69. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
Resurrection of Jesus by Mathias Grünewald - Musée Unterlinden Colmar
1. The first day of the week of PASSOVER
A) Jesus is restored to life.
B) Three women go to the tomb to hurriedly prepare Jesus' body; it being Friday evening, one hour before the beginning of the Sabbath, which this year was one day before the Jewish Passover. On arriving at the tomb, they saw an angel move the tombstone, whilst the terrified guard fled to the Sanhedrin.
The angel gave them a message for the disciples, so they returned to the village.
C) Peter and John rushed to the Sepulchre and saw the empty tomb.
D) Mary Magdalene arrives at the tomb and speaks to a stranger. (It was Jesus who addressed her).
E) Jesus appears to Peter.
F) Jesus joins two disciples who are walking towards Emmaus one evening. He disappeared when they sat at the suppertable. They immediately returned to Jerusalem to inform the apostles of all that they had seen.
G) This same evening, Jesus appears between the disciples although all the doors are locked by fear of the Jews. However Thomas absent expresses some doubts on the authenticity and the nature of the personage of this apparition.
2. Eight days later
Jesus appears at the place where the disciples are meeting. Thomas believes when he touches Jesus.
3. APPARITION of Jesus beside the Lake of Galilee
- The second miraculous catch of fish.
- Predictions given to Peter who is named the 'chief disciple'
DETAILS regarding these events :
1. The FIRST day of the Jewish week
A. Jesus is Risen
The day after the Sabbath was Passover, and also the first day of the normal Jewish week. On this day, Jesus rose from the dead and His body disappeared from the tomb. During this time on earth, Jesus had shown His power over death by resurrecting three people from death. However, we must remember that these three resurrections quickly restored the material body to the bereaved family.
Jesus Christ's resurrection is about His spirit reappearing without his material body. In fact, Jesus behaves like a spirit; His body seems changed, for no-one recognises Him immediately. He was now able to 'pass through walls and locked doors'.
In fact, the resurrection of Jesus is an unprecedented, unique event. It was the first time in the history of humanity that a dead man had been in public. (St. Paul pointed this out at that time to a crowd of 500 people ).
Why did Mary Magdalene, His own disciples on the road to Emmaus, then the other disciples on the Lake of Galilee not recognise Him immediately? He was their Master, whom they had followed faithfully from Galilee to Judea!!
The explanation must be that he arose from the dead with a different physique, unlike that which they knew. Only Thomas, the disciple who is rather unjustly called 'sceptical', reacted in a typically fuman way. He professed his faith after SEEING that Jesus' wounds were in the same places as those inflicted during the crucifixion.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus also appeared in a different form at Lourdes, in Italy, at Fatima in Portugal, in Bosnia, in Spain, Egypt and elsewhere . And yet the church concedes that this is 'the Mother of Christ'. We really do not understand a great deal about the miraculous qualities of the spirit after death.
Paul's letter to the Corinthians:15v50
I say to you that flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God. However, here is the great mystery: We shall not die! (It is understood that one must be judged worthy of eternal life.)
They will be COMPLETELY CHANGED in an instant, in the blink of an eye
The answers are aready given in the Bible:
Paul 1st letter to the Corinthians. 15 v 35.Senseless!
That which thou sowest thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain,
But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh;
There are also CELESTIAL bodies, and bodies TERRESTIAL,
And each has its own aspect.And the sun, the moon and the stars;
Each differs from the other in their glory.
So it is with body. It is sown in corruption;
It is raised incorruptible.
It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory;
It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
It is sown an animal body; it is raised a spritual body.
We wonder how the apostle Paul (who had been trained as as a pharisee) could suddenly explain these mysteries if he had not had direct evidence from the apostles, who had seen Jesus after His death and described all the details of the events?
In the same way, Jesus at the time of his TRANSFIGURATION demonstrated that 'another from of life existed', independent of the laws of life on Earth. To prove to us that ETERNITY does EXIST, Jesus took three disciples on a voyage in time . He wanted to show that God is the Master of ALL TIME and LIFE on Earth and in the Heavens.
Transformation of our form during resurrection is an intrinsic part of life's journey on earth, as Paul implies that all will not be born again but some will remain dead for ever.
For those chosen, they will be reborn in a new, young body. Jesus Himself said in ch 34 that those who are dead and found worthy of a spiritual resurrection, 'Will they not be like angels?'
