By E. Robinson, Prof. in Union Theol. Sem., New York.
Taken from: Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review Volume II (1845)
THE great fact of the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, by which “he was declared to be the Son of God with power,”1 and in which “God fulfilled unto the children the promise made unto their fathers,”2 stands out everywhere prominently on the pages of the New Testament, as one of the cardinal doctrines of the Christian's faith, and the earnest of his own future resurrection. The burden of Paul's preaching was, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”3 The apostle goes on likewise strongly to affirm, that “if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God, that he raised up Christ; whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.”4
Yet with all this certainty as to the great fact itself, it is no less true, that in respect to the circumstances connected with this important event, difficulties are presented to the mind even of the sincere inquirer, by the different manner in which the four Evangelists have placed these circumstances on record. Not that the facts recorded by them are in a single instance inconsistent with each other; but the main difficulty lies in harmonizing the four accounts in such a way as to bring out a full and complete order and sequence of the events, so natural and consistent as to commend itself to the understanding of all. To do this in any good degree there must be introduced something of hypothesis. Certain things must be assumed as links, to connect facts otherwise isolated. Now there is of course, just here, room for difference of taste and of judgment, as also some scope for fancy; and it has therefore come to pass, that while few, if any, honest minds have ever been driven into unbelief by these alleged difficulties, yet on the other hand hardly any two interpreters have ever followed precisely the same track in harmonizing the four narratives of the sacred writers. It is also true, that more of these apparent difficulties are found in this short section of the Gospel history, than in almost all the rest.
One fruitful source of apparent or alleged difficulty in the case before us, is the proneness of the reader to take it for granted, that each evangelist would naturally present an account of all the circumstances accompanying and following our Lord's resurrection. On the supposition of such an intent, there would in deed be obstacles next to insurmountable in the way of harmonizing the various narratives; to say nothing of the entire incompatibility of such a view with any and every idea of inspiration on the part of the sacred penmen. For this reason, apparently, it has been a favorite position with the opposers of inspiration and of Christianity in general, thus to represent the Evangelists as following different and uncertain traditions, and each as having given all that he knew; and then to press the difficulties and discrepancies arising from this hypothesis, as sufficient not only to disprove inspiration, but also to overthrow the credibility of the Gospel history.5 Yet to perceive that this position is wholly un tenable, there is necessary only a very slight inspection of the sacred pages. As the writers of the Gospels, acting under the guidance of the Spirit of God, have not seen fit to record all the deeds and sayings of our Lord, but each has selected those appropriate for the specific object he had in view, —as, too, the first three Evangelists have given us, for the most part, only the acts and discourses of Jesus in Galilee, and speak solely of one visit to Jerusalem on occasion of his last Passover; while John de scribes chiefly his visits and teaching at or near the Holy city; — so in their narratives of the scenes of the resurrection each writer follows his own eclectic method, and records what appertained to his own particular purpose or experience. Thus Matthew speaks only of a single appearance of our Lord at Jerusalem, namely, that to the women, which is not referred to by either of the other evangelists; while he mentions but one in Galilee. Mark enumerates three other appearances at Jerusalem; but says nothing of Galilee; although he records the charge of the angel, that the disciples should repair thither. Luke also speaks of three appearances (one of them different) at Jerusalem; but he too has not a word of Galilee. John again has likewise three appearances at Jerusalem (one of them still different); and describes another interview with the disciples on the shores of the Lake of Tiberias. And what perhaps is still more remarkable, only Mark and Luke make any allusion whatever to the fact of our Lord's ascension. Amid all this diversity of presentation, there is obviously no room for the idea of an intended completeness.
It is the purpose of the present Article, not to discuss every cavil which the acuteness of unbelief may raise in regard to this portion of the Gospel History; but rather to suggest and elucidate what seems to me to be the natural order of the events, and to dwell only upon those difficulties which present themselves to the mind of the sincere inquirer after truth. These, I am persuaded, arise to us from the brevity of the sacred writers; who, in their narration of facts, have not seen fit to introduce all the minor connecting circumstances, without which we, at this distance of time, are unable to gain a complete and connected view of the whole ground. Had we all these facts, there is no reason why we should not rest assured, that this part of the sacred history would prove to be as exact, as consistent, and as complete, as any and every other portion of the Word of God.
In perusing the following pages, the reader will find it advantageous to have before him a Greek Harmony of the four Gospels; or at least to make constant reference to his Greek Testament.
§ 1. The Time of the Resurrection.
Matt. 28. 1, 2. Mark 16:1, 2,9. Luke 24:1. John 20:1.
That the resurrection of our Lord took place before full day-light, on the first day of the week, follows from the unanimous testimony of the Evangelists respecting the visit of the women to the sepulchre. But the exact time at which he rose is nowhere specified. According to the Jewish mode of reckoning, the Sabbath ended and the next day began at sunset; so that had the resurrection occurred even before midnight, it would still have been upon the first day of the week, and the third day after our Lord's burial. The earthquake had taken place and the stone had been rolled away before the arrival of the women; and so far as the immediate narrative is concerned, there is nothing to show that all this might not have happened some hours earlier. Yet the words of Mark in another place render it certain, that there could have been no great interval between these events and the arrival of the women; since he affirms in v. 9, that Jesus "had risen πρωῒ, early, the first day of the week;" while in v. 2, he states that the women went out λίαν πρωῒ, "very early." A like inference may be drawn from the fact, that the affrighted guards first went to inform the chief priests of these events, when the women returned to the city (Matt. 28:11); for it is hardly to be supposed, that after having been thus terrified by the earthquake and the appearance of an an gel, they would have waited any very long time before sending information to their employers—The body of Jesus had therefore probably lain in the tomb not less than about thirty-six hours.
The scene of the actual resurrection, the Holy Spirit has not seen fit to disclose. The circumstances of that awful moment, so fraught with importance to angels and to men, remain to us shrouded in darkness. The sacred writers have narrated only what they saw after the sepulchre was empty. We know only that without the tomb "there was a great earthquake; for the an gel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it; his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow." But what had passed within the tomb: When Jesus called Lazarus forth out of his sepulchre, "he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin."6 But when our Lord himself arose, no voice of power thus called him forth, bound hand and foot. In the dark recesses of the sepulchre, through almighty power, his spirit revived, unseen and un known to every mortal eye. Angels ministered unto him, and opened before him the door of the tomb. Here was no struggle, no agony, no confused haste; but, on the contrary, "the linen clothes lying, and the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." all testify of peace, deliberation, and composure. Who furnished the risen Lord with raiment? for his own garments had been parted, by lot, among the soldiers. Who staunched the wound in his side, that was probably intended to pierce his heart! Faith answers these, and all such questions without difficulty: To that omnipotence which raised him from the dead, to the angels who thus attended upon him in the resurrection, it would be a light thing indeed to minister to these physical wants. More we can not know.
§ 2. The Visit of the Women to the Sepulchre.
Matt. 28:1–8. Mark 16:1–8. Luke 24:1–11. John 29:1, 2.
