THE GOSPEL OF ST. LUKE
Lesson 16: Chapter 23:33-24:53
The Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ
We thank You that in the mystery of the death and Resurrection of the Christ, the second Adam, You unveiled Your divine plan, formulated since the foundation of the earth, that Your Son should restore us to the Paradise that was lost to us by the sin of the first Adam. In abandoning Himself to death on the Cross, He took an instrument of torture and used it as a stepping stone to glory by extending His arms in love on the wood of the Cross to proclaim absolution for all humanity. And in the same way, His Resurrection has become the promised gateway to eternity for all who believe in Him and Your gracious gift of everlasting life. Send Your Holy Spirit to guide us, Lord, in our study of the crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
+ + +
Jesus was arrested and tried by Sanhedrin Friday night. At dawn He was condemned to death by the Sanhedrin and by the High Priest Joseph Caiaphas who had personally selected Jesus, the Lamb of God, for sacrifice (Jn 11:49-53). At the same time the religious leaders were judging Jesus to be sentenced to death for blasphemy, in the Temple the unblemished, yearling male Tamid lamb was led from the chamber called the Lamb Office to the site of its execution near the Altar of Burnt Offerings. There it was judged one last time as worthy of sacrifice: They gave the lamb which was to be the daily whole offering a drink from a golden cup. Even though it was inspected the preceding night, they inspected it again by the light of the torches (Mishnah: Tamid, 3:4B-C).
The Crucifixion and Burial of Jesus of Nazareth
Let us beset the
just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings,
reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of
our training. He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child
of the LORD ... He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his
Father. Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen
to him. For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver
him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put him to
the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us
condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take
care of him"
Wisdom 2:12-13, 16a-20 NJB
The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, remains convinced that Jesus is innocent of the charges brought against Him throughout the trial (Lk 23:15, 22, 41, 47). Even his wife has urged him to have nothing to do with condemning Jesus (Mt 27:19). However, the religious authorities coerce Pilate to give into their demand that Jesus be crucified by questioning the governor's own loyalty to Caesar. They threaten Pilate with a riot and to report him to Emperor Tiberius if he persists in refusing to condemn Jesus to death for treason against the Emperor and the empire (Mt 27:24; Jn 19:12). It is an accusation Pilate cannot afford, and so he submits to their demand.(1)
Luke 23:26-32 ~ Jesus carries His Cross to Golgotha
26 As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. 28 Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, 29 for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' 30 At that time people will say to the mountains, Fall upon us!' and to the hills, Cover us!' 31 for if these things are done when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" 32 Now two others, both criminals were led away with him to be executed. (Underlining indicates references or quotations from Old Testament passages from the books of the prophets).
Those condemned to crucifixion were usually tied to a wooden crossbeam and were forced to carry it to the site of execution. Perhaps Jesus had become too weak from His scourging to carry His crossbeam the entire distance. The Roman soldiers impressed a man named Simon who was a native of the city of Cyrene into service. Simon's city of Cyrene in North Africa is located in what is today the modern state of Libya. The Gospels of Mark and Luke include the information that Simon lived in the "countryside," presumably of Judea (Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26).(2) It is possible that he was a Jewish pilgrim, but St. Ephraim (306-363/73) wrote that Simon was a Gentile and thought it ironic that he should bear the burden of the Cross behind Jesus like a disciple. The Gentiles would indeed carry their witness of the Cross to the "ends of the earth" in professing Christ (Commentary on Titian's Diatessaron, 20.20).
Luke 23:27 A large crowd of people followed Jesus,
including many women who mourned and lamented him.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who were probably the women disciples from the Galilee who will be named as witnesses to the crucifixion. God will reward the women disciples for their faithfulness in standing by Jesus in His hours of suffering. There were also two criminals who were condemned to death that were being led away with Him.
Luke 23:28-29 Jesus
turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep
instead for yourselves and for your children, 29 for indeed, the days are coming when people will say,
blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never
Question: What are the "days" that are coming for which they should weep? See Lk 21:7-38; especially 21:22.
Answer: Jesus is referring to "the days of punishment" He prophesied in Luke 21:5-38 when Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies and will be completely destroyed.
Jesus tells the women of Jerusalem not to weep for Him but for themselves and their children, alluding to the Day of Judgment which will fall upon Jerusalem in 70 AD when His prophecies concerning Jerusalem's destruction and the destruction of the Temple are historically fulfilled. Bible scholars who insisted that Jerusalem and the Temple were already destroyed by the time Luke wrote his Gospel (and the other Gospels) because Luke's account of Jesus' prophecies are so accurate, are denying the power of predictive prophecy. If the events had already taken place, surely the Gospel writers would have included that Jesus' prophecies had been fulfilled, as they included that Old Testament prophecies had been fulfilled in the Advent of Christ.
That Jesus' calls these women "daughters of Jerusalem" is probably connected to a prophecy by the prophet Ezekiel. He may be identifying these "daughters" who love and mourn Him with the righteous daughters of Jerusalem who will survive to console the survivors of the destruction of the city by the Babylonians prophesied by Ezekiel: Thus says the Lord GOD: Even though I send Jerusalem my four cruel punishments, the sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off form it man and beast, still some survivors shall be left in it who will bring out sons and daughters; when they come out to you, you shall see their conduct and their actions and be consoled regarding the evil I have brought on Jerusalem all that I have brought upon it. They shall console you when you see their conduct and actions, for you shall then know that it was not without reason that I did to it what I did, says the Lord GOD [Yahweh] (Ez 14:21-23). The Christians sons and daughters of God did survive the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Next Jesus quotes to the women parts of two passage from the
book of the prophet Hosea concerning the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of
Israel in 722 BC and another prophecy from the book of the prophet Ezekiel
concerning the destruction of Judah by the Babylonians in 587/6 BC.
Question: What is Jesus' point in quoting from the judgment prophecies of these two prophets?
Answer: Jesus is comparing the coming judgment on Jerusalem by referring to the judgment prophecies of the prophet Hosea concerning the judgment against the descendants of the children of Israel for their apostasy in the destruction of "the Northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians (722 BC) and the prophecies of the prophet Ezekiel concerning the destruction of the Southern Kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians (587/6 BC).
Hosea began his prophetic career in the middle years of the
rule of King Jeroboam II of the Northern Kingdom Israel (786-746 BC). The
first reference in Luke 23:29 is to Hosea's judgment prophecy against "Ephraim"
(the Northern Kingdom) in Hosea 9:14: Give them, O LORD! Give them what? Give
them an unfruitful womb, and dry breasts! (underlining added to
identify the wording of the Old Testament passage).
Question: How is the prophecy a reversal of Genesis 49:25 and Deuteronomy 28:5?
