47. To all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Christ now discovers clearly what he had formerly concealed--that the grace of the redemption brought by him extends alike to all nations. For though the prophets had frequently predicted the calling of the Gentiles, still it was not revealed in such a manner that the Jews could willingly admit the Gentiles to share with them in the hope of salvation. Till his resurrection, therefore, Christ was not acknowledged to be any thing more than the Redeemer of the chosen people alone; and then, for the first time, was the wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14) thrown down, that they who had been strangers, (Ephesians 2:19,) and who had formerly been scattered, might be gathered into the fold of the Lord. In the meantime, however, that the covenant of God might not seem to be made void, Christ has assigned to the Jews the first rank, enjoining the apostles to begin at Jerusalem. For since God had peculiarly adopted the posterity of Abraham, they must have been preferred to the rest of the world. This is the privilege of the firstborn which Jeremiah ascribes to them, when Jehovah says, I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is first-born, (30:9.) This order, too, Paul everywhere observes with the greatest care, telling us that Christ came and proclaimed peace to those who were near, and afterwards to strangers who were at a distance, (Ephesians 2:17.)
48. And you are witnesses of those things. He does not yet commission them to preach the gospel, but only reminds them to what service he has appointed them, that they may prepare themselves for it in due time. He holds out this, partly as a consolation to soothe their grief, and partly as a spur to correct their sloth. Conscious of their recent departure from their Master, they must have been in a state of dejection and here, contrary to all expectation, Christ bestows on them incredible honor, enjoining them to publish to the whole world the message of eternal salvation. In this manner he not only restores them to their former condition, but by the extent of this new favor he utterly obliterates the recollection of their heinous crimes; but at the same time, as I have said, he stimulates them, that they may not be so slow and dilatory in reference to the faith of which they were appointed to be preachers.
49. And, lo, I send. That the apostles may not be terrified by their weakness, he invites them to expect new and extraordinary grace; as if he had said, though you feel yourselves to be unfit for such a charge, there is no reason why you should despond, because I will send you from heaven that power which I know that you do not possess. The more fully to confirm them in this confidence, he mentions that the Father had promised to them the Holy Spirit; for, in order that they might prepare themselves with greater alacrity for the work, God had already encouraged them by his promise, as a remedy for their distrust. Christ now puts himself in the place of the Father, and undertakes to perform the promise; in which he again claims for himself divine power. To invest feeble men with heavenly power, is a part of that glory which God swears that he will not give to another: and, therefore, if it belongs to Christ, it follows that he is that God who formerly spoke by the mouth of the prophet, (Isaiah 42:8.) And though God promised special grace to the apostles, and Christ bestowed it on them, we ought to hold universally that no mortal is of himself qualified for preaching the gospel, except so far as God clothes him with his Spirit, to supply his nakedness and poverty. And certainly, as it is not in reference to the apostles alone that Paul exclaims,
(2 Corinthians 2:16,)
so all whom God raises up to be ministers of the gospel must be endued with the heavenly Spirit; and, therefore, in every part of Scripture he is promised to all the teachers of the Church without exception.
But remain you in the city of Jerusalem. That they may not advance to teach before the proper time, Christ enjoins on them silence and repose, until, sending them out according to his pleasure, he may make a seasonable use of their labors. And this was a useful trial of their obedience, that, after having been endued with the understanding of the Scripture, and after having had the grace of the Spirit breathed on them, (John 20:22;) yet because the Lord had forbidden them to speak, they were silent as if they had been dumb. For we know that those who expect to gain applause and admiration from their hearers are very desirous to appear in public. Perhaps, too, by this delay, Christ intended to punish them for indolence, because they did not, in compliance with his injunction, set out immediately, on the same day, for Galilee. However that may be, we are taught by their example, that we ought to attempt nothing but as the Lord calls us to it; and, therefore, though they may possess some ability to teach in public, let men remain in silence and retirement, until the Lord lead them by the hand into the public assembly. When they are commanded to remain at Jerusalem, we must understand this to mean, after they had returned from Galilee. For, as we shortly afterwards learn from Matthew, though he gave them an opportunity of seeing him at Jerusalem, still he did not change his original intention to go to Galilee, (Matthew 26:32, and 28:10.) The meaning of the word, therefore, is, that after having given them injunctions at the appointed place, he wishes them to remain silent for a time, until he supplies them with new rigor.
And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
And he took it, and did eat before them.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
And ye are witnesses of these things.
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
19. And after the Lord had thus spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by accompanying signs.
50. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51. And it came to pass that, while he was blessing them, he withdrew from them, and was carried up into heaven. 52. And having worshipped him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53. And were always in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Mark 16:19. And after the Lord had thus spoken to them. The Evangelist Matthew, having extolled in magnificent language the reign of Christ over the whole world, says nothing about his ascension to heaven. Mark, too, takes no notice of the place and the manner, both of which are described by Luke; for he says that the disciples were led out to Bethany, that from the Mount of Olives, (Matthew 24:3,) whence he had descended to undergo the ignominy of the cross, he might ascend the heavenly throne. Now as he did not, after his resurrection, appear indiscriminately to all, so he did not permit all to be the witnesses of his ascension to heaven; for he intended that this mystery of faith should be known by the preaching of the gospel rather than beheld by the eyes.
