Probably one of the most glorious and sublime tenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives a brightness of hope and promise for all mankind, is the resurrection of he who is indeed the very author and first fruits of the resurrection, even Jesus Christ!
Before examining the eyewitness accounts of this awe inspiring event, let us take a little journey to examine a couple of the prophecies and scriptures which foretell and teach regarding this wondrous event.
1 Samuel 2:5 The Lord killeth , and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
Job 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again?
Job appears to have no doubt whatsoever regarding our Saviors resurrection and his own subsequent resurrection. For what does he say?
Job 19:25-27 For I know that my redeemer giveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
One of the things that we tend to overlook or minimize, is regarding all that was required of the master to initiate the resurrection. Have you ever asked yourself the following things regarding Christ?
What if he had failed to overcome the untold onslaught of the adversary during his forty days in the wilderness prior to the official start of his ministry?
Or what if he failed to do his fathers will in the Garden of Gethsemane and failed to suffer such intense pain and suffering to provide that beautiful atoning sacrifice on our behalf?
What if he used the power available to him and called down legions of angels to protect him from the abuses at trial and to prevent him from having to suffer on the cross?
Oh it is wonderful that he cared for us enough to die for us and to suffer and bleed at every pore in the Garden, then finish his mighty calling by freely giving himself as a ransom for us upon the cross at calvary!
He told his disciples on occasion of what he must do and suffer, but even they failed to fully comprehend the extent of the suffering, nor did they yet comprehend the concept of the resurrection that would follow those dark days preceding that unprecedented event of his glorious resurrection.
Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath had passed. The night preceding the most memorable Sunday in history was nearly gone, while the Roman guard kept guard over the sealed sepulcher wherein the body of the Lord Jesus lay. While it was yet dark, the earth began to quake: an angel of the Lord whose countenance was brilliant as the lightning, descended in glory and rolled back the massive stone. The soldiers paralyzed with fear , fell to the earth as dead men. When they had partially recovered from their fright, they fled in terror, in spite of the fact that desertion of their post according to roman discipline decreed summary death. We also note that the seal of authority had been broken, the tomb was empty and there was nothing for them to guard.
In the early dawn, the devoted Mary Magdalene and other faithful women had set forth to go to give a more thorough embalmment of the body. They had no idea of how this was to be accomplished. For they conversed with one another Who shall roll away the stone for the door of the sepulcher? Upon arriving at the tomb, they saw the angel and were afraid; but he said unto them: Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
Mary Magdalene appears to have been the first to carry word to the disciples concerning the empty tomb. At this moment she failed to comprehend the gladsome meaning of the angels proclamation He is risen, as he said. In her agony and grief she seems to have only remembered the words He is not here. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciples, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him.
Peter and John rushed to the sepulcher and looked and saw the burial clothes and the napkin. John frankly affirms that having seen these things he believed, and explains For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
After the apostles had left, she stooped in and saw two angels, who tenderly asked her Woman, why weepest thou? In her moments of deep and very personal bereavement she, with such deep, heart felt sorrow responded, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
As she turned from the vault that was illuminated by angelic presence, she became aware of another personage standing near. He asked her tenderly, Woman why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" She supposing him to be the caretaker of the garden, probably even failed to look up, but emitted a tearful and sorrowful plea: Sir if thou have born him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
It was Jesus to whom she spoke, her beloved Lord, though she knew it not. One word from his living lips changed her agonized grief into ecstatic joy. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. The
voice , the tone, the tender accent she had heard and loved in the earlier days lifted her from the despairing depths into which she had sunk. She turned and saw the Lord. In a transport of joy she reached out her arms to embrace him, uttering only the endearing and worshipful word, Rabboni, meaning my beloved master. Jesus restrained her impulsive manifestation of reverent love, saying, Touch me not ; for I am not yet ascended to my Father, and adding, but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
To a woman, to Mary Magdalene, was given the honor of being the first mortal to behold a resurrected Soul, and that Soul, the Lord Jesus. The risen Lord next manifested himself to other favored women. As these other women were returning to the city to deliver the message to the disciples, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshiped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
We should reflect upon how great an honor to noble womanhood that the risen Lord should appear unto them first! This should stand as an example to all men everywhere, to honor and respect noble womanhood.
