I recently read where a lawyer who had to "prove" the case for Jesus' resurrection from the dead, did so by piecing the events and concluded that He indeed had risen. This Atheist became Christian, without a doubt. I wondered why he didn't focus on the Resurrection of Jesus' friend Lazarus. There was no doubt that Lazarus, dead for four days, and stinking in the tomb, wrapped, was truly dead. No one is left to the conclusion of perhaps, a coma, or in today's society someone that could have been resuscitated. Of course, great as this story was, Lazarus did not resurrect himself.
Jesus shows his ability to raise the dead. He foretold of His death and resurrection before it actually happened, in order that his followers may be believe. Yet, there was doubt...The first is Mary Magdalene (John 20:2) "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." We do not have to look far to answer the question, who rolled back the stone, nor do we have any concern about the guards as our "Resurrectional Hymn" tells us, they became as dead men, fearing the angel. Going to Matthew's gospel (28:1-20) we get a full account.
Ordinary men could not have caused the earthquake, a descending Angel of the Lord, moved the stone. The scene is of lightning, and his clothing raiment was as "white as snow." Mary was comforted by the telling of the angel, "Do not be afraid." "Come see the place where He lay." "Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him."
Now Peter, known to be bold of character entered the tomb, finding the burial clothes, and the folded napkin. Would anyone steeling a body, take the time to fold a napkin and place it apart from the grave clothes? A well-known tradition about the napkin at a master's table is that until it was wadded up and thrown to the middle of the table, the meal had not yet concluded. The folded napkin was used to wash the fingers, mouth and beard before wadding it up. Finding the folded napkin confirmed that the body was not stolen, as Mary first believed, the folded napkin does have further significance. What is believed to be the hidden message of the handkerchief, napkin, face-cloth, or towel, or whatever the preferred term is? The folded napkin is thought to have meant that He, the Master, is not done and is coming back. We will see Him again.
The guards went into the city and told the chief priests what had taken place and they assembled with the elders and counsel. They gave money to the soldiers and in an effort to protect the governor's ears, said: "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.'
Like, Judas, the soldiers for money, became traitors.
But, do not persist in your unbelief, for a doubting Thomas, was invited by the Risen Lord to place his hands in the wounds, and side of our Saviour, a body not snatched, but risen from the dead. The evidence for all time and generations to come, prove the existence of the Risen Lord.
(References: from the Orthodox Study Bible.)
2 days ago