THE RESURRECTION . All the four evangelists give an account of the Resurrection. None of the four, however, attempt to give a history of it simply from a human point of sight. Each Gospel probably reproduces the special points dwelt on in certain great centres of Christian teaching, in what we should now term different schools of thought. (Attempts have been made by theological scholars to classify these as Jewish, Gentile, Greek, Roman; but only with indifferent success).
The teaching which St. Matthew's Gospel represents, evidently in the Resurrection preaching dwelt with peculiar insistence on the great Galilaean appearance of the Risen. St. Luke confines himself exclusively to the appearance, in Judaea. St. John chooses for his Resurrection instruction scenes which had for their theatre both Galilee and Judaea. St. John, as his central or most detailed piece of teaching, dwells on a fishing scene on Gennesaret, the actors being the well-known inner circle of the apostles. While St. Luke chooses for his detailed Resurrection narrative a high-road in a Jerusalem suburb; and for actors, two devoted, but historically unknown, disciples.
Then there is no question of discrepancies in this portion of the great history. It is not easy to frame a perfectly satisfactory harmony of all the events related by the four, after the Lord had risen; for, in fact, we possess no detailed account or history of what took place in that eventful period in presence of the disciples. We simply have memoranda of eye-witnesses of certain incidents connected with the Resurrection selected by the great first teachers as specially adapted to their own preaching and instruction.
The events of the first Easter Day have Been tabulated by Professor Westcott, in what he terms a provisional arrangement, as follows:—
Very early on Sunday
The Resurrection, followed by the earthquake, the descent of the angel, the opening of the tomb ( Matthew 28:2-4 ).
Mary Magdalene, Mary the [mother] of James and Salome, probably with others, start for the sepulchre in the twilight. Mary Magdalene goes before the others, and returns at once to Peter and John ( John 20:1 , etc.),
John 5:30 a.m.
Her companions reach the sepulchre when the sun had risen ( Mark 16:2 ). A vision of an angel. Message to the disciples.
Another party, among whom is Joanna, come a little later, but still in the early morning. A vision of "two young men." Words of comfort and instruction ( Luke 24:4 , etc.).
John 6:30 a.m.
The visit of Peter and John ( John 20:3-10 ). A vision of two angels to Mary Magdalene ( John 20:11 - 13). About the same time the company of women carry their tidings to the apostles ( Luke 24:10 , etc.).
The Lord reveals himself to Mary Magdalene. Not long after he reveals him self, as it appears, to the company of women who are returning to the sepulchre. Charge to the brethren to go to Galilee ( Matthew 28:9 , etc.).
The appearance to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus.
After 4 p.m.
An appearance to St. Peter.
The appearance to the eleven and others.
In the above table one point must be specially noticed: two companies or separate groups of women are mentioned as going to the sepulchre with the same pious object of assisting in the final embalming of the sacred body.
If this be assumed to be the fact, there will be nothing improbable in the supposition that both these groups of women, all doubtless intimate friends belonging to the little company of the Master, but living probably some distance apart in Jerusalem, came together some time on the sabbath day, and then arranged to meet early on the first day at the sepulchre. Probably the spices purchased in some haste just before the sabbath commenced were judged inadequate.
In considering the accounts of the Resurrection, the following memoranda will be found suggestive:—
(a) at different hours of the day;
(b) in different localities—in Judaea, in Galilee, in rooms of houses, in the open air.
The meeting with the risen Jesus on the way to Emmaus.
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! better translated, O foolish men , and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken ! The Stranger now replies to the confused story of sorrow and baffled hopes just lit up with one faint ray of hope, with a calm reference to that holy book so well known to, so deeply treasured by every Jew. "See," he seems to say, "in the pages of our prophets all this, over which you now so bitterly mourn, is plainly predicted: you must be blind and deaf not to have seen and heard this story of agony and patient suffering in those well-known, well-loved pages! When ,those great prophets spoke of the coming of Messiah, how came it about that you missed seeing that they pointed to days of suffering and death to be endured by him before his time of sovereignty and triumph could be entered on?"
