Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, Jesus Christ, New Testament

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 27 – “He Is Not Here, for He Is Risen”

  1. Mary Magdalene and other women are witnesses of the resurrected Lord.

Matthew 28: 1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

‘The order of facts appears to have been as follows:—(1) Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the mother of James the Little, watched the burial just before the Sabbath began on the evening of the day of the crucifixion. (2.) They stayed at home during the twenty-four hours of the Sabbath. (3.) On the evening of that day (the Sabbath-rest being over) they bought spices for the embalmment. (4.) At earliest dawn, say about 4 A.M., they set out to make their way to the sepulchre, and they reached it when the sun had risen.’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

‘While the women were making these preparations for embalming the body of Jesus, he arose from the dead; his resurrection being preceded by the descent of an angel, whose appearance at the sepulchre was ushered in with a great earthquake and probably also a storm, the word σεισμος, here rendered earthquake, signifying any shaking, whether in the earth, air, or sea.’ (Benson Commentary)

Matthew 28: 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

He is not here2

“Here was the greatest miracle of human history. Earlier he had told them, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ (John 11:25.) But they had not understood. Now they knew. He had died in misery and pain and loneliness. Now, on the third day, he arose in power and beauty and life, ‘the firstfruits of them that slept,’ the assurance for men of all ages that ‘as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22.)

“On Calvary he was the dying Jesus. From the tomb he emerged the living Christ. The cross had been the bitter fruit of Judas’s betrayal, the summary of Peter’s denial. The empty tomb now became the testimony of His divinity, the assurance of eternal life, the answer to Job’s unanswered question: ‘If a man die, shall he live again?’ (Job 14:14.)” (Gordon B Hinckley, Be Thou an Example [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 88.)

Matthew 28:8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

‘With fear and great joy’ – what a natural combination of emotions at what they had just witnessed!

  1. Two disciples on the road to Emmaus are witnesses of the resurrected Lord.

Luke 24: 13 ¶And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

christ-appears-on-the-road-to-emmaus-2015-01-01

“Sometimes in daily life our eyes are ‘holden’ (see Luke 24:16). Things to which we are so close and which should be obvious enough are, ironically, often unclear to us. We can’t always make out what lies just two steps ahead. Instead, we are to trust the Lord and walk by faith in such circumstances, taking the next first step, until the wisdom of the Lord indicates otherwise. Later we will see how we stared directly at the obvious but still could not see it. Besides, having received so many blessings involving one divine ‘yes’ after another, we should not be surprised if there is an occasional, divine ‘no,’ if only because of divine timing.

“If everything in one’s immediate context were constantly clear, God’s plan would not work. Hard choices as well as passing through periodic mists of darkness are needed in order to maintain life’s basic reality-that we are to overcome by faith.” (Neal A Maxwell, Lord, Increase Our Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 110.)

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

One of the disciples was called Cleopas. Some scholars have suggested that the other was Luke himself.

“A stranger, Jesus himself, seemingly but another Passover pilgrim, draws nigh and walks with them. They feel some irritation, perhaps are a little peevish, that this unknown one should intrude himself on a conversation that is both personal and sacred…There is surprise and skepticism in the voice of Cleopas as he turns to speak to the uninvited intruder. How could anyone have been in Jerusalem this week and been unaware of the tumult and trials and crucifixion of the most renowned person in all Palestine?” (Bruce R McConkie, The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 4: 276.)

Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

‘O fools – The word “fool” sometimes is a term of reproach denoting “wickedness.” In this sense we are forbidden to employ it in addressing another, Matthew 5:22. That, however, is a different word in the Greek from the one which occurs here. The one there used implies contempt, but the one employed in this place denotes “weakness or dulness.” He reproached them for not seeing what he had himself so clearly predicted, and what had been foretold by the prophets. The word used in the original does not imply as much “reproach” as the word “fool” does among us. It was not an expression of “contempt;” it was an expression denoting merely that they were “thoughtless,” and that they did not properly “attend to” the evidence that he must die and rise again.’ (Barnes Notes on the Bible)

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

This means that Christ’s suffering was necessary for him to enter into his glory.

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

All of the scriptures and prophets testify of Jesus Christ.

Luke 24: 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

“They sensed it not, but they had the testimony of the spirit before there came to them the witness of the eyes.” (J Reuben Clark Jr, On the Way to Immortality and Eternal Life [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1949], 72.)

  1. The Apostles are witnesses of the resurrected Lord.

Luke 24: 36 ¶And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

‘It is very significant that when Jesus came forth from the tomb and appeared to his disciples, his first greeting was, “Peace be unto you.” Peace—not passion, not personal possessions, not personal accomplishments nor happiness—is one of the greatest blessings a man can receive. Our trust and our relationship with our Heavenly Father should be one similar to that of the little blind girl and her earthly father. When sorrow, tragedy, and heartbreaks occur in our lives, wouldn’t it be comforting if when the whisperings of God say, “Do you know why this has happened to you?” we could have the peace of mind to answer “No, but you do.”’ (Marvin J Ashton, General Conference, October 1985)

Luke 24:38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

‘Thoughts’ means ‘doubts or suspicions’

39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

“Those who call themselves modernists deny the fact that Jesus rose from the tomb with the same body that he laid down, and many deny the fact that he was indeed resurrected. Latter-day Saints believe in the literal resurrection of Christ in precisely the same manner described by the writers of the New Testament. From their record we learn that the same body of flesh and bones that was taken from the cross and laid in the tomb did come forth to live again.” (Howard W Hunter, Conference Report, October 1968, Afternoon Meeting 139.)