Answer: It is a reversal of the blessing of fertility for Israel's covenant obedience (Dt 28:5) and also to Jacob's blessing for Joseph's that was extended his "firstborn [in rank] son" "to Ephraim's descendants "the Kingdom of Northern Israel (Gen 48:13-19; 49:25).
Then He says 30 At that time people will say to the mountains, Fall upon us!' and to the hills, Cover us!' Once again Jesus quotes from the book of the prophet Hosea; this time He quotes from Hosea 10:8 using the expression of agony and despair that Hosea said the doomed people of Israel will cry out at their hour of judgment: The king of Samaria shall disappear, like foam upon the waters. The high places of Aven shall be destroyed, the sin of Israel; thorns and thistles shall overgrow their altars. Then they shall cry out to the mountains, "Cover us!" and to the hills, "Fall upon us!" (underlining added). Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. "The high places of Aven" refer to the Northern Kingdom's practice of importing Egyptian golden calf idol worship (1 Kng 12:28-32). Aven is another name for On (Heliopolis in Greek) in Egypt, a site for the worship of the Apis bull of which the golden calf the Israelites made (Ex 32:1-6) was a probably a representation (also see Ez 30:17 and Amos 1:5). They rejected Yahweh their divine king in favor of false gods just as the Jews have rejected their true king, Jesus the Davidic heir and Son of God, in favor of the false god Augustus Caesar and his son Tiberius (Jn 19:15).
Question: Of what does the resending of the blessing
of fertility in Hosea 9:14b and the curse of thorns and thistles in Hosea 10:8 remind
you from the Book of Genesis? See Gen 1:28 and 3:18. What is the significance
in the Hosea prophecy?
Answer: They are echoes of God's first blessing for mankind's fertility in Genesis 1:28 and the curse judgment on Adam after the Fall in 3:18 that thorns and thistles will curse man's productivity. The prophet Hosea applied the resending of the blessing of fertility and the curse of Adam to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Question: What is Jesus' point in quoting from these
two prophesies from the prophet Hosea concerning God's judgment against the
Northern Kingdom of Israel that was destroyed by the Assyrians about forty
years after Hosea's prophecies in 722 BC?
Answer: The people of the Northern Kingdom failed to heed the warning of God's prophet, just as the people of Jerusalem have failed to heed Jesus' judgment warnings in His last week of teaching at the Jerusalem Temple. Hosea's judgment prophecies against the Northern Kingdom of Israel for the people's apostasy in turning away from Yahweh to worship false gods is the same kind of judgment that will fall upon Jerusalem for the rejection of their God and Messiah. The "daughters of Jerusalem" need to be prepared to mourn for themselves and their people.
Finally, He tells the women 31
for if these things are done when the wood is green, what will
happen when it is dry?" making a reference to the prophecies of Ezekiel,
Read the prophecy in Ezekiel concerning the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in Ezekiel 21:1-28; especially Jesus' reference to 21:3.
Question: Answer this question in four parts:
Hint: dry wood is meant for burning but green wood is not suitable for burning. Jerusalem will be destroyed by fire in the summer of 70 AD, forty years after Jesus' crucifixion (Eusebius, Church History, III.7.9).
Luke 23:32 Now two others, both criminals were led away with him to be executed.
Question: What prophecy of God's suffering Servant is
fulfilled from Isaiah 53:12?
Answer: Like God's suffering Servant, Jesus was "counted among the wicked" in God's plan for Him to take away the sins of many and win pardon for their offenses.
Luke 23:33-38 ~ Jesus' arrives at Golgotha
33 When they came to the place called the Skull [Kranion], they crucified him and the two criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." 35 They divided his garments by casting lots. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God." 36 Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine 37 they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself." 38 Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews."
Golgotha is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic name of the crucifixion site that was called gulgulta, meaning "skull." The identification of the crucifixion site as Golgotha is found in Mathew 27:33, Mark 15:22 and in John 19:17. St. Luke gives the name of the site as Kranion (Lk 23:33), the Greek word for "skull." The name Calvary comes to us from the Rheims New Testament translation of the Latin Vulgate, calvariae locus, which is the Latin translation of the Greek kraniou topos, "place of the skull;" in Latin the word for skull is calvaria. Matthew 27:32 and Mark 15:21 explicitly state the site was outside the city walls; the Gospel of John says it is near the city (19:20). We know it was close enough to the city for the on-lookers to read the trilingual plaque that Pilate ordered to be place on Jesus' cross, probably as they looked down upon scene of Jesus' crucifixion from the top of the city wall.(3) Excavations beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulcher revealed burials that were centuries older than when Jesus was crucified and suggest that the name "skull" was given to the site because it was an ancient graveyard.(4)
Question: What time was it when Jesus was crucified
in Jewish time and our time? See Mk 15:25.
Answer: It was the third hour, 9 AM.
Question: It is the morning of Nisan the 15th.
What was happening at the Temple as Jesus was crucified? See the handout on
the events of Nisan 15th from last week's lesson.
Answer: It was the beginning of the morning liturgical service of the Tamid sacrifice and the required Sacred Assembly. The first Tamid lamb was sacrificed at 9 AM.
St. Mark is the only Gospel writer who records the time Jesus was placed on the Cross: It was the third hour [9 AM] when they crucified him (Mk 15:25). The "third hour" Jewish time was also when the first Tamid lamb was sacrificed in the Temple and its blood splashed against the sacrificial altar as the Levites blew the silver trumpets and the Temple doors were opened for the morning worship service (Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, page 108). That morning was a compulsory Sacred Assembly and all religious Jews would be in attendance at the Temple, this includes the majority of Jesus' supporters who had no idea concerning the events unfolding at Golgotha. Hanging Jesus from the Cross was exactly what the chief priests wanted to discredit Jesus with the people "only a man "cursed by God" would be hung on a tree (Dt 21:22-23). But they wanted to accomplish this without a riot from Jesus' supporters.
Question: How were Jesus' enemies fulfilling God's
promise to Abraham? See Gen 22:15-18; Gal 3:13, 29.
Answer: It was the means by which God's promise of a world-wide blessing was going to be extended to all mankind. St. Paul wrote: Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who hands on a tree," that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal 3:13-14).
The Crucifixion of the Messiah
Accordingly, it is
commanded that every day the priests should offer up two lambs, one at the dawn
of the day, and the other in the evening [afternoon]; each of them being
a sacrifice of thanksgiving; the one for the kindnesses which have been
bestowed during the day, and the other for the mercies which have been
vouchsafed in the night, which God is incessantly and uninterruptedly pouring
upon the race of men.
The Works of Philo, Special Laws, I.35 
And all this is
from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the
ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in
Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the
message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18
He is the
expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole
1 John 2:2
Luke 23:34a Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they
know not what they do."
