Matthew Henry.

Exposition of the Old and New Testament : wherein each chapter is summed up in its contents ; the sacred text inserted at large, in distinct paragaraphs ; each paragraph reduced to its proper heads ; the sense given, and largely illustrated ; with practical remarks ad observations (Volume 5) online

. (page 196 of 289)
Online LibraryMatthew HenryExposition of the Old and New Testament : wherein each chapter is summed up in its contents ; the sacred text inserted at large, in distinct paragaraphs ; each paragraph reduced to its proper heads ; the sense given, and largely illustrated ; with practical remarks ad observations (Volume 5) → online text (page 196 of 289)
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was his first step upward. Obsei^ve, It is called his
glory ; because he was duly entitled to it ; and it
was the gloi-y he had before the world was; he
ought to enter into it, for in that, as well as in his
sufferings, the scripture must be fulfilled. He ought
to suffer first, and then to enter into his glory ; and
thus the reproach of the cross is for ever rolled
away; and we are directed to expect the crown of
thorns, and then that of glory.

[3.] He expounded to them the scriptures of the
Old Testament, which spake of the Messiah, and
showed them how they were fulfilled in Jesus of
Nazareth, and now can tell them more concerning
him, than they could before tell him ; (v. 27.) be-
ginning at Moses, the first inspired writer of the
Old Testament, he went in order through all the
prophets, axiA expounded to them the things concern-
ing himself; showing that the sufferings he had no'W
gone through, were so far from defeating the pro-
phecies of the scriptm-e concerning him, that they
were the accomplishment of them. He began at
Moses, who recorded the first promise, in wliich it
was plainly foretold that the Messiah should have
his heel bruised, but that by it the serpent's head
should be incurably broken. Note, First, There
are things dispersed throughout all the scriptures
concerning Christ, which it is of great advantage to
have collected anA put together. You cannot go far
in any part of scripture, but you meet with some-
thing that has reference to Christ, some prophecy,
some promise, some prayer, some tvpe or other ;
for he is the true Treasure hid in the field of the Old
Testament. A golden thi'ead of gospel-grace runs
through the whole web of the Old Testament.
There is an eye of that white to be discerned in
every place. Secondly, The things concerning
Christ need to be expounded. The eunuch, though
a scholar, would not pretend to understand them,
except some man should guide him; (Acts 8. 31.)
for they were deli\'ered darkly, according to that
dispensation : but now that the \-ail is taken away,
the New Testament expounds the Old. Thirdly,
Jesus Christ is himself the best Expositor of scrip-
ture, particularly the scriptures concerning himself;
and even after his resurrection, it was in this way
that he led people into the knowledge of the mys-
tery concerning himself; not by advancing new no-
tions independent upon the scripture, but by show-
ing how the scripture was fulfilled, and turning them
over to the studv of them. Even the Apocalypse
itself is but a second part of the Old-Testament pro-
phecies, and has continually an eye to them. If
men believe not Moses and the prophets, they are
incurable. Fourthly, In studying the scriptures,
it is good to be methodical, and to take them in
order ; for the Old-Testament light shone gradu-
ally to the perfect day, and it is good to obsen^e
how at sundry times, and in divers manners, (Bub-
sequent predictions improving and giving light to the
preceding ones,) God spake to the fathers concern-
ing his Son, by whom he has now spoken to us
Some begin their Bible at the wrong end, who study



the Revelation first ; Christ has here taught us to
begin at Moses, Thus far the conference between

IV. Here is the discovery wliich Christ at length
made of himself to them. One would have given a
deal for a copy of the sermon Christ preached to
them by the way, of that exposition of the Bible,
which he gave them ; but it is not thought fit that
we should have it, we have the substance of it in
other scriptures ; the disciples are so charmed with
it, that they think they are come too soon to their
journey's end ; but so it is ; T/iey drew nigh to the
village -whither they went ; (y. 28. ) where, it should
seem, they determined to take up for that night.
And now,

