1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
... and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, Lk 24:10
Shortly after the soldiers left the garden, just before sunrise, a party of a very different character arrived -- a party of timid, defenceless women, who were apparently unaware that the grave had been in military charge. These were the two Marys and Salome and the other women who had followed the Lord out of Galilee. The several accounts of their proceedings at the sepulchre appear on a rough comparison to be inconsistent with one another, but a careful sifting of the details yield a connected and harmonious narrative
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An angel descended from heaven, removed the stone and then sat on it (Matt 28:2)
As they approach, they are questioning among themselves how they are going to remove the great stone blocking the entrance. It would be a large flat, round stone like a wheel that was rolled in a groove and dropped into a small depression in front of the entrance.
It seemed to be a very serious obstacle, but as so often happens, when they reached the spot they found the obstacle had been removed, the worry needless, the problem nonexistent.*
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple [John], whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
Then they went out into the garden and stood in a perplexity what to do. While so engaged, Mary Magdalen -- apparently the warmest-hearted and most impulsive in her feelings concerning Christ -- darted away to the city to communicate to Peter and John the fact that the body of Christ had been removed from the sepulchre.
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Mary Magdalene has run away to tell Peter and John of the strange new development. Did it mean a last bitter, mocking disappointment, or dared they permit their crushed hearts to court further pain by opening them up to a ray of hope? *
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
According to John, Mary Magdalene -- before the angels revealed themselves -- seems to have run immediately to tell Peter and John that the tomb had been opened.
(We cannot help but wonder why these two disciples did not accompany the women in the first place, especially in view of the problem of moving the stone. Why did the women go alone? What were the disciples doing? What was their state of mind?)
Perhaps the circumstances are purposely designed to make us think deeply upon the state of mind of Jesus' followers during this terrible period.
They had not only suddenly lost -- under violent, tragic circumstances -- the one who was the focus of their deepest love and devotion. This would be of itself a terrible shock.
But their whole world had been shattered. They had left ALL and followed him. They had put all their faith and hope -- all their very life -- on and in him -- all their dreams for future, eternal divine blessing. Everything of them and in them was bound up in him, whom they had regarded as the very Son of God.
For over three years they had enjoyed to the full his wonderful, sustaining presence, seen his countless miracles and manifestations of power, seen him put the nation's rulers to helpless confusion and humiliated silence time and again, while all the people thronged him and marvelled at him.
Then suddenly it all collapsed. Suddenly everything went dark, and began to violently close in on them. In a brief, terrible, unprepared-for fifteen hours, he was seized, abused, mocked, humiliated, and destroyed. And the whole weight of the long-infuriated and now triumphantly-revengeful wrath of the rulers would be turned against them -- his closest followers.
We remember that when Jesus revealed himself to them they were assembled trembling, behind locked doors,"for fear of the Jews." Surely everything indicated that they had good reason to fear.
But the fear would not be the major aspect of their condition. The major aspect would be shock, terrible shock at the loss of their beloved Master, and the end of all they had built upon him.
Why was such a trial permitted? Why were their understandings previously veiled so they should not be ready?
The simple answer is: It was necessary. They had to be tried, torn, twisted, crushed to the utmost.
All of us, in our own small way, have experienced the transforming power of a great emotional shock. It searches the soul, it opens up the mind to its foundations, it rearranges all the courses of nature and sets things going in an entirely different direction. It is hard, but it is wholesome. It shakes out the dross from the mind, and makes men bigger and better.
From this time forward, these are all different men. It is as if they have passed through a violent metamorphosis, and henceforth are an entirely new type of creature. The old man died, and the new man found his strength. Henceforth, they stand fearlessly before the rulers. Henceforth, they go fearlessly to prison and to death.
The double shock of Death and Resurrection appears to have been the divine means for effecting this transformation -- this sudden growth from children to men.
Let us learn the lesson well, that we may yield ourselves completely to the Divine Hand and in the fierce crucible of sorrow, find the glories of spirit birth. *
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
From John's outrunning of Peter, we seem to catch a glimpse of the personal peculiarity of the two men -- John, spare and agile, and Peter, thick set and full-bodied; and, corresponding with the mental difference of the two -- John arriving first, peeped into the sepulchre, but did not enter.
