THE CRUCIFIXION, by Matthias Grunewald (c. 1475-1528)
The Passion of Jesus
A Brief Background
How did Jesus die? He was crucified. Crucifixion was the method of execution used for outlaws by the Romans at the time of the New Testament. It was not only humiliating, but crucifixion was a particularly cruel death as the Gospels will describe below. Briefly, the victim to be executed was tied to or nailed to a wooden cross. Jesus was nailed. The cross was raised straight up, and the condemned man was left hanging to die in the hot sun. That is, the excruciating torture before dying was the Roman's real instrument of punishment. It is this cross - the cross of the crucifixion that has become the symbol of Christianity. It symbolizes reconciliation with God through faith in Christ whose life, death, and Resurrection are proof of God's forgiveness of human sin.
Even at such ceremonies as baptism (See Note) or when giving a blessing, a Christian makes the sign of the cross with a hand motion. As the Gospels tell us, Jesus came to the world as a man with a mission and submitted to this cruel death rather than take back one word of his teachings.
Christians believe in an afterlife whereby the soul will be sent either to Heaven where the soul receives bliss by being in the presence of God for eternity, or Hell, where the soul is damned to eternal suffering. Heaven or Hell is determined according to the judgement of God about the life of a human.
To go to heaven means a life of no sin. Obviously, evil acts such as murder, lying, stealing, etc. are sinful acts. Sinful acts are to be avoided. But considering human nature, can a human being live a truly sinless life? According to Christianity, the human cannot. Throughout life, the human will sin according to the demands of human nature. Therefore, God sacrificed Himself in the person of Jesus on the Cross to redeem" the sins pf the human, and most importantly God/Jesus redeemed the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. Thus, we humans can all see the great love God has for His creation through this miracle of God coming to humanity as His Own Son, Jesus and allowing Himself to undergo the cruel sacrifice of the Crucifixion.
However, according to Christian dogma**, God makes one more demand of the human in addition to leading as sinless a life as possible. And that demand is Faith in the Crucifixion and its meaning. Without Faith in the truth of the Crucifixion and the resulting forgiveness of sin as has been described in this essay, no human can be judged and go to Heaven. But to the contrary, humans without this Faith are condemned to Hell for eternity. For this reason, Christians with this Faith, try very hard to convert all unbelievers in order to save them from eternal damnation. Christians believe that as God/Jesus has loved them, so must each Christian love all humans and try to save the souls of all unbelieving humans.
15. And he said to them. Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to everyone.
16. He that believes and is baptised shall be saved; but he that does not believe shall be damned.
Mark [16: 15-16]
* redeem: (by Jesus as Saviour) to free (men) from sin by his death on the Cross.
**dogma: a religious or political doctrine (s) accepted as true without proof or explanation.
Old Testament Prophecies
One factor that shaped the Passion (see below) narratives was the Hebrew Scriptures. When early Christians, many of whom were Jews, remembered the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, they did so in the context of their sacred scriptures. They remembered Jesus' death not simply as an historical event but a divine sacrifice. They interpreted the passion of Jesus through various Old Testament passages, especially the song of the suffering servant (Isaiah 52:13- 53:12), certain psalms of lament (Psalms 22, 69), the image of the suffering righteous man (Wisdom 2, 4 and 5), and prophetic passages (Zechariah 9-14). These so-called prophetic passages allowed the Passion narrative to be coloured with divine purpose and interpretive details. Jesus' fate was the fulfillment of God's will revealed through the ages in the sacred writings of Israel. As one notable example, here is the clearest prophecy from the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament.
52:13 Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.
14 As many were astonished at him —
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the sons of men
15 so shall he startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they have not heard they shall understand.
