Tag Archives: resurrection Of Jesus

Did Jesus Really Resurrect From The Dead?

Did Everyone Believe In The Resurrection Of Jesus???

The exact day on which Jesus was crucified may be a matter of dispute. But it would appear that within a few days Jesus had recouped sufficiently to walk to the vicinity of the tomb in which he was supposed to have been buried. He knew that even if no one else came to visit the tomb, Mary Magdalene would with the intention of anointing his body with oil. This confidence may have stemmed because of a special relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, whom he, by many accounts loved especially.

Doubting Thomas

My own pencil drawing of Doubting Thomas

According to the Gospel of John (John 20:1-18) Mary Magdalene went to the tomb shortly before dawn. When she saw the tomb open, she thought that someone had moved the body of Jesus and ran to tell Peter and an unidentified disciple what she had seen. Peter and the unnamed disciple went back with Mary Magdalene and when they found the tomb empty, they left. But Mary Magdalene sat nearby and wept. She hoped that someone would come along who had information about the body of Jesus.

Mary Magdalene Mistook The Resurrected Jesus For The Gardener

When she suddenly turned she saw a man, who she thought was the gardener. According to John 20:14-16, this man asked Mary Magdalene “Woman why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Mary Magdalene responded, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” It wasn’t until Jesus called her by name and when she did she cried out to him “Rabboni” (teacher in Aramaic). The important factor to note is that someone so dear to Jesus was not able to recognize him and mistook him for the gardener. The reason for this is probably because this was not a resurrected Jesus but a resuscitated Jesus. His face, body and demeanor showed evidence of the ordeals of crucifixion. According to resurrection narratives if the angels could have appeared in radiant white garments, there is no reason why Jesus should have appeared in the garments of a gardener.

Doubting Thomas

It was not just Mary Magdalene that did not recognize the post-crucifixion Jesus. Jesus is said to have appeared to Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus. They too did not recognize Jesus initially.  It is said that at first “their eyes were holden” Luke 24:16. It is not certain if the other disciples to whom he appeared also had difficulty recognizing him. This probably gave rise to the moniker “doubting Thomas”.

In spite of six resurrection predictions the women who went the tomb with their spices that morning were expecting to find the remains of Jesus. They went there for the sole purpose of anointing the decaying body of Jesus (1). Resurrection was the last thing they had expected to witness. This is the case even with the apostles who went there later to investigate the empty tomb.

Besides if Jesus had indeed resurrected why would he appear to Mary Magdalene disguised as a gardener? And why would he ask the eleven disciples to meet him atop a mountain in Galilee and not meet him somewhere in Jerusalem itself? If he had indeed resurrected he may have had the flesh and bones of a human being, but he would have nevertheless been divine. He would then have had nothing to fear from the Jewish elders or the Romans who were responsible for his crucifixion.

Inconsistencies Regarding The Resurrection Narratives

The inconsistencies regarding the resurrection narratives are itself an indication that the resurrection was a later day concoction to match Old Testament prophecies retrospectively.  The reason why Jesus asked his disciples to meet him atop a mountain in Galilee may have been to avoid being detected by the Jewish elders. But did he indeed ask for something so unreasonable?  Depending on where this mountain is in Galilee we are talking about a distance of 60-100 miles. This message about the meeting was delivered by the angel to Mary Magdalene after the sun had risen. And she would have had to convey this instruction to the disciples either in person or through Peter to the disciples who it is rational to assume were hiding in different places. And even if this information was successfully passed on, would it have been possible for 11 not so young men to walk or even run that distance to reach their destination that same day?

According to Mark (16:7) the messenger of God told the women “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he (Jesus) goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” According to Matt (28:7-10), the message was a little different. It was “And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he (Jesus) goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him.” According to Matthew the meeting with the disciples in Galilee must have been the first. “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted”. (Matt 28:16-17). If the disciples had seen Jesus earlier there was no question of any doubt. Mark agrees with the first meeting narration of Matthew.

However Luke and John have different versions of Jesus’ first appearance other than the one to the women. Luke says that the first appearance was on the road to Emmaus and then in a room in Jerusalem. According to John the first appearance was in the evening in a room where Thomas was not present. These are not the only discrepancies regarding the resurrection. There is no consensus between the Gospels regarding the time the women visited the tomb, who these women were, what the messengers of God said, to who Jesus first appeared after the crucifixion and where this first appearance took place.

