Come, See, Go, And Tell - Part VI
“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
This article is continued from the October 2020 issue of The Evangelist.
God not only wanted the disciples to see physically, but He wanted them to understand what was going on so they then could come to faith in who He was, and what He had accomplished on the cross.
This progression is even shown in the different words that are used in the four gospels for seeing. Initially, the terms used for seeing the empty tomb, and even of looking at Christ, only meant “to see physically,” but then, it progressed to “perceiving or understanding” that He was the resurrected Christ. Eventually, most of the disciples came to believe that He was actually the Messiah (John 20:31).
This is similar to what has to happen to produce fruit in a believer’s life that is related in the parable of the sower. However, instead of seeing, the beginning point is hearing. Before a person can be fruitful, he must hear the Word of God (Matt. 13:19-20; Mark 4:15-16, 18, 20; Luke 8:13-15). Next, he must understand (or comprehend) it (Matt. 13:19, 23). Then, he must receive (or embrace) it (Mark 4:16, 20; Luke 8:13), and then believe it (Luke 8:12-13). Only then can he be spiritually saved (Luke 8:14) and keep (or maintain) faith in the Word (Luke 8:15) and bear fruit (Luke 8:15; Mark 4:20), which can only be produced by the Holy Spirit.
Paul had been through similar experiences many times, so he could write, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (II Tim. 1:12). He meant that he not only knew about God, but that he had a very close and long enough relationship with Him that he was persuaded and convinced that he could trust all that he had and was to God. This was not only a result of many years of believing Him, and God proving His faithfulness over and over again, but, also, by the repeated confirmations of the Holy Spirit. Paul had experienced God showing He not only had the power but, also, the know-how to do whatever was needed to guard and keep Paul safe for time and eternity.
Several times it was prophesied that Jesus would be crucified and rise again (Gen. 3:15; Ex. 12; Ps. 22; Isa. 50:4-7; 52:14; 53; Zech. 13:6-7); but the disciples did not understand what had happened because they had preconceived ideas that the Messiah would deliver Israel from the Roman Empire, and He would become the new king of Israel. Multiple times during His ministry, Jesus had told them what was going to happen (Matt. 12:38-40; 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:2; Mark 8:31; 10:32-34; 14:27-28; Luke 9:22, 44-45; 18:31-34), but they did not initially tie these statements to what was happening presently. Even the angels told the women to remind the disciples (Matt. 28:6; Mark 16:6-7; Luke 24:6-8) of what Jesus had told them earlier. Jesus himself told Cleopas and John on the road to Emmaus of all the prophecies (Luke 24:25-27), and then they told the disciples what He had said (Luke 24:33-35).
This was similar to the times Jesus revealed Himself in His resurrected body, and they failed to recognize him at first (Luke 24:16; John 20:14; 21:4), but, eventually, God opened their eyes (Luke 24:31) and their understanding of Scriptures (Luke 24:45). As a result, most of the disciples believed (Matt. 28:17; Luke 24:45-48; John 20:8, 20, 28-29; 21:24), but even after all of this, some still did not believe (Matt. 28:17; Mark 16:11, 13-14; Luke 24:11, 25, 38, 41; John 20:25).
The question each person has to answer is: How do you see Christ? Most still just see Him as a physical, historical person. Others see Him only as a great teacher, a miracle worker, or one who lived a good moral life. Still, only a few see (or believe) that He is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). However, just as He patiently and repeatedly showed truth to His disciples, He is looking for people who are hungry enough to “taste and see that the LORD is good” (Ps. 34:8).