The first notices we have of our Lord's resurrection, are connected with the visit of the women to the sepulchre, on the morning of the first day of the week. According to Luke, the women who had stood by the cross, went home and rested during the sabbath (23:56); and Mark adds that after the sabbath was ended, that is, after sun-set, and during the evening, they prepared spices in order to go and embalm our Lord's body. They were either not aware of the previous embalming by Joseph and Nicodemus; or else they also wished to testify their respect and affection to their Lord, by completing, more perfectly, what before had been done in haste; John 19:40–42.
It is in just this portion of the history, which relates to the visit of the women to the tomb and the appearance of Jesus to them, that most of the alleged difficulties and discrepancies in this part of the Gospel narratives are found. We will therefore take up the chief of them in their order.
1. The Time. All the Evangelists agree in saying that the women went out very early to the sepulchre. Matthew's expression is:τῇ ἐπιφωσχούσῃ sc. ἡμέρᾳ, as the day was dawning. Mark's words are:λίαν πρρωΐ, very early; which indeed are less definite, but are appropriate to denote the same point of time; see v. 9, and also πρωἰ ἔννυχον λίαν, Mark 1:35. Luke has the more poetic term:ὄρθρου βαθέος, deep morning, i. e. early dawn. John's language is likewise definite:πρωΐ σχοτίας ἔτι οὔσης, early, while it was yet dark. All these expressions go to fix the time at what we call early dawn, or early twilight; after the break of day, but while the light is yet struggling with darkness."7
Thus far there is no difficulty; and none would ever arise, had not Mark added the phrase ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου, which, according to every law of the Aorist, must be translated: the sun being risen; or, as the English version has it, at the rising of the sun. These words seem, at first, to be at direct variance both with the λίαν πρωΐ of Mark himself, and with the language of the other Evangelists. The ways in which interpreters have attempted to harmonize this apparent discrepancy, are chiefly the three following.
(1) "The very early of Mark and the other evangelists refers to the time when the women set off from their home; the sun-rising, to the time of their arrival at the tomb." So West, Benson, and others. This would include a longer interval of time than could well have been occupied in going from the city to the sepulchre, unless they loitered by the way; which is not likely. Besides, the language of Luke and John, and most naturally that of Matthew, seems to refer the "early dawn" to the arrival of the women at the place. In Mark, likewise, the two phrases, λίαν πρωΐ and ἀνατείλαγτος τ. ἡλ. both qualify the clause ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεὶον, one just as much as the other; and it seems, therefore, philologically impossible to refer them to different points of time.
(2) "Cod. D. s. Bezae reads here ἀνατελλοντος. Cod. K. s. Colb. with several cursive Mss., and also Gregory of Nyssa, insert ἔτι before ἀνατείλαγτος. By adopting one of these readings, the seeming inconsistency is removed." So Newcome. But the whole weight of authority is the other way; and no editor of the New Testament has ever ventured to adopt either of these readings. Both are regarded by Griesbach and other editors as obviously mere expedients to get rid of the difficulty. But they do not even do this. The insertion of ἔτι is incompatible with the Aorist form of the verb; while the present ἀνατελλοντος, so far as it marks only the rising of the sun above the horizon, is itself just as in consistent with the preceding λίαν πρωΐ. It matters very little here, whether the sun was in the act of rising, or already just risen.
(3) "The idea of sunrise is a relative one. The sun is already risen, when as yet it is not visible in the heavens; for the morning dawn proceeds from it." So Hengstenberg, J. D. Michaelis, etc.—In this bold and unillustrated form it may not be easy to see at once the full force of the above remark; and yet it seems to me to contain the germ of the true solution. I proceed, therefore, to give here some illustrations, which, so far as I know, have not been elsewhere brought forward.
We may premise, that since Mark himself first specifies the point of time by λίαν πρωΐ, a phrase sufficiently definite in itself and supported by all the other evangelists, we must conclude that when he adds:ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου, he did not mean to contradict himself, but used this latter phrase in a broader and less definite sense. As the sun is the source of light and of the day, and as his earliest rays produce the contrast between darkness and light, between night and dawn, so the term sunrising might easily come in popular language, by a metonymy of cause for effect, to be put for all that earlier interval, when his rays, still struggling with darkness, do nevertheless usher in the day.
Accordingly we find such a popular usage prevailing among the Hebrews; and several instances of it occur in the Old Testament. Thus in Judg. 9, 33 the message of Zebul to Abimelech, after directing him to lie in wait with his people in the field during the night, goes on as follows:"and it shall be, in the morning, as soon as the sun is up (Heb. כִּזְרֹחֵ חַשֶּׁמֶשׁ), thou shalt rise early and set upon the city;" Sept. χαὶ ἔσται τοπρωῒ ἅμα τῷ ἀνατείλαι τὸν ἥλιον χ. τ. λ. Here we have the very same use of the Aorist, and the same juxta-position of πρωΐ and ἅμα τῷ ἀνατείλαι τὸν ἥλιον, and yet we cannot for a moment suppose that Abimelech with his ambuscade was to wait until the sun actually appeared above the horizon, before he made his onset. So the Psalmist (104:22), speaking of the young lions that by night roar after their prey, goes on to say: "The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens;" Sept. ἀνέτειλεν ὁ ἥλιος χ. τ. λ. still in the Aorist. But wild animals do not wait for the actual appearance of the sun ere they shrink away to their lairs; the break of day, the dawning light, is the signal for their retreat. See also Sept. 2 K. 3:22. 2 Sam. 23:4. In all these passages the language is entirely parallel to that of Mark; and they serve fully to illustrate the principle, that the rising of the sun is here used in a popular sense as equivalent to the rising of the day or early dawn.8
II. The Number of the Women. Matthew mentions Mary Magdalene and the other Mary; v. 1. Mark enumerates Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome; v. 1. Luke has Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and others with them; v. 10. John speaks of Mary Magdalene alone, and says nothing of any other. The first three Evangelists accord then in respect to the two Marys, but no further; while John differs from them all. Is there here a real discrepancy?
We may at once answer, No; because according to the sound canon of Le Clerc.:9 "Qui plura narrat, pauciora complectitur; qui pauciora memorat, phura non negat." Because John, in narrating circumstances with which he was personally connected, sees fit to mention only Mary Magdalene, it does not at all follow that others were not present. Because Matthew, perhaps for like reasons, speaks only of the two Marys, he by no means excludes the presence of others. Indeed, the very words which John puts in to the mouth of Mary Magdalene (οὐχ οἴδαμεν v. 2), presuppose the fact, that others had gone with her to the sepulchre. That there was something in respect to Mary Magdalene, which gave her a peculiar prominence in these transactions, may be inferred from the fact, that not only John mentions her alone, but likewise all the other Evangelists name her first, as if holding the most conspicuous place.
The instance here under consideration is parallel to that of the demoniacs of Gadara, and the blind men at Jericho; where, in both cases, Matthew speaks of two persons, while Mark and Luke mention only one.10 Something peculiar in the station or character of one of the persons, rendered him in each case more prominent, and led the two latter Evangelists to speak of him particularly. But there, as here, their language is not exclusive; nor is there in it anything that contradicts the statements of Matthew.
