HOW GOD STAYS IN TOUCH WITH MAN: XXIV

The Lamb of God was born into the world that had no cradle for a bed, no home where to lay down his head, and no grave to be buried in. Yet, no one has brought man closer to God than the solitary Man from Nazareth in Galilee. And Jesus keeps doing it through the “Network of His Holy Spirit” who resides in his followers.

THE INTERMENT OF JESUS WAS A TEMPORARY SOLUTION

Jesus did not die the way people died in his day. And Jesus was not buried the way people were prepared by a burial party or mourners at His dead bed. Jesus had no family burial plot. So, Jesus was temporarily placed in a rich man’s tomb where the body was properly embalmed for the Resurrection. The owner of the sepulchre was Joseph of Arimathea, a council member of the Jewish hierarchy, who believed (along with Nicodemus and the other disciple) that Jesus would live up to His Promise. And that Jesus would come back from the dead. Joseph went to Pilate and asked to claim Jesus’ body before it was reported that He had died. I wonder, why the Sanhedrin let Joseph bury Jesus’ body in his rock tomb? It was the most secure place where Jesus could be kept from being stolen or come back from the dead. The Sanhedrin mentioned Pilate to roll a huge stone in front of the entrance of the tomb, seal it with his seal, and station two of his best soldiers to guard it. It did indicate that they had more than apprehension, that Jesus could be the one that death would reject, and He would return to the living.

That Hope (the Resurrection) was absent from his disciple, but not from the nameless “other disciple” who had access to the high priest and to the Roman praetorium. With this disciple’s witness the authors produced the Gospel of John, which adds some occurrences, which were not known to the composers of the other Gospels. Let us follow their later witnesses, after the Holy Spirit had refreshed their minds. The Holy Spirit also reminded the disciples of the picture of Jesus, and His Mission, which provided some clarity. Jesus had predicted His shameful death! And Jesus had accepted as being anointed for His death, before He died. Jesus, Himself, believed that He was anointed for burial before He died by a common woman in Simon the leper’s home.

And while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of ointment full of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the jar and poured it over his head. But there were some w said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment thus wasted? For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and give to the poor.” And they reproached her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burying. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:3-9).

And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And Pilate wondered if he were already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid (Mark 15:42-47).

Now there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their purpose and deed, and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid (Luke 23:50-55).

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb, and departed. And Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

Next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore order the tomb 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,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have guard of soldiers; go, make it secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard (Matthew 27:57-66).

After this Joseph of Arimathea who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is  the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there (John 19:38-42).

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS FROM THE DEAD IS GOD’S MOST POWERFUL DISPLAY OF HIS LOVE FOR MAN

King David received this assurance from the Lord, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; KJV), and “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me” (Psalm 49:15; KJV).

The Son of God, the Lamb, had to give up His mortality to redeem even those in Sheol and in hell. Jesus went down to the realm of the dead and offered deliverance to the believers (Ephesians 4:810; I Peter 3:18-20). According to Jesus’ own prediction, He had to spent three days and nights in the realm of the dead to preach salvation to them (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34). Jesus promised that the dead too would hear His Voice and live again (John 5:25). The moment the Lamb of God gave up His breath:

“… the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection (Christ’s) they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:52-53).

The sacrifice of the Lamb of God was for the purpose to the Resurrection of all believers, who put their trust in Christ the Lamb shall be raised to live again with and in God, “For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God” (I Peter 4:6).

To this fact, the four Gospels bear witness. John Mark and Luke received first the sanction of the early church leaders and Matthew and John followed. Every Gospel represents witnesses with similar and different perceptions. In Mark, the women were welcomed at the empty tomb by a young man in white, and he told them that Christ had risen. In Luke two men, in dazzling clothes, told the woman that Jesus was alive. Then, Jesus revealed Himself to two men from Emmaus, who the informed the ten disciples of their encounter with the Risen Lord, before Jesus

Himself appeared (Luke 24:12-49). Matthew believed that a messenger from heaven rolled away the stone with the help of an earthquake. And the messenger directed the woman that the Risen Christ had gone to Galilee. And in John, Mary Magdalene mistook Jesus for the gardner; and that the only one who believed that Jesus had risen was the mysterious other disciple.

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, brought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid (Mark 16:1-8).

But on the first day of the week, at early down, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he old you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered in the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles; but these words seem to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them (Luke 24:1-11).

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Matthew 28:1-10).

IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, MARY MAGDALENE WAS THE MESSENGER OF THE RISEN LORD

Mary Magdalene, was a prominent Gentile lady of Madala, who was mentally afflicted by seven demons. Jesus’ compassion attracted her faith and her devotion. And Jesus set her free of her mental sufferings (Luke 8:2). Mary joined the ladies who traveled with Jesus’ group, lending financial aid, and rendering basic services to the very end of Jesus’ Life and Jesus’ Ministry. Mary Magdalene was dependable and she also was a reliable leader in the group. Therefore, Jesus was rather fond of her. Mary Magdalene was the first to whom Jesus revealed Himself after His Resurrection. She played a vital role during the darkest days of Jesus’ followers. John’s Gospel spoke well of Mary Magdalene.

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did it go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and he went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that is was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-boni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she old them that he had said these things go her (John 20:1-18).