Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look 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.’ 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.
44 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.’45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.
Translation: He stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace to you." But being terrified and thrown into fear, they were seeming to see a spirit. He said to them, "Why have you been thrown into confusion, and why are internal deliberations rising up in your hearts? See my hands and my feet that I am he. Touch me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see me having." And when he said this, he showed to them the hands and the feet. But yet, when they were not believing, separate from joy, and were wondering, he said to them, "Do you have something edible here?" But they handed to him a piece of broiled fish, and taking, he ate in their presence.
But he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you while being together with you, that it is necessary to be fulfilled all that has been written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms about me. Then he opened their minds to bring together the scriptures, and he said to them, "In this manner, it has been written, the Christ (is) to suffer and be raised out of death on the third day, and change of mind into release of sins (is) to be proclaimed upon his name to all the nations, being begun from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."
Luke wants to make sure that his readers understand that the resurrected Jesus is not that. Jesus has been transformed "into his glory" (24:26). The resurrection of Jesus is not a continuation of business-as-usual within conventional categories--he's neither a resuscitated corpse (24:37) nor intangible or ethereal either (24:43). He is, rather, the New Being.
This is why Luke insists on the physical reality of the Resurrected. For Luke, the resurrection has material presence and authenticity. It is not just about a "new heavens" but also a "new earth" as well. The resurrection signals the coming transformation when both heaven and earth, including flesh, will be "translated" or "metamorphosized" into a transformed mode of being. N.T. Wright:
What Luke draws in particular from all this (the emphasis on physicality) is not just the physicality of Jesus' risen body but what that means for an entire view of the world and Israel in the divine purpose: with Easter there has come to birth the new world, the redemption of Israel, the new creation. (The Resurrection of the Son of God, p. 658)
It (Luke's) is a picture of the risen Jesus as a firmly embodied human being whose body possesses new, unexpected and unexplained characteristics: a picture of what we have called "transphysicality," or transformed physicality. (p. 661)
Fear, terror, confusion: Jesus appeared suddenly "in their midst." Obviously, though his physicality is emphasized in what follows, something is clearly different. You and I can't suddenly appear anywhere we please.
His greeting is the same as that in John 20: "Peace be to you." As is typical, the disciples are "terrified and thrown into fear." "They were seeming to see a spirit." (The word is pneuma, which the NRSV translates, here, as "ghost," but everywhere else as "spirit.")
Jesus is able to discern their inner confusion, and, literally, "the dialog they were having within themselves." NRSV has "doubts," which is an acceptable translation, but, unfortunately, "doubt" falls into a familiar category and we tend to read it as the disciples lacking in faith, another familiar category.
The mention of the disciples' lack of faith will come soon enough, but, for now, the accent is on the inner turmoil of the disciples, the internal deliberation and confusion borne of wonder, fear, and amazement. Jesus then shows his hands and feet and encourages the disciples to "see" and "touch."
But yet, when they were not believing, separate from joy, and were wondering, he said to them, "Do you have something edible here?" But they handed to him a piece of broiled fish, and taking, he ate in their presence.
NRSV has "while in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering..." According to NRSV, at this point, the disciples are joyful, yet, at the same time, still not believing.
The preposition apo would normally have the sense of being "apart from" rather than "in." It's more about "distinct from" than about "joined with"--(keeping in mind that Greek prepositions can be tricky and each has some "elasticity" about it).
The sense of the sentence seems to be that the disciples were apisteuein--not trusting--and "wondering." The internal dialog is still going on, and they are still "separate from joy." (They will be joyful later, in verse 52: "And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy...")
He "opened their minds":
But he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you while being together with you, that it is necessary to be fulfilled all that has been written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms about me. Then he opened their minds to bring together the scriptures
For now, they are still "not trusting" and they are "apart from joy" because Jesus has not yet "opened (their) minds" about what has been written about him in law, prophets, and psalms--the three categories of literature in the Hebrew scriptures.
The inclusion of the psalms is somewhat out of ordinary. (Usually, the reference is to "law and prophets.") Luke probably included psalms because he wants to tie Jesus to the worship life of Israel, and also because Luke generally likes to invoke the psalms when speaking about Jesus, particularly in reference to his exaltation.
Luke provides no specific texts to buttress his case. Jesus simply announces that the entirety of the scriptures point to him. Luke wants to emphasize Jesus' life as connected with the entire history of Israel and the fulfillment of God's plan begun with Moses.
This connection between Jesus and Israel is obvious to modern-day Christians, but it was not so in the early church. Some of the early Christians had no use for the Hebrew scriptures, and downplayed Jesus' connection to Israel. Luke wants to stitch the two stories together.
Just as the two people on the road to Emmaus (24:13-35) needed to be instructed in the meaning of the scriptures, so do the disciples here. (This assumes, you'll notice, that the scriptures are not automatically clear about everything. One needs instruction, something that opens the mind, in order to be able to understand them.) It is only after this instruction that the disciples worshiped, trusted, were joyful, and blessed God (24:52).
You are witnesses:
...and he said to them, "In this manner, it has been written, the Christ (is) to suffer and be raised out of death on the third day, and change of mind into release of sins (is) to be proclaimed upon his name to all the nations, being begun from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
Jesus moves swiftly to the coming mission of the disciples. The death and resurrection of Jesus, attested in the Hebrew scriptures, is to be "proclaimed," and, what's more, it is to include repentance--literally, "a change of mind"--"into release of sins to all the nations."
Luke is ever-insistent on forgiveness of sins. I have "release" since that is the literal meaning of the word apheimi. In fact, whenever sin is mentioned in Luke, it is always linked with apheimi--"forgiveness" or "release." Repentance does not mean feeling sorry about what a creep you are, usually after getting caught. Repentance has to do with a "change of mind" leading to "release of sins." The inclusion of the phrase "all the nations" is an anticipation and ratification of the gentile mission.
The phrase "being begun from Jerusalem" is interesting. In his Easter story, Mark encourages the disciples to go to Galilee. (Matthew does this as well.) Luke generally follows Mark, but, in his Easter account, he stresses Jerusalem.
Mark is unrelentingly negative about the disciples, and especially Peter. One wonders: Did Mark encourage the disciples to go to Galilee precisely to get the movement away from the "head office" in Jerusalem led by Peter?
One further wonders: Since Luke is generally more positive toward the disciples than Mark, is he encouraging the followers of Jesus to stick with leadership of the twelve?
Tannehill notes, incidentally, that the grammar of the sentence indicates it could be better translated by combining this phrase with what comes after, not before. It should read, he says: "Beginning from Jerusalem, you are witnesses."
Luke will emphasize the importance of witness shortly. The beginning chapters of Acts mention "witness" six times. Tannehill: "(T)hey have not only been taught by him and have worked with him, they have had their minds opened by him to understand the scripture. Their new perspective enables them to interpret Jesus' death and resurrection as key events in God's unfolding plan to bring salvation to the world."
Image: Christ appearing to the apostles, William Blake, 1795