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disciple did out-run Peter, and came first to the sepulchre, [5.]. And he, stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying, yet went he not in. As Christ's feet had lain in the farthermost right corner of the sepulchre, it is natural to think, that when he revived, stood up, and put off his grave-clothes, he would leave them in that corner where they might easily be seen by John, though he did not enter, just as the women saw the angel who sat in that corner before they descended. [6.] Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and secth the linen clothes lie: 57,And the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. After Jesus revived, it was vecessary that he should strip himself of the rollers, in order to his being clothed with garments fit for motion and action. Some think that he folded up the napkin to shew the perfect calmness and composure with which he arose, as out of an ordinary sleep. But whatever be in this, certain it is that he left the grave-clothes in the sepulchre, to shew that his body was not stolen away by his disciples, who, in such a case, would not have taken time to strip it. Besides, the circumstance of the grave-clothes disposed the disciples themselves to believe, when the resurrection was related to them.
The garments which Jesus formed for himself seem to have been but mean, such as he used in his life-time : for when Mary Magdalene first saw him, she took him for the gardener; and the disciples going to Emmaus, thought him a person in rank not superior to themselves. [8.] Then went in also that other disciple which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw: and believed. Findivg nothing in the sepulchre but the clothes, he believed the body was taken away, as Mary Magdalene had told him. This, as I take it, is all that John means, wheu he tells us that Peter and he, after searching the sepulchre, saw and believed. Mary Magdalene, it would appear, had told them, not only that the body was taken away, but that the clothes. were left behind ; a circumstance which filled them with wonder. "They saw them, however, with their own eyes, and believed her report. Perhaps they imagined that Joseph or Nicodemus had removed it, after having embalmed it anew, and swathed it with other rollers than those they left behind : for that they had not the least suspicion of Christ's resurrection, is evident from the apology which John himself makes for the stupidity of the disciples in this matter. [9.] For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must arise again from the dead. And as they did not know from the scripturé, nor from our Lord's own predictions, that he was to rise again, .so neither could they collect it from any thing Mary Magdalene had told them; for she herself had not the least notion of it, even when Jesus appeared to her, as is plain from what he says in the thirteenth and fifteenth verses..
T107 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without At the sepulchre weeping. It sceins, she had followed Peter and John to the sepulchre, but did not return home with them, being anxious to find the body. Accordingly, stepping down into the sepulchre to examine it again, she saw two angels itting, the one at the head, the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. From her seeing both the angels, it is probable that she was on the second step of the stair, with an intention to descend : or, if from her turning about and seeing Jesus, who stood without the sepulchre, it is thought she was on the threshold or first step oply, with a design to look in, she may be supposed to have bowed her body so as to have had the whole cavity of the sepulchre under her eye at once. This she could see the two angels, who, a little before, had appcared in the same position to the women with the spices, (Luke xxiv. 4.] but had kept themselves invisible all the while that Peter and John were in the sepulchre. And as she wept, she stooped duwn, and looked into the sepulchre, [ 12.] And secih tao angels in white sitting, one
at the head, and the other at the feet, where the hody of Jesus had lain. 113. And they say unto her, woman, why weepest thou ? She saith unto them, because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. (14.] And when she had thus said, sheturned herself back, probably being affrighted, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. The tears in her eyes, and the new garment wherewith Jesus was clad, made her at a loss to know him, till he called her by her name with his usual tone of voice. [15.) Jesus saith unto her, woman, why weepest thou? tohom seekest thou ? She, supposing himn to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take himn away. She thought they had removed him, because he was troublesome in the sepulchre, [16,] Jesus saith unto her, Mary. 'She turneth herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master. She knew hirn by his voice and countenance. Wherefore, falling down, she would have embraced his knees, (sce Mat. xxviii. 9.] according to that modesty avd reverence with which the women of the east saluted the men, especially those who were their superiors in station. 2 Kings ix. 27, Luke vii. 38, Mat. xxviii. 9.] But Jesus refused this compliment, telling her that he was not going immediately into heaven. He was to shew himself often to his disciples before be ascended ; so that she should have frequent opportunities of testifying her regard to him.
.“. Moreover, by ordering her to carry the news of his resurrection to his disciples, he insinuated that it was altogether improper to waste the time in paying him the compliments of salutation. [ 17.7 Jesus saith unto her, touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father : but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.' The manner in which Jesus notified his resurrection to his disciples deserves attention. He sent them a message of such a nature as to put them in mind of what he had, in his life-time, told them concerning his ascension into heaven : go unto my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father. Do not barely tell my disciples that I am risen from the dead, but that I am about to fulfil the promise I made tliem of ascending where I was before ; and that I ain going to my Father's house to prepare mansion's for them ; and that they can no longer doubt of these things, seeing I am risen from the dead, and thus far ou my way to heaven, Thus Jesus, having finished the work of our redemption, contemplated the effects of it with singular pleasure. The blessed relation between God and man, which had been long cancelled by sin, was now happily renewed. God, who had disowned them on account of their rebellion, was again reconciled to them; he was becomc their God and Father ; they were exalted to the honourable relation of Christ's brethren and God's children ; and their Father loved them with an affection greatly superior to that of the most tender-hearted parent. The kindness of this message will appear above all praise, if we call to mind the late behaviour of the persons to whom it was sent. They had every one of them forsaken Jesus in his greatest extremity ; but he graciously forgave them; and to assure then of their pardon, called them by the endearing name of his brethren : Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father ; and to my God, and your God. . Thus Mark xvi. 9, Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.”