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7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
These details, though trifling in themselves, have some value [see the riddle of the linen clothes] in the circumstances. They prove the body had not been taken away; for the removal of the body, either in the way alleged by the chief priests, or in the way supposed at first by Mary and the two disciples, would have involved the removal of the wrappings; as no one taking the body away, for whatever purpose, could be supposed to have taken time to undo the wrappings.
They also show the practical nature of the whole transaction of the resurrection. The Lord, awaking from his short death slumber, would find himself like Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead, enswathed with cerements of the tomb, "bound hand and foot"; these he would gently undo and lay neatly aside, in the position in which John saw them lie.
His angelic liberators would provide him with the garments in which he appeared to his disciples, arraying himself in which, he would step forth into the fresh morning air with a glad feeling of healing and relief.
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23. - What was the body that came out of Joseph's sepulchre? The same that was crucified, died, and was buried there - "out of the earth, earthy." An earthy body is not consubstantial with the Father, who is Spirit. At the emergence from the tomb, there was inequality of substances between the Father and the Son.
24. - What was necessary in order to remedy this imperfection? It was necessary that the Body which had come forth, and which is the example that illustrates "the Way", should be "made perfect" by ascending to the Father, in the twinkling of an eye.
THE RIDDLE OF THE LINEN CLOTHES
My notes from an address by Bro Roger Lewis
When did Messiah become immortal?
"when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth" - Matt 27: 59,56.
At the new birth to immortality there was a Mary, a virgin tomb, a Joseph, and the body was bound.
"a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid" - Lk 23: 53.
The tomb was the 'Most Holy Place'. Inside was the ark of the covenant, the blood spattered mercy seat - and the linen clothes and napkin (head turban).
At the virgin birth there was a Mary, a Joseph and "swaddling clothes" - Lk 2: 12
When Lazarus came forth he was bound to his grave clothes he remained bound to mortality and corruption
"he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin" Jhn 11: 44.
[My observation: The inference is that the grave clothes are the symbol of mortality - putting off of the grave clothes being a symbol of the putting off of corruption which is neatly laid to one side for a witness. Remembering also, shadows and types are not technically precise - a shadow is not the exact image. In the case of Our Lord - having been raised from the dead his forthcoming immortality was a foregone conclusion as witnessed by the empty linen clothes (grave garments) - it was only a matter of time - "His Father's good pleasure"].
The missing body...Peter was confused he
"departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass" Lk 24: 10,
but John, the acutely spiritual disciple, "saw and he believed" that Messiah was raised, and perhaps he also understood the riddle. The bandages lying flat would display the shape of Our Lord's body. Like an empty crysalis. It is the witness of the linen clothes mentioned three times that is catching his attention. The ordered items of clothing were a witness to his resurrection and caused John to believe...
Transfigured in the KJV is metamorphoo in the Greek. It indicates a change of state.
And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light - Matt 17: 2.
When the sluggish earthbound caterpiller metamorphosises into the beautiful winged butterfly it leaves behind a body wrapping. This is achieved by liquifying within the wrapping. The former garment is left behind when the heavenly creature emerges from its cocoon.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's [Mary] womb.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth - Psa 139 ; 13-15.
[My observation: Curiously wrought - Repaired i.e. anastasis occurred in the tomb in secret. The lifeless body became a living soul as witnessed by the empty linen clothes and napkin John 20: 1-7]
"he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth" - Eph 4: 9
The linen clothes covering the body [ecclesia] and the napkin [Head covering - Christ is the head of the ecclesia]: were kept separate,
"the napkin in a place by itself".
There was a gap...
"Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming"
The parable of his brethren. He foreshadowed his brethren's experience.
These 3 processes apply to Messiah and his brethren. In Messiah's case there was nothing to judge.. "It is finsished". Being sinless in thought, word and deed there was no need for delay.
Why would Yahweh cause him to wait to before he "anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows" - Psa 45: 7
"All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia" - Psa 45: 7
The grave clothes smelled of the spices. The spices glued the clothes to the body. When he awoke from the dead, his consciousness flashed upon his sensorium, these pleasant fragrances were his first inhalations. He was still mortal. So when did Yahweh
"Take away the filthy garments from" Joshua? - Zech 3: 4
Just as long as it was needed to know mortality again.
"Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, AND clothed him with garments" - - Zech 3: 5.
No longer bound by the grave clothes . ..the napkin has been replaced by a fair mitre...the head of the body [ecclesia] has become the firstfruits of the resurrection harvest.