(For a beautiful paraphrase of this Scripture, see the passage in Cowper's poem 'Conversation,' beginning, "It happened on a solemn eventide." The incident is presented by him as an illustration of converse "such as it behoves man to maintain, and such as God approves." And it is impossible to resist the appropriateness of the lesson which is enforced.) The time of the memorable appearance is the afternoon, probably between four and six; and its prominent persons are two disciples, not apostles, whom it is impossible to identify. The one is called Klopas or Cleophas, supposed by many to be Alphaeus, the brother of Joseph of Nazareth, and father of James; but the name being a contraction of Cleopatrus, the supposition is scarcely admissible. The other is not mentioned by name, and many conjectures concerning him have been framed. A worthy German pastor once said, "The learned cannot come to any agreement who the other was, and I will give you this good counsel—let each of you take his place." Look at these two men as they journey. "The sun of the Resurrection was enveloped in thick clouds of despondency and sorrow, scarcely penetrated by a ray of light." It would seem that they had left the gathering of disciples before Mary had brought her tale. What they dwell on is, "True, the body was not in the tomb; but then he was not seen;" and one risen from the dead was a thought which they could scarcely credit. They are not sure even that the women really saw angels; it was, perhaps, only a vision of angels, and, having the notions of their time as to ghosts and apparitions, they incline to the belief that there was no reality in the presence of whom the Maries and Salome and others had spoken. No; he is dead, and the third day has come and gone, and he has not been seen. Let this state of mind be noted. There was no predisposition in Christ's followers to accept the Resurrection. Far from this, the evidence made way against doubtings, against scepticisms, we might say, of the most obstinate nature. These foolish and slow-hearted men were almost the last people likely to credit the tale. How was it that this temperament, incredulous, despondent, so quickly gave way to one full of worship and great joy? How was it that such men gave up all, travelled hither and thither with the one message ever on their lips, many of them suffering death because they would maintain that the Christ who was crucified did rise, had been seen by them, and is alive for evermore? I can find only one answer to the question—They witnessed to truth. "The Lord is risen indeed." But regard the incident in the light of the thought that the forty days in which Christ showed himself alive after his Passion were intended as a time of preparation for that new form of his presence which began when the day of Pentecost was fully come. Studying the forty-days' period, we can find many hints and suggestions as to the manner of Christ's intercourse with us, of his coming to us in the Comforter whom he promised until the end of the age. The special teaching of this journey to Emmaus, and all that befell the two, may be gathered under three points:
I. CHRIST WITH US , BUT UNREVEALED . A Stranger asks the cause of the dejection of the two travellers, and, by his sympathy and courtesy, draws out their confidence. Two reasons for not discerning him are given. The one is ( Mark 16:12 ), that "he appeared in another form" than that with which they were familiar. Not the form of the Shepherd going before them, but that of the Companion in walking and working clothes travelling by their side. But there is the other reason (verse 16)—"Their eyes were holden that they should not know him." They were not at that time in spiritual light; their vision was narrowed by their great sorrow. Are not these still the reasons why so often we do not see the Christ who is with us as we travel along the thoroughfares of life? He is not in the form in which we expect him. Sometimes he hides himself, that he may get the more fully into our hearts. He is with us, wanting the halo, wanting all that would at once declare him, that he may be more intimately our Friend, "familiar, patient, condescending, free." And we miss or mistake him, because we cannot see beneath the form, because our minds are self-occupied, or, when intent on higher things, are wanting in the elevation, in the pure sweet light, of the spiritual mind. Only when the spiritual eyes are opened do we know who has been and is with us. But he is with us as we toil on our toilsome way, bearing the heat and burden of the afternoon. It is he who is touching the springs or' our thought and action. It is he who is speaking to us. Fear not, thou weary and heart-sore disciple; when thy comforts seem to be gone, he, the Comforter, is close to thee. Thy tears are falling; he is nigh with his "Why weepest thou?" Thou art seeking thy God, but thy soul is unresting, because it cannot find the Rock; he is nigh with his "Whom seekest thou?" Thou hast left the city's din behind thee, and art alone with thyself; he is nigh, assuring thee that the fairest vineyards are those which are received from the valley of troubling. Thou art in communion with some kindred spirit, exchanging the fears and joys of the mind that turns to heaven; he is nigh, rejoicing to add himself to the two or three. The story of Emmaus is indeed a figure of the life-pilgrimage. Bear from it the pledge that whosoever is true to the light, is, though halting and uncertain may be his steps, the neighbour to Jesus Christ—Jesus himself near and in fellowship with all communing and reasoning.