Different Narrations As Regards The Guards At The Tomb

There are different narrations even as regards the guards at the tomb. When it was found that the tomb of Jesus was empty, according to Matthew, the guards report the incident to Pilate. This would make the guards Roman. But according to Peter, the guards report the empty tomb to the chief priest. This would mean that the guards Jewish. If in fact the guards were Roman, they would have been executed for dereliction of duty. And as there is no report of such an eventuality, it would appear that the guards were Jewish (2).

According to (Matthew 28:1–4) an angel rolled away the stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus. And according to (Matthew 28:11–15) the chief priests bribed the soldiers to say that the apostles had stolen the body of Jesus. According to some scholars that it was specially decreed by that “graves and tombs lie undisturbed forever” and that tomb robbers be “executed for tomb robbery” in reaction to the Christian claim that Jesus had resurrected (3).

In Acts and the Gospel of Luke we are told that the disciples were commanded to stay in Jerusalem. We are also told that this is where they met Jesus (see Acts 1:4 and Luke 24:33, 47, 49). In Matthew 28:10 and Mark 16:6-7, we learn that the disciples are asked to go to Galilee, and in Matthew 28:16-18, we are told they meet Jesus there, not in or near Jerusalem.

Jesus appears to the disciples

(Fig 2) The resurrected Jesus appears to the disciples

Based on what Mark, Matthew, and John say we can assume that Jesus’ first post-crucifixion appearance was to Mary Magdalene. However for the next several days Jesus began to meet with his disciples. In spite of the fact that these meetings were clandestine it began to add credence to the suspicion of the Jewish elders that Jesus did not die on the cross. These appearances were probably against the advice of Joseph of Arimathea. It is likely that with the exception Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, young Juda and a handful of Essenes, no one else was aware that Jesus did not die on the cross. When Joseph of Arimathea began to feel that it was no longer safe for Jesus to stay at his house he asked the Essenes to take Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Juda to Ephesus, where Mary his mother and John the beloved disciple were already relocated.

References:

(1) The Resurrection of Jesus. (n.d.). Retrieved 2012, from http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Luke/Resurrection-Jesus

(2) Craig, Dr. Willaim Lane. (2012). Retrieved 2012 from  http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?60412-Peter-Kirby-will-speak-in-Los-Angeles/page2

(3) Hinckley, Gordon B. “The Son of God,” Ensign, December 1992, Retrieved 2013 from  http://rsc.byu.edu/easterconference/2007/roundtable

Picture Credits:

(Fig 2)  https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=637&q=resurrected+jesus+appears+to+the+apostles&oq=resurrected+jesus+appears+to+the+apostles&gs_l=img.3…2903.14627.0.15069.41.16.0.25.25.0.180.1695.8j8.16.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..0.29.1753.YUilnNq1H1Y#imgrc=5o2_HSKVPhREEM%3A

Advertisements

Was Mary Magdalene Just A Disciple Of Jesus?

Let’s try and figure out if the ossuary of Mariamne from the Talpiot tomb is the ossuary of Mary Magdalene and if so why her ossuary would have found a place in the family tomb of Jesus, while trying to establish whether or not the Talpiot tomb is Jesus’ family tomb. As referred to in the Gospel of Philip as Jesus’ koinonos, is Mary Magdalene his “companion” or “partner” and perhaps even the mother of his child? (1).

Ossuary said to be that of Mary Magdalene

Inscription on the Mary Magdalene ossuary

The inscription on the ossuary

Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala was one of Jesus’ most famous disciples but her rise to fame was after the crucifixion of Jesus. In spite of that she could well have been central to the Jesus movement but for what may have been gender bias. Based on available information her true relationship with Jesus may have been more than just another devoted disciple.

Mary Magdalene is said to have come from a place called Magdala, a town 120 miles to the north of Jerusalem. However her fame was achieved after the crucifixion. She was present at the cross while the male disciples went into hiding fearing for their own lives. Mary Magdalene was also present at the burial of Jesus and according to John 20 and Mark 16:9 she was the first to see the resurrected Jesus. The principal canonical sources of information about her are the four Gospels. However this information, with the exception of Luke, is limited to the period after the crucifixion and apocryphal sources that were written between the late 1st and early 4th centuries.

Mary Magdalene 2

Mary Magdalene Was Probably The Only Witness To The Crucifixion, Burial And Resurrection Of Jesus

In the canonical Gospels she is referred by name, though not always by the same name as a witness to three important events: the crucifixion of Jesus, his burial and his resurrection. In Mark 15:40, Matthew 27:56 and John 19:25 she is named as one of the few witnesses to the crucifixion. In Mark 15:47 and Matthew 27:61 she is named together with “the other Mary” as a witness to the burial of Jesus.

