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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.
The term by which our Lord addressed these dull disciples had not the force which we are apt to associate with it. There was nothing abusive about it. It was rather the mode of address of a master interested in the progress of his pupils. The first step to knowledge is to be convinced of ignorance. So here He addresses them as without understanding, and as backward to believe what their own Prophets had so abundantly foretold. They could not understand the idea of a suffering Messiah; but, He asks them, could He be the predicted Messiah at all, or enter into the expected kingdom and glory, without first suffering these things ?3 And He reminds them of particular passages in the Prophets from Moses downwards, showing them their application to Himself. Thus engaged, they approach Emmaus, to which place the two Disciples were bound ; but this strange wayfarer appears to be going farther. He offers to go beyond, as not meaning to stay unbidden. But they eagerly invite Him to be their guest; urging the lateness of the hour 5 as a reason against His journeying farther that day. He accepts their invitation ; but on sitting down at table with them, their positions are reversed. He becomes the entertainer. He assumes His old position; taking, blessing, breaking, and distributing the bread, after the manner of the head of an household in those simpler times. And in this familiar act of His they at last recognize Him. Now their eyes—which up to this had been, as it were, shut
See the original word. St. Matt. and led through the vale of tears to xy. 16; xvi. 11; Heb. v. 11, 12. the region of Eucharist and Halle? Acts iii. 21, 22, 24.
lujahs.”—South, Post. Ser. i. · For He Himself went not up to 4 St. Mark vi. 48. joy, but first He suffered pain; He 5 The application of this in the entered not into His glory before He Evening Hymn in The Christian Year, was crucified.”—Order for the Visita- and in the well-known hymn, “ Abide tion of the Sick.
with me," will be remembered. There “ He, we sec, is depressed before is a similar application of it in Bp. advanced, crucified before enthroucd, Andrewes' Devotions.
with reference to what He really was, which had seen in Him but some superior stranger,-are at length opened, as we might say, to see Him as before. But not for long is He so seen of them; only long enough for them to be assured that this is He. Soon He becomes altogether unseen ? and disappears, withdrawing Himself from their sight and from that place, to re-appear to them elsewhere. And now each asks the other if he was not conscious of some strange sensation on the road, while this mysterious stranger was explaining to them the meaning of the Scriptures, and showing how they pointed to a suffering Messiah. After this first reflection, they instantly set out to retrace their steps to Jerusalem. No thought of fatigue, or of the lateness of the hour, in measuring over that ground again. This news is too transcendently important not to be instantly communicated to the Church; whose heads 5 they find even then gathered together; greeting them as they enter with the like news to that which they conveyed. This Easter greeting is a mutual one. That which had been hoped and rumoured, but was not yet certified by those in authority, is an undoubted fact. The Lord is really risen. He has been seen, not just by Mary Magdalene, but by Simon. To him also sometime in that interval had He appeared ;9 singling him out first among the Apostles, to whom He had already sent a message of mercy,'' lest he should be ashamed before Him at His coming. And now they in their turn tell their story, the news which they had hastened to bring; their conversation with a seeming stranger on the road, who, in His customary act of breaking the bread, first revealed Himself to them as their risen Lord.
1 V, 16.
there also the whole are put for a ? See the original, rendered in the part, and still called “the twelve," margin, “ceased to be seen of them.” though two were wanting, 3 V. 36.
6 V. 23. 4 V. 29.
; V. 24. * They are called “the eleven ” by & St. Mark xvi. 9-11. way of title, though one we know was 9 1 Cor. xv. 5. not among them (St. John xx. 24) as 10 St. Mark xyi. 7.
HE APPEARETH TO THE ASSEMBLED DISCIPLES.
St. Luke xxiv, 36-43.
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? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.