II. And how? TEACHING , ALTHOUGH PERSONALLY UNRECOGNIZED . What Christ was in his dealing with the two, he has been in his dealing with his Church. During the past centuries he has been "teaching and expounding the things concerning himself." Did he not promise that the Holy Ghost would be the Guide into all truth, through the glorifying of him, the receiving of his and showing it to his own? What is the witness for the fulfilment of this office? It is the history of the past eighteen centuries. The text from which the Holy Ghost has been preaching is that which Jesus sounded (verse 26); and the way of the sermon is the very way of Christ (verse 27). Moses and the prophets, apprehended in New Testament light, have, for these centuries, been read, opened up, as the treasury of the things of Christ. Thought and culture, devotion and obedience, stand to-day where they stood yesterday—before the mighty "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" Is there not progressiveness in the teaching of the Holy Ghost? There is development in Christianity. It has its permanent, but it has its progressive, element also. It is only by little and little that the higher truth of the kingdom enters the hearts of men. Precept must be on precept, line on line, until the dispensation of the opening, when the Church, gathered fully into the house of the Lord, will receive from-the pierced hand the bread of the eternal life. So in personal history and experience. There is One teaching us, even when we do not recognize who he is. Life is the school in which the Holy Ghost is the Instructor. Christ and Christ's love, and the meaning of our existence as interpreted in Christ's cross, is the lesson in which we are taught. We pass from standard up to standard, the book which regulates all the teaching being the Scriptures. Many are the forms which the Holy Ghost, the Teacher, assumes; many are the agencies through which he draws near. But if, with receptive minds, we are yielded to him, he is taking us step by step along the path of the manifold education meant for the disciple of Jesus; expounding as we are able to bear, stooping to our immaturities and weaknesses; a presence in us rather than external to us, stimulating thought and desire, enkindling into fuller flame the smoking flax; so that by-and-by we are able to say, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?" (verse 32).
III. Behold CHRIST REVEALED AND RECOGNIZED . The village is reached. Must the delightful companionship end? Courteously saluting them, the Stranger apparently is going on. Nay, the sun is about to set; they entreat him not to leave them (verse 29). He would have gone on if there had been no prayer. The personal desire is essential to the tarrying. But that desire never pleads in vain. How many never plead for the tarrying—indeed, do not want it! For the drawing near and journeying with us, no desire from us is needed. Christ does that of his own will. But the tarrying is another matter. He cannot force an entrance; he will be forced. "They constrained him." He receives sinners for salvation; their reception of him is salvation ( Revelation 3:20 ). At meat with them he is revealed. What it was that disclosed him we cannot exactly say. The whole manner is solemn and striking. At once he takes the head of the table. The Master's place is conceded to him. And that always prepares for revelation. When the heart is truly yielded to Christ, the moment of the showing of himself is near. He takes the bread; he blesses; he breaks, and gives it to the two. And their eyes are opened, and they know him. There is the voice, the blessing, and I think, the sight of the pierced hands—the sight that I expect to have in glory. The meal may not have been a full sacrament. But Christ's presence and blessing made, the meal sacramental; for that presence and that blessing elevate whatever is ordinary. And the action before us is a consecration of ordinance as well as Word as the means of revelation. The Word prepares for the ordinance; in the ordinance Christ is revealed. Is not this a forecast of the future? Is it not Christ's will to make himself known to those who sit at meat with him—they having first constrained him and being thus spiritually susceptible—in the breaking of bread? Observe the signs of the revelation. A new sight (verse 31); a new energy (verse 33); a new sympathy (verses 33, 34); a new eloquence (verse 35). Joy, joy to the disciples who have seen the Lord. But he has vanished out of their sight. He must not hinder, by his bodily presence, the lifting of the consciousness into the region of the spiritual presence. That on which afterwards they dwell is, not the glimpse they have had of face and hand, but the power of his Spirit, the life-giving force of his Word (verse 32). The clouds were dispelled by the rising of the Day-star in the heart. That is the sign of Christ with us here. By that we know that it is he who has been talking with us. One day, but not in this present time, we shall see him as he is; he will bless and break and give to us himself, the Bread of life. And then he will not vanish out of our sight.
