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Evangelists is again shewn very strongly in the simple avowal that the love of Apostles failed to grasp and remember what the enmity of the priests understood and treasured up. Even with Christ to expound Scripture to them, the prophecies about His Passion and Resurrection had remained a sealed book to them (Luke xxiv. 25—27). For Set comp. iii. 14, xii. 34; Matt. xvi. 21, xxvi. 54; Mark viii. 31; Luke ix. 22, xvii. 25, xxii. 37, xxiv. 7, 26, 44. The Divine determination meets us throughout Christ's life on earth, and is pointed out with frequency towards the close of it. Comp. Eph. iii. 11.
10. ἀπῆλθον...πρὸς αὐτούς. The reading is doubtful: αὑτοὺς =ἑαυτούς is best. Comp. ἀπῆλθον καθ' ἑαυτούς (1 Sam. xxvi. 12).
11-18. THE MANIFESTATION TO MARY MAGDALENE.
11-18. It has been noticed that the three manifestations in this Chapter correspond to the three divisions of the Prayer in Chap. xvii. Here we see Jesus Himself; in the second, Jesus in relation to His disciples; in the third, Jesus in relation to all who have not seen and yet have believed.
11. Mapla Sé. She had returned to the sepulchre after the hurry. ing Apostles. Mark xvi. 9 states definitely, what we gather from this section, that the risen Lord's first appearance was to Mary Magdalene: the details of the meeting are given by S. John alone. She continued standing (xviii. 5, 16, 18, xix. 25) after the other two had gone.
12. άyyéλous. Here only do angels appear in S. John's narrative. Comp. i. 52, xii. 29, [v. 4]. An appearance of angels to women occurs in all the accounts of the Resurrection. We are ignorant of the laws which determine such appearances; the two Apostles had seen nothing. For év λevкois comp. Rev. iii. 4: in Rev. iii. 5, iv. 4, iμarios is added.
13. τ. κύριόν μου...οἶδα. In v. 2 it was τ. κύριον and οἴδαμεν. In speaking to Apostles she includes other believers; in speaking to strangers she represents the relationship and the loss as personal. These words express the burden of her thoughts since she first saw that the stone had been removed. She is so full of it that she has no thought of the strangeness of this appearance in the tomb. We may reasonably suppose that the Evangelist obtained his information from Mary herself. "The extreme simplicity of the narrative reflects something of the solemn majesty of the scene. The sentences follow without any connecting particles till v. 19. Comp. c. xv." (Westcott).
14. στράon. Perhaps she becomes in some way conscious of another Presence. But Christ's Risen Body is so changed as not to be recognised at once even by those who had known Him well. It has new powers and a new majesty. Comp. xxi. 4; Luke xxiv. 16, 37; Matt. xxviii. 17; [Mark xvi. 12].
15. кηπоνрós. Because He was there at that early hour. The omission of His name is again (v. 7) very natural: she is so full of her loss that she assumes that others know all about it. Zú is emphatic;
"Thou, and not some enemy.' For éßáoraσas see on xii. 6. In her loving devotion she does not measure her strength: kay avтòv ȧρŵ. Note 'that it is τ. κύριον (υ. 2), τ. κ. μου (ν. 13), αὐτόν thrice (v. 15); never т. σŵμа or т. veкрóv. His lifeless form to her is still Himself.
16. Mapiáp. The term of general address, Tuvai, awoke no echo in her heart; the sign of personal knowledge and sympathy comes home to her at once. Thus 'He calleth His own sheep by name' (x. 3). The addition of 'Eßpaïort is of importance as indicating the language spoken between Christ and His disciples. S. John thinks it well to remind Greek readers that Greek was not the language used. Comp. Acts xxii. 2, xxvi. 14, and see on v. 2. The form 'Paßßovví or 'PaßBouvel occurs also in Mark x. 51, but has been obliterated in A.V. It is said to be Galilean, and if so natural in a woman of Magdala. Would any but a Jew of Palestine have preserved this? Its literal meaning is 'my Master,' but the pronominal portion of the word had lost almost all meaning: comp. Monsieur.' S. John's translation shews that as yet her belief is very imperfect: she uses a mere human title.
