THE GOSPELS 115
Matt.28, Mk.16, Lk.24, Jno.20
THE LORD IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD
The accounts, by the different Gospel writers, of the discovery of the empty tomb, reported to them by the women, differ in various details. The variance is due to two factors. First, they were
all descriptions passed to the writers by word-of-mouth witnesses, and such reporting often varies in the way each one interprets what they see. Second, these women who did the reporting were very
scared and confused. This certainly caused their stories to differ as each tried to recount what they had seen. The main facts were essentially the same, in spite of the different way each
The tomb was in a small cave and was closed at the entrance by a huge stone, shaped like a cart wheel, which was rolled in a groove across the opening. On the way to the tomb to anoint the body of
Jesus, the women worried about how they would remove the stone. When they arrived, they discovered that the stone was already moved, and an angel was near, who gave them the news that Jesus had a
risen. He also gave them a message that Jesus had left for them. One statement in this message gives us a powerful description of the wonderful heart of the Lord.
When the angel said Jesus had said for them to go tell the disciples that He had risen, He added, “And tell Peter”. Those words convey a wonderful and amazing thing about Jesus. He knew that
Peter was in anguish for his denial of Jesus during the trial at the house of Caiphas. That He remembered this, and worried about it all through His own terrible anguish during His trial, torture
and crucifixion, attests to the tremendous love Jesus has for His followers, and to the fact that He is anxious to relieve the burden of our sorrows above all else. The love and forgiveness of the
Lord is the greatest comfort we have, and should cause our love for Him to be the ultimate motivation of our lives.
When the women came back from the tomb, Mary went to Peter and told him what they had experienced. He and John ran back to the tomb, examined it, and finding only the grave clothes, returned
wondering and confused. They still did not realize that He had fulfilled the scriptures which said He would rise from the grave.
Mary evidently had followed them, and, as they went back, she was left there weeping and alone. Suddenly she saw a man standing beside her, and thinking it was the gardener, she asked Him to tell
her where they had taken the body of her Lord. Jesus then said, “Mary”, and she realized who it was. Evidently, she must have thrown her arms around Him, for He said, “Don’t touch Me for I have
not yet ascended to My Father”. I think the real meaning here was, “Don’t hold on to me so tight. I am not going to leave to go to My Father yet”. But, to me, it says, “Jesus knows my first
name”! What a beautiful thing to realize. He is a personal friend, not just the head of the church. What He wants is a personal relationship with me, not a legal or organizational relationship
as a part of the group.
Mark and Luke record the appearance of Jesus to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Then, we have the account of His appearance to the disciples in Jerusalem twice. The last time, Thomas, who
was not there the first time, saw the nail prints in His hands, and believed that it was really Jesus arisen from the dead. Jesus pronounced a blessing on all who would believe without seeing the
physical evidence. That would be all who believed the promise God had made, and the words of the prophets through the ages, fulfilled in the life Jesus had lived, and the sacrifice of the Cross.
That evidence is still available to all who want to meet Jesus, who is still alive, and comes to all who will to know Him.
In out next essay we will give the final acts of Jesus before He finally ascended to take His place with the Father as King of Kings, Lord of Lords and the Savior of all who believe on Him.