Magdalene with the resurrected Jesus

Mary Magdalene – Most Mentioned Woman In The New Testament

Among the women specifically named in the New Testament the name Mary Magdalene is mentioned most often. And invariably her name is always mentioned first. This is not a coincidence. This is by design to show that Mary Magdalene held a central position not only as a disciple but also because of her special relationship to Jesus.

Apocryphal texts depict Mary Magdalene as a “visionary and leader of the early movement” and one who was loved by Jesus more than he loved the other disciples. The Gnostic texts, most of which are dated between the 2nd and 3rd centuries, portray a Mary Magdalene who is considerably different from the Mary Magdalene depicted in the canonical gospels. According to these texts she is portrayed as the special disciple of Jesus who knows more about the teachings of Jesus and is asked to impart this to the other disciples.

The Other Apostles Were Jealous Of Mary Magdalene

Because of her greater knowledge about the teachings of Jesus and her closeness to him, the Gnostic texts state that the other apostles, especially Peter, were jealous of her. In the Gospel of Mary she is portrayed as someone who knows more than the male apostles. “Are we supposed to now all turn around and listen to her? Would Jesus have spoken privately with a woman rather than openly to us? Did he prefer her to us?” This jealousy is apparent from Peter’s attack on Mary.

The Gospel of Mary purportedly written around the same period as the Gospel of Philip elevates Mary Magdalene to a position higher even than the male disciples of Jesus. Although some question the identity of the central character of these Gospels, it is generally agreed that it is Mary Magdalene.

In the Gospel of Philip, written sometime during the 2nd and 3rd centuries portrays Mary as the koinônos of Jesus – a Greek word that could mean “partner, associate, comrade or companion”. “There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister, his mother and his companion were each a Mary”

Pistis Sophia portrays Mary Magdalene as being among the chosen of Jesus. Written sometime in the 2nd century it quotes Jesus as saying “Mary, thou blessed one, whom I will perfect in all mysteries of those of the height, discourse in openness, thou, whose heart is raised to the kingdom of heaven more than all thy brethren”.

The Resurrection Of Jesus Was The Turning Point For Christianity

It cannot be denied that the resurrection of Jesus was the turning point for Christianity. This was the singular event that transformed a localized group into a major religion. And the catalyst to the movement was none other than Mary Magdalene.

This gospel also depicts Mary Magdalene as “as a teacher and spiritual guide to the other disciples. She’s not just a disciple; she’s the apostle to the apostles” (2).

It is perhaps because of this that Mary Magdalene went her separate way. There is very little known what happened to her after that. Although there are many theories about her life after Jesus’ crucifixion, all of it is speculation. No one knows for certain where she was born or when and where she died.

Mary Magdalene rose in significance with the crucifixion and resurrection narratives. Actually, the gospels say very little about her until the story reaches the day of the crucifixion. But then she suddenly becomes very prominent. She saw Jesus die on the cross, and she watched to see where his body was taken. She went back to the tomb early on Easter morning and discovered that it was empty. And the Gospel of John indicates that she was the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection.

Why Was Mary Magdalene Hardly Mentioned Anywhere Else In The New Testament?

But then, without any explanation, she completely disappears from the story. The Book of Acts never mentions her, nor does Paul in any of his letters. Her sudden entry and exit during the most critical part of the story puzzles many scholars. Since she played such a significant role in the key events, why is she hardly mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament?

Evidence from outside the bible suggests a possible answer. This evidence indicates that Mary was ostracized by the other disciples after Jesus departed. One example of the possible hostility toward her can be found in Section 114 of the Gospel of Thomas, where Peter says “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of the Life”. The Gospel of Mary also depicts friction between her and Peter. All of this suggests that Peter may have led an attempt to drive her out of the original group of believers. These first believers, who became known as the Nazarenes, lived in Jerusalem for a number of years after Jesus’ resurrection, but there is no record that Mary was ever with them.

Some scholars have suggested that Peter wanted to get rid of her because he saw her as a threat to his position as the main leader of the post-resurrection community. She could have also suffered from the general prejudice against women who tried to assert themselves in the male-dominated societies of ancient times.

Although the bible says nothing about her later life, other sources do preserve some stories about her. According to one well-known tradition, she went to southern France and lived for thirty years at a place called La Sainte-Baume. A local church there claims to have her skull and displays it to pilgrims.

During the Middle Ages she became a symbol of the virtue of repentance, due to the belief that she was a reformed harlot. She is the patron saint of Magdalen College, Oxford and Magdalene College, Cambridge. But her name was also used for the infamous Magdalen Asylums for “fallen women” in Ireland (3).