A familiar illustration will place this matter in a clear light. In the year 1824, Lafayette, the early friend of Washington, revisited the United States. He was everywhere received with joyous welcome; and his progress through the country resembled a public triumph. Cities and States and the Congress of the nation vied with each other in the honors and pageants showered upon the nation's guest. Historians will record these events as a noble incident in the life of a public man. But should other writers, entering more fully into detail, narrate this visit as made not by La fayette alone, but by Lafayette and his son; and that both shared in the honors and hospitalities so lavishly proffered; would there be here any contradiction between the statements of the two classes of writers? Or should still another class relate the same general facts as having occurred in respect to three persons, La fayette, his son, and his secretary: would there even then arise any contradiction? Most assuredly no one would ever think of bringing such a charge. So true it is: "Qui plura narrat, paucio ra complectitur; qui pauciora memorat, plura non negat."
III. The arrival at the Sepulchre. According to Mark, Luke, and John, the women on reaching the sepulchre find the great stone, with which it had been closed, already rolled away. Matthew, on the other hand, after narrating that the women went out to see the sepulchre, proceeds to mention the earthquake, the descent of the angel, his rolling away the stone and sitting upon it, and the terror of the watch, as if all these things took place in the presence of the women. Such at least is the usual force of ἴδου. The angel too (in v. 5) addresses the women, as if still sitting upon the stone he had rolled away.
The apparent discrepancy, if any, here arises simply from Matthew's brevity in omitting to state in full what his own narrative presupposes. According to v. 6, Christ was already risen; and therefore the earthquake and its accompaniments must have taken place at an earlier point of time, to which the sacred writer returns back in his narration. And although Matthew does not represent the women as entering the sepulchre, yet in v. 8, he speaks of them as going out of it, ἐξελθοῦσαι; so that of course their interview with the angel took place, not outside of the sepulchre, but in it, as narrated by the other evangelists. When therefore the angel says to them in v. 6, "Come, see the place where the Lord lay," this is not said without the tomb to induce them to enter, as Strauss avers; but within the sepulchre, just as in Mark v. 6.
IV. The Vision of Angels in the Sepulchre. Of this John says nothing. Matthew and Mark speak of one angel; Luke of two. Mark says he was sitting; Luke speaks of them as standing (ἐπέστησαν). This difference in respect to numbers is parallel to the case of the women, which we have just considered; and re quires therefore no further illustration. The other alleged difficulty as to the position of the angels, also vanishes, when we take the ἐπέστησαν of Luke in its appropriate and acknowledged usage:they suddenly appeared, were suddenly present, without reference to its etymology. So well established is this usage, that Passow gives as one definition of ἐφίστημι, herworkommen, herbeykommen, plotzlich erscheinen, i.e. to come forth, to come near, to appear suddenly.11
There is likewise some diversity in the language addressed to the women by the angels. In Matthew and Mark, the prominent object is the charge to the disciples to depart into Galilee. In Luke this is not referred to; but the women are reminded of our Lord's own previous declaration, that he would rise again on the third day. Neither of the evangelists here professes to report all that was said by the angels; and of course there is no room for contradiction.
§ 3. The return of the Women to the city, and the first appearance of our Lord.
Matt. 28:7–10. Mark 16:8. Luke 24:9–11. John 20:1, 2.
John, speaking of Mary Magdalene alone, says that having seen that the stone was taken away from the sepulchre, she went in haste (ran) to tell Peter and John. He says nothing of her having seen the angels, nor of her having entered the sepulchre at all. The other Evangelists, speaking of the women generally, relate that they entered the tomb, saw the angels, and then re turned into the city. On their way Jesus meets them. They recognize him; fall at and embrace his feet; and receive his charge to the disciples.—Was Mary Magdalene now with the other women? Or did she enter the city by another way? Or had she left the sepulchre before the rest?
It is evident that Mary Magdalene was not with the other women when Jesus thus met them. Her language to Peter and John forbids the supposition, that she had already seen the Lord: "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him." She therefore must have entered the city by another path and gate; or else have left the sepulchre before the rest; or possibly both these positions may be true. She bore her tidings expressly to Peter and John, who would seem to have lodged by themselves in a different quarter of the city;12 while the other women went apparently to the rest of the disciples. But this supposition of a different route is essential, only in connection with the view, that she left the tomb with the other women. That, however, she actually departed from the sepulchre before her companions, would seem most probable; inasmuch as she speaks to Peter and John only of the absence of the Lord's body; says nothing in this connection of a vision of an gels; and when, after returning again to the tomb she sees the angels, it is evidently for the first time; and she repeats to them as the cause of her grief her complaint as to the disappearance of the body; John 20:12, 13. She may have turned back from the tomb without entering it at all, so soon as she saw that it was open; inferring from the removal of the stone, that the sepulchre had been rifled. Or, she may first have entered with the rest, when, according to Luke," they found not the body of the Lord Jesus," and "were much perplexed thereabout," before the an gels became visible to them. The latter supposition seems best to meet the exigencies of the case.
As the other women went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came, and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said unto them, Be not afraid; go, tell my brethren, that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me." The women had left the sepulchre "with fear and great joy" after the declaration of the angels that Christ was risen; or, as Mark has it, "they trembled and were amazed." Jesus meets them with words of gentleness to quiet their terrors: "Be not afraid." He permits them to approach, and embrace his feet, and testify their joy and homage. He reiterates to them the message of the angels to his "brethren," the eleven disciples; see v. 16.
This appearance and interview is narrated only by Matthew; none of the other evangelists give any hint of it. Matthew here stops short. Mark simply relates that the women fled from the tomb; "neither said they anything to any one, for they were afraid." This of course can only mean, that they spoke of what they had thus seen to no one while on their way to the city; for the very charge of the angels, which they went to fulfil, was, that they should "go their way and tell his disciples;" v. 7. Luke narrates more fully, that "they returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things (ταῦτα πάντα) unto the eleven, and to all the rest—And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not." We may perhaps see in this language one reason why the other evangelists have omitted to mention this appearance of our Lord. The disciples disbelieved the report of the women, that they had seen Jesus. In like manner they afterwards disbelieved the report of Mary Magdalene to the same effect; Mark 16:11. They were ready, it would seem, to admit the testimony of the women to the absence of the body, and to the vision of angels; but not to the resurrection of Jesus and his appearance to them; Luke 24:21–24. And afterwards, when the eleven had become convinced by the testimony of their own senses, those first two appearances to the women be came of less importance and were less regarded. Hence the silence of three evangelists as to the one; of two as to the other; and of Paul as to both; 1 Cor. 15:5, 5.
§ 4. Peter and John visit the Sepulchre. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene.
John 20:3–18. Luke 24:12. Mark 16:9–11.
