Luke 24:36b-48 - The truth about being witnesses to Jesus Christ

Updated: Apr 2

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Jesus himself stood among the disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.


Then 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, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.


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This is the Gospel selection to be read aloud on the third Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary of the Episcopal Church. Before this reading will be presented, the mandatory reading from Acts [today Acts 3:12-19] will include the verse stating: “You rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” Psalm 4 will also be presented on this day, with the verse singing, “Tremble, then, and do not sin; speak to your heart in silence upon your bed.” Immediately before the priest presents this Gospel reading, a reader will offer wisdom from the First Epistle of Saint John, which says, “The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”


This reading begins in the middle of verse 36, where the omitted introduction tells of Cleopas and his wife Mary having arrived to the place where the disciples and followers of Jesus were in hiding. The verse begins, “While they were talking about this,” which was the appearance of Jesus, in unrecognizable form, in their home in Emmaus. Those two had hurried to walk back the seven miles to Jerusalem, in order to give those close to Jesus hope that he was back … just looking different. That setting must be realized for this appearance of Jesus to have greater impact.


Last Sunday the Gospel reading was John’s version of this same event, although it included two appearances of Jesus, one when Thomas was away from the group and one after Thomas had returned. The first appearance was in the evening of day, or around three in the afternoon. The second appearance was around 6:30 PM, after the group had offered a prayer for the eighth day in the Counting of the Omer. They were eating broiled fish and bread for dinner, as Cleopas and Mary came in and talked about what they had seen, while the others ate. This means this reading from Luke is after everyone is together in one place; and, that needs to be realized to make this reading have greater impact.


Still, on Easter Sunday there were two Gospel reading possibilities, one from John and one from Mark, which told of the women going to the tomb and finding it opened and the tomb appearing to be empty. That prompted Mary Magdalene to run tell Peter and John to come investigate. With the physical body of Jesus found gone, the women (and John) saw a man robed in dazzling white, with Mary Magdalene witnessing a man she thought was the gardener, with both of those unrecognizable figures realized to be Jesus. All of those people had stories to tell about that day, which had then led them all to be together that evening, eating broiled fish and hearing Cleopas and Mary excitedly come in telling about what they had seen.


One has to grasp that there were perhaps as many as ninety people all together (men, women and children), all followers or disciples who had been commissioned by Jesus, and their families who were in Jerusalem for the Passover festival, which had just ended. All were from out of town [Galilee] and their rental agreements in town had expired. It becomes important to imagine this crowded situation as being a din of noise and conversation [several people trying to talk at once, over one another], so the sudden appearance of Jesus is less conspicuous than if he suddenly popped in on a much smaller group. That needs to be realized to make this reading have greater impact.


Sunday, the first day of the week, followed a festival of the Unleavened Bread [seven days, plus the Seder feast prior to that week] that ended on a Sabbath. While that meant the festival was officially over around 9:00 AM the day before people went to the tomb, the Jewish restrictions on travel on a Sabbath kept everyone in place until Sunday morning. The crack of dawn was when all roads leading away from Jerusalem were filled with families returning from whence they came.


Cleopas and Mary had most likely gathered with the large group of Jesus family, followers and disciples, to make sure everyone was okay and safe, before they left to go home to Emmaus. Most likely, they had heard some of the scuttlebutt about Jesus’ tomb being empty and seeing angels and whatnot; but they had all that fly over their heads. Cleopas and Mary were no different than you and I, in the sense that being told there were such things as angels and ghosts does not guarantee we will believe that ourselves. Just like us, they would have put everything said as someone else’s opinion [which is always lesser than one’s own opinion].


Because the people who followed Jesus were Galileans, they would have all traveled together in a caravan-like group back home. They would have all departed Jerusalem as soon as the ‘green light’ turned on. However, because the figure Mary Magdalene thought was the gardener told her, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17b), she had told the disciples this; and, those leaders probably decided to hold everyone for a day, to see if Jesus needed them in his ascension to the Father.


Because such a large number of people had decided not to head out of town on Sunday, along with large flows of pilgrims, many of which were going to or through Galilee, that safety in numbers grew weaker as sunset came. Most likely (I believe), they were allowed to stay on the grounds of Joseph of Arimathea’s estate just outside of Jerusalem. There they would have set up a campsite, with the estate probably having a gated driveway and some fence or wall, which would have been closed at night [after 6:00 PM].