After almost 2000 years Mary Magdalene was again in the news thanks to the discovery of an ossuary with “Mariamne Mara” inscribed on it and a documentary titled the “Lost Tomb of Jesus” co-produced and broadcast on the Discovery Channel and Vision TV in Canada on March 4, 2007. Not everyone agrees with the film makers identifying this Mariamne Mara with Mary Magdalene.

The Gospels refer to Mary Magdalene as Maria about eight times. They refer to her by the Semitic name Mariam four times. However the Gospels also refer to Mary the sister of Martha and Mary the mother of Jesus using the same variations (4).

In the 51 passages of the NT there are 9 different Maries referred:
Mary, the mother of Jesus;
Mary Magdalene;
Mary, the mother of James;
Mary, the mother of Joses;
Mary, the wife of Clopas;
Mary of Bethany;
Mary, the mother of Mark;
Mary of Rome;
“other” Mary (5)

Sometimes One Mary Has Been Confused For The Other

Sometimes one Mary has been confused for the other. Besides this Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany (the sister of Martha and Lazarus), and the unidentified repentant woman who anointed Jesus’ feet were all thought to be the same woman. This led to the faulty conclusion that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute before she came into contact with Jesus (6).

It cannot be said with certainty that the Mariamne in the Acts of Philip refers to Mary Magdalene as this Mariamne is not attributed with any of the significant events associated with her in the Gospels – the Mary Magdalene of the Gospels is healed by Jesus, witnesses the burial of Jesus (Mark 15:40-47) and is a witness to the resurrection of Jesus (Mark 16:1-8). On the flip side there is no mention in the Gospels of any of the fantastic things that the Mariamne of the Acts of Philip is supposed to have done – “such as converting talking animals and slaying a dragon!” Even if there was any reference in the Acts of Philip that could be construed as referring to Mary Magdalene not every one agrees that reference in the 4th century work written in far away Palestine about a 1st century personality can be accepted as proof (7). However in support of the claim that the Mariamne inscription of the Talpiot tomb refers to Mary Magdalene, it may be said that the only other place where she is referred by that name _ i.e Mariamne spelled with an N – is the Acts of Philip (8).

References:

(1) Time Magazine. (Nov 20 2008). Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1860871_1860876_1861032,00.html

(2) Mary Magdalene. 2011. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/history/marymagdalene.shtml

(3) Secret Gospels. (n.d.). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.gospel-mysteries.net/secret-gospels.html

(4) Evans, Craig & Feldman, Steven. (2007). The Tomb of Jesus? Wrong on Every Count. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.bib-arch.org/scholars-study/jesus-tomb-02-b.asp

(5) Layfield, Lavelle. How many Mary’s there are in the Bible? (1998). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.scripturessay.com/article.php?cat=&id=601

(6) Saint Mary Magdalene, “The Apostle to the Apostles”. (n.d.). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.thenazareneway.com/mary_magdalene.htm

(7) Zacharias, Danny. (2007). Judah son of Jesus, one last time. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.deinde.org/blog/deinde_archive_files/deinde%20archive%2016.pdf

(8) Tabor, James. (2008). There’s Something About Mariamne with an “N”. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.jesusdynasty.com/blog/2008/06/

Picture Credits:

(Fig 1) The ossuary said to be that of Mary Magdalene
*http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/imagenes_biblianazar/esp_bi16.gif

(Fig 2) The inscription on the ossuary
inscriptionhttps://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1024&bih=635&q=Maria mene+e+Mara+&oq=Mariamene+e+Mara+&gs_l=img.12…2183.2183.0.3734.1.1.0.0.0.0.91.91.1.1.0….0…1ac..64 .img..1.0.0.IcoSae6rewE#imgrc=BW1R053pM2X7MM%3A

(Fig 3) Mary Magdalene
https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1024&bih=635&q=mary+magdalene&o q=mary+magdalene&gs_l=img.3..0l10.2891.8818.0.11225.16.9.1.6.7.0.129.969.4j5.9.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..0 .16.1029.VTQcCWNT9eE#q=mary+magdalene&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbs=sur:fc&imgrc=ysrkeJQLIlqZ4M%3A

(Fig 4) Mary Magdalene with the resurrected Jesus
https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1024&bih=635&q=mary+magdalene&o q=mary+magdalene&gs_l=img.3..0l10.2891.8818.0.11225.16.9.1.6.7.0.129.969.4j5.9.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..0 .16.1029.VTQcCWNT9eE#q=mary+magdalene&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbs=sur:fc&imgrc=WRJEuqFOfujDDM%3A