St. Luke continues to show that Jesus is completely in charge of His fate. With His full consent, Jesus entrusts the unfolding events of His sacrificial death into the Father's hands (Jn 10:17-18; Eph 5:2). He understands that His enemies are sinning in ignorance, and He shows mercy to them by praying for them from the Cross (1 Pt 2:23). His statement recalls Isaiah 53:12 and is the same view of His death that is repeated by St. Peter in Acts 3:17; 13:27, and by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:8. In his martyrdom, St. Stephen will follow Jesus' example (Acts 7:60), and it is reported that in his martyrdom St. James of Jerusalem spoke the same words of forgiveness before he died (Eusebius, Church History, II.23.16). St. Peter in 1 Peter 2:21-25 will teach that all Christians should follow the same spirit of forgiveness.
This is the first of seven statements Jesus will make from the altar of the Cross. Two of His statements are quotations from the Psalms of David.
|Jesus' Last Seven Statements from the Cross|
|1. "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."||Lk 23:34|
|2. "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."||Lk 23:42|
|3. "Woman, behold, your son"... "Behold, your mother."||Jn 19:26-27|
4. "Eli, Eli lema sabachthani," "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." ~ Hebrew
"Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani," "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me." ~ Aramaic*
(*Ps 22:1a quoted in Hebrew)
(Jesus quoted from Ps 22:1/2a in Aramaic)
|5. "I thirst."||Jn 19:28|
|6. "It is fulfilled."+||Jn 19:30|
|7. "Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit."+||
(Ps 31:5/6 quoted)
|Michal E. Hunt © copyright 2012|
*Jesus has alluded to Psalms 22 in Mt 27:35, 39 and 43.
Matthew records the Hebrew as it would have been written in the Hebrew scroll
of Psalms 22, while Mark records Jesus' actual Aramaic statement.
+It is hard to know which of these two statements are His last words from the Cross were.
Luke 23:34b They divided his garments by casting lots.
Psalms 22, written by King David in the 10th century BC, is a description of David's sufferings but the psalm is also a graphic description and prediction of Jesus' crucifixion long before the Persians ever invented crucifixion as a form of capital punishment. Included in the psalms is the prediction that lots would be casted for Jesus garments, an event that was not part of David's history.
Question: What verses in Psalms 22 are fulfilled in this occurrence?
Answer In verses 17-19 David wrote: Many dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. So wasted are my hands and feet that I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat; they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.
It was the custom for the soldiers overseeing executions to divide the possession of the condemned. Matthew also records that the Roman soldiers "kept watch" over Him (Mt 27:36). This was customary in order to prevent any attempt to rescue the condemned men.
Question: Jesus' garments were divided among the
soldiers. What additional information does St. John's Gospel provide
concerning Jesus' tunic and what prophecy was fulfilled? See Jn 19:23-24 and
Answer: The Roman soldiers divided Jesus' four garments, and they cast lots for the expensive seamless tunic. In doing so there were fulfilling the prophecy in Psalms 22:19.
Jesus' seamless tunic was theologically symbolic of the seamless tunics only worn by the priests serving God in the Temple. As such, the garment is a symbol of Jesus' high priesthood. After His Ascension to the Father, Jesus took His place as High Priest of the Heavenly Sanctuary (Heb 8:1-2). The fact that Jesus wore the seamless garment during the Last Supper and at the crucifixion elevates those events to liturgical sacrifices, since the seamless priestly tunic was to only be worn when offering service to Yahweh (Ez 42:14).
The High Priest dressed in his priestly robes was the symbol of man fully restored in God's image. Jesus is not only our King but also as our High Priest offering the pure and holy sacrifice of Himself to God the Father (Rev 5:6). In Exodus 28:4, Leviticus 16:4 and 21:10 the word chiton in the Greek translation and in Hebrew ketonet is used in reference to the priestly tunic. The priestly robe is describe it as "a woven piece" in Exodus 28:32. The word seamless (Hebrew = arraphos) is not found in the Greek (Septuagint) translation but Flavius Josephus describes the ankle-length tunic of the high priest as one seamless woven cloth: Now this vesture was not composed of two pieces, nor was it sewed together upon the soldiers and the sides, but it was one long vestment so woven as to have an aperture for the neck [..]; it was also parted where the hands were to come out (Antiquities of the Jews, 3.7.4 ; also see The Jewish Wars, 5.5.7 ).(5)
Question: Why is it significant that Jesus wore the
seamless garment of a high priest at both the Last Supper and His crucifixion?
See Ex 28:4; Lev 16:4; Ez 42:14; Heb 2:17; 5:10; 6:20; 7:26; 8:1-3; 9:11, 25.
Answer: That Jesus wore this high priestly garment at the Last Supper implies that it was a liturgical worship service at which Jesus officiated as the New Covenant High Priest of the sacred meal. That He wore this garment at His crucifixion implies that Jesus was acting as the New Covenant High Priest officiating at the offering of His sacrifice on the altar of the Cross for the atonement sanctification of all people.
You will recall that at the Last Supper the disciples washed their hands (part of the ritual of the meal) and feet (washed by Jesus in Jn 13:5). Josephus records that before performing their ministerial duties, priests washed both their hands and feet (Antiquities of the Jews, 3.6.2 ), information that adds another liturgical element to the events of the Last Supper.
Luke 23:35 The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile,
sneered at him and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the
chosen one, the Messiah of God." 36 Even
the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called
out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."
These repugnant actions by Jesus' tormentors are also described in Psalms 22. In verses 8-9 David wrote: All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me. "You relied on the LORD "let him deliver you if he loves you, let him rescue you." Psalms 22 vividly describes Jesus' suffering and the tormenting posture of the crowd.
The scene of Jesus' crucifixion in the Gospels and the
enmity toward Jesus by the chief priests, Pharisees and elders also recalls the
condemnation of the righteous by the wicked described in Wisdom 2:12-24.
Question: What kinds of taunts or challenges do the people, the chief priests, scribes and elders make? Also see Mt 27:39-43; Mk 15:29-32.
The prophecy of Isaiah 53:12 is fulfilled: Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses. And as St. Peter wrote: When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore out sins in his body upon the Cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (1 Pt 2:23-24).
Question: In what three verses did people in the crowd challenge Jesus to prove His divinity by saving himself? See Lk 23:35-39. Answer:
Luke 23:36b As
they approached to offer him wine ...
The other Gospels include the information that the Roman soldiers tried to give Jesus wine mixed with myrrh that was prepared to dull the prisoner's pain (Mk 15:23). The historicity of the Gospel account is confirmed by the 1st AD century historian Josephus who mentioned that wealthy women of Jerusalem provided wine mixed with narcotics for those destined for crucifixion. Jesus will be given more cheap wine to drink just before He surrenders His life (Mt 27:48; Jn 19:28-30).