Thomas [and perhaps a couple of others who were not disciples of leadership] had been sent out to secure food for a large group. He would have found some vendor selling bread, wine, and salted fish, which would have been purchased and taken back to the group before the gates of Jerusalem and Joseph’s compound were closed. There, the women would have broiled the fish for everyone to eat. Still, by not leaving when the vast majority of Jews were leaving, they would be more recognizable, if any of the leaders of the Temple spotted them traveling. Because Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, but a follower of Jesus, he offered them a safe haven for the time they stayed.


This reading begins by naming “Jesus” specifically, when what Luke wrote was this: “autos estē en mesō autōn”. That literally states, “himself stood in the middle of them.” The implication says Jesus stood among them and that becomes the surface simplicity of these words. However, the same words can mean on a deeper level of spirituality that the soul of Jesus suddenly was within each one of them, so all felt his presence. This has to be acknowledged as the truth being exposed in this reading, because by not naming him specifically, Jesus appeared as every one of those named people.


When this concept is taken hold of, one can then hear the voice of Jesus speaking a gentle command within one’s brain, saying, “Peace to you.” Here, the word “Eirēnē” is capitalized, which brings upon its meaning a divine essence, more than a simple sense of clam or a common Jewish greeting [like shalom]. The meaning (as I explained in the John 20 reading last Sunday) becomes “Wholeness” or “Union,” which makes it be the proposal of Yahweh, spoken through the image of His Son, to marry with Him and become His wives [individually and collectively]. Thus, that message of “Unity” is more powerful when heard spoken within one’s being, more than hearing it spoken externally, captured by one’s ears.


It is at this point of hearing a voice inside their heads calling for “Wholeness” that Luke wrote three series of words, the second introduced by the word “kai,” which all deal with the recent past, as “having been terrified , kai filled with fear having been , they were thinking soul to experience”. All of that terror and fear had been brought on by the thoughts that were once in their brains, which were led by a soul [“pneuma”] that could only perceive things in terms of the material world. They had watched Jesus be unjustly tried, then tortured, then executed and entombed, only to find someone had stolen his corpse, so they all importantly feared the same would happen to them, for having followed, supported, and learned from Jesus. However, with the appearance of Jesus and his “Peace” within them, all that had been and was disappeared.


This then leads to the great importance [the presence of a capitalized “Kai”] of the presence of Jesus asking each of them, “Why” [from a capitalized “Ti”] “troubled are you”? The capitalization then says the soul of Jesus was added [“Kai” as “And”] to each one of them. Therefore, the reason “Why” was his soul knowing “troubled you are” [from “tetaragmenoi este”].


Then, following a comma-kai combination, it becomes important to realize Jesus was then asking each soul-body, “because of what doubts do come up in the hearts of you?” All had been asked to stay in Jerusalem another day, while all had heard unbelievable accounts of strangers seeming to be Jesus, only to suddenly disappear, all while the group feared the Temple elite would have them all arrested, tortured and killed, just like the Jesus they saw. The presence of Jesus’ soul within them all knew what doubts were in there hearts … and then there was Thomas who verbalized those doubts.


It was at that point that this voice spoke to each one of them, loud and clear, saying “see these hands of me kai those feet of me , that I am same.” In this, each one saw their own hands and their own feet as those of Jesus. The importance of “those feet,” when not so importantly stated before “these hands,” says Jesus would walk as each one of them, sent to deliver the Word of Yahweh to seekers. Therefore, when Jesus spoke the words “that I am” [from “hoti egō eimi”], each one of them knew “that” he or she, young or old, could make the claim, “I am” Jesus reborn. Each had become one with Yahweh, having given birth to His Son in their flesh, so they were all “the same self” [“autos”] as Jesus.


The voice of Jesus then appealed to the physical senses of his followers, saying to each of them, “touch me kai experience , because soul flesh kai bones not possesses , according to the manner in which me you perceive possessing.” That says Jesus spoke to each and every one of his family, followers, and disciples, telling each one his or her soul [spirit of life] was each of them. To touch Jesus, all they had to do was touch themselves, another, or anything and feel what if feels like to feel as Jesus. Everything they sensed and experienced they did as Jesus reborn. Each of them was a soul possessing flesh, but none of their bones any longer controlled their souls, forcing them to do the bidding of the body their souls were within. All had become possessions of Yahweh, through the marriage of their souls to His Holy Spirit; so, everything their bodies of flesh perceived in the material world was now filtered through the Mind of God, as each perceived as Jesus resurrected within them.


This important series of revelations then leads to the word “kai” beginning verse 40, where the importance one must denote comes in the Greek words “touto eipōn,” which simply translates as “And when he had said this” [NRSV] or literally “this having said.” The importance falls directly on the necessity to realize “this” [“touto”] directly points back to Jesus saying, “me you perceive possessing” [“eme theōreite echonta”]. Realizing the truth of “this” said by Jesus within is then importantly that “having brought word” divinely to them all, as having become Jesus in the flesh [along with themselves – their souls – in submission to Yahweh].