Another point, which is also a tribute to women, is that hey are many times more of a believing heart than many men. The other scriptures pertaining to the risen Lord so evidence this view.
Some may ask why Jesus had forbidden Mary Magdalene to touch him, and then so soon after, had permitted other women to hold Him by the feet as they bowed in reverence. We may assume that Marys emotional approach had been prompted more by a feeling of personal yet holy affection than by an impulse of devotional worship such as the other women evinced. Though the resurrected Christ manifested the same friendly and intimate regard as He had shown in the mortal state toward those with whom He had been closely associated, He was no longer one of them in the literal sense. There was about Him a divine dignity that forbade close personal familiarity. To Mary Magdalene He had said: Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father. If the second clause was spoken in explanation of the first, we have to infer that no human hand was to be permitted to touch the Lords resurrected and immortalized body until after he had presented himself to the father. It appears reasonable and probable that between Marys impulsive attempt to touch the Lord, and the action of the other women who held Him by the feet as they bowed in worshipful reverence, Christ did ascend to the Father, and that later he returned to earth to continue His ministry in the resurrected state.
This is the first part of a multi part series covering the account of our resurrected Lord and his post mortal ministry.
Revelations won wrote (View Post): › while the Roman guard kept guard over the sealed sepulcher wherein the body of the Lord Jesus lay. While it was yet dark, the earth began to quake: an angel of the Lord whose countenance was brilliant as the lightning, descended in glory and rolled back the massive stone. ... this is a multipart account covering the account of our resurrected Lord and his post mortal ministry.
There is no "the" account. This is the story in only one of the 4 gospels. Yet you bring it forth as though it is the definitive account. Why?
In Mark, the earliest gospel -- and therefore the one closest to events -- the rock covering the opening is such that one man -- Joseph of Aramathea -- could move it. There are no guards or earthquake. And the angel was an ordinary looking young man.
In Luke there are no guards, either. There are two men, in "dazzling apparel" but no brilliant countenance.
In John there are no guards, no earthquake, and no men.
Revelations won, I understand you are trying to portray the glory of the Resurrection during Easter. But your arrogance at not understanding the gospels and the reasons for the differences in the stories ends up bringing discredit on Christianity.
What we need to understand is the history of the time. When we look at the Talmud, we see that most Jews, of course, do not believe the Resurrection. Jesus did not fit the picture of Messiah, despite the prophecies you are trying to use. The prophecies are not as clear as you make them out, becaues the people of the time rejected that they were specific for Jesus. Deciding that the verses you quoted are about Jesus is Monday-morning quarterbacking. They are not going to work for the Apologetics purpose you are trying to use them.
In the Talmud, the rabbis accuse the disciples of stealing the body and concocting stories about resurrection. These accusations become louder as time goes on. So, when Mark and Luke are written, they are not that loud and they don't answer them.
Matthew is written specifically for a Jewish audience. We can see this in the birth narrative, where that narrative is specifically constructed to make Jesus synonymous with Moses. Gentiles aren't going to care about this, but Jews do. The symbolism is very powerful for them. Matthew is compelled to answer the accusation of body stealing. After all, the Jews who are his audience have been hearing this in synagogues for years.
So, Matthew inserts into the story events that would prevent the disciples from stealing the body. You even have the speech by the Pharisees giving the motivation: "Therefore order the sepulchre to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people 'He has risen from the dead.' This is why you get the "securing" of the stone and the guard -- not mentioned in any of the other gospels.
So we have claim (Resurrection), counter claim (theft of the body), and now counter-counter claim (sealed tomb and Roman guards).
Understanding what and why Matthew did what he did does not take away from belief in the Resurrection. It does prevent us from doing what St. Augustine warned against: "Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions .... For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]" Augustine, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book 1, Chapter 19.