Question: Does Jesus taste the wine or does He refuse
it; if He refuses, why? See Mt 26:29 and Lk 22:18.
Answer: Jesus only tastes the wine but does not drink it. He has sworn at the Last Supper that He will not drink the fruit of the vine until He comes into His kingdom.
The small taste of the wine may be to further connect Jesus' perfect sacrifice to the sacrifice of the morning Tamid at the Temple that was given a drink prior to sacrifice (Mishnah: Tamid, 3.4). The Tamid was a sacrifice that had for centuries prefigured the sacrifice of Jesus as the true Tamid "standing" (as in continual or perpetual) Lamb of God, as St. John the Baptist identified Jesus in John 1:29 and 36. St. John could not have been referring to the Passover victim which could be either a lamb or a goat kid and was multiple sacrifices made once a year. The Tamid lamb was a single sacrificed twice daily for the atonement and sanctification of God's covenant people.
Luke 23:38 Above
him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews." The plaque above the head of a condemned criminal stating
his crime was a common practice.
Question: What additional information about the plaque does the Gospel of John provide? See Jn 19:20.
Answer: Pilate had "Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews" written in Hebrew, Latin and Greek, and it could be easily read by the crowds.
It was a common Roman practice to post the crime for which a person was being executed and the name of the condemned man. Such a plaque was called in Greek a titulus. Pilate himself ordered the wording of the sign, much to the displeasure of the chief priests.(6)
Luke 23:39-43 ~ Jesus' exchange with the criminals who
were crucified with Him
39 Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." 40 The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? 41 And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man had done nothing criminal." 42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
All four Gospels agree that Jesus was crucified between two criminals (also see Mk 15:27; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:18), but St. Luke is the only Gospel writer to include the story of the penitent criminal. Jesus is situated between two men on an elevation with His arms outstretched on the Cross, commanding the climactic battle between good and evil. The scene is reminiscent of Moses standing on a hill with outstretched arms between Aaron and Hur in the Israelite's battle with the wicked Amalekites (Ex 17:8-13; CCC 440). However, unlike the temporal consequences of Moses' battle, the outcome of Jesus' battle has cosmic and eternal implications.
Question: Why did Jesus promise salvation to one of
Answer: His act of righteousness in defending Jesus, his penance in acknowledging his sins, and his profession of faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah and Davidic king has won him Jesus' promise of eternal salvation.
"Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in
This is Jesus' second statement from the altar of the Cross. According to the ancient non-canonical document entitled "The Gospel of Nicodemus," the name of the criminal on the right was Dismas and the criminal on the left was Gestas. It cannot be said that these were their real names and may have only been the names given them for the sake of the story.
The Gospel of John also records Jesus' words to His mother and the beloved disciple (believed to be St. John Zebedee) in which He makes St. John responsible for the care of His mother. This would have been unthinkable if Mary had other sons and daughters and supports 2,000 years of Church teaching and tradition that Jesus was Mary's only child (CCC 499-500). Jesus' exchange with His mother and the beloved disciple is Jesus' third statement from the Cross.
Luke 23:44-49 ~ The death of the Christ
44 Now it was about noon [the sixth hour] and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon [the ninth hour] 45 because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46 Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last. 47 The centurion who witnessed what had happened, glorified God and said, "This man was innocent beyond a doubt." 48 When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; 49 but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events.
Jesus was crucified at 9 AM (Mk 15:25) and now darkness
engulfs the "whole land" until 3 PM. Luke's account of the eclipse from noon
to 3 PM is in agreement with the Gospels of Matthew (Mt 27:45-50) and Mark (Mk 15:33-37). These events are all unfolding on the 15th day of the
month of Nisan according to the lunar calendar.
Question: Why was an eclipse of the sun at this time an unexplainable phenomenon?
Answer: There cannot be an eclipse during a full moon cycle.(7)
In the Temple the morning liturgy was continuing after the
sacrificial offering of the Tamid lamb, the flour offering and wafer of the
High Priest and the libation of wine, afterward came the additional communal
sacrifices for the Sacred Assembly of the feast (Num 28:17-23) and the many hagigah
communion offerings of the people that were taken back into the city for the
day's meal. At noon the second Tamid lamb has been brought out and tied near
the altar and given a drink. With the eclipse, the only light would have been
from the altar fire consuming the whole burnt offerings. The sacred ritual
required the incense to be burned in the morning service before the
Tamid lamb was placed on the altar; however, in the afternoon service the
incense was burned in the Holy Place after the lamb was place on the
altar "two lambs but a single sacrifice. At three in the afternoon the second
Tamid lamb was sacrificed as the chief priest ministered in the Holy Place of
the Temple, checking the oil in the lamps of the golden Menorah and cleaning
the ash from the golden Altar of Incense that stood in front of the curtain
that shielded the Holy of Holies in preparation for the burning of the incense
in the final rituals of the worship service. Imagine the shock of those chief
priests as the earthquake struck and the curtain that covered the Holy of
Holies was torn from top to bottom (Mt 27:51). At that same moment, Jesus was
speaking His last words from the cross before He offered up His life.
Question: For how many hours, as the ancients counted, did Jesus suffer on the Cross for the sins of mankind? See Mk 15:25 and 32.
Answer: Seven hours as the ancients counted from 9 AM to 3 PM.
In writing about the significance of the Tamid sacrifice as the premier sacrifice in the liturgy of worship for the Jews, Philo of Alexandria (died 37 AD) wrote: Accordingly, it is commanded that every day the priests should offer up two lambs, one at the dawn of the day, and the other in the evening [afternoon]; each of them being a sacrifice of thanksgiving; the one for the kindnesses which have been bestowed during the day, and the other for the mercies which have been vouchsafed in the night, which God is incessantly and uninterruptedly pouring upon the race of men (The Works of Philo, Special Laws, I.35 ; emphasis added; Jewish "evening" is our afternoon).
Question: What is the link between Jesus' Passion and
death and the single sacrifice of the Tamid lambs that were offered up daily
for the atonement and sanctification of mankind?
Answer: The single sacrifice of the two unblemished male Tamid lambs perfectly coincided with Jesus' Passion and death. The two lambs offered in a single sacrifice of the Tamid prefigured the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who, as fully man and fully God, was offered as a single unblemished sacrifice for the atonement and sanctification of mankind: Jesus was condemned and judged worthy of sacrifice by the Sanhedrin at dawn as the first Tamid lamb was judged worthy of sacrifice. Jesus was crucified at 9 AM as the morning Tamid lamb was slaughtered at the altar. The world turned dark as the second lamb was led out at noon. The second lamb was sacrificed at 3 PM as Jesus gave up His life on the altar of the Cross.
