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First and Second Appearances of the Risen Christ. The Resurrection Reported to the Apostles.

8-2. FIRST AND SECOND APPEARANCES OF THE RISEN CHRIST.THE RESURRECTION REPORTED TO THE APOSTLES.
(Jerusalem. Sunday morning.)
a MATT. 28:9, 10; b MARK 16:9-11; c LUKE 24:9-11; d JOHN 20:11-18.

      [The women, having received the message of the angels, of Jesus himself, made haste.]

  c 9 and returned from the tomb,

  b 9 Now when he was risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. [Mark here agrees with John that Mary separated from the other women. As to Mary Magdalene, see Section 46, Section 47. After telling Peter and John about the empty tomb, Mary followed them back to it, and evidently reached it after they had left it. She found no one at the tomb.]

  d 11 But Mary was standing without at the tomb weeping: so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb;

  12 and she beholdeth two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. [This picture is intensely natural. The Lord's death had been sorrow enough, but to be deprived of the poor privilege of embalming the body seemed a veritable sorrow's crown of sorrow; and so Mary wept. But it suddenly occurs to her that in her haste she had not yet looked into the tomb at all, having jumped to the conclusion that it was empty because she saw it open; she therefore looks in. Her grief at the loss of the Lord is so great that she forgets to be frightened at the angels; just as a mother in her anxiety for the sick child forgets to fear its fever, no matter how virulent. The angels were placed like cherubim upon the ark, as though the grave of Christ was a new mercy seat, which indeed it was.]

  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.

  14 When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and beholdeth Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. [Before the angels can speak the glad news to Mary, Jesus himself becomes his own messenger. That Mary did not recognize him may be due to her grief, for tears blind our eyes to many of the tender providences of God; but to reason by analogy it seems more likely that her eyes "were holden" ( Luke 24:16 ), lest the shock of his sudden appearance might be ( Luke 24:37 ). Conversation with him assured her that he was not a disembodied spirit.]

  15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. [Christ's first question expressed kindly sympathy; the second suggested that he knew the cause of her grief, and might be able to help her find what she sought. Thus encouraged, Mary at once assumes that the gardener himself had removed the body, probably under instructions from Joseph, and hope lightens her heart. In her effort to remove the body, she doubtless counts upon the help of her fellow-disciples.]

  16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. [Her eyes and ears were no longer held; she knew him. It was the same way he used to speak, the same name by which he used to call her. The grave had glorified and exalted him, but had not changed his love.] She turneth herself, and saith unto him in Hebrew, Rabboni; which is to say, Teacher. [Seasons of greatest joy are marked by little speech. Jesus and Mary each expressed themselves in a single word.]

  17 Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. [This passage is one of well-known difficulty, and Meyer or Ryle may be consulted by those wishing to see how various commentators have interpreted it. We would explain it by the following paraphrase: "Do not lay hold on me and detain yourself and me; I have not yet ascended; this is no brief, passing vision; I am yet in the world, and will be for some time, and there will be other opportunities to see me; the duty of the moment is to go and tell my sorrowing disciples that I have risen, and shall ascend to my Father." Jesus does not say "our Father." Our relation to God is not the same as his. While, however, our Lord's language recognizes the difference between his divine and our show us our exaltation. We have reason to believe that next to our Lord's title as Son our title as sons of God by adoption is as high in honor as any in the universe.]

  18 Mary Magdalene cometh and telleth {b went and told} d the disciples, b them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. [The poignancy of the disciples' grief, even after the intervention of the Sabbath day, explains why the Lord and his angels were so eager to bring them word of the resurrection.] d I have seen the Lord; and that he had said these things unto her.

  b 11 And they, when they heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, disbelieved. [It is likely that Mary brought the first word, for we shall see below that Luke places her first in the catalogue of witnesses. The narrative now turns back to take up the account of the other women.]

  a 9 And behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. [This was a customary salutation. But the old formula took on new significance, for it means "rejoice."] And they came and took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. [This delay, permitted to them, and denied to Mary, probably explains why she became the first messenger, though the other women were first to leave the tomb.]

  10 Then saith Jesus unto them, Fear not: go tell my brethren that they depart into Galilee, and there shall they see me. [The repetition may be due to the reticence of the women remarked by Mark in the last section by the key words "and they said nothing to any one." The women may have been hesitating whether they should tell the disciples. Thus Jesus reiterates the instruction already given by the angel. This is the first time the word "brethren" is applied by our Lord to his disciples.] c and [they] told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.

  10 Now they were Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James: and the other women with them told these things unto the apostles.

  11 And these words appeared in their sight as idle talk; and they disbelieved them. [Lamar well says that this very incredulity testimony to the fact of the resurrection. They were not expecting it; they were no visionary enthusiasts, prepared to welcome and credit any story that might be told them; nor would they be satisfied with any proof short of palpable and ocular demonstrations."]