What you should do is look for the commonalities between the accounts. The simpler accounts of the Resurrection are closer to the truth. There is really no reason for Pilate to post Roman guards. Jesus is dead. That's the end of the story as far as the Romans are concerned. Jesus is a minor nuisance as far as the Romans are concerned and they are very unlikely to assign Roman troops to such a fool's errand.
Since the Jews were convinced Jesus was a fraud, there is no reason for them to ask for guards. No one in Jewish society steals bodies, so there is no reason to think the disciples would do so. What's more, no sane disciple would stick to a resurrection story he knows is false (because he stole the body) in the face of expulsion from synagogue. It is only after the disciples stick to their outlandish story (by Jewish standards)that the Jews, in desperation, come up with the idea of theft.
So, please, if you decide to continue with new parts, acknowledge the different accounts of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances. There is no "the" account of these. There are several. Once again, look for the commonalities. Please don't pick one and try to falsely tell people it is "the" account.
It is important to keep in mind that the gospels are all different. They all tell the same stories but none of the stories are going to be exactly the same. The gospels are written by Jesus closest friends. Each one had their own version of what happened though. This happens with us today and our friends why wouldn't it have happened then? The main points are all the same in how each story is told even if each author tells the story differently. We don't know which story of the resurrection is more accurate but that doesn't matter because the main idea, and what really matters, is that Jesus is alive and he has given us hope for the future because he conquered death. Each story in each of the gospels has equal importance.
baconquizzer wrote (View Post): › It is important to keep in mind that the gospels are all different. They all tell the same stories but none of the stories are going to be exactly the same. The gospels are written by Jesus closest friends.
It's even more removed than that. None of the gospels was written before 70 AD at the earliest and John probably not until after 90 AD. None of them seem to have been written by any of the original disciples or followers of Jesus. We are at least one generation removed from the original disciples. They are all based on earlier oral traditions and For instance, Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell a lot of the same stories and seem to be dependent on an earlier work of sayings -- something like the gospel of Thomas.
So, not only do we have differences due to different authors with different agendas and different audiences, but we have distortions due to the oral tradition -- like playing the game "telephone".
Quote: › We don't know which story of the resurrection is more accurate but that doesn't matter because the main idea, and what really matters, is that Jesus is alive and he has given us hope for the future because he conquered death. Each story in each of the gospels has equal importance.
I agree with you about the main idea and what matters. And that is why I objected to the OP. It was making one gospel story as the story and dropping all the others. In the process it was laying Christianity open to criticism and dismissal from those who do know that the different gospels have different stories.
If you are searching for what really happened, what you do is look for the commonalities. Some of these are:
1. Jesus died late in the day on Friday.
2. There was no time to properly prepare the body before the Sabbath.
3. His body was laid in an unused tomb donated by one of his followers.
4. Early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb to prepare the body.
5. The found the tomb empty.
6. Three of the stories say they met with a "man" that told them Jesus had risen from the dead.
7. They went to fetch the male disciples.
In general, you look at the simpler story. More complex stories are more likely to have details added later -- like you get details added in the game "telephone" -- as people embroider the story.
Mary Magdalene and the other women told the wonderful story of their various experiences to the disciples, but the brethren could not believe their words, which as they stated, seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not." After all that the Master had taught concerning His rising from the dead on the third day, the apostles were still unable to accept the reality of the occurrence. To their minds the resurrection was some mysterious and very remote event, certainly not a present possibility.
There was no precedent or analogy for the stories these women told of a dead person returning to life, with a body of flesh and bones, that could be both seen and felt.
The grief and sense of irreparable loss which had just occurred the previous Sabbath, were replaced by profound perplexity and doubts on this first day of the week. The Apostles hesitated to believe that Christ had actually risen. The women who were less skeptical, and obviously more trustful, absolutely knew, for they had both seen Him and had heard his voice. Some of them had touched his feet.