The common perception among Christadelphians is that it was on the third day
...the third day I shall be perfected - Lk 13: 32
On the day of atonement the priest entered the Most Holy and when he reemerged following the sacrifice on the blood splattered mercy seat overseen by the cherubim he "put off the linen garments".
4 He [the high priest] shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.
18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.
23 And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there:
24 And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people.
Once the work of atonement was complete the high priest put off the linen garments v3. He emerges in different garments for glory and beauty.
Bro Roger concludes by stating his opinion that Yahweh allowed Our Lord to awake in mortality, his senses fully restored. Shortly after, [there was a short delay], he experienced the thrill of the change of nature, to be flooded with that joy and sense of immortality
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, - 1 Cor 15: 52
Note: A difficulty in v17 arises. [Our Lord has exited the sepulchre]. If at this point Our Lord is immortal (as the exposition 'The riddle of the linen clothes' teaches)
"Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father"
See Eureka commentary John 20: 17
- what can this verse be referring to other than the transformation from mortal to immortal? This passage I understand to mean that he has not yet ascended to the heavenly nature - he is still mortal!?! In this case the linen clothes become a witness to his resurrection and the certainty [Prophecy] of his forthcoming metamorphosis. Having been raised from the dead, his transformation to immortality is certain. The linen garments testify to this. The High Priest emerged in garments for glory and beauty as a testimony - so Joshua
"he was seen many days of them [clothed with a change of raiment - Zech 3: 4] which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people" - Acts 13: 31.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
At long last, in the fulness of times, the grave was to be conquered. A path never before opened up was to be trod -- a path of hope right through the hitherto hopeless valley of the shadow of death, and out the other side.
No man had passed this way before.
True, there had been typical raisings from the dead before in manifestation and shadow of what was to come, but never a resurrection that shattered the power of the grave and cast off its shackles forever. Never man had passed this way before -- no man had ever lain in this tomb -- this glorious gateway from death to life.
Bro Growcott - BYT 1.27
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
"Woman, why weepest thou?" -- his first recorded words beyond the grave.
We cannot help but be struck by the typical aspect of the scene, as of Christ and the Bride --
...The long travail is over. The Seed has been born of the Spirit.
"In sorrow shalt thou bring forth."
"And thy desire shall be thy Husband, and he shall rule over thee"
-- a sentence upon the Woman, a glorious promise to the Bride.
She still did not recognize him, but mistook him for a gardener. Then Jesus said, "Mary," and suddenly recognition flooded over her, and she exclaimed"Rabboni!" -- a term of deep affection, respect and devotion --
"My Master, Leader, Guide, Teacher!"
This was Jesus' first appearance after his resurrection. There must have been a reason why Mary Magdalene was chosen for this unique privilege -- the first to see the risen Lord. Peter and John had been there but a few moments before. Jesus waited for them to go away before revealing himself alone to Mary.
She naturally, overwhelmed with joy and love, sought to touch him, but he said --
"Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father."
Mary's privilege is further emphasized. She alone saw him in the state between grave and glorification. She was taken, as it were, into the intimate workshop of the Spirit.
He sent her to convey the joyful news to the disciples, and having performed this service, we never hear of Mary again. *
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
-- an exclamation of tender reverence, signifying much more than "master,"...
"My loved Lord, guide and teacher."
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Mary was the first to whom he spoke in the hour of Resurrection and Life -- the first name he uttered beyond the grave.
How little we know of Mary! Her name occurs twelve times -- eleven times in connection with the events of the crucifixion and only once anywhere else. That one place is Luke 8:2, where we are told she was among those who went about with Jesus on his journeys, and ministered to him. We are told there, too, that Jesus had cast seven demons out of Mary -- that is, he had cured her of some terrible and overwhelming infirmity. *
Bro Growcott - BYT 1.27
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
In the evening of that same day, the Lord suffered himself to be freely handled by the disciples. Consequently, there must have been a removal of the cause which led him to prevent Mary from touching him. He said to Mary he had not ascended to the Father. He must have made this ascent in the interim: but in what did the ascent consist?
It cannot have been ascent in space, because in less than half-an-hour, it had been performed, for he was embraced by the feet within that time by the group of women to whom the angels had appeared during Mary's absence. What other ascent could he have made? The Father is everywhere present.
To rise from the low nature of the earthy to the high nature of the divine, is to ascend to the Father.