B. The three women find the tomb empty
Matt ch 28, Luke ch24 and Mark ch16
At dawn on the first day of the week, Mary (the wife of James) and Salome bought aromatic oil to embalm Jesus' body. On the way they asked themselves bow they would move the great stone in front of the tomb. However, when they got there, the stone had been rolled away and they were startled to see A MAN in a white robe standing inside.
The angel turned around and said:
- 'Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is restored to life; please go and tell His disciples'.
So they ran to give the good news to the disciples, who were barricaded inside the Upper Room for fear of the Sanhedrin.
C. Peter and John at the tomb
John 20v3 Peter and John the Evangelist went straight to the sepulchre. They both ran, but John, being younger, arrived first. However, out of respect John let Peter enter the tomb before him. They found the bandages and linen from Jesus' body lying on the ground.
They were puzzled as they still did not understand that Jesus was alive again, as was predicted in the Scripture.
D. Mary Magdalen at the tomb
John 20v11 Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb. Was she with the three women mentioned by Mark? Seeing the worry on the faces of John and Peter, she too was puzzled. The disciples left and Mary sat on the side of the huge stone lying there still and wept bitterly. Suddenly she saw two angels in white robes inside the sepulchre, one of whom asked,
- 'Woman, why are you crying?'
- 'Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don't know where He is hidden.'
When she turned around, she saw Jesus standing in front of her, but she did not recognise Him. He asked:
- 'Whom are you looking for?'
Mary saw this strong healthy man, who apparently had no wounds. She did not know Him, so she believed this was the gardener of Joseph of Arimathea, (a trusted friend of Jesus).
- 'Lord, if it is you who has taken Him away, please tell me where He is'.
Such was her love that she wanted to take away Jesus; body, which had been tortured, mutilated, and finally murdered by the wickedness of men! At that moment Jesus saw her great love and called out:
This one word was enough to brighten her face. Her heart knew it was Him and she replied by literally throwing herself on her Master ..
But Jesus did not want her to touch Him; he explained that He must first go up to the Father in Heaven. However, He asked her to tell the other disciples what she had seen.
Why did Jesus choose Mary Magdalene to be the first person to see Him after His death?
She was a beautiful woman, but the Jews claimed that He had already exorcised seven demons! Truly, Jesus was overflowing with perfect love and mercy.
E. Jesus appears to Simon Peter
Luke, the doctor from Antioch, listened to the witness of the Apostles and above all of Peter. He then wrote (ch24v34):
'When the two disciples from Emmaus returned to Jerusalem, they found the other disciples gathered together (all excepting Thomas). They told him:
- 'Yes, we know that Jesus is alive. We were sceptical whn the women told us, but He has also appeared to Peter.'
This revelation was confirmed by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, ch.15v 4.
F. On the road to Emmaus
Luke 24v13 That same day two disciples left Jerusalem to go tho a small village called Emmaus. It was more than 12 kms away.
We know that one of the men was Cleopas, (or perhaps Clopas, according to the translations). We also know from John that Mary, the mother of Jesus had a cousin married to someone called Clopas!
As they walked, the two men were speaking of the events in Jerusalem. A stranger suddenly approached them and walked with them. They did not recognise Him. Then the stranger said:
- What are you talking about to make you so sad?
- Our magistrates have condemned a prophet - Jesus of Nazareth - to be crucified by the Romans.
We believed that He would be able to deliver us from domination of the Romans . Several women say that His body had disappeared and angels told them He was still alive!
- Oh men who are so slow to recognise that which was foretold by the prophets!
So starting with Moses, He explained what the Scriptures had foretold concerning Christ. Eventually, they arrived at Emmaus. The disciples insisted on sharing their lodging with this wise and learned stranger, and shared their evening meal with Him.
Whilst they were all at table, He took bread and gave thanks to God. Then He broke the bread and gave it to the disciples. Thus their eyes were opened, and they realised this man was their Master; at that moment, He disappeared. But they remembered all His words and said ;
- Our hearts leapt at his words!'
They left the supper table and returned the 12 kms to Jerusalem to tell the news to the other disciples, who were in the 'upper room' beside the Mount of Olives, near the temple. (Acts 1v23)
This witness seemed very surprising: after spending several hours walking with their Master, they only recognised Him after He thanked God and broke bread with them!
Mark 16v12 confirms that Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road and says that Jesus appeared 'IN ANOTHER FORM'!
G. Jesus appears to the disciples on the evening of the first day
The two men were very tired when they reached the Mount of Olives. They must have been close friends of the disciples as they knew precisely where they were hidden, (from the Jews).
