matter of believing
after dawn when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of
James and Salome came to the tomb where the body of Jesus was laid.
But lo and behold, the guards posted by the high priests were not
there, the large stone that closed the entrance had been rolled away,
and the tomb was empty! The
angel who had rolled the stone away told them that Jesus had risen.
“Go quickly and tell his disciples!” he said [Matthew
records that Mary Magdalene “came running to Simon Peter and the other
disciple, the one Jesus loved” [John 20:2] and told them the exciting
news. What happened to the
other women? Didn’t they
rush to tell the disciples too?
tells us they did: “So the women hurried away from the tomb,
afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his [Christ’s]
disciples” [Matthew 28:8]. So
why did John mention Mary Magdalene as the one who told Peter and John?
Could it be that all the women ran, but Mary Magdalene being a
younger woman had the speed and stamina to arrive first?
and excited, Mary Magdalene was almost incoherent: “They have taken
the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put him!”
[John 20:2]. Note the word
“we”. The other women
were coming in behind her, weren’t they?
“When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things
to the Eleven and to all the others” [Luke 24:9].
did the disciples react to the news?
Well, Peter and John started running to the tomb [John
20:3&4]. Why did they
run? Because the news was
simply wonderful to them and they were eager to see things for
themselves? Put yourself in
the shoes of Peter or John. What
would you feel as you ran, at first slowly, then faster, towards the
how do we know the disciples ran slowly at first?
Well, if each was not running as fast as he could, would they not
have run side by side, together? Indeed
they did, for John 20:4 tells us that “the two were running together”
[hoi duo homou]. The
emphasis is on the word “together”.
John also tells us that, “the other disciple outran Peter and reached
the tomb first” [John 20:4]. Two
Greek words are used to emphasize the fast speed at which John later
ran: proedramen meaning “ran ahead” and tachion meaning
“quickly”, “haste’ or “faster”.
John is emphasizing the sudden increase in speed by John.
Did John run faster because he was a younger man than Peter?
Or because he loved Jesus more and his love spurred him on?
Did Peter ask John to run ahead, or did John’s belief increase
as he ran? We do not know.
What we do know is that Peter and John ran to the tomb.
What happened to the other nine disciples?
Did they not similarly run, or walk, to the tomb?
No? Why not?
24:11 tells us the answer: “These words [of the women] seemed to them
as nonsense and they would not believe.”
Mark confirms this. “When
they heard that Jesus was alive and that she [Mary Madalene] had seen
him, they did not believe it” [Mark 16:11].
This disbelief is emphasized in the next two verses about the
report of the two persons who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus: “but
they [the disciples] did not believe them either”
what the women had reported was beyond human reasoning.
Angels? Who had ever
seen angels? Risen from the
dead? Have you seen anyone
raising himself from the dead? Moreover,
weren’t women unacceptable as eyewitnesses in those days?
wasn’t it terrible of the nine disciples not to believe?
But aren’t we just like them today?
When confronted with so-called scientific explanations and
theories don’t we secretly dismiss the Creation account in Genesis 1
as “unscientific”? Many
Christians secretly disbelieve the Bible’s accounts of the parting of
the Red/Reeds Sea and the virgin birth [even though cloning and
artificial insemination now prove that virgin birth is not impossible].
Like the nine disciples, we too “would not believe”.
We would rather believe in human reason than in a God who created
disciples heard the same good news about the resurrection of Jesus, but
only two believed, and started running towards the tomb.
The other nine would not [not could not] believe.
In which category are you today?
Christ has risen! Are you running your heart out towards Him, or is disbelief causing you to have no heart to run? Are you running to join in the work when you hear reports that the Lord is doing some good work somewhere around you? If you want to experience the presence and the goodness of the Lord, don’t you have to be where He is at work among people? Go on, run!
vis-à-vis Divine Providence
speaker for last week’s chapel was Margaret Lim.
Margaret works at the Great Eastern Life Insurance in the
Corporate Communications department, and worships at Zion BP Church (Serangoon
sermon was preceded by the singing of “Be Still, My Soul: the Lord is
on Thy Side”; and followed by “All the Way My Saviour Leads Me.”
Both hymns are assurances of God’s unfailing love and guidance,
and both hymns, chosen by the speaker, underscored her message.
message was structured upon the concept of instruments of measurement.
We were introduced to the world of IQ, AQ, and EQ.
After assuring us of Ruth’s possession of these qualities, she
went on to spell out Ruth’s other qualities (or “quotients”!).
had diligence and faithfulness in her work (DFQ); she demonstrated
commitment and care (CCQ) in her relationship with Naomi; and she
carried about her a spirit of joy (JQ).
been properly cued in (or “Q-d in”) to Ruth’s character, we are
then reminded of God’s providential care.
It is not so much who Ruth is as how God works that brought about
the miracle of transformation. And
if we should be in less fortunate circumstances, it remains for us but
to wait patiently for the Lord. The
word of assurance is that God provides for those who cling tenaciously
to Him, as Ruth did.
Speaker on 28 April will be Mr Victor Chua.
Chew Soon Lee 19/4
Lee Soon Tai 19/4
Lee Soon Yong 19/4
Peter Wang 22/4
Mr K.P. Menon 24/4
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This page is updated on 21 Apr 2004.