This ascent he must have performed after seeing Mary. The need for it will appear if we realise that he had emerged from the tomb a natural man, or body of life, according to the nature of Abraham and David. This had to be "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," from the natural to the spiritual, as in the case of his brethren, who are to be developed after the pattern of his example. Until this change had taken place, he was in the defilement which contact with death imparted to everything for those under the law of Moses. Mary was under this law; and therefore until the Lord was cleansed by change, there was a reason why she should not touch him.
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After resurrection is ascension; but not necessarily instantaneously after. This is evident from the example given in the case of the Lord Jesus. He first came out of the sepulchre; and then, after a certain interval, "ascended to the Father;" an ascent which is not to be confounded with his assumption from the Mount of Olives, forty-three days after his crucifixion (John xx. 17; Acts i. 11).
He ascended to the Father before he was "taken up." The ascent was a necessary preparation for the taking up of the resurrected body; for a body such as he had, when he forbid Mary to touch him, was unfit for translation through the higher regions of our atmosphere, and the airless ethereal beyond. It was necessary that he should be "in spirit" and so become spirit, that he might be with the Father.
Touch me not
He was buried under the curse of the law, which "made him a curse for" our benefit (Gal. 3:13): he came forth while that same law was in force and Operation. His coming forth upon the arena of his execution did not relieve him from the curse of that law, which sentenced him to continuous and everlasting death; so that, if they could have recaptured him, the Mosaic authorities would doubtless have returned him into death.
That law regarded him as dead, and its authorities refused credence to the report, that he had come to life. After he had come forth he saw Mary, a Jewess, who mistook him for the gardener, so like other men did he appear. Having convinced her of her error, he checked the impulse of her affection by saying to her,
"Touch me not!"
It was defiling for Jews to touch a thing declared to be unclean by the law. Any thing from the grave was enacted to be unclean, in reference to him who should come out of the tomb, until that he should be 'revived" (Rom. 14:9) or "made a quickening Spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45). Christ was "the end of the law," the substance or body of the shadow (Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:17); its lines concentred in the things pertaining to his body.
The interdict forbidding it to be touched was indicative of its not then having been changed into spirit; and that it was still earthy and inferior to the substance of the Father. He gave the reason why he forbade his body to be touched; "for," he said,
"I have not yet ascended to my Father".
No one might touch him until that ascent had taken place. It did not occur till after Mary left him; but it had doubtless taken place before his walk with Cleopas and another to Emmaus; for they appear to have travelled very sociably together. The swallowing up of every particle of the earthiness of an earthy body, is an instantaneous operation; the work of
"a moment, or the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:51,52).
It was one of the events that transpired in relation to Jesus on the third day. He "rose and revived" on the third day (Rom. 14:9). He not only rose on the third day, but he revived on the same day. Rising is one thing, reviving is another; and two different words are used by the apostle to express the different ideas.
The Father who is Spirit, had "forsaken" Jesus upon the cross, and left him to die there. Having become a corpse and been laid in a tomb, that corpse was like all other corpses, utterly without intelligence and power; for "the dead know not anything" (Ecc. 9:5,10); and
"the Lord (YAHWEH) is not the Deity (AlL, or Power) of dead, but of living ones, for they all live by him" (Luke 20:38).
When this corpse, named Jesus, opened its eyes, stood upon its feet and came forth from the tomb, it "rose". At this point of time it was neither Lord nor Christ. The Father, who had forsaken him and left him to die, had not yet returned to him; for if he had returned to the corpse while in the tomb in causing it to stand and walk, that risen body after coming forth would not have said,
"I have not yet ascended to my Father".
This was equivalent to saying, I am an earthy, or natural, body just come forth from the unclean place; and have not yet been "made perfect," "justified by the spirit," or "made a quickening spirit".
The Father hath not yet clothed me with my house which is from heaven; so that that which constitutes me earthy and mortal is not yet "swallowed up of life;" therefore, "Touch me not" until I have been
"constituted Son of Deity in power, through Spirit of holiness, out of a resurrection of dead ones" (Rom. 1:4).
I am now simply Jesus born of the tomb, "of the earth earthy;" but when my earthiness of body is instantaneously "swallowed up of life," I shall be Spirit; I shall be of equal and identical substance with the Father; and by this anointing, I shall become Christ, or the Anointed One, and "the Lord from heaven" (1 Cor. 15:47).