53: 1 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him;
He has put him to grief;
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
The Paschal Lamb
At the time of Jesus, a most revered and essential sacrifice was the one offered by devour' Israelites on Passover, and known as the Paschal Lamb. It commemorated God's deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian Bondage (see Appendix). Many Jews would each bring a lamb to the Temple in Jerusalem, and give it to a priest, who would slaughter the animal, sprinkle its blood upon the altar, and burn its entrails and fat. The remainder would be returned to the person who had donated the lamb. The animal was then taken back to the donor's family, which would eat the lamb, along with matza (see leaven in glossary), bitter herbs, and other foods that commemorated the freedom from the Egyptian Bondage. This celebration feast is the Passover seder. In one Gospel account, the Crucifixion takes place just as the priests are performing the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb. Thus, the sacrificed Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God.
+ISAIAH, by Gustave Dore
* devout: a very religious person who observes his religious practices very carefully.
The story of the Crucifixion: method of presentation
The story of the Crucifixion will be presented below using chapter and verse from the four canonical Gospels. Although basically the same account is given in each gospel, there are some marked differences. It is not within the scope of this essay to discuss these differences. Instead, the Passion story will be told by blending together the four accounts. In fact, this is the general understanding of most Christians, and only those familiar with the Bible concern themselves with comparing the four Gospels.
The story of the Passion begins:
The priests and scribes decide to kill Jesus
[Mat 26:1] When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples,
[Mat 26:2] "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified"
[Mat 26:3] Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
[Mat 26:4] and took counsel together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
[Mat 26:5] But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be a tumult among the people."
The Betrayer, Judas Iscariot
[Luke 22:3] Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve;
[Luke 22:4] he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. [Luke 22:5] And they were glad, and engaged to give him money.
[Luke 22:6] So he agreed, and sought an opportunity to betray. Him to them in the absence of the multitude.
The Preparation for the Passover
[Luke 22:7] Then came the day of unleavened bread, on which the Passover lamb (see Note) had to be sacrificed. [Luke 22:8] So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it." [Luke 22:9] They said to him, "Where will you have us prepare it?"
[Luke 22:10] He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters, [Luke 22:11] and tell the householder, 'The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Passover with my disciples?'
[Luke 22:12] And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready."
[Luke 22:13] And they went, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
The Last Supper — Jesus talks and prophesises of the events to come to the twelve disciples
[Mat 26:20] When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples;
[Mat 26:21] and as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
[Mat 26:22] And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" [Mat 26:23] He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me.
[Mat 26:24] The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." [Mat 26:25] Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so."
THE LAST SUPPER, by Joao Filipe
The Eucharist: The command to remember the sacrifice of the crucifixion
[Mat 26:26] Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."
[Mat 26:27] And he took a cup of wine, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you."
[Mat 26:28] for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. [Mat 26:29] I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
Love replaces the laws of the Old Testament in the eyes of God. .....a new covenant
John 13:34] A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
[John 13:35] By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Yet Jesus knows that human nature is still weak, and he warns the disciple, Simon-Peter.
[John 13:36] Simon-Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward."
[John 13:37] Peter said to him, "Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
[John 13:38] Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life. for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times"
Jesus is One with God... Jesus is God the Son
[John 14:5] Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"
[John 14:6] Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, hut by me.
[John 14:7] If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."
[John 14:8] Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."
[John 14:9] Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father?' [John 14:10] Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you. I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
The promise of the Holy Spirit as a counsellor to the faithful
[John 14:15] "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
[John 14:16] And I will pray the Father, and he will give you
another Counsellor, to be with you forever,
(John 14:26] But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the
Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and
bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Jesus' commandment that Faith in his mission is necessary for heaven after death
[John 15:5] I am the vine, you are the branches. He who
abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for
apart from me you can do nothing.
[John 15:6] If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as
a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown
into the fire and burned.
[John 15:12] "This is my commandment, that you love one
another as I have loved you.
[John 15:13] Greater love has no man than this, that a man
lay down his life for his friends,"
Jesus' promise of his Resurrection after the Crucifixion
(John 16:16] "A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me." [John 16:22] "So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."
The promise of eternal Heaven to the faithful disciples and to all keep faith in Jesus and his mission
(John 17:24] "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which you have given me in your love for me before the foundation of the world.
[Mark 14:31] But he said vehemently, "If I must die with you flwill not deny you." And they all said the same.
