Proofs of the Resurrection

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NOT one of the four Evangelists attempts to give a complete history of the resurrection of our Lord. Yet each one of them furnishes us with many proofs of the accomplishment of the glorious fact.
When we bring all these proofs together, at the same time carefully distinguishing between each, the result is surprising; their number is so great, and the testimony of each so powerful, clear, and decisive.
The chief priests, the Pharisees, and Pilate were all confederate in their mutual desire if possible to prevent the fulfillment of His words, “After three days I will rise again.” They had a watch, and made the sepulcher as sure as they could.
to the glorious fact of Christ's resurrection (Matt. 28:5-7) was given by that angel who “came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.”
His appearance terrorizes the soldiers, but his words reassure those believing women, to whom he says, “Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.” Our object being to distinguish between each distinct proof, we now draw special attention to the word of invitation to the women, who are as yet outside the sepulcher, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
is noticed by Mark (chap. 16:5-7) who, speaking of the women, says, “And entering into the sepulcher (so that they were now within it), they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.”
The testimony of him that sat upon the stone without, and of him that was seen by the women within, the sepulcher is strikingly similar in language; but whereas the first invited the women to “come” and “see,” the second points out the actual spot, saying, “Behold the place where they laid Him.” And that this angel gave His testimony while they were within the sepulcher is rendered all the more evident by Mark telling us that “they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulcher.”
At the mouth of these two angelic witnesses has the fact of the resurrection been clearly established; but those devoted women are slow of heart to believe. “They trembled and were amazed: neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid.” Their utter failure in their not having at once accepted the truth, as to a glorious fact clearly attested by two divinely appointed and fully competent witnesses, is, in itself, a sufficiently clear explanation as to why
takes the form of earnest expostulation and implied rebuke (Luke 24:4-7).
The sepulcher being still the spot of special attraction, and “nigh at hand,” the women appear to have been constantly either going to it or returning again from it into the city.
Luke makes no allusion whatever to the soldiers, nor to the angel sitting without upon the stone. We however gather that of those women who had already entered the sepulcher and fled out of it, trembling, and saying nothing of what they had already been told by angels, certain of them have entered it a second time “much perplexed,” and “behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.”
Not only do these two angels give very distinctive testimony to that which had been before given by the angel who sat on the stone without, and by him who sat within the sepulcher at the first, but the very character of the important announcement made by them totally differs from all that had preceded it.
“Why seek ye the living among the dead?” To have answered this so very searching question without admitting previous failure on their part was an impossibility. With very strong emphasis those words are now repeated, “He is not here, but is risen.” This done, these two angels instantly recall to the recollection of those devoted women certain words of our Lord, spoken unto them while He was yet in Galilee— “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” Real progress is now made, for the women “remembered His words, and returned from the sepulcher, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.”
The effect of the women's testimony upon “the rest” is graphically described by the two who went that same day to Emmaus. They narrate in sorrow of heart before the then unknown Stranger the important fact that “certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher; and when they found not His body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but Him they saw not.”
The visit of Peter and John to the sepulcher, subsequent to the report being brought to themselves and others by the women, is rendered all the more remarkable by the comparison of it with that which both preceded and succeeded it. We read of no angels there seen by them, nor of any voices heard; what they saw was an empty sepulcher, and the linen clothes lying in the order befitting the stupendous event that had transpired before their own entrance. For themselves apparently satisfied with this negative proof of the resurrection, they return to their own home.
Mary now stands all alone and without the sepulcher, weeping (John 20:11-13). Why none of the other women are now with her, scripture does not explain: possibly they were busily occupied in preparing for themselves and others their early morning meal. But however others may be occupied, meanwhile Mary Magdalene can only remain there. Not intelligently, but none the less experimentally her soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Her heart and her flesh cry out, for Him, and until she can find Jesus her Lord in it, the whole world is to her only a dry and weary land, yielding no refreshment whatever. “And as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?”
How remarkable that the very strong and even startling emphasis, with which the former testimonies of angels were given in the hearing of the women, now gives place to a gentle yet earnest expostulation, expressed in language of melting tenderness! For of all those who had before listened to those so very strongly emphasized statements from the lips of angels, or to their faithful repetition by the women who had heard them, Mary alone now stands at the sepulcher.
The question asked of her by the angels gives her suited opportunity of clearly expressing her own heart's earnest longings. She replies, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” The vision before her eyes is in itself glorious, for they are angels whom she now beholds! Her privileges are indeed very great, for she is holding converse with celestial beings! But gazing upon and conversing with these cannot satisfy her longing soul—cannot fill her hungry soul with fatness. Even they by their presence and by their words cannot compensate her for the loss of Him.
From that vision of actively interested angels she turns herself back. Where, oh, where can she find Him?
She supposes that He Who now stands before her is the gardener, a man of humble birth and occupation. But her realized loss of her Lord outweighs every other consideration; and to him she makes her earnest appeal that he will tell her what the angels have not told her. “Sir, if thou hast borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
(To be continued, D.V.)