Thursday, May 17, 2007

Feast of the Ascension

"I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God, and Your God" (John 20:17).

In these words the Risen Christ described to Mary Magdalene the mystery of His Resurrection. She had to carry this mysterious message to His disciples, "as they mourned and wept" (Mark 16:10). The disciples listened to these glad tidings with fear and amazement, with doubt and mistrust. It was not Thomas alone who doubted among the Eleven. On the contrary, it appears that only one of the Eleven did not doubt - St John, the disciple "whom Jesus loved." He alone grasped the mystery of the empty tomb at once: "and he saw, and believed" (John 20:8). Even Peter left the sepulcher in amazement, "wondering at that which was come to pass" (Luke 24:12).

The disciples did not expect the Resurrection. The women did not, either. They were quite certain that Jesus was dead and rested in the grave, and they went to the place "where He was laid," with the spices they had prepared, "that they might come and anoint Him." They had but one thought: "Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulcher for us?" (Mark 16:1-3; Luke 24:1). And therefore, on not finding the body, Mary Magdalene was sorrowful and complained: "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him' (John 20:13). On hearing the good news from the angel, the women fled from the sepulchre in fear and trembling: "Neither said they anything to any man, for they were afraid" (Mark 16:8). And when they spoke no one believed them, in the same way as no one 'had believed Mary, who saw the Lord, or the disciples as they walked on their way into the country, (Mark 16:13), and who recognized Him in the breaking of bread. "And afterward He appeared unto the Eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them who had seen Him after He was risen' (Mark 16:1O-14).

Read the rest here...

1 comment:

bk said...

You wrote – “… only one of the Eleven did not doubt - St John, the disciple "whom Jesus loved." He alone grasped the mystery of the empty tomb at once: "and he saw, and believed" (John 20:8).”

I must really thank you because when I read this statement I realized something that I had totally missed in scripture. The fact that the “other disciple whom Jesus loved” is first person who scripture says “believed” after the resurrection is much more significant than I had ever realized. I knew that this fact was important because scripture bothered to point it out but I had been paying attention to mere the fact that the “other disciple” was the first and believed before the rest of the disciples but clearly I did not pay enough attention to the timing. For the timing reveals that the one that “Jesus loved” clearly “believed” at a point when the rest of the disciples did not.

But while you rightly noted the contrast between the one who “believed” and the rest of the disciples who still doubted you failed to notice that this contrast helps to prove that the one who “Jesus loved” cannot be John or any one of “the eleven” because the gospel records (and Luke in particular) tell us that “the eleven” (that would be “the twelve” minus Judas) did not believe. As shown on this is why he is called the “other disciple whom Jesus loved” because he was “other” than “the twelve”.

While there is not a single verse that would justify teaching that the “other disciple whom Jesus loved” was John, the Bible does provide evidence to prove that this person (who ever he was) could not have been John – and the presentation of this Bible evidence can be found on the TDWJL web site noted above. But you have helped me to see one more critical argument that that site had missed because when the unnamed “other disciple whom Jesus loved” was at the tomb he “believed” but scripture tells us John did not believe because John is part of “the eleven” and THEY didn’t believe until after the appearance of Jesus.