Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Until the day in which he was taken up (Luke 24)

Luke 24 is a big one, but what the heck, let's do it all in one big post, shall we?

Was the tomb opened or closed? Were the men (or angels) inside or outside? Were the men or angels sitting or standing? Whom did the women see? Okay, much of the confusion arising from these questions is due to the fact that the verses being cited are describing different events. The tomb was opened; the passage in Matthew describing the angel rolling away the stone is an event that happened before any of the women arrived, and involved the only angel spotted outside of the tomb. When the women looked into the tomb, they saw two angels who looked like men, and thus are described as such in some of the accounts. It's not clear why Mark's gospel says there was only one. At various times they were sitting and standing, notably when Mary Magdalene looks into the tomb, this is much later in the day as she, by herself, had run off to fetch Peter and John, and at the point she examines the tomb more closely, the other women have gone on their way and some time has passed.

Did Jesus forewarn the apostles of his death and resurrection? Yes, but they apparently didn't fully understand it.

Did the women immediately tell the disciples? I believe they did; when it says in Mark's gospel that they told no man, it may mean that they told nobody until they found the disciples. (Mark's gospel is a strange one, as it's believed by many scholars to have ended with verse 8 originally, and someone else edited in the rest later. So the ending there is weird and a little disjointed.)

How many women came? The Bible is far from clear on this, but I think part of the confusion is due to the complexity of the story. It's my belief that there may have been more than one group of women who came to the tomb, as well as more than one group who left separately. In particular, Mary Magdalene was the first woman to come to the tomb, and while she may not have come alone, she did leave alone to run to Peter and John. It would seem that the other women stuck around to see the angels and get instructions, and later caught up with Mary as she was talking to Peter and John. Whoever was with Peter and John seemed either confused and/or skeptical about what they were hearing, but Peter and John went to the tomb to check things out.

To whom did Jesus first appear? Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene; the passages given on that page are describing other, later events. I believe the event that is described in Matthew 28:9 happens after Mary Magdalene becomes separated from the rest of the women. The story here in Luke in which he travels with two disciples clearly takes place long after Peter and John traveled to the tomb (see v. 24), which was around the time that Jesus appeared to M.M. The verse in 1Corinthians makes no claim of who saw Jesus first.

Did Mary Magdalene recognize Jesus? Most of these verses are taken out of context. I already talked about the Matthew verse; if you read a few more verses into the John account, you find that Mary eventually recognizes Jesus; the guys in Luke had only heard the first part of the story, not how Mary had seen Jesus.

Is it OK to call someone a fool? The verse in Matthew 5 that this refers to does not say that you can't call someone a fool, but rather points out that if you start name-calling in anger, you're spiritually endangering yourself.

How many disciples did Jesus appear to in his first post resurrection appearance? The problem with these verses, especially the one in 1Corinthians, is that "the twelve" was sort of a shortcut way of saying "the apostles" even though in many latter cases it excluded Judas Iscariot, similarly "the eleven" is used to refer to the apostles less Judas, and may have been used to refer to them even if one of them, namely Thomas, happened to be missing. The answer is ten.

Where did Jesus first appear to the disciples? Note that the Matthew verse says "where Jesus had appointed them", suggesting that this was not the first meeting they'd had with him.

Did the eleven disciples believe the two men? I think they didn't believe at first until more reports started coming in of sightings of Jesus.

Were the disciples frightened or gladdened when they saw Jesus? I think they were afraid at first, and then glad. Note that if you read the verses leading up to the verse quoted from John, it says that they were glad after he spoke with them and showed them his wounds.

Was it OK to touch the risen Jesus? It's not really clear what it is that Jesus is telling Mary in John 20:17, because he does seem to be rather generous with other people who want to touch him in other situations. Different Greek verbs are used for touching in all of these verses, which might lend a hint, but I'm not sure what that might be. I suspect that while many people were merely touching Jesus, Mary may have been clinging to him rather strongly, and Jesus was reminding her that she couldn't keep him. That's my guess anyway. Does God have a body? God the Father has no body, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't have an appearance.

The SAB says "Jesus claims that his suffering and death were a fulfillment of prophecy. But there is no such prophecy in the Old Testament." There certainly is no specific place in the O.T. that says right out that the Messiah has to suffer and die, but that doesn't mean that there are no passages that are prophetic of this concept. Two that come to mind are Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.

Where did Jesus tell his disciples to go after his resurrection? It would seem that he told them to go to two places, first to go to Galilee where they would see him on a mountaintop, and then to go wait in Jerusalem for Pentecost.

When did Jesus ascend into heaven? First of all, he may very well have ascended into heaven more than once. However his final ascension was forty days after his resurrection.I think the real problem verse is the one at the end of Luke. As the SAB itself points out, the phrase "and carried up into heaven" may not have been in the original manuscript, but more important than that, I don't think we are meant to take the events of Luke 24 to have all occurred on a single day.

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