The Empty Tomb – Luke 24

Luke says  in chapter 24 that they went at early dawn to Jesus’ tomb. “They” refers to the women who had come with him from Galilee (Luke 23:55). Matthew tells us that two of them were Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” (Matthew 28:1). In Matthew 27:56. This other Mary is identified as the mother of James and Joses (Joseph).

A large opening to the Sanhedrin tombs in Jerusalem, where members of the Jewish high court were buried.

A large opening to the Sanhedrin tombs in Jerusalem, where members of the Jewish high court were buried.

The way the rest of the verse is worded, it is unclear whether this Mary is also the mother of the sons of Zebedee, but most believe that the reference is of yet another of the women. A good case can be made that Salome was the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee (see Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25). But we cannot be certain one way or another. We do know from harmonizing the gospels that Susannah and Joanna were among the women.

The women were met there by two men in “dazzling apparel,” who asked them ““Why do you seek the living among the dead?” They then reminded them how Jesus had told them that he would “be delivered into the hands of sinful men” and be killed and rise on the third day. Verse 8 said “they remembered His words,” which seems to be further evidence of the fact that Jesus’ words to the disciples about what would happen had been “hidden” from them, and that they just couldn’t understand it (Luke 18:31-34).

When they went to tell the eleven, the men did not believe them. But it was Peter that ran to the tomb and looked in with amazement. We know from John’s gospel the he also went with Peter (John 20:3-6). John refers to himself there as “the other disciple.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Women of Means – Luke 8

Verses 1-3 of Luke chapter 8 can tell us much about the ministry of our Lord Jesus, but the tendency is to rush right past them and into the rest of the chapter, as there is much going on here. But let’s focus for a moment on the women that traveled with Jesus as He went preaching through these villages. Only three are mentioned by name, but Luke says there were many others.

Susanna is one that is not mentioned again in the New Testament, so we only know what Luke tells us here – which is that she was either healed by Jesus of some infirmity or of demons. The same goes for Joanna, except that it is highly probable that she is the same Joanna that in Luke 24:1-11 was one of the women that discovered Jesus’ empty tomb and went to tell the apostles. Joanna was the wife of the manager of the household of Herod Antipas.

Magdala, near modern Migdal, was situated here along the Sea of Galilee. Magdala was the home of Mary Magdalene.

Magdala, near modern Migdal, was situated here along the Sea of Galilee. Magdala was the home of Mary Magdalene.

The other woman who is mentioned is “Mary, called Magdalene.” Of all the women in the New Testament, she has been given the most unfair extra-biblical treatment – even disregarding the book and subsequent movie, the Da Vinci Code (and we will), which has been more than adequately dealt with in other articles that we can point you to, if interested.

First, there is the false belief that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, which we covered in this previous post about Jesus’ dinner with Simon the Pharisee. Then there is further confusion, as she is sometimes portrayed as the adulterous woman of John 8:3-11 that the scribes and Pharisees wanted to stone. Remember Jesus said “let him who is without sin cast the first stone?” Nope, that wasn’t Mary Magdalene either. In fact, there is not even a single mention of Mary of Magdala in the Bible in the context of sin! Here, we learn that she had seven demons that Jesus cast out – but no mention of sin.

Furthermore, the women that are mentioned along with her in these three verses all “provided for them out of their means” (“them” meaning Jesus and His ministry). So not only was Mary Magdalene not a prostitute, but she was evidently a woman of some means financially, who now devoted her life to the Lord. How did the truth become so twisted in so many ways about this woman? There have been several answers offered, but they all come down to the age-old problem. We often (even innocently) accept the words of men rather than searching God’s word for the truth.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Matthew 28 – The Resurrection and Great Commission

Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ mother Mary went to Jesus tomb, but they met an angel there who told them that Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 28:1-7).

(Note: for a summary of the events of this chapter from the resurrection at dawn to Jesus’ first appearances to Mary Magdalene and the other women, please see post at this link.  After the resurrection, Jesus – as He had told the disciples in Matthew 26:32 that He would meet them there – would be with them at the Sea of Galilee, and at a mountain there that He directs them to.  But several other events occur before and after this, the details of which are interspersed throughout the gospels in Luke 24 and John 20.  And events in a single chapter are in some cases separated by days, and even weeks, as Jesus remained for forty days before the ascension.)

Then some of the guard that had been on watch at the tomb went to the chief priests to tell them what had happened.  After deliberating, they gave money to the guards to have them say that His disciples had come and stolen the body while they were asleep, promising to keep them out of trouble if word got back to Pilate.  Their acts of unbelief in the face of these eyewitness accounts is stunning, but such was their love for power that they would not let it be jeopardized.