The daily sacrifice of the Tamid was ordained as the first and most important sacrifice of the Sinai Covenant in Exodus 29:38-43. All other sacrifices were to be made in "addition to" the Tamid (stated fifteen times in Num 28-29). ...but did still twice each day, in the morning and about the ninth hour, offer their sacrifices on the altar (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 14.4.3/65). Jewish-Christian scholar Alfred Edersheim: According to general agreement, the morning sacrifice was brought at the third hour, corresponding to our nine o'clock (The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, page 108).
Jesus fulfills the Tamid "the sacrifice of the atonement and sanctification:
Luke 23:47 The centurion who witnessed what had happened, glorified God and said, "This man was innocent beyond a doubt." The centurion's statement can also be translated "This man was righteous..." This Roman officer is the first Gentile to both profess Jesus' innocence and acknowledge His death a work of God:
Luke 23:50-56 ~ The burial of Jesus
50 Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council, had not consented to their plan of action. 51 He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. 52 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. 54 It was the day of preparation, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, 56 they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
53 After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. According to the Law, the corpse of an executed man could not be placed in a tomb already in use. It would defile the bones already in the tomb. The body of an executed person or any who died violently was not washed "the blood had to remain with the body. That the Shroud of Turin displays the blood of the crucifixion victim is historically accurate. The women did not have enough time to prepare spices and ointments for the body because it was already nearing sundown. No work could be performed on the Sabbath, not even attending to the burial of a family member.
According to forensic pathologist Dr. Zugibe, one of those scientists who personally examined the Shroud of Turin, the spot in which the nails were placed in the hands of the crucifixion victim wrapped in the Shroud is at the base of the hand's thenar furrow. If you put the tip of your thumb on the tip of your little finger, the crease that is formed in your palm is the thenar furrow. If a nail is pierced through its base, that nail will exit at the back of the hand in the indentation at the wrist, which can be felt, when the hand is flexed backward. This collection of bones in the hand and wrist is a very solid spot and a nail at that angle will easily support the amount of weight generated by an upright body whose feet are supported. Dr. Zugibe's investigation supports that the Shroud of Turin's image indicates evidence of a practice in crucifixion that supports the tradition that the nails entered Jesus' lower palms and exited the back of the wrist. In ancient times the wrist was considered to be part of the hands; see Acts 12:7 where the "chains fell from his [Peter's] hands." Surely the chains were on his wrists.
Chapter 24: The Resurrection of the Christ
He indeed died for
all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who
for their sake died and was raised.
2 Corinthians 5:15
Resurrection " and the risen Christ Himself " is the principle and source of
our future resurrection: Christ has been raised from the dead, the first
fruits of those who have fallen asleep...for as in Adam all die, so also in
Christ shall all be made alive.' The risen Christ lives in the hearts of His
faithful while they await that fulfillment. In Christ, Christians have
tasted...the powers of the age to come' and their lives are swept up by Christ
into the heart of divine life, so that they may live no longer for themselves
but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.'
Luke 24:1-12 ~ The women disciples discover the empty
1 But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; 3 but when they entered they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. 5 They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, "why do you seek the living one among the dead? 6 He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day." 8 And they remembered his words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. 10 The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, 11 but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.
Luke 24:1 But at daybreak on the first day of the week
they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
Obediently observing the Sabbath rest, the women disciples could not return to the tomb until daybreak on the day after the Sabbath.
Question: What day of the week is it on this the day of the new Creation in Christ, and what day was this in the first Creation event? See Gen 2:2.
Answer: It is the day after the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath; therefore, it is the first day of the Jewish week "the day we call Sunday, which was the first day of the first Creation.
For the Jews, the Sabbath is the last day of the week (Gen 2:1-3). The women returned on the "first day" of the week, which early Christians designated by the Roman custom as "the day of the sun" or Sunday. Christians called Sunday the "Lord's Day" to commemorate Jesus' resurrection for the dead and to offer worship in the sacrifice of the Eucharist (Acts 20:7; Rev 1:10, CCC 1166 and 2174). The women are named in verse 10: Mary Magdalene (cured of demon possession), Joanna (the wife of Cuza, Herod Antipas' chief steward), and Mary the mother of James. It is included that there were others who accompanied them. Those "others" were Salome, the mother of James and John Zebedee (Mk 16:1) and perhaps Susanna among others (Lk 8:2-3).
The day after the Sabbath of the holy week of the pilgrim
feast of Unleavened Bread is one of the seven holy annual feast days for the
Jews "St. John's Gospel explains that the Sabbath of the holy week was a solemn
observance (Jn 19:31).
Question: What is the feast that was observed by religious Jews of the covenant on the day after the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread? What is the Temple communal sacrifice that is offered on this feast day within the celebration of Passover/Unleavened Bread? See Lev 23:9-14; Dt 26:1-10, and the chart in the handouts.
Answer: It is the Feast of Firstfruits that celebrated the first fruits of the spring barley harvest in the Promised Land. The first fruits of the barley harvest are presented to God along with the sacrifice of an unblemished male lamb, a grain offering, a libation of red wine, and a public profession of faith.
The week from the 14th to the 21st of
Nisan contained three of the seven annual sacred feasts: Passover on the 14th,
Unleavened Bread from the 15th to the 21st and the Feast
of Firstfruits within that holy week on the day after the Sabbath, on the day
we call Sunday.
Question: How are each of the sacred annual feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits fulfilled in Jesus' last week in Jerusalem? See the chart in the handouts and 1 Cor 5:7.
With the exception of the Samaritans and the Karaites, most modern Jews designate Nisan the 16th as the feast of Firstfruits, which destroys the connection to Christ's Resurrection. Josephus records the feast of Pentecost, and therefore the feast of Firstfruits that determined the day of Pentecost fifty days later, used to always fall on the first day of the week but the day was altered (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 13.8.4 .
The woman disciples from the Galilee found the tomb empty.
The angels who rolled away the stone explained to them that what Jesus told
them in the Galilee had been fulfilled.
Question: What had Jesus told them before leaving the Galilee? See Lk 9:22.
Answer: Jesus told them the prophecy of His Passion and Resurrection on the third day.
All four of the Gospels record that the woman disciples were
the first to hear the angelic announcement of Jesus' Resurrection. It is their
reward for their faithfulness in standing by Jesus at His Cross of suffering.
Question: The women immediately went to tell the eleven Apostles (Judas is already dead), but they did not believe the women. However, who is it that immediately goes to the tomb?
Answer: It is St. Peter who runs to the tomb and finds it empty and the burial cloths left behind.
Both the Gospels of Luke and John report that Peter ran to investigate the tomb, but St. John includes the information that the "beloved disciple"/the "other disciple," believed to be St. John himself, also ran to the tomb and discovered the tomb empty except for the burial cloths (Jn 20:2-10). It is significant that both accounts mention the burial cloths. If robbers had disturbed the tomb, they would have left the corpse behind and would have taken the expensive burial cloths. St. John's Gospel reports that the "other" disciple "saw and believed" (Jn 20:8).