When the Roman guards had sufficiently recovered from fright to make their departure from the sepulchre, went to the chief priests, under whose orders they had been placed by Pilate, and reported the supernatural events they had witnessed. The chief priests were Saducees, of which sect or party a distinguishing feature was the denial of the possibility of resurrection from the dead. A session of the Sanhedrin was called, and the very disturbing report of the guards was considered. In the spirit in which these deceiving hierarch's had tried to kill Lazarus for the purpose of quelling popular interest in the miracle of his restoration to life, they now at present conspired to discredit the truth of Christs resurrection by bribing the soldiers to lie. The guards were told to say His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept; and for the falsehood they were offered large sums of money. The soldiers accepted the tempting bribe, and did as they were instructed. This course appeared to them to be the best way out of a very critical situation. If they were found guilty of sleeping at their posts, immediate death would be their doom. The Jews, however, encouraged them by the promise: If this come to the governors ears, we will persuade him and secure you. We should remember that the soldiers had been put at the disposal of the chief priests, and presumably therefore were not required to report the details of their doings to the Roman authorities.
Well within a substantial part of this past century, the falsehood of Christs body having been stolen from the tomb by the disciples was current among the Jews. The utter untenability of the false report is apparent. If all the soldiers were asleep, (a most unlikely occurrence inasmuch as such neglect was a capital offense), how could they possibly know that anyone had approached the tomb? And, more particularly, how could they substantiate their statement, even if it were true, that the body was stolen and that the disciples were the grave robbers? This absurd fiction was framed by the chief priests and elders of the people. Not all of the priestly circle were parties to it however. Some, who perhaps had been among the secret disciples of Jesus before his death, were not afraid to openly ally themselves with the church, when, through the evidence of the Lords resurrection, they had become thoroughly converted. For we read that but a few months later in Acts 6:7 a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith
We would all do well to consider this prophecy and report from John 12:37-43 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Revelations Too wrote (View Post): › After all that the Master had taught concerning His rising from the dead on the third day, the apostles were still unable to accept the reality of the occurrence.
What "all"? Please quote the passages. You must also consider how many of those passages were put in later by the authors of the gospels. It doesn't seem that Jesus taught much about his resurrection.
Quote: › There was no precedent or analogy for the stories these women told of a dead person returning to life, with a body of flesh and bones, that could be both seen and felt.
Have you forgotten Lazarus? Also other religions had such accounts. The resurrection of Osiris and Mithra come immediately to mind.
Quote: › The women who were less skeptical, and obviously more trustful, absolutely knew, for they had both seen Him and had heard his voice. Some of them had touched his feet.
In Matthew, the women meet Jesus. In Mark and Luke, they do not! They only have an empty tomb.
In John, both Peter and the "disciple whom Jesus loved" look in the tomb and see it empty. Then they leave. Only after that does Mary first see the angel and then Jesus appears.
So why are you taking Matthew as the absolutely true story?
Quote: › We should remember that the soldiers had been put at the disposal of the chief priests, and presumably therefore were not required to report the details of their doings to the Roman authorities.
Nonsense. First, legionairies were ALWAYS required to report to their Roman superiors. Second, it is extremely unlikely that the soldiers would have been stationed there to begin with. Only Matthew mentions them. The other 3 gospels do not.
Quote: › Well within a substantial part of this past century, the falsehood of Christs body having been stolen from the tomb by the disciples was current among the Jews.
Which is why, of course, that Matthew inserts the soldiers. Mark was written first. At this time the Jews began their accusation of body snatching -- by one or two disciples. Luke counters by making the stone too large for one or two disciples to move. The Jews counter by saying ALL the disciples are in on it. Therefore Matthew places guards at the tomb. Claim and counter claim.
You aren't going to convince anyone familiar with the gospel stories that the Jewish story is "utter untenability" by behaving as though only Matthew is to be relied upon. You are then casting doubt on all the other gospels!
The best evidence you have that the resurrection took place is NOT this selective believing only one gospel. The best evidence you have is the changed behavior of the disciples. On Saturday you have a defeated group whose leader has just been executed. In the course of a month, you have a group who is fearless and preaching the resurrection of Jesus despite the huge negative consequences that eventually happen to them. Why this change? The simplest and best explanation is that the resurrection really took place. Any other explanation involves huge speculation and unlikely psychological states in the disciples.