40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

Luke was a physician – he knew a physical body when he saw one!

41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

‘Though they had been prepared for the belief of resurrection, by the report of the women, the relation of Simon Peter, and the account of the two disciples that came from Emmaus; yet such was the joy they were transported with, upon the evidence of it, the news was so good, and the favour and benefit so great, that they could scarcely believe their own senses of seeing and feeling.’ (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

43 And he took it, and did eat before them.

“To further assure them that He was no shadowy form, no immaterial being of tenuous substance, but a living Personage with bodily organs internal as well as outward, He asked, ‘Have ye here any meat?’ They gave Him a piece of broiled fish and other food, which He took ‘and did eat before them.'” (James E Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 638)

John 20:24 ¶But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, 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.

‘No doubt Thomas had been deeply shaken by the events of the past days. His love and devotion to the Master cannot be questioned, but the flame of faith had burned low and had grown cold. The tomb was empty, this he knew. Mary Magdalene and the other women and Peter and John had been there. Jesus later appeared to Mary in the garden, and she told the disciples of this event as she had been commanded. That very day the Risen Master had walked with Cleopas and his companion down the road to Emmaus and had also appeared to Simon Peter in Jerusalem. In Spite of these evidences, Thomas was skeptical, and he said to the disciples:

“. . . 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”

This statement of Thomas has caused him to be remembered down through the ages and his name placed with the skeptics, the doubters, and the fainthearted, with those who will not believe until they see. In a sense, Thomas represents the spirit of our age. He would not be satisfied with anything he could not see, even though he had been with the Master and knew his teachings concerning faith and doubt. Jesus had said:

“. . . O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

“. . . Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”

“. . . If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”

“. . . According to your faith be it unto you”

All of these things Thomas well knew, but his personal faith had been dimmed by a great disappointment. Faith does not take precedence over doubt when one must feel or see in order to believe.

Thomas was not willing to stand on faith. He wanted positive evidence of the facts. He wanted knowledge, not faith. Knowledge is related to the past because our experiences of the past are those things which give us knowledge, but faith is related to the future—to the unknown where we have not yet walked.

We think of Thomas as one who had traveled and talked with the Master, and who had been chosen by him. Inwardly we wish that Thomas could have turned toward the future with confidence in the things which were not then visible, instead of saying in effect, “To see is to believe.”

It must have saddened the heart of the Savior, but this had happened before. Within the past few days Judas had betrayed him, Peter had denied him, and now Thomas doubted him. (Howard W Hunter, General Conference, October 1962)

John 20:26 ¶And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

‘After 8 days’ ie on Sunday

John 20: 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

doubting_thomas1

“To all within the sound of my voice who may have doubts, I repeat the words given Thomas as he felt the wounded hands of the Lord: ‘Be not faithless, but believing.’ Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the greatest figure of time and eternity. Believe that his matchless life reached back before the world was formed. Believe that he was the Creator of the earth on which we live. Believe that he was Jehovah of the Old Testament, that he was the Messiah of the New Testament, that he died and was resurrected, that he visited these western continents and taught the people here, that he ushered in this final gospel dispensation, and that he lives, the living Son of the living God, our Savior and our Redeemer.” (Gordon B Hinckley, “Be Not Faithless,” Ensign, May 1978, 59)

John 20: 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

‘The blessedness of Thomas is not denied, but the rare and richly-favoured lot of those is specially declared, who believe without seeing.’ (Bengel’s Gnomen)

  1. Some of the Apostles see Jesus again at the Sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee).

John 21:4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him,  for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

‘But, alas, the fishing wasn’t very good. Their first night back on the lake, they caught nothing-not a single fish. With the first rays of dawn, they disappointedly turned toward the shore, where they saw in the distance a figure who called out to them, “Children, have you caught anything?” Glumly these Apostles-turned-again-fishermen gave the answer no fisherman wants to give. “We have caught nothing,” they muttered, and to add insult to injury, they were being called “children.”

“Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find,” the stranger calls out-and with those simple words, recognition begins to flood over them. Just three years earlier these very men had been fishing on this very sea. On that occasion too they had “toiled all the night, and [had] taken nothing,” the scripture says. But a fellow Galilean on the shore had called out to them to let down their nets, and they drew “a great multitude of fishes,” enough that their nets broke, the catch filling two boats so heavily they had begun to sink.

Now it was happening again. These “children,” as they were rightly called, eagerly lowered their net, and “they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”

John said the obvious: “It is the Lord.” And over the edge of the boat, the irrepressible Peter leaped.’ (Jeffrey R Holland, Ensign, November 2012, 83-84)

John 21: 15 ¶So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

shepherd

‘This is the call of Christ to every Christian today: “Feed my lambs. … Feed my sheep”—share my gospel with young and old, lifting, blessing, comforting, encouraging, and building them, especially those who think and believe differently than we do. We feed His lambs in our homes by how we live the gospel: keeping the commandments, praying, studying the scriptures, and emulating His love. We feed His sheep in the Church as we serve in priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations. And we feed His sheep throughout the world by being good Christian neighbors, practicing the pure religion of visiting and serving the widows, the fatherless, the poor, and all who are in need.’ (Robert D Hales, General Conference, October 1992)

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