1. They courted his stay with them ; He made as
though he would have gone further ; he did not say
that he would, but lie seemed to them to be going
further, and did not readily turn in to their friend's
house, \vhich it would not be decent for a stranger
to do unless he were invited ; he would have gone
further, if they had not courted his stay; so that
here was nothing like dissimulation in the case. If
a stranger be shy, every one knows the meaning of
it, he will not thrust himself rudely upon your house
or company ; but if you make it appear that you are
freely desirous of him for your Guest or Companion,
he knows not but he may accept your invitation ;
and this was all that Christ did, when he made as
though he would have gone further. Note, Those
that would have Christ dwell with them, must in-
vite him, and be importunate with him ; though he
is often found of those that seek him not, yet those
only that seek, can be sure to find; and if he seem
to draw offfrom us, it is but to draw out our impor-
tunity ; as here, they constrained him ; both of them
laid hold on him, with a kind and friendly violence,
saying. Abide with us. Note, Those that have ex-
jerienced the pleasure and profit of communion
•with Christ, cannot but covet more of his company,
and beg of him, not only to walk with them all day,
but to abide with them at night. When the day is
far sfient, and it is towards evening, we begin to
think of retiring for our repose, and\hen it is pro-
per to have our eye to Christ, and beg of him to
abide with us ; to manifest himself to us, and to fill
our minds with good thoughts of him, and good af-
fections to him. Christ yielded to their importu-
nity ; he went in, to tarry with them. Thus ready
is Christ to give further instnictions and comforts
to those who improve what they have received.
He has promised that if any man ofien the door, to
bid him welcome, he will come in to him. Rev. 3. 20.
2. He manifested himself to them, v. 30, 31.
We may suppose that he continued his discourse
■with them, which he began upon the road ; for thou
must talk of the things of God when thou sittest in
the house as well as when thou walkest by the way ;
■while supper was a getting ready, (which perhaps
■was soon done, the provision was so small and
mean,) it is probable that he entertained them ■ivith
such communications as were good, and to the use
°fed{fv"'!^i and so likewise as they sat at meat, his
lips fed them. But still they little thought that it
-was Jesus himself that was all this while talking
witli them : till at length he was pleased to throw
off his disguise, and then to withdraw.

(1.) They began to suspect it was he when, as
they sat down to meat, he undertook the office of
tlie Master of the feast, which he performed so like
himself, and like what he used to do among his dis-
ciples, that by it they discerned him; He took
bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
This he did with his usual air both of authority and
affection, with the same gestures and mien, with
the same expressions perhaps in craving a blessing,
and in giving the bread to them. This was not a mira-

culous meal like that of the five loaves, nor a sacra-
mental meal, like that of the eucharist, but a com-
mon meal ; yet Christ here did tlie same as he did
in those ; to teach us to keep up our communion
with God through Christ in common providences
as well as in special ordinances, and to crave a bless-
ing, and give thanks at every meal, and to see our
daily bread provided for us, and broken to us, by
the hand of Jesus Christ, the Master, not only of the
great family, but of all our families. Wherever we
sit down to eat, let us set Christ at the upper end of
the table, take out meat as blessed to us by him, and
eat and drink to his glory ; and receive contentedly
and thankfully what he is pleased to carve out to us,
be the fare ever so coarse and mean ; we may well
receive it cheerfully, if we can by faith see it com-
ing to us/ronj Christ's hand, and' with his blessing.
(2.) Presently their eyes were opened, and then
they saw who it was, and knew him well enough ;
whatever it was which had hitherto concealed him
from them, it was now taken out of the way, the
mists were scattered, the vail taken off, and they
made no question but it was their Master ; he might,
for wise and holy ends, put on the shape of another,
but no other could put on his ; and therefore it must
be he. See how Christ by his Spirit and grace
makes himself known to the souls of his people.
[1.] He opens the scriptures to them, for they
are they which testify of him to those who search
them, and search for him in them. [2.] He meets
them at his table, in the ordinance of the Lord's
supper, and commonly there makes further disco-
veries of himself to them ; is known to them in break-
ing of bread. But, [3.] The work is completed by
the opening of the eyes of their mind, and causing
the scales to fall off from them, as from Paul's in his
conversion. If he that gives the revelation, do not
give the understanding, we are in the dark still.

3. He immediately disappeared ; He vanished out
of their sight, A<favTcic lyivna — He withdrew himself
from them ; slipt away of a sudden, and went out
of sight. Or, he became not visible by them : was
made inconspicuous by them. It should seem that
though Christ's body, after his resurrection, was the
very same body in which he suffered and died, as
appeared by the marks in it, vet it ■was so far
changed, as to become either visible or not visible,
as he thought fit to make it, which was a step to-
wards its being made a glorious body. As soon as
he had given his disciples one glimpse of him, he
was gone presently ; such short and transient views
have we of Christ in this world, we see him, but in
a little while lose the sight of him again ; when we
come to heaven, the vision of him will have no in-

V. Here is the reflection which these disciples
made upon this conference, and the report which
they made of it to their brethren at Jei-usalem.

