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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Appearances of Our Lord

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to his Disciples after the Resurrection. Professor Gardiner has given a "synopsis of the events, so far as the points of difficulty extend," that relate to Mary Magdalene and the other women, with a view to accommodating the statement in Mark 16:9 (that he appeared first to her); and his scheme, if practicable, would be a desirable solution, It is as follows (Harmony of the Gospels in Greek, page 253):

"The resurrection itself occurred at or before the earliest dawn of the first day of the week. The women, coming to the sepulchre, find the stone rolled away and the body gone. They are amazed and perplexed. Mary Magdalene alone runs to tell Peter and John. The other women remain, enter the tomb, see the angels, are charged by them to announce the resurrection to the disciples, and depart on their errand. Meantime Peter and John run very rapidly to the sepulchre. They enter the tomb and are astonished at the orderly arrangement of the grave-clothes, and then return to the city. Mary follows to the tomb, unable quite to keep pace with them, and so falling behind. She remains standing at the entrance after they have gone, and, looking in, sees the angels. Then, turning about, she sees Jesus himself, and receives his charge for the disciples. This was our Lord's first appearance after his resurrection (Mark 16:9).

"To return to the women who were on their way from the sepulchre to the disciples. They went in haste, yet more slowly than Peter and John. There were many of them, and, being in a state of great agitation and alarm, they appear to have become separated and to have entered the city by different gates. One party of them, in, their astonishment and fear, say nothing to any one; the others run to the disciples and announce all that they had seen, viz. the vision of the angels.

"At this time, before any report had come in of the appearance of our Lord himself, the two disciples set out for Emmaus.

"Soon after, Mary Magdalene comes in, announcing that she had actually seen the risen Lord. "While these things are happening, the first-mentioned party of the women are stopped on the way by the appearance of the Lord himself, and they also receive a charge to his disciples." The proper test of this scheme is to tabulate it, allowing a reasonable interval for each incident. It must be borne in mind that all the parties were more or less in haste; and as the entire breadth of the city is but little more than a mile, and the sepulchre was very near the city, fifteen or twenty minutes is sufficient time for any person, under the circumstances, to have passed from any probable point within the city to the sepulchre. Reckoning, therefore, from any fixed point, say four o'clock, the record, on that theory, would stand about as follows:

A.M. Resurrection ......……………………………………..................... 4:00

The women set out together................………………………….... 4:10

They arrive at the sepulchre..................…………………………... 4:30

Mary sets out to return.…………................……………………... 4:35

The other women set out to return.......…………………………... 4:45

Peter and John set out for the sepulchre, on the return of Mary...... 4:50

They reach the sepulchre.. ...........………………………………….5:00

Some of the other women reach the city, and report ...................... 5:00

Peter and John leave after inspecting the tomb……………………..5:10

Mary arrives the second time...............……………………………..5:15

She sees Jesus..........................……………………………………..5:20

The other party of women see Jesus, but do not report... .................5:30

Mary arrives and announces her news........………………………..5:40

If we can believe that it took any of the women three quarters of an hour to go part of the way back to the city, when it is especially said that "they fled in haste," "departed quickly," under an urgent message, which "they ran" to deliver, we may accept the above scheme, but not otherwise. It should, moreover, be observed that the supposition of a division of their company, and a delay in consequence, are unwarranted by the sacred narratives, which invariably speak of them all together, except Mary. The statement in Mark 16:8, that "they said nothing to any man," evidently means "no person whom they met on the way." We are not at liberty to refer the report alluded to by the disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:22-24) to a single division of the women, for the same evangelist (Luke 24:10), distinctly includes Mary among those who made it.

The true solution of this problem lies not in any forced harmony of the events, but in a just apprehension of the language of the several evangelists. Matthew mentions in general terms the appearance to the women, including Mary; Mark speaks only of the appearance to Mary as the representative of the whole company of women; Luke (as Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:4-8) does not recognize any appearance to the women at all; John gives the details of the appearance to Mary, but makes no allusion to the other women.


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Appearances of Our Lord'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/a/appearances-of-our-lord.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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