The Women in Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection [Conclusion]

interwoven gospels

What really did happen when Jesus rose from the dead? In reading each of the four Gospels I find each one having different events happening. There are omissions or additions in the each Gospels. Could it be that I need to read all four Gospels as one “complete story” and put the events in chronological order to find the Truth? A theologian named Ken Wallace [from Missions Door Ministries] did just that. His paper helped me have a greater understanding of the events surrounding Jesus’ Resurrection and the important role His women disciples played in proclaiming, “Jesus has risen just as He said” [Matthew 28:6], as the angels told them. Here is what Ken Wallace wrote [*my own 2 cents]:

TWO ANGELS IN TOMBangels and women at empty tomb

HOW MANY ANGELS?
There were two angels but one of them must have had a dominant role so sometimes only he was mentioned.

HOW MANY WOMEN?
At least five went to the tomb — Mary Magdalene was among them.
– At least two told Peter and John [in Jerusalem] — Mary Magdalene was among them.
– At least two went to Bethany to tell the other disciples.
– Mary Magdalene may have been alone at the tomb after Peter and John left.

Ken Wallace answers more questions by putting the events surrounding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in chronological order:

chronology

CHRONOLOGY

1. Five women arrive at the tomb [Mt. 28:1, Mk. 16:2-3, Luke 24:1, Jn.20:1]
Matthew 28:2-4 is a description of what the guards witnessed before the women arrived and introduces the angel: [v.2] 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. [v.3] His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. [v.4] The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. [v.4]
2. They see the stone has moved [Mk.16:4, Lk24:2, Jn.20:1-2]
3. They go inside and see that Jesus’ body is not there [Mk.16:5, Lk24:3]
4. The angels talk to them [Mt. 28:5, Mk. 16:6, Lk24:4-8]
Luke 24:9-12 combines the narrative of both groups of women [*disciples] and both groups of [*men] disciples into one story. It is not strictly chronological as the other narratives are.
5. They split into two groups to tell the disciples [Mt. 28:8, Mk. 16:8]
6. Mary Magdalene runs to tell Peter and John [Mt. 28:8, Lk.24:9-10, Jn.20:2]
7. Peter and John run to the tomb [Lk.24:12 and 24, Jn.20:3-4]
8. Mary Magdalene follows them to the tomb [*Otherwise John 20:11-18 wouldn’t have happened]
9. They go into the tomb [John 20:5-8]
10. They see and believe it’s empty [but not that Jesus rose] [Lk.24:24, Jn.20:9]
11. Peter and John go to Bethany [Lk.24:12, Jn.20:10]
12. Mary Magdalene weeps at the tomb [Jn.20:11]
13. The angels talk to her again [Jn.20:11]
14. Jesus appears to her [Mk.16:9, Jn.20:15-17]
15. She goes to Bethany to tell the [*men] disciples she saw Jesus [Mk.16:10]
16. Meanwhile, Jesus appears to the other women [Mt.28:9-10]
17. They arrive in Bethany and tell the [*men] disciples they saw Jesus [Lk.24:9-10]
18. The [*men] disciples don’t believe the women [Lk.24:11]
19. Mary Magdalene arrives in Bethany and tells them she saw Jesus [Lk.24:9-10, Jn.20:18]
20. They don’t believe her either [Lk.24:11]

[To be able to read Ken Wallace’ complete paper Google, “The women at the Empty Tomb,” then click “The Women at the Empty Tomb —– North Forest.]

JESUS APPEARS TO DISCIPLES The four Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, John] do not end with the men disciples disbelieving the women disciples’ testimony that Jesus rose from the dead. The men disciples eventually believed that Jesus did rise from the dead when Jesus appeared to them in the flesh [Mt.28:16-20; Mk.16:12-20; Lk.24:36-49; Jn.20:19-29 and 21:1-14]. In Mark [16:14] Jesus “rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart,” because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. They did not believe Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Salome, Mary the mother of James, Mary the mother of Joses and other women who witnessed that Jesus was alive again. They also didn’t believe two men disciples [Mk.16:12-13]. Out of the core disciples, Thomas was the last to believe, because he was not with the rest of the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. Thomas said, “Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will not believe” [Jn.20:25]. He did not believe his fellow disciples that Jesus was alive. But Thomas did not stay an unbeliever.

jESUS AND THOMAS

“Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the door was locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” [John 20:24-29].

women at foot of the cross

Why did Jesus appear to His women disciples first? A woman’s testimony was not usually believed during Jesus time on earth. Women could not be witnesses in court. Even their brothers in the Faith did not believe what their sisters in the Faith told them about Jesus being alive. The women’s “words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them” [John 24:11]. Jesus knew these women more than anyone else

Magdenlena

knew them. Jesus knew His women disciples as His self-sacrificing servants, His loyal students to His teachings, His compassionate caregivers, and the ones who would persevere to the end and beyond. The women disciples went to Jesus tomb, where He had been laid and Jesus valued their love for Him and their courage to be where His body was laid. Of course they would see their risen Lord first, because they went to see Him to serve Him one last time, only to be served by Him instead. On the other hand, the men were hiding in a locked room fearing what would happen to them. While the women went to Jesus, it was Jesus who went to the men.

men and women disciples

Again, my purpose is not to belittle the men disciples and raise up the women disciples. My goal is to show that both the first men and women disciples were equally important in spreading the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ to the world. Most of the time the women disciples were in the background. But, when Jesus was dying on cross the women, mentioned throughout this blog series, were there and experience His heart-wrenching death and glorious Resurrection. Instead of being in the background, when they were most needed the women disciples were in the forefront. We should not forget about the women disciples. They encouraged their brother disciples to believe “JESUS HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN INDEED!” And they encourage us today, through their actions and testimonies in the Scriptures, to believe in Jesus and His Resurrection. Do you believe? “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” [John 20:29].