Sometime during that same Sunday, two disciples who were not apostles, left Jerusalem to go to Emmaus, a town or village about 7 or 8 miles from Jerusalem. They communed as they walked about incidents that had occurred during the life of the Lord, dwelling particularly upon the fact of his death, through which their hopes of a Messianic reign had been so sadly blighted. They marveled deeply over the incomprehensible testimony of the women concerning his reappearance as a resurrected being.
As they walked toward Emmaus, enroute, so completely absorbed in their conversation, they were joined by another, who was the Lord Jesus, but their eyes were holden that they should not know him. In courteous interest, He asked: What manner of communications are these that ye have to one another, as ye walk, and are sad? One of the disciples, Cleopas by name, responded with surprise, tinged with commiseration for the strangers seeming ignorance.: Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? Intent on drawing from the men as full statement of the matter by which they were so plainly agitated, the unrecognized Christ asked, what things? To this question they could not be silent. Concerning Jesus of Nazareth they explained which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. In sorrowful frame of mind they went on to tell how they had trusted that the now crucified Jesus would have proved to be the Messiahs sent to redeem Israel; but then explained that this was the third day since He had been slain. Then with brightening countenances, yet still perplexed, they told of certain women of their company who had astonished them that morning by saying that they had visited the sepulchre early in the morning and had discovered that the Lords body was not there, but, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. They also told him of others that had gone to the tomb, who also confirmed the absence of the body, but had not seen the Lord.
Then Jesus, gently chiding His fellow travelers as foolish men and slow of heart in their hesitating acceptance of what the prophets had spoken, asked impressively, Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? Beginning with the inspired predictions of Moses, He expounded to them the scriptures, touching upon all the prophetic utterances concerning the Saviors mission. Having continued with the men to their destination Jesus made as though he would have gone further, but they urged him to tarry with them, for the day was already far spent. He accepted their hospitable offer and entered the house, and, as soon as their simple meal was prepared, he sat with them at the table. As the guest of honor, He took the loaf, blessed it and brake, and gave to them. There may have been something in the fervency of the blessing, or in the manner of breaking and distributing the bread, that revived memories of former days; or, possibly, they caught sight of the pierced hands; but, whatever the immediate cause, they looked intently upon their guest, and their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. In an ecstatic moment of joy and wonder, they rose from the table, surprised at themselves for not having recognized their risen Lord sooner. One said to the other, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
Almost immediately they started to retrace their steps back to Jerusalem to confirm by their own witness what, before, the brethren had been slow to believe.
When Cleopas and his companion reached Jerusalem that night, they found the apostles and other believers assembled and worshiping within closed doors. Precautions of secrecy had been taken for fear of the Jews. Even the apostles had been scattered by the arrest, arraignment, and judicial murder of their Master. But the apostles and the other disciples rallied at the word of His resurrection. The two returning disciples were received with the joyous announcement, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
This is the sole mention made by the gospel writers of Christs personal appearance to Simon Peter on that day.
This interview between the risen Lord and His once recreant but now very repentant apostle must have an overwhelming experience for Peter. Just to know that his Lord still loved him and would make a personal visitation to him, must have caused his spirit to soar with renewed joy, exultation and praise unspeakable. Till the moment of this personal visit, Peter may have been in extreme doubt that the Master would ever call him his servant again.
We must remember that hope was kindled through the message from the tomb, which was brought by the women, in which the Lord sent greetings to the apostles, whom for the first time He designated as His brethren (Matt.28:10; John 20:17). We should also note that from this honorable and affectionate characterization, Peter had not been excluded. Also we should observe that in the angels commission to the women he had given prominence to Peter by particular mention. (Mark 16:7) To the repentant Peter came the Lord, doubtless with loving assurance and forgiveness. We have yet to know all the words of Christ, for even the apostle himself maintains a reverent silence respecting the visitation, but the fact thereof is attested by Paul as one of the definite proofs of the Lords resurrection.