This anointing with Spirit and Power was the revival in a greater degree of the former relations subsisting between the Father and the Son.
He had been "anointed with holy spirit and power" after he had been born of water. This did not change his body into Spirit; it only invested the body born of unclean flesh, or "made of a woman," with the wisdom and power of the Father in heaven, who discoursed and worked through it (John 5:19,30; 6:38,63; 8:42,58; 10:30; 14:10,28).
But when the body was anointed again with holy spirit and power, or "spirit of holiness," after it was born of the second unclean place, the tomb, it was not only endued and embued with wisdom and power as before, but it was itself transformed into an embodiment of eternal power, in which there is no weakness, or corruption, or principle of death at all.
It was then "revived," anezese, as well as risen again, aneste. It became "the body of his glory," soma tes doxes autou (Phil. 3:21), "raised in glory" from the earthy body which is "without honour," en atimia (1 Cor. 15:43); and forty days after, "taken up in glory" (1 Tim. 3:16).
The Sheaf of Firstfruits
... we understand ... to refer to ... the morning of his resurrection on the "morrow after the sabbath," when presumably presenting himself before the Father as the "sheaf of the first fruits," he was accepted and changed in the twinkling of an eye into the image of the deathless and incorruptible, or in other words (as Dr. Thomas explains it) ascended to the Father - John 20:17.
Bro. F. R. Shuttleworth
The Christadelphian, June 1888
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
A Special and private interview
On the first day of the creation-week God said, "Let there be light, and there was light;" so on the first day of the week "THE TRUE LIGHT" came forth from the darkness of the tomb "like dew from the womb of the morning."
This event constituted the day after the sabbath, or eighth day, the day of the Lord's resurrection; and therefore styled by His disciples "THE LORD'S DAY."
It is a day to be much remembered by them, because it assures them of their justification "in Him," of their own resurrection to life, and of the certainty of His ruling or "judging the world in righteousness" as Yahweh's king, when they also shall reign with Him as kings and priests of God (Rom. 4:25; 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:14-20; Acts 17:31; Rev. 5:9-10).
This day is also notable on account of the special interviews which occurred between Jesus and His disciples after His resurrection (John 20:19-26). He ascended to heaven on this day, even the forty-third from His crucifixion; and seven days after, that is the fiftieth, being that Lord's day styled "the day of Pentecost," the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles, and the gospel of the kingdom preached for the first time in His name.
Elpis Israel 2.1.
He left the tomb, and "was refreshed." Having "spoiled the principalities and the powers" constituted by the handwriting, He made the spoliation manifest, "triumphing over them in Himself that is, in His resurrection; thus, for ever delivering men from the bondage of the law, which Peter says, "was a yoke which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear" (Acts 15:10). With the abolition of the Mosaic handwriting the obligation to keep the seventh day as a rule of spiritual life was cancelled as a matter of course.
Elpis Israel 1.2.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the holy spirit:
When the breath of a man from the tomb is holy spirit, that man must have been corporeally quickened, or have become spirit...
Now some time in the interval between the dawn and the evening of the resurrection day, the cause for the interdict, " Touch me not," must have been removed ; in other words, the ascent from the lower nature, begotten to incipient life in the tomb, to the Father, " who is Spirit " (John iv. 24), must then have taken place.
This transition from the one nature to the other, when the fulness of the time is come, is " in the twinkling of an eye " : which instantaneous operation of Almighty power constitutes the putting on of incorruptibility and deathlessness; and confers upon the quickened being a life independent of the natural laws, by which " death is swallowed up in victory."
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, 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.
It was a happy circumstance for the faith of subsequent generations that one of the very apostles should have been allowed to take such an attitude. His absence from the first interview can scarcely have been an accident, in view of its providential value. The ardent faith that succeeded to such determined unbelief must have been the result of strong evidence, which we accordingly see.
For at the end of the seven days, the disciples being again assembled within closed doors because of the public hostility, Jesus again presented himself among them. On this occasion, there was none of the surprise or trepidation that agitated the disciples on the first interview.
Seven days' reflection on what happened then had enabled them to settle to the calm and joyful conviction that "the Lord had risen indeed." They now received him with the pure delight that belongs to the intercourse of enlightened, cordial, living friendship.
To Thomas Didymus, the doubter only, was the occurrence the cause of some painful excitement, but it was soon at an end. Jesus greeted the company with a salutation of peace, and then directed his attention specially to Thomas...