And so ends the "The Last Supper".
Although Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane to God his Father to he relieved of the suffering to follow, he accepts whatever role he must play.
[Mat 26:36] Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go yonder and pray."
[Mat 26:37] And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. [Mat 26:38] Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." [Mat 26:39] And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." [Mat 26:40] And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour?
[Mat 26:41] Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." [Mat 26:42] Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done."
[Mat 26:43] And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
[Mat 26:44] So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. [Mat 26:45] Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
[Mat 26:46] Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand."
Jesus is betrayed and taken prisoner
[Luke 22:47] While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him;
[Luke 22:48] but Jesus said to him, "Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?" [Luke 22:49] And when those who were about him saw what would follow, they said, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"
[Mat 26:51] And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear. [Mat 26:52] Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
[Mat 26:53] Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
[Mat 26:54] But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?"
[Luke 22:52] Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
[Luke 22:53] When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness."
[Luke 22:54] Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house. Peter followed at a distance.
Jesus is accused of blasphemy by the high priest of the temple
[Mat 26:57] Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. [Mat 26:58] But Peter followed him at a distance, as far as
CHRIST ON THE MOUNT OP OLIVES, by Botticelli (1445-1510)
the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end.
[Mat 26:59] Now the chief priests and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death,
[Mat 26:60] but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward [Mat 26:61] and said, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.'" [Mat 26:62] And the high priest stood up and said, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?"
[Mat 26:63] But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."
[Mat 26:64] Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." [Mat 26:65] Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, "He has uttered blasphemy. Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. [Mat 26:66] What is your judgment?" They answered, "He deserves death." [Mat 26:67] Then they spat in his face, and struck him;
and some slapped him.
Peter denies Jesus three times
[Mat 26:69] Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a maid came up to him, and said, 'You also were with Jesus the Galilean."
[Mat 26:70] But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you mean."
[Mat 26:71] And when he went out to the porch, another maid saw him, and she said to the bystanders, 'This man was with Jesus of Nazareth."
[Mat 26:72] And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man." [Mat 26:73] After a little while the bystanders came up
and said to Peter, "Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you."
[Mat 26:74] Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately the cock crowed.
[Mat 26:75] And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, "Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus is led to Pontius Pilate (see Note), the Roman governor for judgement
[Mat 27:1] When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death;
[Mat 27:2] and they bound him and led him away and delivered him to Pilate the governor.
[Mat 27:11] Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said, "You have said so."
[Mat 27:12] But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer.
[Mat 27:13] Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear
how many things they testify against you?"
[Mat 27:14] But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge; so that the governor wondered greatly.
The crowd demands that Jesus be crucified
[Mat 27:15] Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted.'
[Mat 27:16] And they had then a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.
[Mat 27:17] So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you, Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?"
[Mat 27:18] For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.
[Mat 27:19] Besides, while he was sitting on the Judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today in a dream."
[Mat 27:20] Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the people to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. [Mat 27:21] The governor again said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas."
[Mat 27:22] Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Let him be crucified."
[Mat 27:23] And he said, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified." [Mat 27:24] So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." [Mat 27:25] And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"
The cruel preparation of Jesus for the crucifixion
[Mat 27:26] Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged* Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. [Mat 27:27] Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.
[Mat 27:28] And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him,
[Mat 27:29] and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
[Mat 27:30] And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. [Mat 27:31] And when they had mocked him, they
*scourge: to whip severely.
THE MOCKING OF CHRIST, by Matthias Grunewald
stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.
The crucifixion of Jesus and the various people who witnessed it The death of Jesus on the Cross
[Luke 23:26] And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.
CHRIST CARRYING THE CROSS (detail), by Hieronymus Bosch
[Luke 23:32] Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.
[Luke 23:33] And when they came to the place which is called Calvary or The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.
[Luke 23:34] And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."* And they cast lots** to divide his garments.