Question: What promised that Jesus made to Martha of
Bethany has been fulfilled on that Sunday that changed the course of human
history? See Jn 11:25-26.
Answer: In His resurrection, Jesus fulfilled the promise He made to Martha of Bethany when He said: I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die (Jn 11:25-26).
Luke 24:13-35 ~ Jesus and the disciples on the road to
13 Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles [sixty stadia] from Jerusalem called Emmaus, 14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. 14 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, 16 but their eyes were prevented [held/bound] from recognizing him [not to recognize (epiginosoko) him]. 17 He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?" They stopped, looking downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?" 19 And he replied to them, "What sort of things?" They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. 21 But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. 22 Some women from our group [from among us], however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. 24 Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see." 25 And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. 29 But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. 30 And it happened that, while he was [reclining] with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. 31 With that their eyes were opened and they recognized [epiginosoko] him, but he vanished from their sight. 32 Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?" 33 So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them 34 who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" 35 Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them [opened their eyes] in the breaking of the bread. [..] = literal translation (Interlinear Bible: Greek-English, vol. IV, page 244-245).
Question: What is "that very day" when two disciples
encountered the Resurrected Christ? See Lk 24:1.
Answer: It was still the "first day of the week, Resurrection Sunday.
The resurrected Christ encounters two of His disciples on
their journey home to their village of Emmaus that is sixty stadia (about seven
miles) from Jerusalem.
Question: Who are the "two of them" in verse 13 and the literally "some from among us" in verse 22? How do they know about the events they relate to the man the fail to recognize as Jesus? Compare verses 9-12 to verses 22-24.
Answer: The "two of them" are from those who were among "the others" with "the eleven" Apostles in 24:9 since they can relate what the women told the Apostles and disciples.
St. Mark mentions their meeting with the resurrected Christ and Jesus' appearance later to the eleven in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, but St. Luke includes a more detailed account of Jesus' encounter with the Emmaus disciples (Mk 16:12-17). One of the disciples is a man named Cleopas (his name is also spelled Clopas and Cleophas; see Jn 19:25). According the Church Fathers, Cleopas was a kinsman of Jesus and the father of Simon/Simeon, the second Christian Bishop of Jerusalem. The early Church historian Hegesippus (early to mid-2nd century AD) records that Cleopas was the uncle of Jesus and the brother or brother-in-law of St. Joseph (Church History, Book IV, chapter 22). Jesus' disciple Mary of Cleopas/Clopas is either Cleopas' wife or daughter "she is only called Mary of Cleopas and never Cleopas' wife as the mother of James and John is called Zebedee's wife or Joanna is called Cuza's wife (see Jn 19:25). That Cleopas was the brother of St. Joseph is also mentioned by Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (in the Holy Land) in his 4th century AD history of the Church (Church History, III.11.1 page 146). Most of the Church Fathers believed that the two disciples are Cleopas and his son Simon/Simeon.
The two disciples are broken-hearted over the events of the past three days and appear to doubt the testimony of the women as well as Peter and John's report (Jn 20:1-8) concerning the empty tomb and the possibility that Jesus is raised from the dead.
Question: Why don't they recognize Jesus as the man
walking with them? The literal Greek is "their eyes were held/bound [krateo]
in order that they might not recognize/know/perceive [epiginosoko] him"
(Johnson, page 393; IBGE, page 244).
Answer: They were prevented from recognizing Jesus. He has clouded their eyes in the same way that their faith in comprehending His resurrection has been clouded.
This condition of their "held eyes" will be reversed in
Luke 24:19b They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people ...." St. Luke will refer to Jesus as a "prophet" five times in his Gospel (4:24; 7:16, 39; 13:33; 24:19) and three times in Acts (Acts 3:22-23; 7:37; 8:34-35) for a total of eight times. It is a title that depicts Jesus as the new Moses of the new Exodus (see Lk 9:31 when Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus about His "exodus" from Jerusalem). The two disciples express this same hope of a "new Moses" in verse 21 when they say they hoped that Jesus would be the one to "redeem" Israel. It is a theme of redemption that St. Luke began in 1:68 and 2:38, but Jesus' "redemption of Israel" is to be understood in spiritual terms as the restored faithful of the covenant people of God (see Acts 13:23).
The disciples share their misgivings concerning the events
of the past week with their fellow traveler, and Jesus admonishes them for
Luke 24:25 And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
We tend to think of the heart as the seat of emotion, but for the ancients the heart signified the center of intelligence and reason and the true moral essence of a person. See similar references to "heart" for example in the Greek text of Luke 1:17, 51, 66; 2:19; 21:14 and 34.
... to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Question: What are the two significant points not to be missed in Jesus' statement concerning belief about Him concerning the prophets?
Luke 24:26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Jesus rhetorical question demands an affirmative answer and refers to God's Divine Plan for man's salvation, especially in terms of the prophecies of the "Suffering Servant" described in Isaiah 52-53. To "enter into his glory" is the same as entering into His Kingdom
He begins to teach them, beginning with the Torah (the five books of Moses from Genesis to Deuteronomy) and continuing with the Psalms (Acts 2:29-30) and books of the prophets, Jesus gave them a Scripture lesson on all the passages that were prophecies about Him and His mission of salvation.
Luke 24:28-29 As
they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression
that he was going on farther. 29 But
they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost
over." So he went in to stay with them.
Notice that Jesus does not force His company on them. Christ is a gentleman "He waits for our invitation.
Still not recognizing Jesus, they invite Him to their home
to have dinner and to spend the night.
Question: What takes place during the meal that "opens their eyes" concerning the traveler's true identity? Compare Jesus' actions at the meal with the Last Supper in Luke 22:14-19.
|Luke 22:14-19||Luke 24:29|
|... he took his place at table with the apostles||... while he was with them at table|
|Then he took the bread||... he took the bread|
|...said the blessing||... said the blessing|
|...broke it and gave it to them||...broke it and gave it to them|
It is in the same very actions of Jesus at the Last Supper as Jesus took, blessed and broke the bread (see Lk 22:19) that their spiritual eyes are opened and they recognize the Christ!
Luke 24:31-32 With
that their eyes were opened and they recognized [epiginosoko] him, but he
vanished from their sight. 32 Then
they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke
to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?" This is the second use
of the Greek word epiginosoko that is found in verse 16. In
contrast to their eyes "being bound" in 24:16 and their failure to
"recognize/know" [epiginosoko] Jesus, their eyes are now "opened." They
do not just "see" Jesus; they "recognize/know" Him.