"Oh, then shall the veil be removed,
And round me thy brightness be poured;
I shall meet him whom absent I loved,
I shall see whom unseen I adored.'
Privilege; unconscious companionship; incredulity.
In this most interesting narrative, beside a very pleasing and attractive picture, we have a variety of lessons. We may gather instruction respecting—
I. OUR LORD 'S ELECTIVE LOVE . It was a very great favour he granted to these two men. Why, we ask, was it rendered to them ? Of one we do not even know his name, and of the other nothing but his name. Why was so rare and high a privilege accorded to these obscure disciples, and not rather to those more prominent and active? In truth, we find ourselves quite unable to decide who are the fittest to receive special favours from the hand of God, or on what grounds he wills to manifest his presence and his power. His selections, we are sure, cannot be arbitrary or irrational. God must have not only a reason, but the best reason, for everything he does. But into the reasons for his choice we often may not enter; they lie beyond our reach. It is not to the acknowledged leaders of the Church that God often chooses to manifest especial privilege, but to those who are simple, unexpectant, unknown. He grants illuminations of his Spirit, peculiar joy and gladness of heart in him, remarkable success in the utterance of his truth, anticipatory glimpses of heavenly glory, to whom he will. And these are quite likely to be found amongst the humbler members of his Church. If there is any law which will guide our judgment it is this—that it is to the "pure in heart," to those who have most perfectly conquered the fleshly passions and are most freed from worldly ambitions and anxieties, who have the simplest and purest hope in him and desire toward him, that he vouchsafes his presence and grants the teaching and inspiration of his Spirit. But Christ's elective love is fully as much of a fact as it is of a doctrine.
II. UNCONSCIOUS COMPANIONSHIP WITH CHRIST . These two men were walking and talking with Christ, receiving his truth and responding to his appeal, their hearts "burning within them" as they held sweet and sacred intercourse with him; yet they did not recognize him; they had no idea that they were having fellowship with the Lord. There is much unconscious companionship with Jesus Christ now. Men are led into belief of the truth, are impressed with the sovereign claims of God upon their service, and of Jesus Christ upon their love; they ask, they inquire, they come to the feet of Christ to learn of him; they come to the cross of Christ to trust in him; they shun what they believe to be offensive, and pursue what they think is right and pleasing in his sight; and yet they are not at rest. They think they may be in a good way or in a fair way to find life; but they do not realize that they are in the right way. The fact is ofttimes that they are walking in the path of life with Christ, but "their eyes are holden that they do not know him." A Divine One has joined himself to them, as familiarly and unpretendingly as to these two disciples, ingratiating himself into their favour, wooing and winning their trust and their love; but because there has been no period of welt-recognized revolution, no sudden remarkable convulsion, they have failed to perceive that the work wrought within them has been that of his own kind and holy hand. Such souls need to learn that oftenest it is not in the wind, or in the earthquake, or in the fire, but in the still small voice of familiar truth and gracious influence, that Christ comes to the soul in renewing power. If it is in Christ we are trusting, if it is in his service we are most willing to live, if it is his will we are most concerned to do, then it is he himself by whose side we are walking day by day.