The full account of these two events is given solely by John. Matthew has not a word of either; Luke merely mentions, in general, that Peter, on the report of the women, went to the sepulchre; while Mark speaks only of our Lord's appearance to Mary Magdalene, which he seems to represent as his first appearance.
According to John's account, Peter and the beloved disciple, excited by the tidings of Mary Magdalene that the Lord's body had been taken away, hasten to the sepulchre. They run; John outruns Peter, comes first to the tomb, and stooping down, sees the grave-clothes lying, but he does not enter. The other women are no longer at the tomb; nor have the disciples met them on the way. Peter now comes up; he enters the tomb, and sees the grave-clothes lying, and the napkin that was about his head not lying with the rest, but wrapped together in a place by itself. John too now enters the sepulchre; "and he saw, and believed."
What was it that John thus believed? The mere report of Mary Magdalene, that the body had been removed? So much he must have believed when he stooped down and looked into the sepulchre. For this, there was no need that he should enter the tomb. His belief must have been of something more and greater. The grave-clothes lying orderly in their place, and the napkin folded together by itself, made it evident that the sepulchre had not been rifled nor the body stolen by violent hands; for these garments and spices would have been of more value to thieves, than merely a naked corpse; at least, they would not have taken the trouble thus to fold them together. The same circumstances showed also that the body had not been removed by friends; for they would not thus have left the grave-clothes behind. All these considerations produce in the mind of John the germ of a belief. that Jesus was risen from the dead. He believed (ἐπίστευσε) because he saw; "for (γάρ) as yet they knew not the Scripture" (v. 9). He now began more fully to recall and understand our Lord's repeated declaration, that he was to rise again on the third day13 a declaration on which the Jews had already acted in set ting a watch.14 In this way, the difficulty which is sometimes urged of an apparent want of connection between verses 8 and 9, disappears; and the word ἐπίστευσε is left in the signification of a religious belief, usual to it in John's Gospel.15 In this chapter it refers more particularly to a belief in our Lord's resurrection; as here in v. 8, and also vs. 25, 27, 29. To understand it in v. 8 simply of a belief in the tidings of Mary Magdalene, without some definite adjunct to show that it is to be thus limited, would be a departure from the customary usage of the word by John.16
The two disciples went their way, "wondering in themselves at what was come to pass." Mary Magdalene who had followed them back to the sepulchre, remained before it weeping. While she thus wept, she too, like John, stooped down and looked in, "and seeth two angels, in white, sitting, the one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain." To their inquiry why she wept, her reply was the same report which she had before borne to the two disciples: "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him," v. 13. Of the angels we learn nothing further. The whole character of this representation seems to show clearly, that Mary had not be fore seen the angels; and also that she had not before been told, that Jesus was risen. We must otherwise regard her as having been in a most unaccountably obtuse and unbelieving frame of mind; the very contrary of which seems to have been the fact. If also she had before informed the two disciples of a vision of angels and of Christ's resurrection; it is difficult to see, why John should omit to mention this circumstance, so important and so personal to himself.17
After replying to the angels, Mary turns herself about, and sees a person standing near, whom, from his being present there, she takes to be the keeper of the garden. He too inquires, why she weeps. Her reply is the same as before; except that she, not un naturally, supposes him to have been engaged in removing the body, which she desires to recover. He simply utters in reply, in well known tones, the name, Mary! and the whole truth flashes upon her soul; doubt is dispelled, and faith triumphs. She ex claims: "Rabboni!" as much as to say, "My dearest Master!" and apparently, like the other women,18 falls at his feet in order to embrace and worship him. This Jesus forbids her to do, in these remarkable words: "Touch me not (μήμου ἅπτοου); 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;" v. 17.
It is difficult, at first view, to see why our Lord should here forbid Mary Magdalene to touch him, when he had just before permitted the other women to hold him by the feet; and when also, the same evening, he tells his disciples to "handle and see" for them selves, at the same time showing them his hands and his feet. Interpreters have attempted to solve the difficulty in various ways; the chief of which are the four following.
1. Chrysostom and Augustine here take ἅπτου figuratively, like Lat. mente contrectare, and thus obtain the sense: "Regard not this my earthly manifestation, for I am yet to be glorified in heaven." This is not, in itself, inappropriate; and is followed by Calvin, Beza, Grotius, and others. But this tropical use of ἅπτεσθαι at is exceedingly harsh and without example in Greek; nor is the subsequent οὔπω ἀναβέβηχα, compatible with such an explanation.
2. Others suppose Mary to be uncertain, whether what she sees is a real body or a mere phantasm; and she wishes to touch Jesus in order to decide this point. This Jesus forbids, asserting that he is yet in his earthly body, which will be changed, at his ascension, into a glorified body. So Pfaff, and J. D. Michaelis, before A. D. 1782.19 But this hypothesis does not touch the difficulty above stated; for, on this supposition, we cannot see why our Lord should not have given the same prohibition in the case of the other women and the disciples. Besides, such an unwillingness to be touched, could only have increased, in Mary's mind, the suspicion, that what she saw was a mere phantasm.
3. A common view is, that our Lord intended to prevent Mary from delaying and wasting the time in embracing him; he wished her to hasten to the disciples and make known the joyful tidings 5. q. d. "Delay not now; for I am not yet ascended; but go to my brethren," etc. So Peter Martyr, Mosheim, Doddridge, Tittmann, and others. But it is not easy to see, why such very great haste was necessary in the case of Mary Magdalene, more than in that of the other women who were charged with a similar message to the disciples. If this, too, were the meaning, we should rather expect the present:οὔπω γὰρ ἀναβαίνω, for I do not yet ascend, etc. Further, the signification here assigned to ἅπτεθαι, viz. to cling to, to delay, cannot be supported by proof.
4. There remains another explanation, which depends upon the peculiar character of Mary Magdalene. She had been distinguished for her devotedness to our Lord and to his teaching during his ministry; she had stood by his cross along with his mother and the beloved disciple,20 from whose lips she had doubtless heard a report of those last discourses, so full of tenderness and pathos, which Jesus held with the twelve the same night in which he was betrayed; she was now among the first to visit his sepulchre, and was weeping bitterly because his body was no longer to be found. When, therefore, Jesus thus speaks to her, and she recognizes him as her Lord and Master, now risen from the dead, in joyful surprize and triumphant faith she recurs to those promises of return contained in his last discourse,21 and beholds in him the ascended Saviour, the already glorified Redeemer, who thus re turns from heaven to fulfil his promise made to his disciples. This impression Jesus directly counteracts: "Touch me not," embrace me not under such misapprehension; "for I am not yet ascended to my Father." In the spirit of his same last discourse, he speaks of the disciples as his brethren, and calls God his Father and their Father.22 This interpretation, which I hold to be the correct one, is also followed in general by Kypke, Herder, J. D. Michaelis, Kuinöl, Tholuck, Neander,23 and others.-It is in deed objected, that in order to give to ἅπτεσθαι this sense of embracing, it ought to be followed by the words γονάτων μου, or ποδῶν μου. But this seems rather hypercritical. Our Lord does not tell Mary not to embrace his knees, or his feet; but as he perceives her purpose to do this, he forbids her to touch him at all. The above view brings out a sense so appropriate, and is comparatively so unobjectionable, that there remains no occasion for any conjectural change of the text – a dangerous expedient to which Lücke has had recourse in his second edition.