17. μý μ. άπтov. This is a passage of well-known difficulty. At first sight the reason given for refraining from touching would seem to be more suitable to a permission to touch. Comp. iv. 44. It is perhaps needless to enquire whether the yáp refers to the whole of what follows or only to the first sentence, 'I am not yet ascended to the Father.' In either case the meaning would be, that the Ascension has not yet taken place, although it soon will do so, whereas Mary's action assumes that it has taken place. If yáp refers to the first clause only, then the emphasis is thrown on Mary's mistake; if yáp refers to the whole of what is said, then the emphasis is thrown on the promise that what Mary craves shall be granted in a higher way to both her and others very soon. The translation 'touch Me not' is inadequate and gives a false impression. "A¬тεσðαι does not mean to 'touch' and 'handle' with a view to seeing whether His body was real; this Christ not only allowed but enjoined (v. 27; Luke xxiv. 39; comp. 1 John 1): rather it means to 'hold on to' and 'cling to.' Moreover it is the present (not aorist) imperative; and the full meaning will therefore be, 'Do not continue holding Me,' or simply, hold Me not. The old and often interrupted earthly intercourse is over; the new and continuous intercourse with the Ascended Lord has not yet begun: but that Presence will be granted soon, and there will be no need of straining eyes and clinging hands to realise it. (For a large collection of various interpretations see Meyer.) The reading πρὸς τ. πατέρα (without μου) agrees better with TP. т. а8. μoν. The general relationship applying both to Him and them is stated first, and then it is pointedly distinguished in its application to Him and to them.
ávaẞaíva. I am ascending. The change has already begun: earth is His home no longer. In Luke xxiv. 44 Jesus says, 'These are My words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you.' Mary's error consisted in supposing that Jesus was again with her under the
old conditions. He is with them no longer after the flesh: He only appears to them. Soon He will be in them as the glorified Christ. The present interval is one of transition. But He remains perfect Man : He still speaks of 'My God.' Comp. Rev. iii. 12. Thus also S. Paul and S. Peter speak of 'the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Comp. Eph. i. 3; 2 Cor. xi. 31; 1 Peter i. 3; and see on Rom. xv. 6; 2 Cor. i. 3, where the expression is blurred in the A. V.
18. ἔρχεται...ἀγγέλλουσα. The more usual form is ἐλθοῦσα ἀγγέλο λec; xi. 17, xvi. 8. Comp. xx. 6. She becomes an Apostle to the Apostles.
Thus as Mary's love seems to have been the first to manifest itself (v. 1), so the first Manifestation of the Risen Lord is granted to her. It confirms our trust in the Gospel narratives to find this stated. A writer of a fictitious account would almost certainly have represented the first appearance as being to the Virgin, or to S. Peter, the chief of the Apostles, or to S. John, the beloved disciple, or to the chosen three. But these are all passed over, and this honour is given to her, who had once been possessed by seven devils, to Mary of Magdala, 'for she loved much.' A late and worthless tradition does assign the first appearance to the Virgin; but so completely has Christ's earthly relationship to her been severed (xix. 26, 27), that henceforth she appears only among the other believers (Acts i. 14).
19-23. THE MANIFESTATION TO THE TEN AND OTHERS.
19. ovσns oŵv oy. Note the great precision of the expression. When therefore it was evening on that day, the first of the week: that memorable day, the 'day of days.' Comp. i. 39, v. 9, xi. 49, xviii. 13, where 'that' has a similar meaning. Evidently the hour is late; the disciples have returned from Emmaus (Luke xxiv. 23), and it was evening when they left Emmaus. At least it must be long after sunset, when the second day of the week, according to the Jewish reckoning, would begin. And S. John speaks of it as still part of the first day. This is a point in favour of S. John's using the modern method in counting the hours: it has a special bearing on the explanation of the seventh hour' in iv. 52. See notes there and on xix. 14.
T. Ouρŵν KEKλ. This is mentioned both here and v. 26 to shew that the appearance was miraculous. After the Resurrection Christ's human form, though still real and corporeal (Luke xxiv. 39), is not subject to the ordinary conditions of material bodies. It is èv åplapσίᾳ, ἐν δόξῃ, ἐν δυνάμει, πνευματικόν (1 Cor. xv. 42-44). Before the Resurrection He was visible, unless He willed it otherwise; after the Resurrection it would seem that He was invisible, unless He willed it otherwise. Comp. Luke xxiv. 31. Oi μaonraí includes more than the Apostles, as is clear from Luke xxiv. 33. It was natural that the small community of believers should come together, to discuss the reported appearances of the Lord, as well as for mutual comfort and support under the (prevailing) fear of the Jews (comp. vii. 13). The Sanhedrin might go on to attack Jesus' disciples; all the more so now that rumours of His being alive were spreading.
λev o 'I. It is futile to discuss how; that the doors were miraculously opened, as in S. Peter's release from prison, is neither stated nor implied. For eis after eorη comp. xix. 13, (xxi. 4). His greeting is the ordinary greeting intensified. For this very simple form of it comp. Judg. vi. 23; 1 Chron. xii. 18. His last word to them in their sorrow before His Passion (xvi. 33), His first word to them in their terror (Luke xxiv. 37) at His return, is 'Peace.' Possibly the place was the same; the large upper room where they had last been all together.