III. THE STRANGE INCREDULITY OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP . Our Master, who was so gentle and so considerate, here employs a very strong expression ( Luke 24:25 ). This is the language of serious reproach; it is a weighty rebuke. The disciples of Christ ought to have read their Scriptures better, and they ought to have heeded the reiterated warning and promise he had himself given them of his death and his rising again. But while we wonder at what seems to us their slowness to learn and to believe, are we not as obtuse and as incredulous as they were? Do we not fail to grasp the promises of God as they are written in his Word, as they were spoken by his Son our Saviour? When those things happen which we should expect to happen in connection with the teaching of Divine truth; when the Spirit of God works mightily and mercifully in the souls of men; when hard hearts are broken and stubborn wills are subdued to the obedience of Christ; when wrong and shameful lives are changed into pure and holy ones; when the kingdom of God comes amongst us;—are we not surprised, incredulous? Are we not tempted to ascribe these issues to other than heavenly sources? And yet ought not this very result to happen? Is it not precisely what we should have been looking for, and wondering that it did not occur? We shall probably find abundant illustrations of Christian incredulity to match anything of which we read in our New Testament. "Slow of heart" are we to believe all that the Master has said of the presence and the power and the promises of God.—C.
Further lessons by the way.
Other lessons beside those already gleaned (see preceding homily) await our hand in this instructive story.
I. THE THREAD OF TRIAL WHICH RUNS THROUGH THE FABRIC OF OUR LIFE . On one occasion our Lord asked a question of one of his disciples, and of that question it is said, "This he said to prove him" ( John 6:6 ). There were other occasions, e.g. that of the blind beggars by the wayside, and that of the Syro-phoenician woman, when Jesus said things to prove or to try those who came to him. We have the same thing here. He drew near to these two disciples in the guise of a stranger; he chose to remain unknown to them; he drew them out as if he were one unacquainted with the events which were filling their minds and hearts; he induced them to discover themselves freely and fully both to his own eyes and to theirs; moreover, he was in the act of passing on, and would have gone beyond Emmaus if they had not availed themselves of the opportunity of persuading him to remain. And thus he tried them. The "trial of our faith," and of our love and loyalty, forms a great part of our Master's dealing with ourselves. It explains many otherwise inexplicable things in our life. God appears to us other than the kind, gracious, pitiful, considerate Father that he is. Christ seems to be other than the present, strong, faith-rewarding Master that he is. Why does God let such things happen to us? Why does not Christ bring to pass that for which we labour and pray so earnestly? It may be that, in these cases, he is trying us; proving the sincerity and deepening the roots of our faith and love and zeal. We shall be the stronger, and our lives will be the more fruitful, for his action or his lingering, a little further on.
II. THE TRUE WAY TO MAKE THE SABBATH A DELIGHT . It was fitting that on the first sabbath of the Christian era there should be recorded an instance in which the day was spent as Christ would have it be. What a pleasant picture this of communion with Christ, of searching the Scriptures, of sitting down at the same table with him! We have here:
1 . Communion with our Lord. About one-fourth of the whole day these favoured men were conversing with Christ, opening their minds and outpouring their hearts to him, telling him their hopes and their fears, and receiving kind and illuminating responses from his lips. So should our "fellowship be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ," on the "day of the Lord." And as we may be sure that the way to Emmaus was marvellously shortened that afternoon, and the village houses showed themselves long before they were looked for, so will earnest and loving communion with our living Lord, so will our walking with Christ, make the hours go swiftly by on the wings of holy and elevated joy, and we shall "call the sabbath a delight."
2 . Sacred study. ( Luke 24:27 , Luke 24:32 .) How wonderful these Scriptures which contain the record of Divine revelation! So short as to be capable of being committed to the memory, and yet so full as to contain all that is needful for our enlightenment and enrichment, for guidance to God and heaven; so dull to the unquickened conscience, and so delightful to the awakened and renewed; holding mysteries insoluble to human learning, and yet intelligible and instructive from Genesis to Revelation to the earnest inquirer after truth and life; valueless in the market, and yet precious beyond all price to all who want to know how to live and how to die. As Christ and the two learners walked and talked, new light shone on the old passages, and the way was too short and the time too soon gone for their interest and their eagerness to be expended.