There remains to be considered the circumstance, that Mark, in v. 9, seems to represent this appearance of Jesus at the sepulchre to Mary Magdalene, as his first appearance: "Now, being risen early the first of the week, he appeared first (πρῶτον) to Mary Magdalene." In attempting to harmonize this with Matthew's account of our Lord's appearance to the other women on their return from the sepulchre, three methods have been adopted.
1. In order to make out, that the appearance to Mary Magdalene was actually the first, it has been assumed, that the other women, after returning into the city to deliver the message of the angels to the disciples, went out again a second time to the sepulchre, when Peter and John and Mary Magdalene had already departed from it; and that they were now on their second return to the city when Jesus met them. So Le Clerc, Benson, Doddridge, Lardner, Newcome, and many others. The objection to this view is its complexity, in a matter where the language of Matthew is so very direct and explicit: "And they departed quickly from the sepulchre, and did run to bring his disciples word; [and as they went to tell his disciples,) and lo! Jesus met them." There seems here no possibility of avoiding the inference, that the interview took place on their way to the city, after they first left the sepulchre; even if the words in brackets be omitted, as is the case in some manuscripts.
2. Griesbach, with the like intent, supposes that the women, after leaving the sepulchre to return to the disciples, had a long distance to go in order to find some of them; inasmuch as they had all been scattered on the death of their Lord, and were lodging in different parts of the city or perhaps in Bethany.24 In this way he finds time for Jesus to appear first to Mary Magdalene, and after wards to meet the rest while yet on their way to some of the more distant disciples.—This solution is still more artificial and less probable than the preceding; and has been followed, I believe, by no other interpreter.
3. It is said that the appearance to Mary Magdalene, and that to the other women, are in fact one and the same; that what John and Mark relate of Mary Magdalene in particular, Matthew, in his brief and general way, attributes to all the women.25 So Luke, it may be said, apparently narrates (v. 12) that Peter ran to the sepulchre in consequence of the report of all the women; while John says that Peter and himself went thither in consequence of the tidings brought by Mary Magdalene alone.—To this view there would perhaps be less objection, were the circumstances in the two cases similar. But they are not; and are indeed so diverse, as to render it quite evident that they belong to different occasions. In the one case our Lord appears to the women as they are returning to the city: he permits them to embrace his feet; and sends a message to the disciples to go into Galilee. In the other, he appears to Mary Magdalene alone at the sepulchre; forbids her to touch him; and his message to the disciples is, that he is to ascend to his Father and their Father.
4. More to the purpose is the view which regards πρῶτον in Mark v. 9, as put not absolutely, but relatively.26 That is to say, Mark narrates three and only three appearances of our Lord; of these three that to Mary Magdalene takes place first, πρῶτον, and that to the assembled disciples the same evening occurs last (ὕστερον) v. 14. Now in any series or succession of events where πρῶτον and ὕστερον are employed, whatever may be the number of intervening terms, πρῶτον marks the first of the series, and ὕστερον the last of the same series, and no other. So here in Mark, ὕστερον is put with the third appearance narrated; but had four been mentioned, ὕστερον could not have stood with the third, but must have been used with the fourth or last; and so in every case.27 Hence as ὕστερον is here put relatively, and therefore does not exclude the subsequent appearances of our Lord to Thomas and in Galilee; so too πρῶτον stands relatively, and does not exclude the previous appearance to the other women. A similar example occurs in 1 Cor. 15:5–8, where Paul enumerates those to whom the Lord showed himself after his resurrection, viz. to Peter, to the twelve, to five hundred brethren, to James, to all the apostles, and last of all (ἔσχατον πάντων) to Paul also. Now had Paul written here, as with strict propriety he might have done, "he was seen first of Cephas" ὤφθη π ρ ῶ τ ο ν Κηφᾷ, assuredly no one would ever have understood him as intending to assert that the appearance to Peter was the first absolutely; that is, as implying that Jesus was seen of Peter before he appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other women. In like manner when John declares (21:14) that Jesus showed himself to his disciples by the lake of Galilee for the third time after he was risen from the dead; this is said relatively to the two previous appearances to the assembled apostles; and does by no means exclude the four still earlier appearances, viz. to Peter, to the two at Emma us, to Mary Magdalene, and to the other women, – one of which John himself relates in full.
In this way the whole difficulty in the case before us disappears; and the complex and cumbrous machinery of earlier commentators becomes superfluous.
After her interview with Jesus, Mary Magdalene returns to the city, and tells the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had spoken these things unto her. According to Mark (vs. 10, 11), the disciples were "mourning and weeping;" and when they heard that Jesus was alive and had been seen of her, they believed not.28
§ 5. Jesus appears to two disciples on the way to Emmaus. Also to Peter.
Luke 24:13–35. Mark 16:12, 13. 1 Cor. 15:5.
This appearance on the way to Emmaus is related in full only by Luke. Mark merely notes the fact; while the other two Evangelists and Paul (1 Cor. 15:5) make no mention of it.
On the afternoon of the same day on which our Lord arose, two of his disciples, one of them named Cleopas,30 were on their way on foot to a village called Emmaus, sixty stadia or Seven and a half Roman miles distant from Jerusalem,--a walk of some two or two and a half hours. They had heard and credited the tidings brought by the women, and also by Peter and John, that the sepulchre was open and empty; and that the women had al so seen a vision of angels, who said that Jesus was alive. They had most probably likewise heard the reports of Mary Magdalene and the other women, that Jesus himself had appeared to them; but these they did not regard and do not mention them (v. 24); because they, like the other disciples, had looked upon them "as idle tales, and they believed them not;" v. 11. As they went, they were sad, and talked together of all these things which had happened. After some time, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But they knew him not. Mark says he was in an other form (ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ); Luke affirms that "their eyes were holden, that they should not know him;" v. 16. Was there in this anything miraculous! The "another form" of Mark, Doddridge explains by "a different habit from what he ordinarily wore." His garments, of course, were not his former ones; and this was probably one reason why Mary Magdalene had before taken him for the keeper of the garden.31 It may be, too, that these two disciples had not been intimately acquainted with the Lord. He had arrived at Jerusalem only six days before his crucifixion; and these might possibly have been recent converts, who had not before seen him. To such, the changes of garments and the unexpectedness of the meeting would render a re cognition more difficult; nor could it be regarded as surprising, that under such circumstances they should not know him. Still, all this is hypothesis; and the averment of Luke, that "their eyes were holden," and the manner of our Lord's parting from them afterwards, seem more naturally to imply that the idea of a supernatural agency, affecting not Jesus himself, but the eyes or minds of the two disciples, was in the mind of the sacred writer.