Following the wonderful testimony of the assembled believers, Cleopas and his fellow traveler told of the Lords companionship with them on the road to Emmaus. They rehearsed with the others the things He had taught them and the manner in which he had become known to them in the breaking of the bread. As the little group communed together, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. They were affrighted, supposing with superstitious dread that a ghost had intruded amongst them. But the Lord comforted them, saying Why are ye troubled? And Why to 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. Then he showed them the wounds in his hands and feet and his side. They believed not for joy, which is to say, they thought the reality, to which they were all witnesses, too good, to glorious, to be true. To further assure them that He was no shadowy form, no immaterial being of tenuous substance, but a living Personage with bodily organs internal as well as outward, He asked Have ye any meat? They gave him a piece of broiled fish and other food, which he took and did eat before them.
These unquestionable evidences of their Visitants corporeity calmed and made rational the minds of the disciples; and now that they were composed and receptive the Lord reminded them that all things that had happened to Him were in accordance with what he had told them while he had lived amongst them. In His divine presence their understanding was now quickened and enlarged so that they comprehended as never before the scriptures, the Law of Moses and the books of the prophets including the psalms, concerning Him. That his now accomplished death was a necessity, He attested as fully as He had predicted and affirmed the same aforetime. Then he said unto them: Thus is is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things
Then were the disciples glad. As He was about to depart the Lord gave them His blessing, saying Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. This specification of men points directly to the apostles; And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
We should so note that when Jesus appeared in the midst of the apostles, that one of them. Namely Thomas was absent. Although he was informed of what the others had witnessed, he was still not convinced. Even with such solemn powerful testimony from the other faithful remaining twelve. Declaring We have seen the Lord. Even this failed to kindle the faith to believe their witness. Thomas, in his state of skepticism exclaimed: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
We should perhaps use caution in judging Thomas. If man had lived for more than 4000 years without the resurrection, would you and I have more faith in this new experience than did Thomas? I would suggest a tender and compassionate approach to be used before drawing any conclusions regarding Thomas.
We should so note that Thomas could scarcely have doubted the well attested circumstance of the empty sepulchre, nor the veracity of Mary Magdalene and the other women as to the presence of angels and the Lords appearing to them. Or of Peters testimony nor that of the other assembled twelve. All doubt was finally removed by the corporeal manifestation of the risen Lord, the exhibition of his wounds received prior to his crucifixion. Then the invitation of the risen Lord to touch and feel the resurrected body of flesh and bones, which even he on that occasion hesitated to accept.
We so observe that just one week later, for so the Jewish designation, after eight days, is to be understood, therefore on Sunday, which day of the week afterward became known to the Church as the Lords Day and to be observed as the Sabbath in place of Saturday, the Mosaic Sabbath, the disciples were once again assembled, and this time Thomas was with them.
On this occasion was held within closed, and probably guarded doors, for there was a danger of interference by the Jewish officers. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst of them, and said peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
The previously skeptical mind of Thomas was instantly cleansed. His former doubting heart was purified; and a full conviction of the glorious resurrection flooded his soul. Then in quiet reverence he bowed before his Savior, all the while exclaiming in worshipful acknowledgment of Christs Deity: My Lord and my God. His adoration was accepted, and the Savior said: Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed.
We now observe that both the angel at the sepulchre and the risen Christ himself had sent word to the apostles to go into Galilee, where the Lord would then meet them as he had said before His death. Matthew 28:10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Again we read in Mark 16:5-7 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
They delayed their departure for until the week after the resurrection. Once they arrive at their native region they awaited further developments. During the afternoon of one of those days of waiting, Peter said to six of his fellow apostles, I go a fishing, and the others replied, We also go with thee. They immediately embarked on a fishing boat; and notwithstanding the fact that they had toiled through the night, their net had been drawn away empty after every cast. As the following morning approached they drew near the land, probably very disheartened and discouraged. In the early dawn they were hailed by One who asked : Children have ye any meat? Their answer was of course No. It was Jesus who made the inquiry, however none in the boat recognized him. He called to them again saying: Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. They did as directed and the result was so surprising that it probably appeared to them to be miraculous. This undoubtedly brought back an all too familiar memory of an earlier similar experience that at least some of the apostles had experienced.
