Jesus’ Final Week: SUNDAY
In the Philippines, Resurrection (Easter) Sunday is marked by a joyous tradition, the Salubong.
Salubong is a pre-dawn meeting of two processed images, one of the Risen Christ, and the other of a still-mourning Mary. The statue of Mary, covered in a black mourning dress, is carried by the women of the town along one route, along with statues of the saints who had been with Jesus in the days before and after his death. (As is the case on most other processions in the Philippines, the saints’ statues belong to pious families in town who care for them and showcase them in their homes year round). The statue of the Risen Christ is carried by men along a different route. ((www.catholicsandcultures.org)
Crowds of people join both processions. Their destination is an outdoor stage, decorated for the occasion, where the images of Jesus and Mary meet. (Ibid)
In the Gospels’ account of Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene early in the morning (Mk. 16:9-10), to his disciples (Lk. 24: 34; Mk. 16:14; Lk. 24:36; Jn. 20:19) and to the other women also early in the morning (Mt. 28:9-10). All these appearances happened on the day of his resurrection. There is no record of the Risen Christ meeting his mother Mary first.
The Resurrection in the Gospels
There is no doubt that Christ anticipated his resurrection. In fact, it is the completion of his picture as presented in the Gospels. We cannot overlook this fact because He spoke of it plainly in the Gospels. The validity of his pronouncements regarding it will be at stake if he did not resurrect.
The Empty Tomb (Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-9)
It is not surprising that there are differences in the accounts of what people saw on the Sunday morning when Jesus rose from the dead. The sight of the empty tomb and the heavenly messengers produced a mixture of reactions – excitement, joy, anxiety, fear, wonder. There was confusion as people rushed here and there to tell others. One writer records what he heard from some, another what he heard from others. But there is no variation in the basic facts: the tomb was empty and Jesus had risen. The following summary suggests the possible order of events.
- At the first sign of dawn two groups of women set out from separate places to take spices to anoint the body of Jesus. One group consisted of three women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome the mother of the apostles James and John). The other group consisted of Joanna and some friends (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:1-3; Luke 24:1,10). These women were chosen as the first witnesses was highly significant; the prevailing culture during those time, considered their witness pointless. It showed Jesus’ way of challenging the established culture of his time.
- The group of three women arrived at the tomb first and found the stone rolled away. Mary Magdalene panicked and, without seeing the angel or hearing the voice, ran to tell Peter and John that the body had been stolen (John 20:1-2). But the other Mary and Salome remained. They met one angel sitting on the stone outside the tomb, and another sitting inside the tomb. Upon hearing that Jesus had risen and desired to be reunited with his disciples in Galilee, they rushed off to the place where the apostles were gathered, eager to pass on the exciting news (Matt 28:2-7; Mark 16:4-8).
- Meanwhile the Roman guards fled the tomb and hurried across the city to tell the chief priests what had happened. These priests were the ones who had set the guard in the first place, and their purpose was to prevent Jesus’ followers from stealing the body. Now the same priests bribed the guards to spread the story that Jesus’ followers stole the body while the guards slept. The priests had earlier been worried that Jesus’ disciples might deceive people, but now they themselves were the deceivers (Matt 28:11-13; cf. 27:62-66). If Pilate heard the story of the guards sleeping on duty, the Jewish leaders promised to protect them by bribing Pilate (Matt 28:14-15).
- Back at the tomb, a few minutes after the first group of women had departed, Joanna and her friends arrived. They went inside, met two angels, heard the news of Jesus’ resurrection, and hurried off to tell the apostles (Luke 24:2-8).
- Soon after the women left the tomb, Peter and John arrived, went inside and saw the linen cloth lying neatly folded. They believed the evidence they saw that Jesus must have risen from the dead, but they left the tomb confused, not understanding the significance of the event (John 20:3-10; Luke 24:12).
- Mary Magdalene, who followed Peter and John back to the tomb, arrived after they had left. She remained there alone, weeping. Then she saw the two angels inside the tomb and, on turning round, saw a man whom she did not immediately recognize (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-15). When she discovered that the man was Jesus, she took hold of him as if not wanting to let him go. Jesus told her she had no need to cling to him in this way, as he was not ascending to heaven immediately (though he would within a few weeks). She should not become dependent on his physical presence, otherwise she would be disappointed again. She was to go and tell the apostles what he had told her (John 20:16-17).
- Shortly after appearing to Mary Magdalene, Jesus appeared to the other women of her group (the other Mary and Salome) as they were on their way to tell the apostles of their discovery (Matt 28:8-10).
- The two groups of women reached the house of the apostles about the same time, followed soon after by Mary Magdalene. They told the apostles of what they had seen at the tomb and of their separate meetings with the risen Jesus, but the apostles believed neither Mary nor the other women (Mark 16:10-11; Luke 24:9-11; John 20:18). (All the events summarized in sections 1 to 8 above probably happened within the space of an hour or so.) (Bridgeway)
Road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-32)
That afternoon of the resurrection Sunday, Jesus joined two lonely disciples traveling to Emmaus. They were talking about what happened in Jerusalem the past few days. They did not recognize Jesus when he inquired about the things they were talking about. It appeared that their understanding of Jesus’ mission was unclear. They thought Jesus was a political figure who would lead them to national freedom.
“Beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:13-32 NASB), in order to correct their misconception.
They urged him to stay with them during the night and “When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight” (Luke 24:30-31 NASB)
The NASB Study Bible has outlined the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Christ:
The theology of the resurrection is very important and calls for special attention. Indeed, the prominence given to it in the New Testament affords a strong confirmation of the fact itself, for it seems incredible that such varied and important truths should not rest on historic fact. The doctrine may briefly be summarized:
- Evidential: the resurrection is the proof of the atoning character of the death of Christ, and of His Deity and divine exaltation (Ro 1:4);
- Evangelistic: the primitive gospel included testimony to the resurrection as one of its characteristic features, thereby proving to the hearers the assurance of the divine redemption (1Cor 15:1-4; Rom 4:25);
- Spiritual: the resurrection is regarded as the source and standard of the holiness of the believer. Every aspect of the Christian life from the beginning to the end is somehow associated therewith (Ro 6);
- Eschatological: the resurrection is the guaranty and model of the believer’s resurrection (1Co 15). As the bodies of the saints arose (Mt 27:52), so ours are to be quickened (Ro 8:11), and made like Christ’s glorified body (Php 3:21), thereby becoming spiritual bodies (1Co 15:44), that is, bodies ruled by their spirits and yet bodies. These points offer only the barest outline of the fullness of New Testament teaching concerning the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ. (ISBE)
Bible Gateway: www.biblegateway.com
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
MySword for Android: for Bridgeway
ISBE: theWord Bible Software: Costas Stergiou, 2003-2015