Luke 24:50. And lifted up his hands, and blessed them; by which he showed that the office of blessing, which was enjoined on the priests under the law, belonged truly and properly to himself. When men bless one another it is nothing else than praying in behalf of their brethren; but with God it is otherwise, for he does not merely befriend us by wishes, but by a simple act of his will grants what is desirable for us. But while He is the only Author of all blessing, yet that men might obtain a familiar view of his grace, he chose that at first the priests should bless in his name as mediators. Thus Melchizedek blessed Abraham, (Genesis 14:19,) and in Numbers 6:23-27, a perpetual law is laid down in reference to this matter. To this purport also is what we read in Psalm 118:26, We bless you out of the house of the Lord In short, the apostle has told us that to bless others is a Mark of superiority; for the less, he says, is blessed by the greater, (Hebrews 7:7.) Now when Christ, the true Melchizedek and eternal Priest, was manifested, it was necessary that in him should be fulfilled what had been shadowed out by the figures of the law; as Paul also shows that we are blessed in him by God the Father, that we may be rich in all heavenly blessings, (Ephesians 1:3.) Openly and solemnly he once blessed the apostles, that believers may go direct to himself, if they desire to be partakers of his grace. In the lifting up of the hands is described an ancient ceremony which, we know:, was formerly used by the priests.
52. And having worshipped him, they returned. By the word worship, Luke means, first, that the apostles were relieved from all doubt, because at that time the majesty of Christ shone on all sides, so that there was no longer any room for doubting of his resurrection; and, secondly, that for the same reason they began to honor him with greater reverence than when they enjoyed his society on earth. For the worship which is here mentioned was rendered to him not only as Master or Prophet, nor even as the Messiah, whose character had been but half known, but as the King of glory and the Judge of the world. Now as Luke intended to give a longer narrative, he only states briefly what the apostles did during ten days. The amount of what is said is, that through the fervor of their joy they broke out openly into the praises of God, and were continually in the temple; not that they remained there by day and by night, but that they attended the public assemblies, and were present at the ordinary and stated hours to render thanksgiving to God. This joy is contrasted with the fear which formerly kept them retired and concealed at home.
Mark 16:19. And sat down at the right hand of God. In other passages I have explained what is meant by this expression, namely, that Christ was raised on high, that he might be exalted above angels and all creatures; that by his agency the Father might govern the world, and, in short, that before him every knee might bow, (Philippians 2:10.) It is the same as if he were called God's Deputy, to represent the person of God; and, therefore, we must not imagine to ourselves any one place, since the right hand is a metaphor which denotes the power that is next to God. This was purposely added by Mark, in order to inform us that Christ was taken up into heaven, not to enjoy blessed rest at a distance from us, but to govern the world for the salvation of all believers.
20. And they went out and preached. Mark here notices briefly those events of which Luke continues the history in his second book  that the voice of a small and dispersed body of men resounded even to the extremities of the world. For exactly in proportion as the fact was less credible, so much the more manifestly was there displayed in it a miracle of heavenly power. Every person would have thought that, by the death of the cross, Christ would either be altogether extinguished, or so completely overwhelmed, that he would never be again mentioned but with shame and loathing. The apostles, whom he had chosen to be his witnesses, had basely deserted him, and had betaken themselves to darkness and concealment. Such was their ignorance and want of education, and such was the contempt in which they were held, that they hardly ventured to utter a word in public. Was it to be expected that men who were unlearned, and were held in no esteem, and had even deserted their Master, should, by the sound of their voice, reduce so many scattered nations into subjection to him who had been crucified? There is great emphasis, therefore, in the words, they went out and preached everywhere -- men who but lately shut themselves up, trembling and silent, in their prison. For it was impossible that so sudden a change should be accomplished in a moment by human power; and therefore Mark adds,
The Lord working with them; by which he means that this was truly a divine work. And yet by this mode of expression he does not represent them as sharing their work or labor with the grace of God, as if they contributed any thing to it of themselves; but simply means that they were assisted by God, because, according to the flesh, they would in vain have attempted what was actually performed by them. The ministers of the word, I acknowledge, are called fellow-workers with God, (1 Corinthians 3:9,) because he makes use of their agency; but we ought to understand that they have no power beyond what he bestows, and that by planting and watering they do no good, unless the increase come from the secret efficacy of the Spirit.
And confirming the word. Here, in my opinion, Mark points out a particular instance of what he had just now stated in general terms; for there were other methods by which the Lord wrought with them, that the preaching of the gospel might not be fruitless; but this was a striking proof of his assistance, that he confirmed their doctrine by miracles. Now this passage shows what use we ought to make of miracles, if we do not choose to apply them to perverse corruptions; namely, that they aid the gospel. Hence it follows that God's holy order is subverted, if miracles are separated from the word of God, to which they are appendages; and if they are employed to adorn wicked doctrines, or to disguise corrupt modes of worship.
 That inspired book which is now generally known by the name of The Acts of the Apostles, was often denominated, by older writers, Second Luke. -- Ed.
And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.