3 . Meeting the living Lord at his table. (Verse 30.) This was not, strictly speaking, a "sacramental" meal to which they sat down. It was not the "Lord's Supper" of which they partook. But there was about it so much of reverence, of religious earnestness, of holy communion, of sacred joy, that it may well suggest to us that most excellent way of spending some part of "the Lord's day."
III. THE WORTH OF ALL TRUE CHRISTIAN LABOUR . Possibly those who teach may sometimes ask themselves whether it is worth their while to conduct so small a class, to preach to so poor a congregation. Here is the answer to that questioning. If the risen Lord of glory thought it worth his while to walk seven miles and spend two hours in enlightening the minds and comforting the hearts of two humble and obscure disciples; if he was content to spend a good part of his first sabbath in taking a class of two, and pouring from the rich treasury of his truth into their minds, we may not think it unworthy of us to spend time in enlightening or comforting one human heart that craves the succour it is in our power to give. The disciple is not above his Master.
IV. THE SECRET OF SPIRITUAL INTEREST , Do we devoutly wish that we knew more of that sacred gladness of which these disciples were so happily conscious as he "talked with them by the way, and opened to them the Scriptures" (verse 32)? Then:
1 . Let us see that we are, as they were, earnestly desirous of knowing more of Jesus Christ. Let us go to our Bible and go up to the house of the Lord with that end distinctly and prominently in view.
2 . Let us seek and gain the same Divine illumination. It is still to be had, though that voice is not now heard in our ear. The "Spirit of truth" is with us still, waiting to illumine and to enlarge our hearts; if we seek his aid and open our minds to his entrance, he will "guide us into all the truth" ( John 16:13 ).—C.
The risen Christ the best Escort on the pilgrim, age of life.
We left Peter in perplexity, but he and John must have returned to the rest of the disciples, and reported the emptiness of the sepulchre, but that they had not seen the Risen One (verse 24). John does not seem to have communicated his own convictions unto the others. Most likely he is turning the matter over in his mind, as contemplative and deep-thinking men will do before giving a public pronouncement. Meanwhile there is a dispersion of some of the disciples that very afternoon. Thomas seems to have gone away, and to have remained away that night. And two of them proceed seven or eight miles into the country to Emmaus, where their home seems to have been. It is these two pilgrims that we are now to follow. They leave the city, and their conversation is sad. They are discussing the bright hopes which have been so lately quenched by the crucifixion of their Lord. It is while so sad that Jesus joins them; for he who had been the "Man of sorrows" and "acquainted with grief" is ever breaking in upon men's troubles to relieve them. His treatment of these "unwilling sceptics," as they have been lately called, is most instructive. £ He probes their sorrow, gets an insight into its cause, gets them to state their hopes, their disappointments, and the rumours they had heard of his resurrection. On this basis, although apparently an unknown Stranger, he proceeds to show them their error and slowness in not believing all that the prophets have spoken about Messiah. Beginning, therefore, at Moses, he expounds to them from all the prophets that Messiah must first suffer, and then enter into his glory. The exposition was so brilliant and interesting, that they felt their hearts burning within them during the process. Then, under compulsion, he enters their lodging at Emmaus, sits down as Guest, then proceeds as Host to distribute the food as at the sacramental meal. Not till then did they recognize their risen Lord in the devout Being who graced their board. Once recognized, and thus dispelling all their doubt, he vanishes into the invisible. Such experience could not be quietly kept at Emmaus. They resolve to return that very night to Jerusalem, to report their interview, and how blessed an Escort Jesus had been in their pilgrimage. They are in time for the manifestation of the Risen One to the assembled disciples. We may learn from the narrative such lessons as these.