Wonder succeeds to wonder. While they are thus speaking, the two Disciples just come in from Emmaus telling the rest, as the rest had told these two, of an actual appearance of their risen Lord, -He Himself suddenly stands in their midst. The doors, we are told elsewhere,' were shut where the Disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews; for fear that these enemies of their Lord and them might interrupt their assembly, and apprehend His followers. The doors were shut, contrary to the usage of such climates, where for coolness, especially to catch the cool breeze of evening, everything was left as unconfined and open as possible. “But the doors that He found fast shut, He by a strange power opened.”? Thrice in one place have we emphatic mention of this “the first day of the week,” 3 called ever after “the Lord's day.” 4 Peace was proclaimed at the I St. John xx. 19.
xvi. 2. The latter allusion, coming ? South, Post, Ser. i. See Aug. Ser. immediately after the Apostle's accoxlvii. 2; and Justin Martyr, Quæst. count of the Resurrection, seems sig. et Respons. ad Orthodox. cxvii.
nificant. * St. John xx. 1, 19, 26.
This is its title by the common law * Rev. i. 10; Acts xx. 7; 1 Cor. of England, “ The Lord's Day, commonly called Sunday.”—Blackstone's single one which commended itself to Commentaries, bk. iv. ch. 4, and Puritan taste. Men may not choose Burn's Ecclesiastical Law, v. ii. p. in what points they will “hear the 212.
Nativity of our Lord, Peace is here the salutation of “the first-begotten from the dead.” 1 This ordinary Jewish greeting He adopts and consecrates, elevating it into a Christian salutation; as in the Lord's Prayer He employed sentences, and, in the Sacraments of His Church, ceremonies and symbols, with which they were familiar, and which He so elevated, and endowed with life. But the peace was not so sudden and immediate as the appearance of its Author. Their first feeling was rather one of fear. As once before when they saw Him walking on the water, they took this for an apparition, à visit from His disembodied spirit. Gently He reasons with them, offering them those proofs to the contrary which must calm their fear. A spirit would be impalpable, incapable of touch ; whereas He offers Himself to be handled, and shows them His wounded hands and feet; shows them His side still gaping from the spear;
4 bearing about even in His resurrection-body these proofs of conflict, the tokens and trophy of His victory in those glorious scars. For even "an incorruptible body showed the print of the nails, and was tangible by a mortal hand.” 5 And now joy and wonder take the place of fear. They can scarcely believe 6 even the evidence of their senses; scarcely believe their own eyes. But as they were even then sitting at meat, as they had been partaking together of their evening meal, He asks them for something to eat. And taking some of the remains of their fare, which is parti
Church," and in wbat refuse. Baxter, in his Paraphrase, uzes an
1 Rev. i. 5. argument which we might scarcely 2 St. Matt. xiv. 26. have expected from such a source. 3 1 St. John i. 1-4. “ The practice of the universal Church,
4 St. John xx. 20. ever since observing that day without 5 Chry. in S. Jo. Hom. Ixxxviii. any contradicting party, proveth it 6 Gen. xlv. 26. past doubt to all that use sober reason 7 St. Mark xvi, 14. in the case.” The argument holds & See the original word. Meat is good in other points which were con- pnt, according to ancient usage, for troverted in his day, as well as in the any sort of food.
cularly mentioned,-such an impression did this make upon those eye-witnesses," —He gives them this further proof of the reality of His return; upbraiding them the while “ with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen."? “Then,” adds another of the sacred chroniclers, “then were the Disciples glad when they saw the Lord.” 3
THE SAME SUBJECT continued.
St. John xx. 21-23.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them ; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
So the Lord repeats His salutation ; coupling it now with the great mission whereon He sends them. And so He puts them in charge with the ministry of reconciliation, that divine embassy of which He before had spoken. Even now He gives them the earnest and pledge of that which He had already promised, of that whereof in the approaching Pentecost they received the complete gift. The Lord here accompanied His word with a sign. As at the first man was formed out of the dust of the ground, and was but a beautiful, motionless piece of mechanism, till the Lord God breathed into His nostrils the breath of life,-80 were the Apostles incompetent for the office and work of their ministry, till they had received the Spirit from on high, the
1 Acts x. 41.
St. Mark xvi. 14. 3 St. John xx, 20. * St. John xvii. 18, 23.
5 St. John xiv. 16, 17, 26; xv. 26 ; xvi. 7, 13-15.
6 Lampe (who refers to Job xxxiii. 4; Ps. xxxiii. 6; Is. xi. 4; 2 Thess. ii. 8) notes that the sign corresponds to the very name. The breath of the Lord is the sign of the Spirit. See 1 Cor. xv. 45
? Ps. civ. 30.