They used a secret knock, and after several moments were allowed to enter. They tried to tell the other disciples what had occurred on the road to Emmaus, and everyone was listening carefully when Jesus appeared again before them! (All the doors and windows were locked and barricaded.)
There was panic for a moment or two, as some thought a ghost had appeared. Jesus reassured them all:
- 'Do not be afraid; it is I to bring you peace'.
To prove it was Him, He let them touch His hands and feet so they could see His wounds. Then he ate with them all.
That evening Thomas was not with them, so the next day when they told him about the apparition of Jesus he was very sceptical. He refused to believe until he fad put his hands on the Master's wounds to prove the news for himself.
2. Eight days later (John Ch 20)
In the same place, eight days later, Jesus appeared again, and this time Thomas was present. He turned to Thomas and asked:
- Come here Thomas and look at my hands and place your hand in my side.
Thomas was nervous, but he touched and confirmed that the STIGMATA coincided with the places were Jesus had been wounded. He could no longer doubt and he cried out:
- My Lord and my God!
- Thomas, you have believed becouse you have seen, but blessed are those who will believe even though they have not seen.
Several years later, Thomas went to teach the gospel in India and there sacrificed his life for his beliefs.
3. Apparition beside lake of Genesareth
Simon went with six other disciples (James, John, Thomas, Nathaniel and two others) to Bethsaida, his home town. One evening, Simon, who had prepared his nets said to the others:
- 'I'm going to fish tonight . Does anyone want to come?' The others all agreed to accompany him.
So they all left and took the two sons of Zebedee, who was glad to find the disciples again and even find them fishing! However, that night the fish were more wayward than usual, and during the whole night they caught not one fish!
At dawn the sun rose behind the village of Hippos, behind the mountains which hide the Syrian desert. Peter was annoyed, Thomas and Nathaniel were half-asleep, and James and John pulled in the nets ready for the return to port. The boat ran alongside the bank, when suddenly 'a stranger' shouted:
- CHILDREN! Have you nothing to eat?"
"No!" they cried rather nervously, ashamed at having to admit it. The stranger on the river bank added:
- Let down the nets on the right side of the boat and you will find some!
Usually Simon didn't like taking advice, especially from strangers. However, so many strange things were happening that he dedided to take the advice Peter did wonder why the man on the shore had called them 'children'?
Suddenly the water became turbulent, and thousands of shining, silvery fish appeared near the surface of the lake. It was as if an entire bank of fish were swimming towards the nets.
John, who had seen the first of Jesus' miracles with the fish immediately recognised that it was Jesus at work!
- "It is our Lord..!!!"
Peter was working naked at the side of the boat and nearly had a stroke when he heard John's words. He put on his tunic and flung himself into the water, leaving his companions to finish the work!
They counted 153 large fish and threw the others back. Despite this huge catch, not a single thread of the net was broken!
When the boat came to the place where Peter was, the disciples saw that the STRANGER had prepared a fire and was cooking some of the fish for them. After all their hard labour, they sat around the Master and ate with gusto!
They all looked at Him with curiosity: Jesus seemed different after His resurrection and yet the disciples dared not ask Him the question which was foremost in their hearts: John 21v12.
- "Who are you?" But they all sensed that it was their Lord.
Simon named " the leader of the disciples "
When they had finished eating, Jesus asked Peter:
- "Simon Peter, son of Jonas, do you love me?"
Simon was very troubled. He knew that when Jesus asked him, using his family name, something extremely important was to be discussed. He could not forget the three times he denied Christ. A second time Jesus asked him: "Do you love me?" A final time He asked and Simon replied with tears in his eyes:
- "Lord, you know that I love you!"
Then Jesus gave His great commandment to His disciples:
- "Then feed my sheep."
He was likening Himself to a shepherd leading His sheep into the kingdom of heaven.
4. Reflections on the apparitions of Jesus
On reading the details we notice that none of those who had been close to Jesus recognised Him IMMEDIATELY!
Here are the circumstances which brought them to realise who He was:
- Mary Magdalene: He called her by her first name.
- The disciples on the way to Emmaus: by the way He healed their pain and grief.
- Thomas: by touching Jesus' scars and wounds.
- John and Peter: by the second miracle while fishing at the lake.
Why did none of the seven disciples at the lake that day dare to ask Him who He was?
We all have difficulty in imagining life after the death of our earthly body Yet Jesus wanted to help us by using our faith and by His example believing in those things which we do not understand.
God has mercy on us and shows that love can erase all our sins; Mary Magdalene and the penitent thief are good examples. The ways of Providence are incomprehensible to us. However, it was necessary for the Master to return after His bodily death to COMPLETE His mission and teaching:-
- What is meant by resurrection.
