And when he had so said, he showed to them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.
They were glad when they saw the Lord, as —
I. IT GAVE PROOF THAT HE HAD ESCAPED THE FURY OF HIS FOES. They had lately looked on Him as lost. Now they saw Him completely exempt from danger; and their joy was proportioned to their intense love. Could He have given them salvation at the expense of His own destruction, it would have yielded them no satisfaction. In proportion as we love our Saviour, we shall rejoice that He is now at the right hand of God.
II. IT AFFORDED AN EVIDENCE OF HIS CHARACTER, AND A CONFIRMATION OF HIS MISSION AND DOCTRINE. God has shown His complacency in virtue by crowning it with glory in the exaltation of His Son. The signature of the Divine hand was thus put upon it: and they were enabled to go abroad and establish Christianity on the basis of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Had He not risen, they must have been utterly ashamed and confounded. Who could pretend that the Divine Being would by this stupendous miracle give sanction to imposture. How thankful to God should we be for having placed our religion on such a basis of evidence!
III. IT PROVED THE ACCEPTANCE OF HIS SACRIFICE and the completion of His obedience in behalf of His believing followers. Without this His death is like that of an ordinary man; but this proves the merit and power of His death. "Who is he that condemneth? when it is Christ that died; yea rather, that is risen." Hence there remains no bar to the salvation of every penitent sinner. This is the source of a joy as extensive as the Church of God.
IV. IT WAS A PROOF OF THEIR PARTICIPATION IN THE BLESSINGS WHICH HE HAS PROCURED BEYOND THE PRESENT STATE; a pledge of their entrance into heaven. He rose as the Head of His body the Church; He entered into the holiest as the Forerunner of His people: it was His prayer "that they all may be with Me, and behold My glory." His desire will be fulfilled that their joy may be full.
V. THEY HAD THUS A PLEDGE OF HIS PROTECTION OF HIS CHURCH FROM ITS ENEMIES, AND OF ITS FINAL TRIUMPH OVER ALL. They were now assured that greater is He that is in the Church than he that is in the world.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.