Jesus inquires the cause of their sadness; chides them for their slowness of heart to believe what the prophets had spoken; and then proceeds to expound unto them "in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." They feel the power of his words; and their hearts burn within them. By this time they drew nigh to the village whither they went; it was toward evening and the day was far spent. Their journey was ended; and Jesus was about to depart from them. In accordance with oriental hospitality they constrained him to remain with them. He consents; and as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave unto them. At this time, and in connection with this act, their eyes were opened; they knew him; and he vanished away from them (ἄφαντος ἐγένετο ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν). Here too the question is raised, whether the language necessarily implies any thing miraculous! Our English translators have rendered this passage in the margin, "he ceased to be seen of them;" and have referred to Luke 4:30 and John 8:59, as illustrating this idea. They might also have referred to Acts 8:39. Still, the language is doubtless such as the sacred writers would most naturally have employed in order directly to express the idea of supernatural agency.32
Full of wonder and joy, the two disciples set off the same hour and return to Jerusalem.33 They find the eleven and other disciples assembled; and as they enter, they are met with the joyful exclamation: "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared un to Simon;' v. 34. They then rehearse what had happened to themselves; but, according to Mark, the rest believed them not. As in the case of the women, so here, there would seem to have been something in the position or character of these two disciples, which led the others to give less credit to their testimony, than to that of Peter, one of the leading apostles.
This appearance to Peter is mentioned by no other Evangelist; and we know nothing of the particular time, nor of the attending circumstances. It would seem to have taken place either not long before, or else shortly after, that to the two disciples. It had not happened when they left Jerusalem for Emmaus; or at least they had not heard of it. It had occurred when they returned; and that long enough before to have been fully reported to all the disciples and believed by them. It may perhaps have happened about the time when the two disciples set off, or shortly after wards.
Paul in enumerating those by whom the Lord was seen after his resurrection (1 Cor. 15:5), mentions Peter first; passing over the appearances to the women, and also that to the two disciples; probably because they did not belong among the apostles.
§ 6. Jesus appears to the Apostles in the absence of Thomas; and afterwards when Thomas is present.
Mark 16:14–18. Luke 24:36–48. John 90:19–29. 1 Cor. 15:5.
The narrative of our Lord's first appearance to the apostles is most fully given by Luke; John adds a few circumstances; and Mark as well as Luke, has preserved the first charge thus privately given to the apostles, to preach the Gospel in all the world, —a charge afterwards repeated in a more public and solemn manner on the mountain in Galilee. When Paul says the Lord appeared to the twelve, he obviously employs this number as being the usual designation of the apostles; and very probably includes both the occasions narrated in this section. Mark and Luke speak in like manner of the eleven; and yet we know from John, that Thomas was not at first among them; so that of course only ten were actually present.
According to Mark, the disciples were at their evening meal; which implies a not very late hour. John says the doors were shut (χεχλεισμένων), for fear of the Jews. While the two who had returned from Emmaus were still recounting what had happened unto them, Jesus himself "came and stood (ἠλθε χαὶ ἔστη) in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you!" The question here again is raised, whether this entrance of our Lord was miraculous! That it might have been so, there is no reason to doubt. He who in the days of his flesh walked upon the waters, and before whose angel the iron gate of the prison opened of its own accord so that Peter might pass out;34 he who was himself just risen from the dead; might well in some miraculous way present himself to his followers in spite of bolts and bars. But does the language here necessarily imply a miracle? The doors indeed were shut; but the word used does not of itself signify that they were bolted or fastened. The object no doubt was, to prevent access to spies from the Jews; or also to guard themselves from the danger of being arrested; and both these objects might perhaps have been as effectually accomplished by a watch at or before the door. Nor do the words used of our Lord strictly indicate anything miraculous. We do not find here a form of ἐφίστημι, the word commonly employed to express the sudden appearance of angels;35 but, "he came and stood (ἠλθε χαὶ ἔστη) in the midst of them;" implying per se nothing more than the ordinary mode of approach. There is in fact nothing in the whole account to suggest a miracle, except the remark of John respecting the doors; and as this circumstance is not mentioned either by Mark or Luke, it may be doubtful, whether we are necessarily compelled by the language to regard the mode of our Lord's entrance as miraculous.
The disciples had disbelieved the reports of most of those who said they had seen the Lord; and now they could hardly believe their own eyes. They were terrified and affrighted; and sup posed that they had seen a spirit. The Lord reassures them; shows them his hands and his feet in order to convince them that it is he himself; and while they yet believed not for joy, he called for food and did eat before them. He upbraided them with their unbelief in respect to his resurrection. Then too he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures; showing them that Christ was thus to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day. He goes on to speak of them as appointed to preach the gospel, not to Jews alone but to all the world; and as a symbol of this great commission, and of the power which they should shortly receive from on high, "he breathed on them and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." There was in this emblem a recognition and reiteration of the gracious promise before made;36 which was to be abundantly fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
At this interview Thomas was not present. On his return the other disciples relate to him the circumstances. But Thomas now disbelieved the others; as they before had disbelieved the women. His reply was, "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." Our Lord had compassion upon his perverseness. Eight days afterwards, when the disciples were again assembled and Thomas with them, our Lord came as before, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you! He permits to Thomas the test he had demanded; and charges him to be not faithless, but believing. Thomas, convinced and abashed, exclaims in the fulness of faith and joy, My Lord and my God! recognizing and acknowledging thereby the divine nature thus manifested in the flesh. The reply of our Lord to Thomas is strikingly impressive and condemnatory of his want of faith: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." He and the other disciples, who were to be the heralds of the Lord's resurrection to the world as the foundation of the hope of the Gospel, refused to believe except upon the evidence of their own senses; while all who after them have borne the Christian name, have believed this great fact of the Gospel solely upon their testimony. God has overruled their unbelief for good, in making it a powerful argument for the truth of their testimony in behalf of this great fact, which they themselves were so slow to believe. Blessed, indeed, are they who have received their testimony.
§ 7. Our Lord's Appearance in Galilee.
John 21:1–24. Matt. 28:16–20. 1 Cor. 15:6.
It appears from the narrative of Matthew, that while the disciples were yet in Jerusalem, our Lord had appointed a time, when he would meet them in Galilee, upon a certain mountain.37 They therefore left Jerusalem after the passover, probably soon after the interview at which Thomas was present; and returned to Galilee, their home. While waiting for the appointed time, they engaged in their usual occupation of fishermen. On a certain day, as John relates, towards evening, seven of them being together, including Peter, Thomas, and the sons of Zebedee, they put out upon the lake with their nets in a fishing-boat; but during the whole night they caught nothing. At early dawn Jesus stood upon the shore, from which they were not far off, and directed them to cast the met upon the right side of the boat. "They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of the fishes." Recognizing in this miracle their risen Lord, they pressed around him. Peter with his characteristic ardour, threw himself into the water in order to reach him the sooner. At their Lord's command they prepared a meal from the fish they had thus taken. "Jesus then cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise." This was his third appearance to the eleven; or rather to a large number of them together. It was on this occasion, and after their meal, that our Lord put to Peter the touching and thrice repeated question, "Lovest thou me?"