Question: Why are they now able to recognize/know the presence of Jesus? See verses 27 and 30-31.
Answer: Recognizing the true Messianic significance of the Scriptures, they were also able to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
This is a reversal of the condition of Adam and Eve when their "eyes were opened" to sin. The wording "their eyes were opened" is the same in the Greek Septuagint of Genesis 3:7 as in Luke 24:31 and 35. Jesus "opened" the Scriptures to them in the same way that He brought about the "opening" of their eyes in the breaking of the bread in verse 31. Now mankind's eyes will continue to be opened to Christ in the breaking of the bread in the Eucharist.
Luke 24:33-35 So
they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered
together the eleven and those with them 34
who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared
to Simon!" 35 Then the two
recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them
[opened their eyes] in the breaking of the bread.
They did what all of us must do when we recognize Jesus in the midst of our lives "they immediately wanted to share their experience of the Christ!
Question: How do you share your experience of Christ?
Possible answer: We can share our experience of Christ with others when we talk about the difference Jesus has made in our lives, when we talk about God's loving plan for mankind's salvation, and when we share the Living Word that is Christ in Bible study.
In the forty days from His Resurrection to His Ascension (Acts 1:3), Jesus appeared numerous times to share Himself and to teach His eleven Apostles, His men and women disciples, including His kinsmen James and Simon/Simeon (James and Simon will become the first two Christian Bishop of Jerusalem and James is the inspired writer of the Letter of St. James). He also appeared to over 500 people at one time (1 Cor 15:6).
Luke 24:36-48 ~ Jesus' appearance to the disciples in
36 While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, 36 "Peace be with you." 37 But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." 40 And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked the, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish; 43 he took it and ate it in front of them. 44 He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understanding the Scriptures. 46 And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day 47 and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
Question: Why did He tell them to touch His wounds,
and why did He ask for something to eat?
Answer: He did this to prove that He was the flesh and blood Jesus and not an imposter or an apparition.
Luke 24:44-45 He
said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with
you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets
and psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then
he opened their minds to understanding the Scriptures.
Question: Where is the teaching Jesus gave that day to His disciples and Apostles concerning the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture in His ministry and mission written down?
Answer: It was an oral teaching that passed from Jesus to the ministers of His Kingdom and is found in the writings of the New Testament letters, in the writings of the Fathers of the Church and in Church teaching.
It was to the ministers of His Church that Jesus gave the interpretation of Sacred Scripture. As St. Peter wrote: Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of Scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the Holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God (2 Pt 1:20-21). That is not to say individual believers cannot interpret Scripture "the Church encourages the reading and study of the sacred books and provides guidelines in the Catechism (CCC 109-119). However, to insure a unity of interpretation guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church is the final authority for interpretation: ... For of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God (CCC 119).
Luke 24:46 And he said to them, "Thus it is written that
the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that
repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all
the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."
Question: Previously Jesus' mission had only been to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt 15:24) and the mission of His ministers was also limited to the Jews (Mt 10:6). What has changed to cause the mission to be expanded? See Dan 7:13-14; Mt 28:19-20 and Mk 16:15-16.
Answer: Universal power and kingship now belongs to the risen Jesus; therefore, He confers upon the eleven ministers of His Church a universal mission to teach the Gospel message of salvation and the baptize believers from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
Between Jesus' appearances to His disciples and Apostles on Resurrection Sunday and His Ascension there is a forty day period in which Jesus continues to teach the Church, appearing and disappearing at will (Acts 1:3). He will meet with them in the Galilee, as He told them at the Last Supper (Mt 26:32) and as the angel instructed them (Mt 28:7). St. John's Gospel will give a lengthy account of that meeting (Jn 21:1-23). After the Galilee, the disciples and Apostles will return to Jerusalem just before the pilgrim feast of Weeks, also known by the Greek title "Pentecost," which means "fifth day" (Dt 16:16). It was a feast that was counted fifty days from the celebration of Firstfruits (as the ancients counted) and like the Feast of Firstfruits it always fell on the first day of the week (Lev 23:15-21; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 13.8.4 . Jesus will meet with them one final time before He leads them out to the Mt. of Olives and ascends to the Father (Lk 24:49; Acts 1:4-5).
Luke 24:49-53 ~ The Ascension
49 "And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." 50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands and blessed them. 51 As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. 52 They did him homage and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the Temple praising God.
Question: What is "the promise of my Father" that
Jesus is sending? Jn 14:15-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-8.
Answer: The Paraclete "God the Holy Spirit.
Notice the procession of the Holy Spirit in these passages = from the Father and the Son. It is what we profess in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed.
Question: Where did they return to in Jerusalem to
remain in prayer? Who was among those who were present? See Mk 14:15; Lk 22:12; Acts 1:13-15.
Answer: They returned to the Upper Room in Jerusalem where they held the Last Supper and where they were staying. The Apostles, the men and women disciples, the Virgin Mary and Jesus kinsmen remained in prayer, waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
There were 120 disciples of Jesus present in continuous prayer for nine days in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem (Acts 1:13, 15). On the tenth day it was the Jewish feast of Pentecost, fifty days from the feast of Firstfruits as the ancients counted (Lev 23:15-16); it was also the day God the Father and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit "the day Christians celebrate as the birth of the New Covenant Church.(8)
Question for reflection or
Why was it necessary that Jesus should suffer, die and be resurrected to bring the gift of salvation to mankind? See Acts 2:22-24; Rom 3:23-26; 1 Pt 1:18-21; CCC 613-630. Also see the document "Did Jesus have to Suffer to Save Mankind?" on the Agape Bible Study website.
1. In the Eastern Rite churches both Pilate and his wife Claudia are recognized as Christian saints. It is a tradition in the East that Pilate was forced to commit suicide by the Roman Emperor because he was a professed Christian. There are more paintings of Pilate in the Roman catacombs than any other person other than Moses. Pilate's wife Claudia may be the Roman Christian woman that St. Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 4:21.
2. It is assumed that Simon of Cyrene became a believer in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Mark names his two sons, Alexander and Rufus, who were presumably well-known members of Mark's Christian community (Mk 14:21). Cyrenian Christians were important members of the Christian community in Antioch (Syria). Some of the Cyrenians were among the first to preach to the Gentiles in Antioch (Acts 11:20) and Lucius of Cyrene was listed as a prophet or teacher at Antioch (Acts 13:1).