Jesus meets His apostles in verse 16 on the mountain in Galilee that He had directed them to.  In verses 18-20, Jesus gives the eleven chosen ones the Great Commission – to go and make disciples of ALL nations “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  Jesus has confirmed that His Kingdom is open to everyone.  Because this is the end of Matthew, some confuse this event with the time of the ascension.  But that comes later at at a different mountain – Mount Olivet, after they returned to Jerusalem.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

The Savior Slain and Risen \ Week 36 summary posted

This week, we will read first about the crucifixion.  Then we will spend the rest of the week with some details of the time after the Lord’s resurrection from the perspective of the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John.  We know from 1 Corinthians 15:5-9 that Jesus appeared to more than five hundred in the forty days before His ascension to heaven.  We will focus in the next few days mostly on the time from His appearance to the disciples onward.  Today though, let us spend a bit of time on the first hours of the day of His resurrection.

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, one traditional site of Jesus’ burial. It is safe to say that it is not the tomb of Jesus, but it is useful as a realistic example.

We need to keep a few things in mind.  First, as is often the case with the Scriptures, events recorded in the four gospels are not always in chronological order.  Also, as we have discussed before, each of the four was written to a different audience; and we find things phrased differently, as well as additional events in one gospel not found in another.  Finally, we have seen time and again that there are some things we would like to know that the scriptures just do not tell us.  In this case, the commentator James Burton Coffman says it best: “…it was part of the Father’s wisdom to give men just the amount of revelation which would leave them free to make their own moral decision.

The resurrection accounts of the gospels are favorite citations for those unbelievers who feel compelled to invest their time trying to find alleged contradictions.  Of course, such allegations are baseless.  Putting the four gospel accounts together gives us a more complete picture of the events of that great morning.  For a complete comprehensive and easy to read harmonization of the four gospels, I recommend the following book (also available in Kindle format): “The Fourfold Gospel” by John McGarvey (ISBN-10 # 1936341018, ISBN-13 # 978-1936341016).

Keeping Coffman’s caveat  in mind, the following is a summary of the events in all four gospels (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-18) of the early morning of the resurrection up to Jesus’ first appearances to Mary Magdalene and the other women:

1.  Several women came to the tomb of Jesus before dawn on the first day of the week (Sunday) with spices to anoint His body.  From the four gospels, we know that group included at minimum Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (Jesus’ mother), Salome, and Joanna.

2. The Sabbath ended at sundown on Saturday.  The key sentence in Luke 23:56 is that on the Sabbath, the women “rested according to the commandment.”  This means that they would not be preparing the spices and ointments until the Sabbath was over (at sundown).

3. The women set out for the tomb with the spices while it was still dark on the first day of the week.  The translation of the grammar used in Mark confuses many, but the key to understanding is that Mark 16:1-2 simply distinguishes the fact that when they went very early on the first day of the week, they did it in the morning – not just after sundown on Saturday!

4. There was a great earthquake, and an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled away the stone and sat on it.  The fear that brought to the guards is stated – along with the statement that they became like dead men.  Perhaps they were just paralyzed with fear, or perhaps they were made unable to move.  We are not told.  The point is that the seal was broken, and the stone would not be allowed to be moved back in front of the tomb.

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, one traditional site of Jesus’ burial. It is safe to say that it is not the tomb of Jesus, but it is useful as a realistic example.

5.  At this point, we know from John that it was Mary Magdalene who ran to tell Peter and John that (as she believes) someone has taken the body.  John and Mark both indicate that Mary had left the other women.  While she is gone, two angels speak to the women she had separated from, telling them that Jesus had risen and they must tell the disciples “and Peter” that He is risen and that they must go to Galilee. Many of the guards leave to go tell the Sanhedrin what has happened, while the other women leave to find the disciples.  It is important to get word to all the disciples.  But Peter is mentioned separately probably because it is important that in his grief, he does not think he would be cast off because of his denial (in Matthew 26:69-75).

6. Peter and John run to the tomb and eventually both go inside and leave, satisfied that Jesus is gone.  John “believes” but Peter is puzzled about what happened.  They went back home and the other women would come tell them (as well as the other disciples) what the angels had said to them.

7. Mary, back at the tomb weeping after Peter and John had left, now looks into it for the first time and sees it empty except for the angels – sitting at the head and foot where Jesus had laid.  Perhaps from her tears blinding her or perhaps prevented from truly “seeing” (as with the disciples in Luke 24:16), she does not react to the angels or recognize Jesus until He calls her name (John 20:16).  Jesus tells her not to delay by clinging to Him, but to go to tell the disciples that He is going to His Father (and their Father).

8. Mary does go and tell the disciples that she has seen the Lord.  The other women are met by Jesus on their way (Matthew 28:9); and they are allowed the delay briefly, as they take hold of His feet and worship Him.  Then He sends them to continue on to the disciples as well.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 36 (September Week 1) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about John 12, Matt 24 and 25, John 13, and John 14, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.