The Resurrection Accounts [Continued]

By Bob Myhan

A Word about this Effort

Readers should remember that it is admitted by this writer that the differences in the various accounts of the resurrection are some­times difficult to harmonize. This in no way diminishes, however, the claim that they are inspired accounts. None of the four gospel writers claims to have been at the tomb when Jesus was reportedly raised from the dead. Although two of them (Matthew and John) claim to have seen Him after the resurrection.

Readers should also keep in mind the difference between revelation and inspi­ration. The first is the means by which “the things which God has pre­pared for those who love Him” were communicated to man (1 Cor. 2:9-10; Eph. 3:1-7). The latter is the means by which the scriptures were written; they were “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). It is believed by this writer that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are in­spired historical documents not revelations in the strict sense of the term. Luke, for example, evidently wrote that which he learned from an investigation of the gospel facts.

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4, NASB77)

Matthew and John witnessed many of the things they wrote about but there is no reason to suppose that Mark or Luke witnessed any of the things they wrote of in their respective accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. And all four were dependent on the possibly uninspired testimony of others for at least some of the material contained in their resurrection accounts. Inspiration prevented errors but did not prevent differences. These articles are simply an effort to set forth a possible harmony which will resolve the difficulties. Each reader will judge as to the measure of success.

The 3rd Appearance of Jesus

After appearing to the women near the tomb, Jesus appears to two disciples as they travel the seven miles to Emmaus. Mark and Luke report this appearance, though Matthew and John do not.

After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. (Mark 16:12-13)

Now behold, two of them were trav­eling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked to­gether of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they con­versed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, "What kind of con­versation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusa­lem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?" And He said to them, "What things?" So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be con­demned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things hap­pened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see." Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He ex­pounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And He went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:13-32)

The 4th Appearance of Jesus

Luke alone, of the four, refers to this appearance to Simon Peter, although Paul refers to it in his first epistle to the Corinthians.

So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jeru­salem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the break­ing of bread. (Luke 24:33-35).

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. (1 Cor. 15:3-5)

 [To be continued]

The Four Causes of Man

By C. C. Crawford

According to Aristotle, there are four "causes" (explanations, ways of defining) anything; that is, four factors which combine to effec­tuate the constitution of any created thing. These are as follows; the material cause (the stuff of which a thing is made: the cause of which); the formal cause (that which gives to the matter the precise form or specificity it has, that which puts it into the class to which it belongs: the cause according to which); the efficient cause (that agent or power which unites the form and the matter, to give the object concrete exis­tence: the cause by which); and the 'final cause (the end or function to be served by the object: the foreseen final cause that precedes all other causes: that which is first in purpose or motive, even though last in realization: the cause for which). Take for example, a statue: the material cause is wood, bronze; stone, marble, etc.; the formal cause is the idea embodied in the mat­ter, a likeness of Washington, or of Lin­coln, or of Venus of Milo, or of Athena Parthenos, etc., the efficient cause is the sculptor; and the final cause, orna­mentation, commemoration, or it could be simply art for art's sake; in any case, it is that which motivates the sculptor. For another example, consider a human being: the material cause is the com­plex of living cells that make up the body; the formal cause is the soul (mind, power of thought, reason, etc.,) which informs the body and thus speci­fies man as man; the efficient cause is the Creative Intelligence and Power (First Principle, First Cause, God) which gave man concrete existence as homo sapiens, a mind-body unity; and the final cause, the natural and proper in­trinsic' and extrinsic ends to which man is divinely ordained, as indicated by the impulses of his nature, namely, Perfect Happiness in Union with God, to be achieved by the living of the Spiritual Life. (No human being ever sets out to make himself ultimately and permanently miserable). (Cf. Matt. 22:35-40; Gal. 5:16-25.) &

Whom Do You Believe?

Jesus: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mark 16:16)

Your Preacher: “He who believes and prays will be saved.”

Peter: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” (Acts 2:38)

Your Preacher: “Repent, and let every one of you pray in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

Ananias: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins.” (Acts 22:16)

Your Preacher: “And now why are you waiting? Kneel down and pray, and wash away your sins.”

James: “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24)

Your Preacher: “You see that a man is justified by faith only and not by works.”

Peter: “There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:21)

Your Preacher: “There is also an antitype which now saves us – prayer (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” &