3. At the time of Jesus' crucifixion, Golgotha was located outside the walls of the holy city of Jerusalem. It was forbidden to contaminate the sanctity of the holy city by the presence of the dead. Therefore no one could be buried or executed inside the walls of Jerusalem, which was considered to be "the camp of God" (Lev 24:14-23). In the years that followed Jesus' crucifixion and the subsequent destruction of the city walls in 70 AD, new walls were built that expanded the size of the city. The current city walls were built in the 16th century AD by order of the Ottoman sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent. Today the Crucifixion site and the tomb of Jesus are enclosed within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It is a church that was originally constructed in the 4th century AD after Queen Helena, the mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor, had visited Jerusalem and with the help the Bishop of Jerusalem identified the sites of Jesus' birth, death and burial. During the course of Jerusalem's turbulent history, the church was destroyed and rebuilt several times.
4. It has long been a Christian tradition that Golgotha was Adam's burial site. This is an ancient tradition dating back as far as the 3rd century AD and recorded by Christian Biblical scholars, Origen and St. Ephraim the Syrian (4th century AD). St. Jerome (the 4th century AD) rejected this story as mere legend. However, St. John Chrysostom, the 4th century Bishop of Constantinople who was born in Antioch, the home church of Sts. Paul and Barnabas wrote: And He came to the place of a skull.' Some say that Adam died there, and there lieth; and that Jesus in this place where death had reigned, there also set up the trophy. For He went forth bearing the cross as a trophy over the tyranny of death; and as conquerors do, so he bare upon His shoulders the symbol of victory" (Homilies on the Gospel of John, LXXXV.1, St. John Chrysostom). If you visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, below the site of Jesus' crucifixion, you will be shown a large rock streaked with red, and you will be told that this small cave was Adam's tomb and the blood of Christ dripped from above on to Adam's bones so that he too could be redeemed from his sins.
5. St. Augustine and other Church fathers have also seen the dividing of the garments as symbolic of the spread of the Catholic (meaning "universal") Church throughout the world, and in the undivided seamless tunic a symbol of the unity of the Church: Someone, perhaps, may inquire what is signified by the division that was made of his garments into so many parts and of the casting of lots for the coat. The clothing of the Lord Jesus Christ divided into four symbolized his fourfold Church. This Church is spread abroad over the whole world, consisting of four equal quarters, that is to say, harmoniously distributed over all these quarters. This is why he says elsewhere that he will send his angels to gather his elect from the four winds "and what is that, but from the four quarters of the world: east, west, north and south? But the coat for which lots were cast, signifies the unity of all the parts that is contained in the bond of charity, ... And it was without seam so that it can never become unsewn. And it is in one piece because he gathers all into one... (St. Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John, 118.4).
6. According to legend and tradition, in the 330's AD Queen Helena, the mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, claimed to have rediscovered the true cross of the Crucifixion, as well as the crosses of the two robbers, and the titulus that hung over Jesus' head. The crossbeam of the cross of one of the robbers, a fragment of the true cross, and the titulus were taken back to her palace in Rome. Queen Helena's palace became the Church of the Holy Cross [Santa Croce] in Rome. Through the misadventures of time, however, the location of the titulus was lost. But during a renovation of the church in the Middle Ages, the titulus was rediscovered hidden in a recess in one of the walls in the Sanctuary where it can be seen on display today. Only a portion of the titulus survives. An analysis of the titulus has revealed:
7. During a full moon the earth is between the moon and the sun. A full solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun with the moon blocking the sun's light on that portion of the earth in the shadow of the moon as the moon's disk fully covers the sun. In the cycles of the moon, it is the new moon that passes between the earth and the sun and as the moon progresses in its cycle; the full moon is on the opposite side of the earth, with the earth between the sun and the moon (with the moon reflecting the sun's light). Therefore, it is impossible to have a solar eclipse during a full moon cycle, as it was on the 15th of Nisan in 30 AD. Lunar eclipses occur when the earth is between the moon and the sun, but lunar eclipses are only partial eclipses. The description of total darkness in the Gospel accounts is the darkness of a solar eclipse (Goldsmith, The Astronomers, page 294). Dionysius the Areopagite claimed to be an eyewitness observer of the eclipse from the city of Heliopolis at the time of Christ's crucifixion. Julius Africanus quoted a pagan Roman scholar named Phlegon who wrote a history in the 2nd century AD in which he commented on the rare phenomenon at the time of Christ's crucifixion during a full moon cycle, attributing the event to a solar eclipse: During the time of Tiberius Caesar an eclipse of the sun occurred during the full moon (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18.1). The third century AD Christian scholar and apologist Origen also referred to Phlegon's comments on the total eclipse event that defied nature (Celsum, 2.14, 33, 59) as did the sixth century writer Philopon (De.opif.mund. II, 21), and Roman lawyer turned Christian priest Tertullian (c. 155-240 AD) challenged doubters to go and see the evidence recorded in the Roman achieves concerning the unexplained eclipse during the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.
8. The Upper Room may have been in the home of Jesus' disciple Mary of Jerusalem. It was her house where they usually met (Acts 12:12). It is believed that the Jewess Mary of Jerusalem was married to a Roman. Her son, John, surnamed Mark (Marcus is a Roman name) traveled with his kinsman St. Barnabas and St. Paul. St. John-Mark became Peter's secretary in Rome, wrote the second Gospel that bears his name, and according to Church history founded the Church in Alexandria, Egypt.
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2013 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.
Catechism references for this lesson (*indicates Scripture is either quoted or paraphrased in the citation):
|Lk 23:34||591*, 597*, 2605*||Lk 24:27||555*, 2625*|
|Lk 23:39-43||440*, 2626*||Lk 24:30||645*, 1166*|
|Lk 23:40-43||2266*||Lk 24:31||659*|
|Lk 23:43||1021*||Lk 24:34||552*, 641|
|Lk 23:46||730*, 1011*, 2045||Lk 24:36||641, 645*|
|Lk 23:47||441*||Lk 24:38||644*|
|Lk 24:1||641*, 2147||Lk 24:39||644*, 645*, 999|
|Lk 24:3||640*||Lk 24:40||645*|
|Lk 24:5-6||626, 640||Lk 24:41-43||645*|
|Lk 24:6-7||652*||Lk 24:41||644|
|Lk 24:9-10||641||Lk 24:43||2605|
|Lk 24:11||643||Lk 24:44-48||652*|
|Lk 24:12||640*||Lk 24:44-46||112*|
|Lk 24:13-49||1094*||Lk 24:44-45||572, 601*|
|Lk 24:13-35||1329*, 1347*||Lk 24:44||702*, 2625*, 2763*|
|Lk 24:15||645*, 659*||Lk 24:45||108|
|Lk 24:17||643||Lk 24:46||627|
|Lk 24:21||439*||Lk 24:47-48||730*|
|Lk 24:22-23||640*||Lk 24:47||981, 1120*, 1122|
|Lk 24:25-27||112*, 601*||Lk 24:48-49||1304*|
|Lk 24:26-26||572, 652*||Lk 24:51||659*|
|Lk 24:26||555, 710*|