1. The reflection thev each of them made upon
the influence which Christ's discourse had upon
them; (v. 32.) They said one to another. Did not
our heart bum within us? " I am sure mine did,"
saith one ; " And so did mine," saith the other, " I
never was so affected with any discourse in all my
life." Thus do they not so much compare notes as
compare hearts, in the review of the sermon Christ
had preached to them. They found the preacliing
powerful, even ■when they knew not the Preacher ;
it made tilings very plain and clear to them ; and,
which was more, brought a rfn'mcApo;' with a drimie
light into their souls, such as put their hearts into a
glow, and kindled a holy fire of pious and devout
affections in them. Now this thev take notice of,
for the confirming of their belief, that it was indeed,
as at last they saw, Jesus himself that had been
talking with them all along. "'^VTiat fools were
we, that we were not sooner aware who it was ; For



none but he, no word but his, could make our hearts
burn luithin us as they did ; it must be he that has
the key of the heart, it could be no otlier." See
here, (1.) Wliat preaching is likely to f/o good —
such as Christ's was ; Jilain teaching, and which is
familiar and level to our capacity — he talked with
us by the may ; and scrifitural preaching — he opened
to us the scriptures, the scriptures relating to him-
self. Ministers should show people their religion
in their Bibles, and that they preach no other doc-
trine to them than what is there ; they must show
that they make that the fountain of tlieir know-
ledge, and the foundation of their faith. Note,
Tlie expounding of those scriptures which speak of
Christ, has a direct tendency to warm the hearts of
his disciples, both to quicken them, and to comfort
them. (2. ) What hearing is likely to do good — that
which makes the heart burn ; when we are much
affected with the things of God, especially with the
love of Christ in dying for us, and have our hearts
thereby drawn out in love to him, and drawn up in
holy desires and devotions, then our hearts burfi
•within us ; wlien our hearts are raised and elevated,
and are as the sparks which ^y upward toward
God, and when they are kindled and carried out
with a holy zeal and indignation against sin, both in
others and in ourselves, and we are in some measure
refined and purified from it by the s/iirit of judg-
vient and the spirit of burning, then we may say,
•"Through grace our hearts are thusinilamed."

2. The report they brought of this to tlieir bre-
thren at Jerusalem ; {v. 33.) They rise up the sattie
hour, so transported with joy at the discovery Christ
had made of himself to them, that they could not
stay to make an end of their supper, but returned
with all speed to Jerusalem, though it was towards
evening. If tliey had had any thoughts of quitting
their relation to Christ, this soon banished all such
thoughts out of their mind, and there needed no
more to send them back to his flock. However, it
should seem, they intended at least to take up their
quarters to-night at Emmaus ; but now that they
had seen Christ, they could not rest till they had
brought the good news to the disciples, both for the
confirmation of their trembling faith, and for the
comfort of their son-owful spirits, with the same
comforts wherewith they were comforted of God.
Note, It is the duty of those to whom Christ hath
manifested himself, to let others know what he has
done for their souls. When thou art converted,
instructed, comforted, strengthen thy brethren.
These disciples were full of this matter themselves,
and must go to their brethren, to give vent to their
joys as well as to give them satisfaction that their
Master was risen. Observe,

(1.) How they found them, just when they came
in among them, discoursing on the same subject,
and relating another proof of the resurrection of
Christ They found the eleven, and those that were
their usual companions, gathered together late in the
night, to pray together, it may be, and to consider
what was to be done in this juncture ; and they found
them saying among themselves ; (xiyovrm, it is the
saying of the eleven, not of the two, as is plain by
the original ;) and when these two came in, they
repeated to them with joy and triumph. The Lord
is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon, v. 34.
That Peter had a sight of him before the rest of the
disciples had, appears 1 Cor. 15. 5. where it is said.
Be was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. The
angel having ordered the women to tell Peter of it
particularly, (Mark 16. 7.) for his comfort, it is
highly probable that our Lord Jesus did himself pre-
sently the same day appear to Peter, though we
have no particular nai-rative of it, to confirm the
ivord of his messengers. This he had related to his
brethren ; but observe, Peter does not here proclaim

it, and boast of it himself, (he thought that did not
become a penitent,) but the otlier disciples speak of
it with exultation. The Lord is risen indeed, Svtui —
really ; it is now past dispute ; no room is left to
doubt it, for he has appeared not only to the women,
but to Simon.