At length the set time arrived; and the eleven disciples went away into the mountain "where Jesus had appointed them." It would seem most probable, that this time and place had been appointed of our Lord for a solemn and more public interview, not only with the eleven, whom he had already met, but with all his disciples in Galilee; and that therefore it was on this same occasion, when, according to Paul, "he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.38 That the interview was not confined to the eleven alone, would seem evident from the fact that "some doubted;" for this could hardly be supposed true of any of the eleven, after what had already happened to them in Jerusalem and Galilee, and after having been appointed to meet their risen Lord at this very time and place. The appearance of the five hundred must at any rate be referred to Galilee; for even after our Lord's ascension, the number of the names in Jerusalem were together only about an hundred and twenty.39 I do not hesitate, therefore, to hold with Flatt, Olshausen, Hengstenberg and others, that the appearances thus described by Matthew and Paul, were identical. It was a great and solemn occasion. Our Lord had directed that the eleven and all his disciples in Galilee should thus be convened upon the mountain. It was the closing scene of his ministry in Galilee. Here his life had been spent. Here most of his mighty works had been done and his discourses held. Here his followers were as yet most numerous. He therefore here takes leave on earth of those among whom he had lived and laboured longest; and repeats to all his disciples in public the solemn charge, which he had already given in private to the apostles: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations;–and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." It was doubt less his last interview with his disciples in that region,-his last great act in Galilee.
§ 8. Our Lord's further Appearances at Jerusalem, and his Ascension.
1 Cor. 15:7. Acts 1:3–12. Luke 24:49–53. Mark 16:19, 20.
Luke relates, in Acts 1:3, that Jesus showed himself alive to the apostles, "after his passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." This would seem to imply interviews and communications, as to which we have little more than this very general notice. One of these may have been the appearance to James, mentioned by Paul alone (1 Cor. 15:7), as subsequent to that to the five hundred brethren. It may be referred with most probability to Jerusalem, after the return of the apostles from Galilee. That this return took place by the Lord's direction, there can be no doubt; although none of the Evangelists have given us the slightest hint as to any such direction. Indeed, it is this very brevity, this omission to place on record the minor details which might serve to connect the great facts and events of our Lord's last forty days on earth, that has occasioned all the doubt and difficulty with which this portion of the written history of these events has been encompassed.—The James here intended was probably our Lord's brother; who was of high consideration in the church, and is often, in the later books, simply so named without any special designation.40 At the time when Paul wrote, the other James, "the brother of John," as he is called, was already dead.41
After thus appearing to James, our Lord, according to Paul, was seen "of all the apostles." This, too, was apparently an appointed meeting; and was doubtless the same of which Luke speaks, as occurring in Jerusalem immediately preceding the ascension. It was, of course, the Lord's last interview with his apostles. He repeats to them the promise of the baptism with the Holy Spirit as soon to take place; and charges them not to depart from Jerusalem until this should be accomplished.42 Strange as it may appear, the twelve, in this last solemn moment, put to him the question, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" How, indeed, were they to believe. Their gross and darkened minds, not yet enlightened by the baptism of the Spirit, clung still to the idea of a temporal Prince and Saviour, who should deliver his people, not from their sins, but from the galling yoke of Roman dominion. Our Lord deals gently with their ignorance and want of faith: "It is not for you to know the times and seasons; —but ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me—unto the uttermost part of the earth."
During this discourse, or in immediate connection with it, our Lord leads them out as far as to Bethany (ἔως εἰς Βηθανίαν); and lifting up his hands he blessed them; Luke 24:50. This act of blessing must be understood, by all the laws of language, as having taken place at or near Bethany. The connecting particle is χαί not δέ, as in the beginning of the same verse. "And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven." Our Lord's ascension, then, took place at or near Bethany. Indeed, the sacred writer could hardly have found words to express this fact more definitely and fully; and a doubt on this point could never have suggested itself to the mind of any reader, but for the language of the same writer, in Acts 1:12, where he relates that after the ascension the disciples "re turned unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet." Luke obviously did not mean to contradict himself; and the most that this expression can be made to imply, is, that from Bethany, where their Lord had ascended, which lies on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, a mile or more below the summit of the ridge, the disciples returned to Jerusalem by a path across the mount. Yet from this remark in Acts arose, probably early in the fourth century, the legend which fixed the place of the ascension on the reputed summit of the Mount of Olives. If that was indeed the true spot, then our Lord ascended from it in full view of all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; a circumstance not hinted at by the Evangelist, nor at all in accordance with the life and character of the Saviour.43
As these disciples stood gazing and wondering, while a cloud received their Lord out of their sight, two angels stood by them in white apparel, announcing unto them, that this same Jesus, who was thus taken up from them into heaven, shall again so come, in like manner as they had seen him go into heaven. With this annunciation closes the written history of our Lord's resurrection and ascension.
§ 9. Results.
Having thus completed the discussion relative to the sequence of events, and the proper mode of harmonizing the accounts given by the four Evangelists of our Lord's resurrection, his ascension, and the accompanying circumstances, it may be worth while here to present a summary view of these events and circumstances, in the order resulting from the preceding considerations.
At early dawn on the first day of the week, the women who had attended on Jesus, viz. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, Salome, and others, went out with spices to the sepulchre in order further to embalm the Lord's body. They inquire among themselves, who should remove for them the stone which closed the sepulchre. On their arrival they find the stone already taken away; for there had been an earthquake, and an angel had descended and rolled away the stone and sat upon it, so that the keepers became as dead men for terror. The Lord had risen. The women, knowing nothing of all this, are amazed; they enter the tomb, and find not the body of the Lord, and are greatly perplexed. At this time Mary Magdalene, impressed with the idea that the body had been stolen away, leaves the sepulchre and the other women, and runs to the city to tell Peter and John. The rest remain in the tomb; and immediately two an gels appear, who announce unto them that Jesus was risen from the dead, and give them a charge in his name for the apostles. They go out quickly from the sepulchre and proceed in haste to the city to make this known to the disciples. On the way Jesus meets them, permits them to embrace his feet, and renews the same charge to the apostles. The women relate these things to the disciples; but their words seem to them as idle tales; and they believed them not.
Meantime Peter and John had run to the sepulchre; and entering in had found it empty; but the orderly arrangement of the grave-clothes and of the napkin convinced John that the body had not been removed either by violence or by friends; and the germ of a belief arises in his mind, that the Lord had risen. The two returned to the city. Mary Magdalene, who had again followed them to the sepulchre, remained standing and weeping before it; and looking in she saw two angels sitting. Turning around, she sees Jesus; who gives to her also a solemn charge for his disciples.
The further sequence of events, consisting chiefly of our Lord's appearances, presents comparatively little difficulty. The various manifestations which the Saviour made of himself to his disciples and others, as recorded by the Evangelists and Paul, may accordingly be arranged and enumerated as follows:
1. To the women returning from the sepulchre. Reported only by Matthew.
2. To Mary Magdalene, at the sepulchre. By John and Mark.
3. To Peter, perhaps early in the afternoon. By Luke and Paul.
4. To the two disciples going to Emmaus, towards evening. By Luke and Mark.
5. To the Apostles (except Thomas) assembled at evening. By Mark, Luke, John and Paul—These five appearances all took place at or near Jerusalem, upon the first day of the week, the same day on which our Lord arose.
