John 20

John 20: The Risen Christ

Early in the morning, when it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the Sepulchre where Jesus was laid to rest. When she arrived she found that the tomb had been opened and immediately ran to Peter to tell him what had happened. Peter and the other Apostles ran to see for their own eyes. It is interesting that it specifically mentions; “…the other disciple did outrun Peter…” (John 20:4) I don’t know why this was important; perhaps the other Apostle had a stronger desire to know for himself? Maybe Peter was out of shape?

The Apostles leave and Mary stays behind weeping, she takes a look in the tomb and finds two angels sitting where the body of Jesus had been laid to rest and they ask her; “…Woman, why weepest thou?” (John 20:13) and she responds; “…Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” (John 20:13) Mary turns back around and sees a man [Jesus] (who she assumed was the gardener), Jesus asks her the same question and she asks the gardener to help her find the body of Jesus. But in that same instant; Jesus called out to her; “…Mary…” (John 20:16) and she immediately recognized His voice and she said; “…Rabboni [which means Master]…” (John 20:16) Mary must have been really excited and most likely reached out to Him as she called Him, because Jesus responded; “…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: but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17) We learn from this scripture that Jesus Christ is separate from the Father, or else why would He ascend unto Himself? Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and God the Father is His Father and OUR Father. What does that make Jesus to us? He is our brother! But we need to look at Him with respect, because He is our eldest brother, and He has become like our Father being a god.

Mary Magdalene went to the other Apostles and told them about her interaction with Jesus. That same night the Apostles were gathered behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus had found a way to get in without anyone noticing and stood in the midst of them and said; “…Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19) Jesus invites all gathered to feel and see His hands and feet to see where the nails had left prints from the Crucifixion. Jesus also gives them the Holy Ghost. Thomas was the only one not present at the time. The next time the Apostles saw Thomas they told Him that had seen Jesus and felt His prints. Thomas was a difficult one to persuade and said; “…Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)

Eight days pass and they gather again, this time Thomas is present and Jesus comes to him and says; “…Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” (John 20:27) After hearing these words, Thomas said to Jesus; “…My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28) It took seeing Jesus for Thomas to believe, however Jesus does not attack him for this, but instead gives everyone else a great reminder; “…Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) Anyone who follows Jesus, follows with Faith, for only the Prophets and Apostles of old and new have seen God or Jesus Christ.

We learn that Jesus performed; “…many other signs… in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) I like how this chapter ends by saying that Jesus performed many more miracles and signs in their presence, but that they are not written in this book. Many things are not included in the scriptures, but some would be revealed later and some are revealed through modern day prophets. For this reason we cannot go with the Bible alone, we need Power, Authority, we need GOD’s Church on earth. The Bible is great and any God fearing Christian should love and cherish the Bible, but to remember that it isn’t conclusive. For God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow… He will continue to call prophets and instruct His children. The good news is that He didn’t just leave us with the Bible, He has also given us the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Luke 24

Luke 24: He Lives!

                Early in the morning days after the death of Jesus Christ, some of His followers (including Mary Magdelene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James) came to His sepulchre [tomb] to anoint Him with spices. Upon approaching the tomb, they found the stone, which sealed the tomb was rolled back and when they went in, they did not find the body of Jesus Christ. The followers were confused, but they found two men who were wearing shining garments, who told them; “…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen…” (Luke 24:5-6) The two men [or angels] reminded the followers that Jesus had told them exactly what would happen; “…The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (Luke 24:7)

When the followers heard these words, they remembered. The followers left to tell the Eleven Apostles, but the Apostles thought they were listening to idle tales, and did not believe. Peter ran to the tomb to see for himself; but departed wondering what would happen.

Later, on the way down to a village named Emmaus two of the Apostles walked while discussing the things that had happened. While walking a man approached them and began to speak to them, this man was Jesus Christ, but the two Apostles did not know Him. Jesus asks them why they are sad, and what the reason is for their communication. The two Apostles are flabbergasted as to why this ‘man’ would ask them these questions, they begin to tell Him about the ministry of Jesus and how He was crucified. Jesus responds; “…O fools, and slow of heart to believe… Ought not Christ to have suffered these things…” (Luke 24:25-26) Jesus explains that He has further to walk, but with the evening approaching, the two Apostles invite this ‘man’ to stay with them for the night. While with them, He breaks bread and communes with them, after He is done breaking bread, he disappeared. Upon realizing that the ‘man’ who was with them was Jesus and He had now left after breaking bread with them, they were perplexed; “…Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened t us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32) Essentially the two Apostles were upset that they were so blind to not even see Jesus!

The two Apostles return to Jerusalem and proclaim to the other Apostles that Jesus had indeed Risen! While they were speaking, Jesus enters and says to them; “…Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39) While the Apostles were in shock and were wondering what they had just seen, Jesus asks them; “…Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24:41-43)

Here is an important Doctrinal Truth: Jesus Christ has a glorified body of flesh and bones, just like we have as humans. Jesus told His Apostles to touch Him for He had flesh and bones, and He even asked them for food, so that He could eat. Jesus then “…opened… their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures… Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day… that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:45-48) Jesus opens their understanding, so that the Apostles and all those who follow Him can understand the scriptures and know the truth. Jesus had told the people He would be persecuted to death and rise again on the third day, but even then when it happens the Apostles did not believe Him. Jesus explains that His death had to happen, in order to open the door to a remission of sins and the start of missionary work throughout the world, starting in Jerusalem.

Jesus died for ALL of us, that we might be saved. In order to be truly saved, we must follow Jesus, and all His teachings. We cannot follow Him, if we do not follow His commandments and teachings. Jesus is lifted up into heaven and the Apostles rejoiced and worshipped Him in the temple.

Mark 16

Mark 16: Christ is Risen!

                After the Sabbath had passed, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought sweet spices to anoint Jesus. When they arrive at the tomb where Jesus was buried they find that the large stone had been rolled back and upon entering they were frightened by a young man sitting on the right side wearing a long white garment. The young man tells them to not be afraid, but to run and tell the Apostles that Jesus has risen.

Jesus appears first unto Mary Magdalene and then later to the eleven as they sat eating. The eleven were in disbelief, but Jesus commanded them; “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved… these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.” (Mark 13:15-17)

                After He has finished talking to the Apostles, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven, to sit on the right hand of God.