Come, See, Go, And Tell - Part III
“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.” —Matthew 28:5-7
After the crucifixion and the resurrection, the disciples struggled with grief (June article), fear (July article), and doubt (this issue).
After the crucifixion, God went to great lengths to help the disciples believe. An angel moved the stone so the women could see the empty tomb (Matt. 28:2). Then, the two angels said that He was risen and reminded them that Jesus had told them that He had to be crucified and rise the third day (Luke 24:6-7; Mark 16:5-7; Matt. 28:6).
On the first day of the week, after the women had left the empty tomb, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9) and later, also, to the other women (Matt. 28:10). They then went to the disciples and told them that Jesus had risen, but the men did not believe them (Mark 16:11). To the disciples, it sounded like nonsense and fairy tales (Luke 24:11). That means they put no confidence in the words of the women, and did not acknowledge their testimonies, even though they wondered and marveled at them (Luke 24:12).
Jesus then revealed Himself to Cleopas and another follower of Christ (probably Luke) as they went to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32; Mark 16:13), but when they told the eleven disciples, they still did not believe it was true (Mark 16:13). That means they did not give credit to, were not persuaded by, and did not accept what had been said as proof or assurance.
While the disciples were still talking, Jesus appeared out of nowhere (Luke 24:36-37; John 20:19). He upbraided (reproached) them for their hardness of heart and stubbornness to accept the evidence, because they still did not believe (Mark 16:14). They marveled and were glad, but they still had some doubts. Thus, He showed them the scars in His hands and feet (Luke 24:39-41) and let them touch Him. He then ate some food. Afterward, He reminded them of the words he had spoken before the crucifixion concerning the Scriptures having to be fulfilled. He then opened their understanding to the fact that He had to be crucified to fulfill prophecies (Luke 24:41-45; John 20:19-20).
Thomas was not with them at that time. Later, when they told Thomas about it, he stated that he would not believe until he saw for himself the hands, feet, and side of Jesus (John 20:24-25). Eight days later when Thomas was there, Jesus came again and told him to touch His hands and side (John 20:26-28). Then, Thomas believed. Jesus appeared again to the eleven disciples when they went to Galilee where some of them worshipped Him as the Messiah, but even then, some still doubted (Matt. 28:16-17). That means that they continued to waver and hesitate in their opinions.
In addition, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples (John 20:30). The Holy Spirit through John wrote: “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 20:31).
Look at the patience of God in dealing with the disciples. Even though they did not believe the testimonies of the women, Peter and John about the empty tomb, or Mary Magdalene and Cleopas and the other disciple of Christ regarding His appearances, Jesus continued to reveal Himself to the disciples multiple times. He also continually pointed them to prophecies and His own words that explained what had happened.
It is easy for people today to criticize the disciples for their unbelief; but if they could, the disciples probably would ask present-day Christians why it is so hard for them to believe, especially since Christians today have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. God is still looking for people who have a heart toward Him, and He promises that if men will seek Him with all of their hearts, they will find Him (Deut. 4:29; I Chron. 28:9; Ps. 119:2; Matt. 7:7).