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written of the Lord Jesus after his resurrection, we shall see that, although he arose in the same body he laid down, yet some mysterious change had passed upon it. He had laid down a natural body, he had raised it up a spiritual body. It had been sown in weakness,” now it
« raised in power."* It was the same, yet changed. At first his disciples never knew him ; or if he appeared suddenly among them in his own character, so that they must at once know it was the Lord, a feeling of awe fell upon them as if they had seen a spirit. And we see that his body was no longer subject to the same laws that it had been while he dwelt a man on earth, looking forward to the death be was to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now he could vanish out of sight; now no walls, nor closed doors could binder his approach or departure. Wherever he wished to be, there in a moment he was : for the body was now spiritualized. What lessons of delight do we learn from this, for it is promised us in holy writ, if we are his disciples, that “as we have borne the image of the earthly, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly.”
The believer's wisdom is to let his thoughts dwell continually on Christ, to trace in His life before His crucifixion, a guide and an example ; in His death and rising again, pardon and salvation ; in His after-life while yet He went in and out with His disciples, the fore-shadowings of that time of bliss when the redeemed Spirit shall be no longer imprisoned in clay, but shall dwell in a glorified body that shall be obedient to its desires.
The two disciples of Emmaus did not recognize their Lord till he took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to them. That act, so familiar to their hearts, at once dispelled the mystery which had hidden him from them. In the light of his love he stood revealed, and all he had said of his being the bread-that came down from heaven rushed back
* 1 Corinthians xv. 42-50. + 1 Cor. xv. 43. Although the identity of Christ was unaffected by the resurrection and glorification of his body, yet were His being and His nature more sublime than formerly. His appearance, although it was corporeal, was yet similar to that of celestial natures.-Olshausen, vol. iv. 288.
their souls. Verses 31, 32. “And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another; Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures ?”
None that have found Christ wish to keep the treasure hidden. His own love fills their hearts, and impels them to spread that knowledge which brings men to salvation.
Verse 33. "And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them.”
Prayer. O Blessed Saviour, thou art gone to thy heavenly home, and we thy children are still tossed between hopes and fears. Our faith is weak, our hearts are sad. We look back upon the past, and we fear for the future. By no reasoning can we reconcile our disappointed hopes with thy promises. O look with pity upon us as we travel along the path of life, and do thou join thyself unto us as thou didst to the disciples going to Emmaus.
Open unto us the Scriptures till our hearts burn within us. Alas ! even when thou art near at hand our eyes are holden, and we know thee not, we understand not the greatness of thy love. O make thyself known to us in the breaking of bread. Bring us to thy most holy Sacrament, and open our hearts to receive it, that we may know thee in the blessing thou dost impart. It is true that thy visible presence has departed from us; but let thy blessing abide with us till our mortal bodies shall put on immortality, and death shall be swallowed up in victory. So shall we be fit to dwell with thee for ever. Amen.
St. Mark in very few words relates all that we have read in St. Luke's gospel, of the Lord's kindness to the two disciples going to Emmaus. He says, after he had been seen of the women,
MARK xvi. 12. “He appeared in another form unto two of them, (that is, of the disciples,) as they walked and went into the country.”
By the words “ another form,” we must understand that mysterious change which had passed upon the body of our Lord in the resurrection, by which it had become a spiritual body; and
Verse 13. “They went and told it unto the residue : neither believed they them.”
Who these were, we do not know, except that they were some of the followers of Christ, to whom His rising from the dead appeared so impossible, that they had not believed the words of the women who had declared that they had seen the Lord, nor would they now believe the story of the disciples from Emmaus. These did not stay to convince them, but hurried on to the apostles, who they found gathered with many others, so full themselves of the glad news, that they gave them no time to speak, but joyfully burst forth :
LUKE xxiv. 34. “ The Lord is risen indeed ! and hath appeared to Simon." No account is given of that private meeting between the Lord and his penitent apostle. It is the crowning act of love
-the completion of the tender kindness of His character while on earth. He knew the bitter weeping wherewith Peter bewailed his sin, when betrayed by fear he had denied him to be his Lord. Not all the agonies of the cross—not the chill faintness of death-not the unknown mysterious journey of his soul to the kingdom where those abide who have passed through the gates of death—not the wondrous act of Almighty power in raising His own body from the power of death, could make Him forget him; who, of all His disciples, was in deepest sorrow and had greatest need of comfort. His first message by the angel was to Peter, by name, and to the disciples generallyand the first of his Apostles to whom He appeared was Peter. O Lord of love, Thou, who as a Father pitieth his children, pitiest them who are in grief because of sin, how can we fear to approach Thee, or doubt thy pardoning love ?
Then when the two from Emmaus could gain a hearing from the excited band of disciples, thus joyfully met together,
Verse 35. “ They told what things were done in the way, and how Jesus was known of them in breaking of bread.” It was now evening, and
John xx. 19. “ the doors were shut, where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews.”
When the sun had risen that morning, it had found them dismayed, despairing ; not all that their Lord had said to them while He was with them, to prepare their minds for his death upon the cross, had been able to reach their understandings. His crucifixion had taken them by surprize. They had been stunned and confounded. It had shaken their faith by its utter disagreement with their fixed notions of the reign of the Mossiah : and in the perplexed state of their minds, the resurrection of their Lord came upon them not less unexpectedly. The quiet solemnity with which Jesus had risen from the tomb, appearing not as a judge, not as the King Messiah, terrible to his enemies, all glorious in His might to His chosen people, but as the comforter of the weeping band who mourned his death, the kind sympathizing friend of a still suffering world, --all this bewildered them, and well it might. We may from their perplexity learn a useful lesson, for like them we are apt to have fixed ideas of the meaning of the prophecies, so fixed, that even in the fulfilment of them, we become bewildered by their disagreement with the order of events we had settled in our minds; thus, like the Apostles of old, we may believe the truth, and yet through the mistaken views we have formed of the order of events, the truth itself, as it is unrolled before us in the fulfilment of God's decrees, may take us by surprise, and fill our souls with terror and bewilderment, instead of joy and consolation.
On the evening of the resurrection-day the apostles were met together. First one, and then another report had reached them that the Lord had risen indeed.
LUKE xxiv. 36–40. “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and af righted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled ? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.”
Blessed Lord! How great, how unspeakable is his lovingkindness! He knew and felt for the fears of his disciplesHe knew how great the shock that human nature must receive, when brought into contact with what is beyond nature. He knew that flesh and blood would recoil from the actual presence