PARTNERS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART LXXVIII
The apostle Peter was not a close friend of Paul. And therefore Peter was very hard on Paul (Galatians 2:11-21); yet, he respected Paul for his spiritual insight (II Peter 3:15-18). Thus, we need to take to heart the need to be resurrected.
Now if Christ is being preached as being raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vail. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied (I Corinthians 15:12-19).
WHO WITNESSED THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS?
The Greek text, which many translators rejected as authentic, was an actual summary of what Jesus had done as the Risen Christ. And the credit was bestowed on Mary Magdalene, a prominent Gentile woman, who had moved among high circles in society, before Jesus delivered her from seven evil demons (Luke 2:8). She served Jesus and his disciples with her life and assets, and also encouraged many women to believe in Jesus the Christ. Could she have been the one whom the scribes and the Pharisees dragged before Jesus to be stoned (John 8:1-11).
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because he believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
And he (Jersus) said unto them, “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 thin, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” So then after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went foth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen (Mark 16:9-20, KJV).
The young man, who was in Gethsemane with Jesus, was also at the tomb announcing that Jesus had risen, and also that Jesus would be reunited with his disciples in Galilee, where they had first met. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, were overcome with shock and fear and said nothing (Mark 16:1-8). The Gospel of Matthew has an earthquake, and an angel from heaven rolled away the stone from the entrance of the tomb, and scared away the guards before they had a glimpse of the Risen Lord (Matthew 28:11-15). This glaring heavenly being informed Mary Magdalene and the other Mary that Jesus went to Galilee and expects his disciples to meet Him where they would receive final instruction (Matthew 28:1-10). The disciple did go and they did receive their orders. Jesus did not leave the eleven disciples, but He promised that He would always be with them:
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20).
THE ROLE OF MARY MAGDALENE
The Gospel of John has Mary Magdalene alone and without the young man or an angel (angels) meet Jesus. And therefore Mary presumed that Jesus was the gardner. Then, Peter and the young man followed Mary back to the empty tomb. And the second time Mary looked into the tomb, she saw two angels. Later that same day, Jesus appeared to Simon and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24-13-35). And in the evening Jesus showed Himself to ten of His disciples (John 20:19-23). Thomas was not present and Jesus did show Himself to Thomas. The disciples did go to Galilee where Jesus handed His Shepherding over to Peter (p.s. See Part LII). This was where John’s witness ended. There was no need to have Christ ascend or descend any longer. The Holy Spirit had taken Jesus’ place (John 16:7).
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, one at the head and ne at the feet. They said to her, “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 it was Jesus. Jesus said to ther, “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, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for have not yet ascended to the Father; butt 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 told them that he had said these things to her (John 20:11-18).
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had asked this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:19-23).
LUKE WAS ON AN ASSIGNMENT FOR THEOPHILUS TO LEARN ALL THERE WAS ABOUT JESUS AND HIS FOLLOWERS
Luke was employed as a physician by a prominent man and his household. The man became interested in Jesus, but was not ready to be identified as a disciple, at a time when it was risky. He assumed the identity of being a “friend of God,” suitable to any god and not detrimental to anyone’s life. Luke set forth his own task, in his introduction to his Gospel and to the Acts of the Apostles. He was not the first to attempt to write a biography of Jesus, but very likely the first to complete his narrative. Luke, himself, as indicated by the “us,” was already a member of the Jesus Movement.
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed (Luke 1:1-4).
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them be presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father. Which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:1-5).
Luke did not single out Mary Magdalene as the only one or two women that went to the grave. He had all the women who followed Jesus go to the sepulchre (Luke 24:10). And, it was not Peter and the other disciple, who met Jesus first (I Corinthians 15:5). Jesus appeared to Cleopas and Simon of a village called Emmaus. The name Simon was very common, and Peter was not on the road to Emmaus, but he was hiding with the nine other disciples in fear of the Jews. The disciples did not believe the women that Jesus had risen from the dead (Luke 24:10-11).
That very day two of them were going to a village amed Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking said. Then one of them, named Cleo-pas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had seven seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to thm in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going; and he made as though he would go further, but they constrained him saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:13-35).