(2.) How they seconded their evidence with an
account of what they had seen ; {y. 35. ) They told
w/iat things were done in the way. The words that
were spoken by Christ to them in the way, having
a wonderful effect and influence upon them, are here
called the things that were done in the way : for
the words that Christ speaks, are not an empty
sound, but they are spirit, and they are life, and
wondrous tilings are done by them, done by the way,
by the by as it were, where it is not expected.
They told also how he was at length known to
them in the breaking of bread ; then when he was
carving out blessings to them, God opened their
eyes to discern who it was. Note, It would be of
great use for the discovery and confirmation of truth,
if the disciples of Christ would compare their ob-
servations and experiences, and communicate to
each other what they know and have felt in them-

36. And as they thus spake, Jesus him-
self stood in the midst of them, and saith
unto them, Peace he unto you. 37. But
they were terrified and afTrighted, and sup-
posed that they had seen a spirit. 38.
And he said unto them, Why are ye trou-
bled ? and why do thoughts arise in your
hearts? 39. 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. 40. And when he had
thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and
his feet. 41. And while they yet believed
not for joy, and wondered, he said unto
them. Have ye here any meat ? 42. And
they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and
of an honeycomb. 43. And he took it, and
did cat before them. 44. And he said unto
them, These are the words which I spake
unto you, while I was yet with you, that
all things must be fulfilled which were
written in the law of Moses, and in the
prophets, and in the psalms, concerning
me. 45. Then opened he their under-
standing, that they might understand the
scriptures. 46. And said unto them, Thus
it is written, and thus it behoved Christ
to suffer, and to rise from the dead the
third day: 47. And that repentance and
remission of sins should be preached in his
name among all nations, beginning at Je-
rusalem. 48. And ye are witnesses of
these things. 49. And, behold, I send the
promise of my Father upon you : but tarry
ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be en-
dued with power from on high.

Five times Christ was seen the same day that he
rose: by Mary Magdalene alone in the garden;
(John 20. 14.) by the women, as they were going to
tell the disciples; (Matth. 28. 9.) by Peter alone;
by the two disciples going to Emmaus ; and now at



night by the eleven ; which we have an account of
in tliese verses, as also John 20. 19. Observe,

I. The great surprise which his appearing gave
them. He came in among them very seasonably,
as they were comparing notes concerning the proofs
of his resurrection; ^s they thus sfiake, and were
ready perhaps to put it to tlie rjuestion, whether the
proofs pi'oduced amounted to evidence sufficient of
their JWaster's resuiTcction or no, and how they
should proceed ; Jesus himself stood in the midst of
them, a.nd put it out of question. Note, Those who
make the best use they can of their evidences for
their comfort, may expect further assurances, and
that the Spirit of Christ will witness ivith their spi-
rits, (as Christ here witnessed with the disciples,
and confirmed their testimony,) that they are the
children of God, and risen with Christ. Observe,
1. The comfort Christ spake to them ; Peace be unto
you. This intimates in general that it was a kind
visit which Christ now made them, a visit of love
and friendship. Though they had very luikindly
deserted him m his sufferings, yet he takes the first
opportunity of seeing them together ; for he deals
not with us as we deserve. They did not credit
those who had seen him; therefore he comes himself,
that they might not continue in their disconsolate in-
credulity. He had promised that after his resui'-
rection he would see them in Galilee ; but so desir-
ous was he to see them, and satisfy them that he
anticipated the appointment, and sees them at Jeru-
salem. Note, Christ is often better than his word,
but never ivorse. Now his first word to them was.
Peace be to you; not in a way of compliment, but
of consolation. This was a common form of saluta-
tion among the Jews, and Christ would thus express
his usual familiarity with them, though he was now
entered into his state of exaltation. Many, when
they are advanced, forget their old friends, and take
state upon them ; but we see Christ as free with
them as ever. Thus Christ would at the first word
intimate to them that he did not come to quarrel
with Peter for denying him, and the rest for running
away from him ; no, he came peaceably, to signify
to them that he had forgiven them, and was recon-
ciled to them. 2. The fright which they put them-
selves into upon it; (t>. 37.) They were terrified,
supposing that they had seen a spirit, because he
came in among them without any noise, and was in
the midst of them ere they were aware. The word
used, (Matth. 14. 26. ) when they said. It is a spirit,
is (^oiTttcr^i, it is a spectre, an apparition ; but the
word here used is m-vEo^a, the word that properly
signifies a spirit; they supposed it to be a spirit not
clothed with a real body. Though we have an al-
liance and con-espondence with the world of spirits,
and are hastening to it ; yet, while we are here in
this world of sense and matter, it is a terror to us to
have a spirit so far change its own nature as to be-
come visible to us, and conversable with us, for it is
something, and bodes something, very extraordi-