6. To the Apostles, Thomas being present; eight days after wards at Jerusalem. Only by John.
7. To seven of the Apostles on the shore of the Lake of Tiberias. Only by John.
8. To the eleven and to five hundred other brethren, on a mountain in Galilee. By Matthew and Paul.
9. To James, probably at Jerusalem. Only by Paul.
10. To the eleven at Jerusalem, immediately before the ascension. By Luke in Acts, and by Paul.
1) Rom. 1:2.
2) Acts 13:32, 33.
3) 1 Cor. 15:3, 4.
4) I Cor. 15:14, 15.
5) De Wette's Handbuch passim. Strauss's Leben Jesu.
6) John 11:44.
7) So the Homeric προχόπεπλος ἠώς Il. θ. 1. al. See Eustath. ad Hom. ed. Lips. II. p. 181:ἰστέον δὲ οἱς χροχόπεπλος ἠὼς ἡ ἔμοʹσά τι χαὶ νυχτέρου ἔτι οχότους, εἰ χαὶ τὸ γρυσοφαὲς χροχωτὸν αὐτῇ ὲξ ἡλιαχῶν ἀχτίνοιν ὲμφαίνεται, i. e. "having still something of nocturnal darkness, although the golden saffron from the sun's rays is also visible."—This meaning of ὄρθρος βαθός and πρωΐ is also elegantly illustrated by Plato, Protagor 310. A:τησί, ἔτιβαθέος ὄρθρου, πρωῒ μὲν γάρ ἐστιν, – διατρίψωμεν ἕως ἂνιρῶς γένηταιι.
8) This use of the Aorist in the Sept. shows also that in Mark 16:2 the correct reading is ἀνατείλαντος, not ἀνατέλλαντος.
9) Harm. p. 525. Can. XII. fin.
10) Matt. 8:28. Mark 5:2. Luke 8:27. — Matt. 20:30. Mark 10:46. Luke 18:35. Vol. II. No. 5.
11) See also Reiske Indic. Opp. Demosth. art. ἐφίστἁναι. Sturz Lex. Xenoph. ib.
12) "Neque apostoli sumino mane ejus die quo Christus e sepulcro vivus pro diit, unoeodengue loco congregati, sed per dissitas urbis Hierosolymae regiones dispersi et in plurium amicorum hospitia divisi erant. Hinc Maria Magdale na solis Joanni atque Petro narrabat, quae apud sepulcrum ipsa observaverat, etc." Griesbach de Fontibus etc. Opuscc. Academ. 2. p. 243 sq.
13) Matt. 16. 21. 17:23. Luke 9:22. 24:6, 7 al.
14) Matt. 28:63 sq.
15) See John 3:15, 16 sq. 10; 26. 19:35 al. saepe.
16) The same view is adopted by Lücke, in the second edition of his Commentary on John, II. p. 671 sq.
17) How difficult such a supposition is, and how artificial the arguments to sustain it, may be seen in Hengstenberg's attempt; Evang. Kirchenzeitung, 1841, No. 63.
18) Matt. 28:9.
19) Begrabniss—und Auferstehungsgesch. p. 172.
20) John 19:25–27.
21) John 14:18, 28, 29. 16:16, 19, 20, 22, 28.
22) John 15:12–16.
23) Leben Jesu, 3te Ausg. p. 715.
24) De Fontibus, etc., Opusc. Acad. II. p. 251
25) De Wette, Handb. zu Matt. p. 271. Olshausen, Comm. II. p. 557.3te Ausg.
26) Hengstenberg, Evang. Kirchenz. 1841, No. 64.
27) See for this use of ὕστερον, Matt. 21:37. 22:27. 26:60.
28) See the remarks above, p. 172, 173.
30) Luke 24:18. The name Κλεύπας is probably contracted for Κλεύπατρος, like Ἀντίπας for Ἀντίπατρος. This is therefore a different person from Clopas, Κλῶπας, John 19:25, elsewhere called Alpheus, Ἀλφαῖος, Mark 3:18 coll. 15:40; these two names being only different modes of pronouncing the Heb. חֵלֶף
31) See also John 21:4.
32) So ἀιρανεῖς ἐγένοντο, of angels, 2 Macc. 3:34.
33) This circumstance has some bearing upon the question as to the situation of Emmaus. However plausible may be the conjecture that the original reading in Luke 24:13 may have been ἑχατὸν έξήχοντα, one hundred and sixty stadia, which would nearly coincide with the position of the city Emmaus or Nicopolis; and although Cod. K, N, do actually so read a pr. manu; yet the distance of six hours is too great for the two disciples to have returned the same evening in season for the events recorded. We must therefore abide by the usual reading; supported, as it is, by Jos. B. J. VII. 6. 6. See Bibl. Res. in Pal. III. p. 66.
34) Acts 12:10.
35) See above, pp. 170, 171.
36) John 14, 26. 16, 7 sq.
37) See Matt. 26:32.
38) 1 Cor. 15:6.
39) Acts 1:15.
40) see Acts 12, 17.15. 13. 21, 18. Gal. 2, 9, 12 al.
41) Act 12:1.
42) To this interview belongs also Luke 24:44.
43) For a full discussion of this topic, in reply to the objections of Mr. Newman, see an article by the writer, in the Bibliotheca Sacra, 1843, No. I. p. 176 sq.
Note. Besides the usual Harmonies and Commentaries, the following works are of some importance, and have been consulted.
J. D. Michaelis, Erklärung der Begräbniss—und Auferstehungs geschächte Christi. Halle 1783.
J. J. Griesbach, Inquiritur in fontes unde Evangelistae suas de resurrectione Domini narrationes hauserint. Opuscc. Acad. ed. Gab ler, II. p. 241.,
___ ___ Locorum N. T. ad ascensum Christi in coelum spec tantium Sylloge. Opuscc. II. p. 471.
J. C. Velthusen, Historia Resurrectionis Christi ex diversis Commentariis contexta. In Velthusen's Commentationes Theol. T. IV. p. 77.
G. F. Seiler, Jesum corpore pariter atque anima in coelum as sumtum esse an argumentis possit probari fide dignis. In Velthu sen's Commentt. Theol. VI. p. 503.
A Neander, Das Leben Jesu Christi, 3te Ausg. Berlin 1839.
K. Hase, Das Leben Jesu, 3te Ausg. Leipz. 1840.
E. W. Hengstenberg, Die angeblichen Widersprüche in den Berichten über die Auſerstehung Jesu und die Erscheinungen des Auferstandenen. Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, Berlin 1841, No. 62–66. Col. 489–523.
J. L. Doedes, Dissertatio Theologica de Jesu in vitam reditu. Traj. ad Rhenum 1841. 8vo.