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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[John 20:1–18. Mat. 28:1–15. Mark 16:1–10. Luke 24:1–12]

NOW, Mary Magdalen, seeing that the stone was rolled away from the Sepulchre, and noticing that the Body was not there, hastened back to Jerusalem, to tell the news to the apostles. Whereupon Peter and John likewise hastened to the grave, and, entering in, saw the linen cloths in which the Body had been wrapped, each in its right place, the head-cloth where our Lord’s Head had lain, and the foot-cloths where His Feet had been; but the Sacred Body itself had vanished. They could perceive that no one had stolen the Body, for had they done so, they would have taken It away wrapped in the cloths, or else they would have torn these off and cast them aside. It began to dawn upon them that their Lord had really risen from the dead. But where was He? Why did He not show Himself? And full of such thoughts they returned home.

Mary Magdalen, following the two apostles, returned herself to the grave. And while she stood there weeping, she saw the two angels. One of them said to her: Woman, why weepest thou?” Mary sorrowfully replied: “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.”

When she had said this she turned back, and saw Jesus standing! but she knew not that it was Jesus. He said to her: “Whom seekest thou?” She, thinking it was the gardener, replied: “Sir, if thou hast taken Him, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her: “Mary!” Immediately recognising Him, she fell down at His Feet, and exclaimed: “Rabboni!” that is to say, “Master!” He said to her: “Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to My brethren, and say to them: I ascend to My Father, and to your Father, to My God and to your God.” He then disappeared.

Meanwhile the other women had returned from the Sepulchre, and to them also our Lord appeared and gave the same message: “Go and tell my brethren, that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me.” On the same day also He appeared to Simon Peter (Luke 24:34).

Proofs of our Lord’s Resurrection. To the proof mentioned in the last chapter the following may be added: 1. Peter and John convinced themselves by the evidence of their own senses that the tomb was empty, and that the Body of Jesus could not have been taken away by any person. 2. Our Lord appeared to Magdalen, and then to the other women, speaking with them, and foretelling His Ascension. These last two form the first and second apparitions of our Lord after His Resurrection that are mentioned in Holy Scripture.

The disciples of Jesus were by no means credulous. On the contrary they refused at first to believe in our Lord’s Resurrection, in spite of His having appeared to the holy women.

The reward of true love. Magdalen’s sorrow at the loss of the Sacred Body is very touching. She stood before the empty grave, disconsolate, and weeping bitter tears. To her was given the great consolation of being the first to whom our Lord appeared. He had forgotten all her sins, and thought only of her true love and true sorrow. O how good and merciful is Jesus!

We are the brethren of Jesus and the Children of God. Our Blessed Lord called His disciples His “brethren”, and said, moreover, to them: “I ascend to My Father and to your Father.” God the Father, who is, by nature and from eternity, the Father of Jesus Christ, by the atoning death of His Son, becomes our Father as well. For the sake of His beloved Son, Jesus, He has admitted us to the grace of sonship and to be the brethren of, and “heirs with”, Jesus.

APPLICATION. We can see by the case of Magdalen how precious in the sight of the Lord are tears of contrition and of the love of God. Do you feel this kind of love for Jesus? Does it cause you pain when you are prevented for any length of time from visiting Him in the church? And have you ever shed tears of contrition?








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