[John 19:25] So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, (see the painting of the Crucifixion)
[John 19:26] When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" [John 19:27] Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
* The words that Jesus said while on the Cross are given special reverence by Christians. These words are known as The Seven Last Words on the Cross; they are underlined here to identify them. The death of Jesus on the Cross is told slightly differently in each of the canonical Gospels. However, these last spoken words of Jesus are all included in The Seven Last Words on the Cross.
**cast lots: to gamble for money, and so on by choosing straws, etc.
Jesus is mocked while suffering on the cross.
[Luke 23:35] And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!"
[Luke 23:36] The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar,
[Luke 23:37] and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"
[Luke 23:38] There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
Jesus promises salvation to the crucified criminal who shows faith in Jesus' holiness*
[Luke 23:39] One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
[Luke 23:40] But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
[Luke 23:41] And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."
[Luke 23:42] And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
[Luke 23:43] And he said to him. "Truly, I say to you. today you will be with me in Paradise."
[Luke 23:44] It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, [Mark 15:34] And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Elo-i, Elo-i, lama sabach-thani?" which means, "My God, my God. why hast thou forsaken me?" [Mat 27:51] And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split;
* Along with Jesus, two criminals were also crucified. Their respective attitudes toward Jesus should be noted.
[John 19:28] After this Jesus, knowing that all was "finished, said (to fulfil the scripture),"I thirst." [John 19:29] A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop* and held it to his mouth.
[John 19:30] When Jesus had received the vinegar, he "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his it.
[Luke 23:46] Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having this he breathed his last.
The descent from the Cross and the burial of Jesus
[John 19:32] So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified him;
[John 19:33] but when they came to Jesus and saw the was already dead, they did not break his legs. [John 19:34] But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. [Mark 15:42] And when evening had come, since it the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath [Mark 15:43] Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member the council, who was also himself looking for the king of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for body of Jesus.
[Mark 15:44] And Pilate wondered if he were already dead and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether was already dead.
[Mark 15:45] And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. [Mark 15:46] And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud (see Note) and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.
*hyssop: a Biblical plant, used for sprinkling in the ritual practice of the Hebrews.
[Mark 15:47] Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus saw where he was laid.
THE DESCENT FROM THE CROSS, by Fra Angelico (detail)
[Mark 16:1] And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. [Mark 16:2] And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen.
[Mark 16:3] And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?"
[Mark 16:4] And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; it was very large.
[Luke 24:3] But when they went in they did not find the body.
[Luke 24:4] While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel
[Matt 28:5] But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
[Matt 28:6] He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
[Matt 28:7] 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. Lo, I have told you."
[Luke 24:10] Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles;
[Luke 24:11] but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
[Luke 24:13] That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, [Luke 24:14] and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
[Luke 24:15] While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. [Luke 24:16] But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
[Matt 28:9] And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. [Matt 28:10] Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go
THE RESURRECTION, by Matthias Grunewald
and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.
[Matt 28:16] Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
[Matt 28:17] And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted.
[John 20:26] Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
[John 20:27] Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." [John 20:28] Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
[John 20:29] Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
[Mark 16:15] And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. [Mark 16:16] He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."
[Luke 24:50] Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
[Luke 24:51] While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.
[Luke 24:52] And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
[Luke 24:53] and were continually in the Temple blessing God.
THE SUPPER AT EMMAUS, by Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The meaning of the Resurrection
The followers of Jesus were absolutely convinced that he had been raised from the dead and had been taken away into heaven as a proof of his identity as Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He was the crucified and then risen Lord. The Resurrection brings a different perspective to the understanding of Jesus. If anyone thought of him as only a prophet, as a messenger of God, that changes when he himself is raised by God from the dead. And it is really the belief in the Resurrection experience that leads the disciples to come to think of Jesus as more than even a prophet, as the Messiah... The Redeemer of Humanity from Sin... . He is the one who has been glorified and ascended into heaven as Son of God by God.
In his final commandments to the disciples before his Ascension, he clearly identifies himself and directs them to bring his message to the world.
44 Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to yon, while I was still with you-, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, ..."
(Luke 24: 44-47)
And exhorts them to
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. "
THE ASCENSION by Gustave Dore