By realizing the importance of that spiritual possession [divinely manifest], the presence of Jesus within them “showed to them these hands kai those feet,” such that they each could see Jesus in themselves. The Greek word “edeixen” translates as “he showed” [aorist active indicative, 3rd person singular], but the root verb “deiknumi” means “he pointed out” or “he exhibited,” while equally stating “he demonstrated, made known” or “he taught.” In this way, Jesus was teaching those who were newly born as him how to be him, like a parent asks a baby if he or she can touch their feet or where are your hands?


In verse 41, Luke wrote the capitalized word “Eti” along with the word “de,” where the translation by the NRSV has mutated this divine importance in a weak paraphrase that misses the point. The Greek word “Eti” simply means, “still, yet,” while its usage allows for two variations of meaning: “(a) of time: still, yet, even now, (b) of degree: even, further, more, in addition.” The capitalization raises this word to a divine state of that says “Even now” [with “de” translating as “now”], with the proof of Jesus being in their bodies, speaking directly to each and every one of them, there was “Still” some hesitation keeping absolute faith from leading them.


That reluctance is then stated as “while they were disbelieving” [“at the Same time”] “they were feeling this [presence of Jesus with] joy.” That “joy” was importantly accompanied [the presence of the word “kai”] by “amazement” or “wonder, marvel, admiration” [from the word “thaumazontōn”]. With this hesitancy felt by Jesus, Luke then wrote that Jesus asked the group, “Have you something to eat in this place?”


Once again there is a capitalized word that deals with “Possession.” The word “Echete” is now repeated, after having been used earlier in a question about “bones not possessing” souls [“pneuma”]. Now the capitalization in the 2nd person present indicative asks “Have you,” where this can also be read as divinely asking what “Possesses you?”


To then add the element of “brōsimon,” where “edible” suggests something “suitable for eating,” the question (on the divine level of the soul of Jesus speaking to each one “in that place”) was relative to the doubts and fears that put them behind closed doors or gates. Their doubts had them thinking Jesus just said, “Man, I am hungry all of a sudden.” That was not why he asked that question, as Jesus was asking about what possessed their souls, making them hesitant to receive his presence completely? Thus, Jesus was asking them, in essence, “Do you regularly eat spiritual food while here?”


Instead of hearing his question as being related to their doubts to accept his presence, even when knowing his presence brought them joy, they handed Jesus some broiled fish. The answer to Jesus’ question was, “We eat food that fills the belly and satisfies our hunger for a day.” Jesus politely took the fish and, as them, they all ate the broiled fish together. Seeing one piece of broiled fish feeding that multitude is akin to a minor miracle, but still like that of feeding the five thousand twelve loaves and two fish, with twelve baskets of leftovers after.


Verse 44 then begins with the capitalized word “Eipen,” which is another that has been used before, as “eipen autois” – “He said to them” – where I presented more than audible speech Jesus “brought word” to each one an awareness that seemed sensory, but was spiritual communication. Here, with the capitalization, the word is divinely elevated to say, “Commanded,” joined with the words that literally say, “now with to them.” This becomes Yahweh speaking at that moment [“de” – “now”], as Jesus was “with” each soul [“pro” – “with, towards”], in each body of flesh, so God’s “Commandment” was clearly known “to them” [“autous”].


After a comma mark is the capitalized word “Houti,” which becomes a divine statement of “These,” that identifies everyone in the group that has been spiritually possessed by Jesus’ soul. That has to be grasped, because the next word in Greek, “hoi,” also translates as the plural form of “the,” which reflects “these.” The repetition is then understood as linked to the words “logoi moi,” which says, “These” here gathered are “these words of me,” or “those who speak the word of God as Jesus reborn.”


At this point, Jesus confirmed that as the meaning, by saying, “that I spoke to you while I was still with you” [NRSV translation]. By Jesus saying “while I was still with you,” he is confirming that he is still with them at that point, but not in the same way that he was with them before. This says Jesus is divinely manifesting within them, not as an external body like he was prior.


With this insight coming to each of the family members, followers and lead disciples of Jesus, he then added: “that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled” [NRSV translation, missing a “kai”]. This misses the element of Jesus stating “dei,” which says “it behooves” or better put as “it is absolutely necessary” all of this that is written be understood. While Jesus had pointed a thing or two out over three years of ministry, about what was written, and the Jews had a great ability to memorize that written, understanding what was written was the only way to realize if something written about had been fulfilled or not.