- That the famous MESSIAH awaited so long was not a warlike chief, but the king of another world where love and truth reign supreme. This was greater than an earthly conquest, it was a new WAY of living TOGETHER, just as those elected to live in Paradise do for eternity.
The glory of Jesus Risen - Raphael Image
70. The ASCENSION and PENTECOST
1. THE ASCENSION of Jesus-Christ :
Acts ch 1v3. After His suffering on the cross was over, Jesus appeared to his disciples, giving several instances of proof that He was alive over a period of forty days.
He asked them not to leave Jerusalem so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. At that time, His disciples wanted to know:
- "Lord, when will You re-establish the Kingdom of Israel?" He replied:
- "It is not up to you to know when my Father will act, but the power of the Holy Spirit will descend on you, so that you may bear witness of me to Jerusalem and the Whole World.
Then He led them to Bethany and to their amazement, He rose up into the sky and He disappeared into a large cloud. Suddenly two men dressed in white appeared:
- Men of Galilee, your Jesus whom you saw ascend into the sky will RETURN the same way .
They returned to Jerusalem and climbed to the upper chamber where they usually met. The faithful Eleven were there, with Jesus' mother Mary and several pious men and women who were close to Jesus' family. They drew lots to find a replacement for Judas, who had hanged himself in despair. Finally, Matthias was chosen and joined the group of disciples.
2. PENTECOST :
Acts ch 2.
On the day of Pentecost, (which was during the Jewish festival of SHAVUOT, exactly 7 weeks after Passover), Jesus' friends met again in the upper room. Suddenly, there was a strange noise, (like that of a stormy wind), filled the house.
Tongues of fire appeared and rested over each person's head. All were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in many different languages.
Jerusalem was home to people from many different countries and they were amazed at the sound of these foreign languages.
In Jerusalem were Parthians, Medes, Elamites (Persians), Mesopotamians, people from Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia Minor, Phrygia, Pamphlia, Libya, Egypt, Crete, Arabia and even to Romans converted to Judaism.
Everyone was amazed to hear these simple Galileans express themselves in languages which these foreigners could understand. Peter then spoke to the crowd, reminding them of the prophesies of David. Psalm 15v11
Thou will show me the path of life: in Thy prescence is fulness of joy; we have seen that Jesus is risen. Yes, Jesus is risen and we all can bear witness to this.
Those who believed in their hearts the words of Peter that day were baptised and there were then about three thousand souls who were disciples. They all took part in the breaking of the bread and the prayers.
These people had probably been infuenced by the miracles of Jesus, and by listening to His many parables and teachings. They were expressing a reaction against their political leaders.
Many of the new disciples were amazed as more and more miracles were performed by the apostles. This was proof tht Jesus' teachings were bearing fruit amongst His followers.
They broke bread in their homes and did all these things with a simple joy. Thus, Jesus' promise came to pass (Mark 9v49), "For everyone will be seasoned with fire," referring to their baptism.
John 14 "I will not leave you orphans. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The Father will send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who will be with you always. He will lead you in the truth and foretell the things to come "
James 1v5. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God in faith. For if he doubts, he will be like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."
(Paul's letter to the Romans 8v14.) All those who are led by the SPIRIT of God are: "Sons of God". We cry "ABBA - Father". This Spirit bears witness to say that we are "children of God".
Paul (Romans 8v27). The Holy Spirit will help us in our weaknesses, for we know not how to pray. Thus the Holy Spirit will intercede for us.
The Holy Spirir - anonymous illustration
HYMN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
| Veni Creator
Mentes tuorum visitas
Imple superna gratia
Quae tu creasti pectora
| "Come, Holy Ghost, Creator
From the bright heavenly throne!
Come, take possesion of our souls,
And make them all Thine Own!
| Qui disceris Paraclitus
Altissimi domum Dei
Fons vivus, ignis, charitas
Et spiritalis unctio.
| You who are called the
Blest gift of God above,
The Living Spring, The Living Fire,
Sweet Unction and true Love!
| Tu septiformis munere,
Digitus paternae Dexterae
Tu rite promissum Patris,
Sermone ditans guttura.
| You who are sevenfold
in your grace,
Finger of God's right hand,
His Promise, teaching little ones,
To speak and understand
| Accende lumen sensibus,
Infunde amorem cordibus
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti
| O guide our minds
with your blest light,
With love our hearts inflame;
And with strength, which never decays,
Confirm our mortal frame.
Return to the main menu