What a marvelous change must have been observable in the tone and words of Jesus before and after scenes of Gethsemane and Calvary. Ere “the hour had come,” he said, “I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished” (Lk. 12:50). In Gethsemane, he exclaimed again and again, “0 my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 9). On Calvary’s cross, he cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). But after his death and resurrection; and, when of a sudden, and so unexpectedly, He stood in the midst of his disciples, “and saith unto them, Peace be unto you he added, moreover, “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” (Luke 24:36-40).
The act, as well as the words of Jesus at this time, ought to suffice to set for ever at rest the notion of a pretended sacrificing priest presenting the body and blood of Jesus, in the mere emblematic bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus, upon this memorable occasion of showing himself to his disciples, dealt in the real substantial, and not in the mere ideal or the visionary.
But at the close of the last chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we read, “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them” (Luke 24:50). It was the disciples’ last walk and talk with Jesus, down here in this vale of tears. His last act, however, was to “bless them.” “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:51). How sweet the memory of the disciples must have been of that memorable scene. Their parting, ascending, blessing Lord! Methinks his last words, his last look, his last act; that of blessing, would never, never be erased from the memory.