Jesus is alive

In this blog series, “The Women in Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection,” I have attempted to encourage my readers to look at a small group of Jesus’ women disciples and how important they were in serving Jesus, in encouraging His men disciples to believe He was alive, and in continuing to encourage us to believe without seeing, but by faith that JESUS IS ALIVE! I tried to answer some of the questions people may have concerning the four Gospel accounts of the Resurrection being so different from each other, by using a paper written by Ken Wallace. Some questions are answered and some were not. However, God has all the answers and I have faith in Him. I do not have to have all my questions answered to believe in Jesus and His Word. In fact, how can any mortal man or woman know and comprehend all that God knows?

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” [Hebrews 11:1].

THE END [for now]

cHRISTIAN BLOGGER WOMANIMG_1951

Lydia

I am taking a break from blogging. If you would like to read any of my previous blog post click on my blog address at the bottom of this page.

The Women in Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection [Part VI]

men and women disciples

“What am I – CHOPPED LIVER?” This is the question I first asked concerning Jesus’ women disciples. In other words, “Were Jesus’ women disciples less important and less valued than the men disciples?” The last five blog posts tell my readers that I believe women disciples were as important and equally valued in Jesus’ eyes as the men disciples. Someone once said, “God first created man. Then, God had a better idea and created woman.” I want all my readers to know, that this is not what I want to convey. I believe men and women are equal in God’s sight and both are used by Him to do mighty things. “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them” [Genesis 1:27]. My reason for writing about the women disciples is they are sometimes skipped over. “More important topics” are discussed such as, how the men disciples disserted Jesus when He was arrested and ordered to be crucified. I believe it is also important to examine the women disciples’ unwavering love and commitment to their beloved Teacher, especially at His crucifixion and burial. If we skip over talking about “The Women in Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection” we are missing out on important lessons Jesus wants to teach us and emulate.

women caring for Jesus' needs

According to the Gospels, women followed Jesus during His ministry on earth and cared for His needs, as well as His men disciples “out of their own means” [Luke Luke 8:3b]. They teach us about sacrificial service and giving. I believe the women, along with the men shared in “proclaiming and bringing the GOOD NEWS of the kingdom of God” [Luke 8:1b]. Women were at his crucifixion and watched Jesus die an unconscionable and horrifying death, recorded in all four Gospels [See Part II]. I believe the women were at Jesus’ crucifixion because they didn’t want Jesus to die alone, with only His enemies surrounding Him. The women also wanted to know where His body was taken, so that they would be able to make sure He was buried properly [See Part III]. On the day after the Sabbath, the women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ dead body, only to find the tomb empty. The women were the first to see their Resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They were the first to tell the men disciples the GOOD NEWS – “JESUS HAS RISEN!” [See PART IV]. In John’s Gospel account of the Resurrection, John focused on one woman, Mary Magdalene, who was crying because she thought someone had stolen Jesus’ body. In her sorrow, Mary could not leave the grave. I believe she was waiting for something to happen, but she didn’t know what. It was her faith that made her wait, and her faith was rewarded. She was the first to hear her name “Mary” by her Risen Lord [Read Part V].

Christ's Power Sprit

How is it possible for the most important story for all of humanity to grasp [the Resurrection Jesus Christ] can be so confusing and create so many questions for believers and non-believers alike? All four Gospels record the events surrounding the Resurrection. Christians believe that the Holy Spirit used each Gospel writer’s personality and experiences to present the Resurrection in their own unique way and they are okay with that explanation. They believe that Jesus did rise from the dead, and this is what Christianity stands on. Not being clear of the number of women and angels at the tomb does not take away from “the Gospel Truth”: JESUS HAS RISEN! However, it is important to take the questions of non-believers [and some Christians] seriously. I believe it is harmful to deny there are absolutely no differences in the four Gospels [Non-believer may use the word “contradictions“].

confused

“Why is the number of women going to the tomb different in each Gospel account – two in Matthew, three in Mark, three or more in Luke and only one in John?” “How many angels really were there at the empty tomb – one in Matthew and Mark or two in Luke? Did the women go tell the disciples Jesus was alive as in Matthew and Luke and John or were they too frightened to say a word to anyone as in Mark? What about the earthquake? Did Mary Magdalene see Jesus alive first or a group of women?

facts

After much study, have answered these questions. Instead of trying to “re-invent the wheel,” I want to share information from a Bible Scholar who is much more capable than I am in these matters. In Ken Wallace’s article, “The Women at the Empty Tomb,” originally written in 1999, revised in 2011, and later copywrited in 2016, [www.north forest.org/ChristianApologetics/womenattomb.html] Wallace uses all four Gospels to answer the such questions as above and also puts the events of the Resurrection in chronological order. A skeptic may always be skeptical, but it’s worth a try to share this information with those who have questions concerning the Resurrection account found in the Gospels. It may become a valuable discussion.

