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Peter and John believed, because they had seen the quiet order of the empty grave, which could not have been, had the body been violently or hurriedly taken away; but the other disciples who had remained in Jerusalem believed not.
St. John writes,
John xx. 18. “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her :
MARK xvi. 10, 11. “ she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they when they heard that he was alive and had been seen of her, believed not."
The four writers of the gospels all relate the events that happened on this wonderful day, as they themselves heard or saw them, and it is difficult to arrange the different passings to and from the city and the sepulchre in the order in which they really occurred. We are told the facts, which is enough; we must arrange them in our minds as we best can. All fear seems to have been lost in joyful surprise ; and we may well imagine that the women would never weary of their visits to the tomb, and of their endeavour to convince their friends of the great truth that the Lord had risen indeed. It appears, according to St. Matthew, that at one of these times,
MATTHEW xxviii. 9. “ As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail! (which is the expression for a joyful salutation) And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.”
O that we could hold Jesus by the feet and worship him! The very thought of it, the knowledge that these women did so, gives a strength and a reality to our belief. When doubts or fears intrude themselves, let us picture to our minds this
scene, and in thought cast ourselves down before bim, and hold him by the feet.
Verse 10. “Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid : go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."
It was in vain they told: they were not for a time believed.
LUKE xxiv. 10, 11. “It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.”
LUKE xxiv. 13, 14. “ And behold two of them (that is two • who were disciples, but not apostles,) went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs, (or seven miles and a half.) And they talked together of all the things that had happened.”
These two friends were of the number of those whose understandings had been convinced, and whose hearts had been touched by the teaching of Jesus. His miracles had proved Him, they thought, to have been sent by God, and they trusted that He was the long-looked-for Messiah ; but their hopes and their belief had been upset by the unexpected events which had just taken place at Jerusalem. They had seen Him crucified, who, they had believed, would claim as the Messiah, the crown of Israel. They had mourned His death, and even while they had been mourning, they had been filled with amazement, by a report of the women that He had risen from the grave, that angels had declared His resurrection—that He himself had appeared. It is probable that these two friends were natives of Emmaus, and that in the perplexity of their mind, they left the crowded city, and sought the quiết of their village home, which was near enough to Jerusalem, for them immediately to hear of all that passed, and yet far enough removed from its noise and bustle, to give them time to think. That their minds were unsettled as to how these things might end, is evident. They wished to know the truth.
Verse 15—19. “And it came to pass, that while they communed together, and reasoned ; Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden, that they should not know him. And he said unto them, what manner of communications are these, that ye
have one with another, as ye walk by the way, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass in these days ?”
This answer fully shows that the trial and condemnation and death of Jesus were the great events of the day. That they filled the minds of men, and might well be supposed to be the only subject of conversation. Cleophas could not understand how even a stranger, if he had been in Jerusalem at all, should not at once have guessed what subject it was that made men sad, while they earnestly talked together as they went on
Verse 19-24. “ And He said unto them, What things ? And they said unto Him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and in word, before God and all the people. And how the Chief Priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him : but we trusted it should have been he who should have redeemed Israel : and besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre : and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they suw not."
It is clear from this short account that these two disciples gave each particular of the history of Jesus that it was possible in one conversation to give. That they explained what had led them to hope that He was the Messiah they expected, and dwelt upon the cruel overthrow of their hopes by the ignominious death upon the Cross which had ended His life.
It is clear also that they left out no part of what had been reported to them of the wonderful circumstances that had fol. lowed, and that were now filling their minds with perplexity.
Verses 25, 26. “Then Jesus said unto them, O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?”
We may imagine the surprise with which the two friends heard this reproach from the seeming stranger, and with what earnest attention they would listen as he further spake.
Verse 27. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
What would we give to have heard him! Each word of his as a ray of light scattered the darkness, and brought out the hidden meaning of each promise, type, sacrifice and prophecy. He began with Moses, he went on through all the prophets, he showed how all had foretold the sufferings of the Messiah before he could be glorified in the redemption of his people from the curse which sin had laid upon them in the beginning. He shewed them that the crucifixion which had destroyed their hopes, was in fact the fulfilment of them : the full completion of that first promise, that the serpent should have power to bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, and that the resurrection was the full completion of the better part of the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head; for when the bands of the grave were broken, Satan's power was ended.
He shewed them His own picture in every bleeding Lamb, and the foreshadowing of Himself in the High Priest entering once every year within the Holy of Holies, sprinkled with blood shed for sin ; He made them see Himself in Isaiah's description of Him, the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, dumb as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, numbered with the transgressors, and offering up his soul as a sacrifice for sin, They listened, and their hearts burned within them. They began to know Jesus as the promised Messiah, but they knew him not in the mysterious stranger who thus opened to them . the Scriptures.
LUKE xxiv. 28–32. “ And they drew nigh unto the village whither they went : and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us : for it is towards evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him : and he vanished out of their sight; and they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures ?”
Jesus had before said of his words, “ They are spirit, and they are life ;" the two disciples had felt their hearts glow as if with living fire while they listened ; and though they knew not that it was Jesus, they could not bear to part with Him who had power thus to move them. If we carefully observe all that is