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27 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.
What stronger proof can we need of the substantial and tangible nature of the Spiritual body? It is the animal body purified, not evaporated into gas, or vapour.
It is a bloodless body; for in the case of Jesus He had poured out His blood upon the cross. The life of the animal body is in the blood; but not so that of the Spiritual body: the life of this resides in that mighty power which suspends "the earth upon nothing," and is diffused through the immensity of space.
Elpis Israel 2.1
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
"My Lord and my God!"
The view held by the apostles respecting Jesus could only have been one that was in accordance with the teaching of Jesus concerning himself. He asked the question of them,
"But whom think ye that I am?"
and Peter replied,
"Thou art the Christ (anointed), the Son of the living God."
Here was made a marked distinction between Christ and the Deity, which was evidently recognised by the apostles. If Peter had been an "orthodox" professor of the present day, his answer would have been quite different. He would have said, in addition to the answer he gave, "begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made," and a lot more of such rubbish as is taught in the Church of England Prayer Book.
But this is not the light in which the apostles regarded the Saviour, because it is not the light in which they were taught to regard him. He himself had disclaimed the ascription due to God alone. Jesus was not the Father; but though not the Increate himself (a fact which Jesus always takes pains to enforce), yet in a very well understood sense, he was God.
In John x. 31, it states that the Jews took up stones to stone him: Jesus asked them why they did so; they replied,
"Because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God."
We find the answer in John v. 18-Because he called himself the Son of God; one member of a Royal house in general estimation to the present day, sharing the honour and glory of the whole of it in common with the Head of the family himself. How did Jesus defend himself from this charge? By declaring that he was really the Almighty? and vindicating his claim by some terrible act of vengeance upon his accusers? No; he clears himself by an argument which excludes the Trinitarian view of the matter. He contends that he was as much entitled to the name of God as some of the Jewish fathers, who had received that name.
"Is it not written in your law, 'I said ye are gods?'" (Psalms lxxxii. 6). If he called them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken, say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified and sent unto the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said I am the Son of God?
By this answer he shewed his right to the title "God;" and Thomas, who no doubt was present on this occasion, was only giving expression to the view inculcated by this argument, when he found by the resurrection of Jesus, that he was really the Son and the sent of God, at a time when the apostles had almost, if not quite, begun to doubt it, in consequence of his unexpected death. He gave fervent expression to his revived faith, in the exclamation to the Saviour,
"My Lord and my God!"
Bro J Butler
- Ambassador of the Coming Age, Aug 1868
Personal love towards Christ can only be generated by contact with the personal manifestation of him which we have in the apostolic writings. It is thus that all love comes by knowledge and acquaintance of the things or persons to be loved. The means of acquaintance in this case are wonderfully ample. How full, in the biographic sense, is the exhibition of Christ in the gospels.
No one spoken of in the Scriptures receives the prominence that Christ receives. We have very little concerning even Moses in the personal sense. He appears merely as the medium and instrument of the divine commands. The prophets, as persons, are scarcely visible in their communications. Of the apostles, we get but a very casual glimpse in their relations with Christ; but Christ stands before us in prolonged and full drawn brightness, with many details of word, and work and gesture.
We are permitted to make his full acquaintance, though nothing is said of the colour of his hair, the contour or complexion of his face, the measure of his stature, or other such immaterial particulars. We hear his voice, and see his demeanour and discern his spirit. The contemplation leads us to exclaim, with Thomas, "my Lord and my God."
Bro Roberts - Knowledge, Love, Obedience
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
It would be a very great stimulus to our profession, if we could for one moment enjoy the privilege which many of the disciples in the first century enjoyed; if we could but for a moment see our High Priest. This privilege we are denied, and so far, we are at a disadvantage; but our very disadvantage may work glorious things for us in the future.
...We look forward with consolation to the prospect of seeing him, after believing. We shall see him, then, as the disciples saw him not. They saw him in his humiliation; they companied with him in the flesh for 3½ years; and there is no doubt he was great company even then: for the testimony of his enemies was that he spake as never man spake.
We can quite understand the strong feelings of affection that would be developed in the breasts of the disciples, by keeping the company of such a man for such a period. But they did not understand him as we understand him, and as we shall understand him when we see him; for they did not comprehend the full bearing of his mission, nor the full richness of his nature.
Bro Roberts - Present suffering, Seasons 1.32.