II. The great satisfaction which his discourse gave
them ; wherein we have,

1. The reproofs he gave them for their causeless
•eaijs; (x.. 38.) Wiy are ye troubled, and why do
frightful thoughts arise in your hearts? Observe

(I.) That when at any time we are troubled,
thoughts are apt to rise in our hearts, that do us hurt
Sometimes the trouble is the effect of the thoughts
that arise in our hearts, our gi-icfs and fears take
rise from those things that are the creatures of our
own fancy ; sometimes the thoughts arising in the
heart are the effect of the trouble, without are fight-
ings, and then within are fears. Those that ai-e
melancholy and troubled in mind, have thoughts
aming in their hearts, which reflect dishonoiu- upon I

God, and create disquiet to themselves. / am cut

off from thy sight. The Lord has forsaken and for-
gotten 7!ie.

(2.) That many of the troublesome thoughts with
which our minds are disquieted, aiise from our
mistakes concerning Christ. They here thought
that they had seen a spirit, when they saw Chnst,
and that put them into this fright. We forget that
Christ is our elder Brother, and look upon him to
be at as great a distance from us as the world of spi-
rits is from this world, and therewith teiTify our-
selves. When Christ is by his Spirit convincing
and humbling us, when he is by his providence try-
ing and converting us, we mistake him, as if he de-
signed our hurt, and that troubles us.

(3.) That all the troublesome thoughts which rise
in our hearts at any time, are known to the Lord
Jesus, even at the first rise of them ; and they are
displeasing to him. He chid his disciples for such
thoughts, to teach us to chide ourselves for them.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul ! Why art thou
troubled? Why do thoughts arise, that are neither
true nor good, that have neither foundatioyi nor
fruit, but hinder our joy in God, di'sfit us for duty,
give advantage to Satan, and deprive us of the com-
forts laid up for us ^

2. The proof he gave them of his resurrection,
both for the silencing of their fears, by convincing
them that he was not a spirit, and for the strength-
ening of their faith in that doctrine which they were
to preach to the world, by giving them full satisfac-
tion concerning his resurrection, which if not true,
their faith and preaching were all vain. Two proofs
he gives them.

(1.) He shows them his body, particularly his
hands and his feet. They saw that he had the shspe,
and features, and exact resemblance of their Nas-
ter; but is it not his ghost.'' " No, " saith Christ,
"behold my hands and my feet ; you see I liave
hands and feet, and therefore have a true body ? you
see I can tnove these hands and feet, and therefore
have a living body, and you see the marks of the
nails in my hands and feet, and therefore it is my
own body, the sa77ie that you saw crucified, and not
a borrowed one. " He lays down this principle^
that a spirit has not Jiesh and bones, it is not com-
pounded of gross matter, shaped into various mem-
bers, and consisting of divers heterogeneous parts,
as our bodies are. He does not tell us what a spirit
is, (it is time enough to know that when we go to
the world of spirits,) but what it is not ; It has not
Jiesh and bones. Now hence he infers, " It is I
myself; whom you have been so intimately acquaint-
ed with, and have had such familiar conversation
with ; it is / myself, whom you have reason to re-
joice in, and not to "be afraid of. " Those who know
Christ aright, and know him as theirs, will have no
reason to be terrified at his appearances, at his ap-

He appeals to their sight, shows them his hands
and his feet, which were pierced with the nails.
Christ retained the marks of them in his glorified

Online LibraryMatthew HenryExposition of the Old and New Testament : wherein each chapter is summed up in its contents ; the sacred text inserted at large, in distinct paragaraphs ; each paragraph reduced to its proper heads ; the sense given, and largely illustrated ; with practical remarks ad observations (Volume 5) → online text (page 196 of 289)