What exactly was it the angel(s) said? There are many people who have commented that it all seems so contradictory that the account of what the angel(s) is/are reported to have said is so confusing. How can we believe what it was the angels said if these gospel writers can’t get the story right?
“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. Remember what I have told you.”
“Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid His body. 7 Now go and tell His disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there, just as He told you before He died.”
“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what He told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.”
Let’s harmonise the accounts:
“Don’t be afraid/alarmed!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?”
He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying”
“Look, this is where they laid His body.”
And now, go quickly and tell His disciplesincluding Peter,thatHe has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. Remember what I have told you. just as He told you before He died back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again on the third day.”
Look how easily it all hangs together if it is combined the way I have combined it above. All the pieces are preserved and fit together in a logical way. Furthermore it matches the nature of what we know to be factual about eye-witness accounts related to what was said by the participants. One witness remembers one part of the conversation while another recalls a different segment. By combining all the segments together we can complete a transcript of what was actually said. it makes sense and it is plausible. I am not saying this is the answer or that I have it right where thousands before me have got it wrong. I don’t know but it struck me as being interesting that it all fitted together so well. Thus it would be understandable that each of these three writers recall a portion of what was said from the flow of what Jesus did actually say. It’s a strong possibility.
But Ian, wasn’t Matthew the only one of the three at the cross as such? Mark fled and wasn’t there and Luke wasn’t on the scene yet. So how can these accounts be eyewitness accounts? Has that thought ever crossed your mind? It occurred to me in the early years. Well, think on this. Mark only fled at the time of the of the arrest in the garden. That does not exclude the possibility he joined the crowd at the cross. Luke certainly wasn’t there but most experts believe a lot of what Luke records which the others didn’t, comes from Peter, who certainly was an eyewitness. And don’t forget the fourth eyewitness, John, was certainly present, although he does not write about this particular occurrence.
I am not going to comment on every aspect of what the angel(s) said in the text above but I will comment on Luke’s addition, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” This is a masterful statement. The women in their confusion go to the tomb to look for His body. After all that was the last place they saw His body. It is rational to believe they should go back there. Besides they had taken spices to finish the task of embalming and honouring the body of Jesus. It was perfectly natural. It was an anathema to the women, who followed from Galilee that He should be anything but dead. They saw what happened to Him on the cross. No one could have survived that! But if these women have followed since Galilee they should have thought about something they had seen before in Bethany when Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) Furthermore in the Lazarus story we have repeated elements like “Where have they put him?” “Come and see.” They ought to have suspected this would happen. Death had been defeated before. The woman have gone to this place to see where His body lay, well at least it was there the previous night when they observed where Joseph and Nicodemus laid the body. But the women have come to the WRONG PLACE. Jesus ought not to have been sought among the dead. Jesus was very much alive. You don’t search for live people among the dead. You won’t find Jesus here ladies. You ought to remember what He told you back in Galilee and what I (the angel) just told you. He has risen from the dead and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. In Galilee He told you, ’The Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and that He would rise again on the third day.” it is all very clear what has happened but of course it is easier for it to be clear in retrospect.
When was it in the Galilee phase of Jesus ministry that these things were said? Were we specifically told that the women heard these things elsewhere. The answer is no, but we can assume that the women heard because they followed Jesus closely and were often close while tending to His needs. The women were with the disciples when Jesus made the statements or if not heard they certainly heard second hand from the disciples. The text can also mean, “yet being in Galilee” which carries the sense of “as early as the time in Galilee, you heard Him make comments like this. What comments? You will find references in Matthew 16:21, 17:22-23; Mark 8:31, 9:31; Luke 9:21-22 and 9:43-44. But in fact crucifixion as the manner of His death was not mentioned in these above references. Doubtless if comes from the references to the disciples taking up their cross and following Him and John reference to the Son of Man being lifted up.
I have not dealt with the comments about the women going and telling the disciples AND PETER. I will leave that for the beginning of the next segment. it is significant. I will also leave Mark’s verse 8 for the time we deal with the variant statements relating to what we have come to know as the Great Commission.
Why didn’t they automatically connect the resurrection to Jesus’ comments about the Son of Man rising on the third day? The notion of Him rising from the dead was certainly one that was not in their thinking even though He had told them it would happen. Notice Mark’s opening verses of this segment make it clear the woman are expecting they will find things to be normal at the tomb where they last saw Him at the beginning of the Sabbath. I am sure Jesus statements about crucifixion and rising from the dead three days later were puzzling to them. Despite the women and the disciples having momentary glimpses into the truth behind the statements, I am sure the full impact of what would happen had still not dawned on them. Many times Jesus’ words were allusory, and they interpreted them metaphorically. But now I am sure they realised that His words were to be taken literally and they were likely going back over what He had say and reinterpreting them literally. Luke’s final comment in this section is fascinating. “Then they remembered that He had said this.” Imagine what must have been going through their minds at this stage. How do you feel when some one has preached something or shared something that opens up a whole new way of looking at a classic Bible passage that you thought you knew so well only to find it could have a different interpretation? it is like your mind works overtime in piecing together the new information with what you already knew or thought you knew. Put that thought into the context of what was happening for these woman at that time.
Also I have told you I have stuck with Robertson’s division of the passages that he has used in his harmony. He has divided the passage between verse 8 and verse 9 of Luke.
24:8 – Then they remembered that He had said this. //
24:9 So they rushed back from the tomb to tell His eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened.
Just ponder the conjunction of those two verses and what must have been going on in the minds of those women between these two verses. Time for you to do some right braining I think and time for me to leave you with the opportunity. I will leave you till the next Gem when we start the next segment. In the meantime keep those questions percolating and ponder on what I have said above.
Sometimes what we think we know is just an illusion that needs to be reinterpreted in the light of Heaven’s perspective.Ian Vail
Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.John Wooden
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by the age of eighteen.Albert Einstein
You are BRAVER than you believe, STRONGER than you seem and SMARTER than you think!Winnie the Pooh (A. A. Milne)
So learn to hold your smarts loosely in the light of God’s TRUTH.Ian Vail
God often enters our lives through brokenness to show that we’re not as autonomous as we think.Marlia Kusuma Dewi