I. JESUS MAKES HIS ADVENT TO US WHEN OUR SOULS ARE SAD . This is the very spirit of the dispensation. Thus he cried, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" ( Matthew 11:28 ). And as the risen Saviour he prefers, we may well believe, the house of mourning to the house of mirth. Not only so, but when souls are in sad perplexity, when they are "unwilling sceptic%" it is his delight to come and be their Escort along life's way, and lead them out of gloom and difficulty into real peace and joy. Now, when we know how accessible he is through prayer, we should never undertake any pilgrimage without securing the companionship of Jesus.
II. WE LEARN THAT JESUS IS OFTEN WITH US WHILE WE KNOW IT NOT . Here was he with these two pilgrims, taking step by step with them to Emmaus, and yet their eyes were so holden that they did not know him. He was near them, but they did not know him. Is not this the case with all of us? He is at our side, he takes every step with us, but we are so blinded with care and preoccupation that we fail to see him or enjoy his society as we should. The omnipresence of Jesus should be the believer's constant consolation.
III. JESUS IS HIMSELF AT ONCE THE GREAT SUBJECT AND THE GREAT EXPOSITOR OF SCRIPTURE . Here we find him, after listening so sympathetically to all the difficulties of the disciples, proceeding to expound to them, "in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself." "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." And here it is well to notice what is the substance of the whole revelation. It is put in these words of the risen Saviour, "Ought not Messiah to have suffered these things, and to have entered ( εἰσελθεῖν ) into his glory?" The Authorized and Revised Versions have alike failed to give the proper rendering here. Our Lord declares that he has entered already into his glory, just as he has already passed through his sufferings. We believe it can be made out from this and other passages that our Lord ascended—of course invisibly—without disciples as spectators, to heaven, and reported himself on high immediately after telling Mary, "I ascend [not 'will ascend'] unto my Father and your Father, to my God and your God" ( John 20:17 ; cf. also Bush on ' The Resurrection.') This supposition of an ascension on the very day of the Resurrection enables us to understand his movements during the rest of the day, and his bestowal of the Spirit, which was conditioned on his glorification, in the evening ( John 20:22 ; cf. John 7:39 ). It also enables us to regard heaven as his head-quarters during the forty days before his visible ascension from Olivet. Upon this interesting subject we cannot now dwell, however; but we content ourselves by pointing it out, and emphasizing the fact of Jesus as the suffering and glorified Messiah being the Hero, the Substance, and the great Expositor of revelation. It is when we look for him in the Word that it becomes luminous and delightful.
IV. THE ENTERTAINMENT OF JESUS IS SURE TO LEAD TO SPECIAL BLESSING . These two men insisted on Jesus sojourning with them, because it was towards evening and the day was far spent. And as he sojourned, he was transmuted from Guest to Host, and gave them a sacramental instead of common feast. It is when devoutly asking a blessing on the bread that he is recognized, only, however, to vanish like a vision from their sight. Now we may pass through an analogous experience. Is not this what is meant by the Master when he says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" ( Revelation 3:20 )? If we are open-hearted, and welcome Jesus, he will enter our hearts and sup with us, taking whatever we have to give him, and delighting in it, and enable us to sup with him. He will change into a Host from being our Guest. It was thus he acted at the marriage of Cana; it was thus he acted at Emmaus; it was thus he acted on the Shore of the Galilaean lake. He may be Guest, but he will soon show himself to be our Host, and give us a feast of fat things.
V. LIFE IS LARGELY A LIVING UPON HAPPY MEMORIES . AS soon as the Risen One had vanished, they began to compare notes about the burning heart, and all the happy memories of their journey from Jerusalem. And as they plodded in that night through the dark to report their great discovery, they lived upon the happy memory. But, had they only known it, the risen Jesus was in some way making that return journey to Jerusalem too, making for the same upper room, to reveal himself to the disciples, and their fellowship with him might have been repeated. At all events, we need not live on happy memories , but may enjoy Christ's spiritual presence and his escort all through the pilgrimage of life. It is this which will make the present life a heaven, not by anticipation merely, but in actual enjoyment; for fellowship with Christ, even though he be unseen, is the chief element of heaven. May we have the great Escort with us all the way!—R.M.E.