To be continued…

becket pics4

Lydia

The Women in Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection [Part V]

sealed tomb

What does John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” [John 20:2b], have to say about the women at the empty tomb and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Does John put all the information found in the Synoptic Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke] together in a neat chronological ordered package, since John wrote his Gospel last [around A.D. 85]? It would be nice to wrap this up in a box tied up with ribbons and bows, wouldn’t it? However, just as the three previous Gospels, John presents his narrative with his own observations, sharing his unique insights and focusing on what he believed was important to emphasize. It is true that “All Scripture is inspired by God” [II Timothy 3:16a]. It’s also true that the Holy Spirit used the unique personality of each Gospel writer to relay different perspectives concerning the women at the empty tomb and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

mary magdalene with candle

jesus has risen

Let’s examine what John’s Gospel says in chapter 20:1-10. The narrative starts just like the other three Gospels: “Now on the first day of the week….while it was dark” However, Mary Magdalene is the only woman mentioned who goes to the tomb and sees the humungous stone rolled away from the entrance. Instantly [or so it seems], Mary Magdalene runs to Peter and John to tell them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and WE do not know where they have laid Him.” [The pronoun “WE” indicates that Mary Magdalene was accompanied or was met by other women going to Jesus’ tomb.]

john and peter running

Next, Peter and John have a foot race to the tomb and Mary Magdalene follows. Peter was first to enter the empty tomb and saw “the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place of its own.” [It was the custom in those days for the master who is leaving his dinner but intends to return, to leave his napkin folded at his place, so that his servant would know that he was returning. When he was finished with his meal the master would just drop the napkin unfolded at his place. In the same way, the folded face cloth was a sign that Jesus was not finished because HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!] After awhile John, who reached the tomb first, but stayed outside, finally went into the tomb, “and he believed.” What did they believe? John said they believed, yet they “went back to their homes.” Their belief was not all there yet, but their belief would grow as they began to “understand the Scripture, that [Jesus] must rise from the dead.” John and Peter were beginning to believe Jesus and what He said to them was making a little more sense because of Mary Magdalene’s “WAKE-UP CALL!” Sometimes, not always, some men need a little push to get out of their “Man-Cave“ and “keep on keeping on” and who better to do this than a woman? The opposite is also true. Men and women need to work together to spread the GOOD NEWS that JESUS IS ALIVE and wants to make a difference in people’s lives.

mary and peter and john

The Gospel of John is often called, “The Gospel of Belief.” An excellent example of a growing “belief” or “faith” is found in the life of Mary Magdalene. She, along with other women disciples heard Jesus’ teachings and watched Him live them out. They also watched Him die on the cross and saw where His body was laid. Mary Magdalene was the first one to rise early in the morning to go to Jesus tomb. Other women followed her lead. She got men to follow her lead. Even when the others left for home, she lingered at the empty tomb, hoping that something would happen. She had a faith that would not die. This is what John’s Gospel records when she was alone at the empty tomb:

mary weeping

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.’ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you know where they carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ [which means Teacher]. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went to announce to the disciples, ‘I HAVE SEEN THE LORD’ – and that He said these things to her.” That very evening, what Mary Magdalene told the disciples came true – Jesus appeared to them ALIVE [John 20:11-18 and 23].

Magdenlena

Those of us who believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord have no trouble believing in the four Gospel accounts concerning the women at the empty tomb and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus died on the cross to take care of our sins, as well as the sins of the world [Read John 3:16], and that He defeated death by RISING FROM THE DEAD AND IS ALIVE FOREVERMORE. Jesus‘ DEATH and RESURRECTION is the focus of our faith and is most important to us. In the four Gospels we also learn about the women disciples and their sacrificial service, their perseverance and endurance, their loyalty and trust, their bravery, as well as their leadership qualities. When there were no men to lead the way, women like Mary Magdalene and the other Marys and Joanna and Salome encouraged their brothers to believe that Jesus was alive. Jesus being alive made the difference and Christianity would spread all over the World.

Joyful Jesus

For the skeptics out there who read the four Gospel accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus and the women who first discovered the empty tomb, they have more questions they want answered. Do you believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ just as the women did or do you believe that finding out how many angels and women were there at empty tomb is essential to believing? Skeptics have so many questions. Let’s face it; skeptics are always gong to be skeptical. But those who believe in Jesus Christ will “walk by faith, not by sight” [II Corinthians 5:7]. We will trust in what the Bible says and learn important truths without worrying about “every jot and tittle.” As a woman, I have much to learn from Mary Magdalene and the other women disciples. How about you?

To be continued…

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Lydia