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I would like to provide an account of the raising of Jesus which entails all four gospels. This reading provided intermixes the four gospel accounts. Yet, every word is how it is stated within the New International Version of the Bible.
“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’ There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.’ So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense! So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.”
John’s gospel adds more about Jesus appearing to Mary “Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (Which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her.”
Our Lord was raised from death on the third day, exactly as He had foretold it! He did not just rise and leave the scene. Instead he spoke with the women who had come with spices for His body. How their hearts must have leapt with pure joy when they realized it was the Lord speaking with them. And then there is the heart warming meeting of Mary and Jesus. What exactly went through Mary’s mind and heart as she cried out Rabboni? And what went through the minds of Simon Peter and John as they ran to the empty tomb? What had happened to their Lord? What were their thoughts as they looked into the vacant tomb? There is so much which has been written about the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from death. What I wish to mention has been mentioned by many, yet it bears repeating. Without the resurrection of our Lord from death, our faith would all be in vain. But, through the death and resurrection of our Lord, we have been saved from death and we have been given a new life, a true life centered in the love of our Lord, as we do the work He gives us to accomplish. Just as our Lord had risen from this earth, so must our thoughts be of things of Christ (from above) rather than from things of this earth. Christ wants us to be joyful of His resurrection. And why shouldn’t we be, as because He rose from the dead, so shall all believers be raised from the dead and shall inherit the kingdom of God!
Jesus began His post death life by visiting many that He intimately knew. We have two raisings to new life through Christ. First is our life here on earth. When we give our life to Christ, we now live for Him and receive many blessings, including the indwelling Holy Trinity. After the death of our mortal bodies we will have our second post death life, our eternal life with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in heaven.
What a wonderful and beautiful blessing this is to all of us who believe. A happy and blessed Easter to you all!
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