20. Kal T. Tλevpav. S. Luke, who does not mention the piercing of the side, has καì т. Tódαs (xxiv. 39:-v. 40, the exact parallel of this, is of very doubtful genuineness). Τὸν κύριον (not αὐτόν) is important: till then they had seen a form, but like Mary of Magdala and the two at Emmaus, they knew not whose it was. Thus their sorrow is turned into joy (xvi. 20).
21. ElπEV Oûv. He said therefore: because now they were able to receive it. Their alarm was dispelled and they knew that He was the Lord. He repeats His message of Peace.' For dπéσTAλKEV and πéμπ see on i. 33. Christ's mission is henceforth to be carried on by His disciples. He is ỏ ȧπóσтoλos (Heb. iii. 1), even as they are aróσrolol. The close correspondence between the two missions is shewn by кalás, even as (xvii. 18). Note the present tense, I am sending; their mission has already begun (xvii. 9); and the first part of it was to be the proclamation of the truth just brought home to themselves the Resurrection (Acts i. 22, ii. 32, iv. 2, 33, &c.).
22. évedúonσev. The very same verb (here only in N. T.) is used by the LXX. in Gen. ii. 7 (Wisdom xv. 11) of breathing life into Adam. This Gospel of the new Creation looks back at its close, as at its beginning (i. 1), to the first Creation.
We are probably to regard the breath here not merely as the emblem of the Spirit (iii. 8), but as the means by which the Spirit was imparted to them. Receive ye,' combined with the action of breathing, implies this. This is all the more clear in the Greek, because πveûμɑ means both breath' and 'spirit,' a point which cannot be preserved in English; but at least 'Spirit' is better than 'Ghost.' We have here, therefore, an anticipation and earnest of Pentecost; just as Christ's bodily return from the grave and temporary manifestation to them was an anticipation of His spiritual return and abiding Presence with them even unto the end of the world.' Verus homo, qui spirare, verus Deus, qui Spiritum potuit donare (S. Anselm).
λáßere. Take ye, implying that the recipient may welcome or reject the gift: he is not a mere passive receptacle. It is the very word used for 'Take' (Matt. xxvi. 26; Mark xiv. 22; Luke xxii. 17) in the account of the institution of the Eucharist; which somewhat confirms the view that here, as there, there is an outward sign and vehicle of an inward spiritual grace. The expression_still more plainly implies that some gift was offered and bestowed then and there it is wresting plain language to make 'Take ye' a mere
promise. There was therefore a Paschal as distinct from a Pentecostal gift of the Holy Spirit, the one preparatory to the other. It should be noticed that veûμa ayov is without the article, and this seems to imply that the gift is not made in all its fulness. See on xiv. 26, where both substantive and adjective have the article.
23. av Tivwv áþîτe. Comp. äpes in the Lord's Prayer. This power accompanies the gift of the Spirit just conferred. It must be noticed (1) that it is given to the whole company present; not to the Apostles alone. Of the Apostles one was absent, and there were others present who were not Apostles: no hint is given that this power is confined to the Ten. The commission in the first instance is to the community as a whole, not to the Ministry alone. Of course this does not imply that all present were raised to the rank of Apostles; which would contradict the plain narrative of the Acts; nor that the commission could not be delegated to the Ministry; which would contradict the history of the Church.
It follows from this (2) that the power being conferred on the community and never revoked, the power continues so long as the community continues. While the Christian Church lasts it has the power of remitting and retaining along with the power of spiritual discernment which is part of the gift of the Spirit. That is, it has the power to declare the conditions on which forgiveness is granted and the fact that it has or has not been granted.
It should be noted (3) that the expression throughout is plural on both sides. As it is the community rather than individuals that is invested with the power, so it is classes of men rather than individuals on whom it is exercised. God deals with mankind not in the massbut with personal love and knowledge soul by soul. His Church in fulfilling its mission from Him, while keeping this ideal in view, is compelled for the most part to minister to men in groups and classes. The plural here seems to indicate not what must always be or ought to be the case, but what generally is.
ἀφέωνται κεκράτηνται. The force of the perfect is—‘are ipso facto remitted—are ipso facto retained.' But ȧpéwvraι is not a secure reading: apievrai is strongly supported; and there are other variations. When the community under the guidance of the Spirit has spoken, the result is complete. The meaning of кparĥTe is 'hold fast,' so that they do not depart from the sinner. The word occurs here only in this Gospel. In Revelation it is used of 'holding fast doctrine,' &c. (ii. 14, 15, 25, iii. 11; comp. 2 Thess. ii. 15).
24-29. THE MANIFESTATION TO S. THOMAS AND OTHERS.
24. Θωμᾶς... οὐκ ἦν μετ ̓ αὐτῶν. His melancholy temperament (see on xi. 16) might dispose him to solitude and to put no trust in the rumours of Christ's Resurrection if they reached him on Easter Day. And afterwards his despondency is too great to be removed by the repeated (λeyov) testimony even of eyewitnesses. He has but one reply (elev); and the test which he selects has various points of