This realized, it makes perfect sense that Luke would write, “Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” Here is when one has to grasp that the only way Jesus could open their minds is by being one with their souls, having complete control over their brains. Jesus would then need to be within each one of them and not a magician with a magic wand to wave over them at once.


Here, the actual Greek text of verse 45 states, “tote diēnoixen autōn ton noun tou synienai tas graphas,” which literally translates as “at this time it opened up completely of them this understanding of that to perceive these writings.” More than their brains being made super computers by Jesus, the Christ Mind became one with their souls, so everything known by Yahweh became immediately recallable, as to what all divine scripture meant. This must be understood as each one of those in that group became Jesus Christ reborn, so all were Anointed ones of Yahweh to be where His Son would resurrect in the flesh.


Verse 46 then begins with a capitalized “Kai,” followed once more by the word “eipen,” so it becomes most important to understand what that sudden ability “brought word” to those divinely possessed. That revelation sensed as “he said” is then begun with a capitalized “Houtōs,” which is God stating “In this way” of divine intellect for understanding, so too was divine text written. Yahweh is the Mind that possesses all who write divine scripture; therefore, Yahweh is the Mind that must likewise possess all who understand divine scripture.


Where the NRSV translates Jesus saying, “that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,” the Greek text follows a colon mark, first stating, “was to suffer this Anointed one,” where “Christon” was written [not the Hebrew Messiah]. A comma followed by the word ”kai” then separates and presents as important to understand: “to raise up out from dead this one third day.” The importance makes “to raise up out from dead” be a statement of elevating one’s soul spiritually, having been freed from the curse of mortality and the dead state of humanity.


As a separate statement relative to the “Anointed one,” this says all who will be saved from that penalty of death will be raised up spiritually, such that “this one” so blessed by Yahweh will mark the “third” element being merged with a soul [one] and body of flesh [two], which is the Holy Spirit [three]. At that time, one’s soul will never see the darkness of mortal death, as it will only be able to shine the light of truth, as a new “day” having broken.


When this is supposed to be a statement saying Jesus was written of in divine scripture, where he would suffer and raise up on the third day, the addition of verse 47 makes that less believable, knowing Jesus would ascend. The NRSV states this as saying, “and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Since it would be the Apostles [all those in that large group] who would fulfill this [not the physically risen Jesus], it says prophetic Scripture not only foretells of Jesus, but also all who would be reborn as him. They would all be the Christ, who would likewise suffer. It would be them elevating their souls to Salvation, by being reborn as Jesus Christ. Then, it would be them who offer repentance and forgiveness of sins, through proclamations in his name [meaning all would qualify as being named “Yahweh Saves,” the meaning of “Jesus”], spreading Christianity [a name that means “Anointed one around the world”] to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem [on Pentecost].


Thus, Luke ended this reading by writing, “You are witnesses of these things.” [NRSV] Here, the Greek word “martyres” is simply translated as “witnesses.” This needs to be seen as the root word from which the English word “martyr” comes.


The Online Etymology Dictionary writes this of “martyr”: “one who bears testimony to faith," especially "one who willingly suffers death rather than surrender his or her religious faith," specifically "one of the Christians who in former times were put to death because they would not renounce their beliefs.” When one sees a Christian placed in an arena, as entertainment for pagan Gentiles who know nothing of Jesus of Nazareth, but would hear anyone who says, “I am a witness to Jesus Christ,” as a supernatural designation misunderstood, simply by saying that would be reason to put them to a severe test. Feeding them to hungry lions would be entertainment, just to hear them cry out, “I was lying!” as their body was being ripped apart. The reality is many true Christians did go to their deaths without recanting what they had seen, without crying out a desire to stay alive in a sinful world. They saw Jesus because [like this whole group of family, followers and lead disciples of Jesus] they witnessed Jesus Christ as one within their soul and body of flesh. The were truly in his name.


As a Gospel reading selection for the third Sunday of Easter, one where the truth of this reading has been hidden within the divine text so it has never been seen as I have just presented it before [today was the first time I have seen this truth], it clearly becomes a statement of how one must prepare for ministry. The Easter season is all about becoming Jesus reborn and carrying his torch of ministry to others.


This new light on age-old verses shows that even when nearly a hundred family, followers and lead disciples of Jesus became one with Jesus and were allowed full access to the Godhead, all Anointed ones reborn as the Son of man, they still were not ready to begin ministry. They had to practice being Jesus first. They had to be tested for forty days. They had to enter into their own wilderness experience, so they could prove to Yahweh they were ready to fully be filled with His Holy Spirit and set free, in accordance to the Scriptures. This says to all who have doubted and feared, “Daylight’s burning. Let’s get a move on.”

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