There is something very remarkable in this passage of the history, None of the apostles or male disciples were honoured with the first visions of the angels, or with the immediate news of Christ's resurrection, far less with the first appearance of Jssins himself. The augcls in the sepulchre kept theinselves invisible all the whilo Peter and John were there. Perhaps the male disciples in general had this mark of disrespect put on them, both because they had, with shameful cowardice, forsaken their Master when he fell into the hands of his enemies, and because their faith was so wcak, that they had absolutely despaired of his being Messiah when they saw him ex pire on the cross. (Lukexxiv. 21.] How different was the conduct of the women ! Laying aside the weakness and timidity natural to their sex, they shewed an uncommon magnanimity on this melancholy occasion. For, in contradiction to the whole nation, who with loud voices required that Jesus should be crucified as a deceiver, they proclaimed his innocence by their tears and cries, when they saw him led out to be crucified; accompanied him to the cross, the most infamous of all punishments ; kindly waited on him in the dolorous moment ; gave him what consolation was in their power, though at the same time they could not look on him without being pierced to the very heart ; and when he expired, and was carried off, they went with him to his grave, not despairing, though they found he had not delivered himself, but to appearance was conquered by death, the universal enemy of mankind. Perhaps, the women entertained some faint hopes still, that he would revive ; or, if they did not entertain expectations of that kind, they, at least, cherished a strong degree of love to their Lord, and resolved to do him all the honour in their power. This incomparable strength of faith, and love, and fortitude, expressed by the women, was distinguished with very high marks of the divine approbation. In preference to the male disciples, they were honoured with the news of Christ's resurrection, and had their eyes gladdened with the first sight of their beloved Lord after he arose ; 80 that they preached the joyful tidings of his resurrection to the apostles themselves. There may have been other reasons, also, for Christ's shewing himself first to the women. The thoughts of the apostles, or male disciples, having run perpetually on a temporal kingdom, they had rested all his words into an agreement with that notion ; and what they could not make consistent therewith, they seem either to have disbelieved or to have wholly overlooked. Hence, notwithstanding Jesus had foretold his sufferings many different times, they were exceedingly astonished when they saw him expire. Immortality and terrestrial dominion were, in their opinion, the characteristics of Messiah ; for whicis reason, when they found that, instead of establishing himself in the possession of universal empire, he had not delivered himself from an handful of enemies, nor from death, they gave up all their hopes at once. [Luke xxiv, 21.] And as for his resurrection, they seem to have had no expectation of it at all, insomuch that, when the news of it was first brought them, they looked on it as an idle tale. It was not so with the women. They were more submissive to their Master's instructions, John xi. 26, 27.] and consequently were better prepared for seeing him after his resurrection, than the apostles and other male disciples. For, though they were not expecting his resurrection, they had no prejudice against it. This cannot be said of the apostles, who not only rejected the inatter absolutely at first, as a thing incredible, but even after the accounts the soldiers had given; nay, after they had seen Jesus himself, some of them were so unreasonable as to doubt still. How much, rather, would their incredulity have led them to suspect his appearing as an illusion, had he shewed himself to them before the reports mentioned led him to recollect the arguments proper for disposing them to believe, particularly the prophecies that had been so often delivered in their own bearing concerning his resurrection. Hence the angels, when they told this event to the women, and desired them to carry the news of it to the disciples, they put them in mind of Christ's own prediction, as a confirmation of it. Hence, also, before Jesus made himself known to the disciples at Emmaus, he prepared thein for the discovery,
by expounding to them on the road the several prophecies concerning Messiah contained w the Old Testament: 'vi
" While Peter and John, with Mary Magdalene, were at the sepulchre, the company of women returned to the city, and told as many of the disciples as they could find, that at the sepulchre they had seen a vision of angels, who assured them that Jesus was risen.' This new information astonished the disciples exceedingly. Wherefore, as they had sent out Peter and John to examine the truth of what Mary Magdalene had told them concerning the body being taken away, they would judge it more proper to send some of their own number to see the angels, and hear from then the joyful tidings of which the women had given them an account. This is no con jecture ; for the disciples going to Emmaus affirm expressly, that when the women came, saying they had seen a vision of angels, who said that Jesus was alive, certain of their number went to the sepulchre, and found it even as the women had said, but him they saw not. ' [Luke xxiv. 22.1 This second deputation from the apostles did not go alone : for as Mary Magdalene returned to the sepulchre with Peter and John, who were sent to examine the truth of her information, so the women who brought word of the vision might return with those who were sent to be witnesses to the truth of their report. Besides curiosity, they had an erránd thither. The angels had ordered them to tell the news to Peter in particular; for which cause, when they understood that he was gone to the sepulchre with John, it is natural to think they would return with the disciples in quest of him.' About the time that these disciples and the women set out for the sepulchre, Peter and John seem to have reached the city: but, coming in by a different street, they did not meet their brethren. The disciples, being eager to get to the sepulchre, soon left the women behind ; and, just as they arrived, Mary Magdalene, having seen the Lord, was coming away. But they did not meet with her, perhaps, because they entered the garden at one door, while she was coming out by another. When they came to the sepulchre, they saw the angels, and received from them the news of Christ's resurrection; for, (Luke xxiv. 24.7 they found it even as the women bad said. Highly elated, therefore, with their success, they departed and ran back to the city so quickly, that they had given ani account of what had happened to them, in the hearing of the two disciples who were going to Emmaus, before Mary Magdalene arrived. Nor will their speed appear incredible, if Mary Magdalene came up with her companions after their interview with Jesus ; for, in that case, it is natural to think they would all stand still a little, and relate to one another what they had seen. Or, though Mary Magdalene did not overtake the women, yet, considering the nature of the tidings which the male disciples had to carry, we may believe that they would exert their utmost speed in running ; and that, neglecting the high road, they would take the nearest way through the fields. Besides, it ought to be remembered, that Mary Magdalene, however eager she might be to carry the joyful news, was, by reason of her sex, not so fit for running as the male disciples, and that her dress might retard her; not to mention that she was tired, having watched all night, and been at the sepulchre once before.
" In the mean time, the company of women who followed the disciples, happening not to meet Peter and John, who were now on the road home, went forward in quest of them. But the women did not go on to the sepulchre ; for somewhere on the road Jesus bimself met them. (Mat. xxviii. 9.] And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, alt hail. And they came and held him by the fect, and worshipped him, This favour of embracing his knees Jesus had refused to Mary Magdalene, because it was not necessary; but he granted it to the women,
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because the angel's words having strongly impressed their minds with the notion of his resurrection, they might have taken his appearing as an illusion of their own imagination, bad he not permitted them to handle him, and convince themselves by the united reports of their senses. Besides, if our Lord intended that Mary Mag. dalene should go away as fast as possible, and publish the news, he might hinder her froin embracing his knees, to prevent her losing time, as was observed above. [10.] Then said Jesus unto them, be not afraid; go tell my brethren, that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”'
That the company of women were returning from the city to the sepulchre when Jesus met them is highly probable, for the following reasons : 1. On supposition that he mot them as they went into the city to give an account of the vision of angels. it is inconceivable how they came to omit telling that they had seen the Lord himself ; for that they did not speak a word of this is evident from Luke xxiv. 9..ll, compared with verse 23. 2. That Mary and Salome, with their companions, were returning to the sepulchre when Jesus met them, is probable, not only because the supposition of this circumstance entirely removes all the difficulties which arise upon comparing the several accounts that are given of our Lord's resurrection, but also because the Greek word, wherewith his appearance unto them is introduced, implies it. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them. The evaugelist could not have expressed himself in this manner with any propriety, had our Lord, after shewing himself to 'Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre, followed the women, and nyertaken them as they were going into the town.. The words made usc of by Luke, [xxiv. 15.] to express his overtaking the disciples on the road to Emmaus, would, in that case, have been much more proper. 3. That the women were rcturning to the sepulchre when Jesus met them will appear highly probable, if the things that happened between their leaving the sepulchre and Christ's appearing to them are considered. In that period, John first came to the sepulchre and looked in, but did not go down : then Peter came, and, descending, examined the rollers ; upon this, John likewise went down and viewed them. The two, having thus satisfied their curiosity, departed, leaving Mary Magdalene there weeping. After the apostles were gone, she saw first two angels, who conversed with her; and then Jesus himself, who gave her a message to his disciples. But as such a variety of incidents must have taken up some considerable time, is it reasonable to suppose the women spent it all in going part of the road between the sepulchre and the city, notwithstanding the angel ordered them to go quickly, and they are said to have run to bring his disciples word. The iinprobability of such a supposition is heightened by the circumstance taken notice of John xix. 20, that the sepulchre was nigh to the city. It seems, they had but a little way to travel. Wherefore, it is much more patural to believe that the women had delivered the angel's message before Jesus appeared to them, and were going to the sepulchre a second time when he met them. The words, Mat, xxviii. 9.7 as they went to tell his disciples, are not in the least contrary to this supposition ; for the women were still in quest of Peter and John, to give them the news ; consequently the evangelist might very properly say that Jesus met them as they went to tell his disciples notwithstanding they had spoken of the vision before, to such of them as they found in the town.
" The women thus ordered by Jesus himself to carry the tidings of his resurrection into the city, went no farther in quest of Pcter ; but being now charged with a more important message, turned back immediately to publish the glad tidings of their having seen the Lord. (Mat. lxxviii. 11.). Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that