John was quick to discern and said to Peter, It is the Lord. Then Peter in his enthusiastic and perhaps almost impulsive manner quickly girt his fishers coat about him and sprang into the sea, that he might more quickly reach the land and prostrate himself at his Masters feet. The others left the vessel and entered a small boat in which they rowed to shore, towing their heavy laden net. On the land they saw a fire of coal with fish broiling thereon. They also became aware of a good supply of bread beside the fire. Jesus then instructed them to bring the fish they had just caught. Peter quickly responded by jumping into the shallow waters and drug the net ashore. Upon counting the haul contained in the net it was found to consist of 153 great fishes. We observe that the scripture so notes that for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken With the very strong modern materials we are blessed with to construct fishing nets today, a catch of this size would probably raise no concerns about the nets ability to carry such a large load. However, with the meager materials had in their day, the ability of the net to contain such a heavy catch must have been truly miraculous indeed.
Then their beloved Master said Come and dine; and as the Host at this unexpected meal, He then divided and distributed to the apostles the bread and fish. We are not told on this momentous occasion if he ate with his guests. All the apostles knew that it was the Lord who so hospitably served them, yet on this, as all other occasions of his appearance in the resurrected state, the was surrounding Him an awe inspiring and restraining demeanor. We suppose they would like to have questioned Hin, but they did not. John tells us that this was the third time that Jesus shewed himself to the disciples, after that he was risen from the dead ; which we understand this occasion to be the third on which Christ manifested Himself to the apostles in either complete or partial assembly. We should remember also that he appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the other women, to Peter, also to the two disciples on the country road, so we see that the current appearance was now the seventh recorded appearance of our risen Lord.
When they had finished their meal, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? This tenderly put question must have wrung Peters heart, coupled as is was with the reminder of his bold yet undependable protestation, Though all men shall be offended because of the, yet will I never be offended. (Matt.26:23; Mark 14:29; Luke 22:33) Peters declaration was followed by his denial that he had ever known the Man.(Matt. 26:70, 72, 74) To the Lords current inquiry Peter very humbly answered, yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. Then said Jesus, Feed my lambs. This question was again repeated ; and Peter likewise answered in identical words, to which the Lord responded, Feed my sheep. As if this were not enough, our risen Lord asked Peter for the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? It appears that Peter was pained and grieved at this reiteration. Perhaps the thought the Lord mistrusted him; but as the man had three times denied, so now at this moment he was given opportunity for a triple confession. To the thrice repeated question, Peter then answered: Lord thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
We should clearly understand that the Lords commission Feed my sheep was an assurance of the Lords confidence, and the reality of Peters presidency among the apostles. He had emphatically announced his readiness to follow his master even to prison and death. Now, the Lord who had died said unto him: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thy self, walkest whither thou woudst: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. The apostle John informs us that the Lord so spake signifying the death by which Peter should find a place among the martyrs; this analogy points to crucifixion as to this being the death by which Peter sealed his testimony of the Christ.
Hey! Thanks! This really has nothing to do with the topic but thanks for posting that "Feed my sheep" thing. I am currently experiencing what I am going to call a sheep revelation and that has added to it. Anyway, thanks!
Your most welcome. I hope this helped in some small way on you sermon or project.
Then said the Lord to Peter, Follow me. We should carefully note that this commend had both immediate and future significance. The man followed as Jesus drew some distance apart from the others on the shore; yet only a few years later we observe Peter would follow his Lord to the cross. Without a doubt we should so observe that Peter comprehended the reference to his martyrdom, as his writings in later years so indicate. 2 Peter 1:14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. We should also observe that as Christ and Peter walked together, that Peter looking backward, saw that John was following, and inquired: Lord and what shall this man do? Peter apparently also wished to see into the future as to his companions fate. Was John also going to die for the faith? The Lord replied If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. This was an admonition to Peter to look to his own course of duty and destiny, and to steadfastly follow the Master, wherever the road should lead.
Concerning himself, John later adds: Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die: but, if will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
This is strong evidence that John was translated as was Enoch and Elijah. I think it would be utterly amazing if we could see all that this faithful Apostle of Jesus Christ has done and will continue to do as he completes his mission up to the time when Christ shall come in great power and glory at the grand opening of his millennial reign.
We observe that Jesus had designated a mountain in Galilee where he should meet the apostles. There journeyed the eleven. When they saw Him at the appointed place, they worshiped him. The record states but some doubted. There is no indication that any of the eleven by the sea doubted. Therefore this may imply that there were others besides the apostles present, among whom were some who were unconvinced of the actual corporiety of the resurrected Christ. This may have been the occasion of which Paul wrote a quarter of a century later, concerning which he affirms that Christ was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom, though some had died, the majority still remained at the time of Paulss writing, living witnesses to his testimony. (Matt. 28:16-1
Those who were thus assembled on the mount Jesus declared: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. This could be understood as nothing less than a complete confirmation of His absolute Godship. His authority was supreme, and those who were commissioned of Him were to minister in His name, and by a power such as no man could give or take away.
Throughout the forty days following His resurrection the Lord manifested Himself at various intervals to the apostles, to some individually and to all as a body, instruct them in things pertaining to the kingdom of God. the record is not always specific or definite as to time and place of particular events. Much that He said and did is not written. John assures us that what things are written are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.
As the time of his ascension drew near, the risen Lord said unto the eleven apostles: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:15-1
We should observe that in contrast with their earlier commission, under which they were sent only: Matt. 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. they were now to go to Jew and Gentile, bond and free, to mankind at large, of all nations, countries and tongues. Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, followed by repentance and baptism, was now offered freely to all. The rejection of this offer would bring condemnation. Signs and miracles were promised to follow them that believe, thus confirming their faith in the power divine. We should also so note that there was no intimation given that such manifestations were to precede belief, as baits to catch the credulous sign or wonder-seeker.
In the last solemn interview, probably as the risen Savior let the mortal Eleven away from the cituy toward the old familiar resort on the Mount of Olives, the brethren still very much imbued with their misconception of the kingdom of God as an earthly establishment of power and dominion, then asked of Him, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6) Jesus then answered, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:7-
Christ then taught them: Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. He had fulfilled his preparations unto the children of men and declared unto the eleven that he now had received all power from God the Father.
Thus we see their duty was defined and emphasized: Matt. 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
When the risen Lord had gone as far as to Bethany, the Lord lifted up his hands, and blessed them; And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:9-11)
With great joy and reverent worship the eleven apostles returned to Jerusalem, to await the coming of the comforter. The Lords ascension had been accomplished; we observe that it was truly a literal departure of a material Being as His resurrection had been an actual return of his spirit to His own corporeal body, theretofore dead. We should so carefully note that the world abode and yet abides the glorious promise, that Jesus the Christ, the same Being who ascended from Olivet in His immortalized body of flesh and bones, shall yet return, descending from the heavens, in similarly material form and substance.
I find it of interest to so note that there were eleven faithful apostles remaining after his death. We also so note that there were also eleven recorded appearances of Christ between the resurrection and Ascension. I leave you to judge whether this is just mere coincidence or a part and parcel of the Masters plan.
1. To Mary Magdalene near the sepulchre (Mark 16:9-10; John 20:14).
2. To the other women, somewhere between the sepulchre and Jerusalem (Matthew 28:9)
3. To two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mark 6:12; Luke 24:13).
4. To Peter, in or near Jerusalem (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).
5. To ten of the apostles and others at Jerusalem (Luke 24:36; John 20:19)
6. To Eleven apostles at Jerusalem (Mark 16:14; John 20:26)
7. To the apostles at the sea of Tiberias, Galilee (John 21)
8. To the eleven apostles on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16)
9. To five hundred brethren at once (1 Corinthians 15:6) Note: the locality is not specified, but was probably in galilee.
10. To James (1 Corinthians 15:7) Please note that no record of this manifestation is made by the Gospel writers.
11. To the eleven apostles at the time of the ascension, Mount of Olives, near Bethany (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51)
In the next part we will turn our attention to the Lords manifestations of Himself to men subsequent to the ascension.
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