Devotional #1

Why did Jesus cry out from the Cross, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” or, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus’ whole life was dedicated to faith in His Father. At the age of 12, He said, when His parents finally found Him at the Temple, “did you not know I had to be about my Father’s business?” He knew where God was leading Him, to a death which astonished the world, whenever it is understood, but about which the Lord said, “how distressed I am until it is accomplished.” Yet He did not turn back and He did not doubt.

On the contrary, He says in John not long before the Cross, “now My soul is troubled. What should I say–Father, save Me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour.” And when Peter takes violent action to defend the Lord in the garden, Jesus rebukes Him, saying, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” But only hours later, with breath bought by great pain, He calls out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Did Jesus lose faith? Did something go wrong? No, absolutely not. Rather, it is because the Father too is heartbroken that the Cross is effective. Just as David’s heart was broken over his son Absalom, and Jacob’s heart was broken over Joseph – neither of them wanted to go on – so the Father’s heart broke over the death of His Son. Jacob, did not expect to ever see his son again. Perhaps in the depths of His soul – perhaps – perhaps the death of someone, when you really accept they die, when it is someone as dear to you as yourself, the soul does not persevere in hope, but it is the End. And He had to accept He was dying and dead because the Lord plunged the knife into the Lord’s heart though He did not make Abraham do this.

He did forsake Jesus, but He did it so that you and I might live. As Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, He did not want to drink the cup, but the Lord God chose to sacrifice Him. As Isaiah 53: 10,11 say,

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.

This was the Lord’s way. Jesus held fast, saying sweetly and with longing, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” though He was slipping into death. Scripture was on His lips, and the redemption of the world in righteous Love was truly in His heart and body, and that was when they gave Him vinegar to drink and He said, “it is finished,” and died.

But as God says in Psalm 30:5, “for His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Because Jesus broke the Lord’s heart when He said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” therefore God repented of it and said to His Son who had been cast into the depths, I would that He were back, I wish He were alive. Be forgiven though you bore all the sins; because you bore all the sins you will have a portion with the great. In this Jesus was our propitiation, because He was pitiable and innocent to His Father when he bore our sins. Therefore He is resurrected, the author and finisher of the faith, and we can be saved through Him. Remember that David longed to bring back even Absalom when he had killed Amnon his brother.

Harmony of the Gospels in their Resurrection Accounts

* This reading is indebted to a teaching video from youtube which helped me by providing the idea that Peter and John were in a separate location from the other Disciples. If anyone can locate this video I will post it here.

The four accounts in the Gospels are fully compatible and together portray a full and coherent account of the Resurrection. As a side note, we may wonder why the accounts are fragmented and the PDF below addresses that question.

Following are 3 general guidelines to follow this coordination of the four accounts. (The full narratives from the Gospels can be found in a PDF at the bottom of this post.)

1) Mary Magdalene separates from the other women and runs to Peter and John, who respond to her announcement.
2) First appears one angel, then two, then Christ.
3) The first to see Jesus is the Magdalene, then later and separately, the other women. Among the men, first is Peter and Cleopas on the way to Emmaus, then others in the Upper Room the same day. (That was still Resurrection Sunday, however we won’t be delving into anything that happens after the initial part of the Resurrection, in the morning, which is the controversial part.)

These are the 12 events of the Gospel accounts in order.

1. Women are headed to the tomb. (all accounts, John however only names the Magdalene)

2. A single angel comes, frightens the guards, who run away, removes the stone. (only in Matthew 28:2-4)

3. Jesus was either already out of the tomb or left it when the angel rolled away the stone.

4. The women arrive and the angel gives them word to bring to the Disciples. (Mark 16:3-5 makes clear the stone had already been rolled away and the guards we see had already fled; in Matthew there is a gap between 28:4 and 5; in Luke 24:2,3 and John 20:1,2 the account does not mention the angel).

5. Mary goes to tell Peter and John. (Matthew this happened between 28:7 and 8; Luke this happened between 24:3 and 4; Mark 16:10; John 20:2)

6. The rest of the women run away. (only in Mark 16:8)

7. Peter and John come to the empty tomb, inspect it, and leave. (Luke 24:12; John 20:4-8)

8. Mary returns to the tomb and sees two angels, then Christ. (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-13 then verses 14-17)

9. The rest of the women run into two angels who tell them again to go to the Disciples. (Luke’s account centers on this. Luke skips ahead to it in verse 4 and uses it through verse 8 of chapter 24. This does not appear in Matthew or Mark but would be between Matthew 28:7 and 8, and in Mark after 16:8; John doesn’t mention the other women at all).

10. The Lord also appears to these women. (only in Matthew 28:9)

11. The women finish going to the Disciples. (Matthew 28:11; Mark 16:10; Luke 24:9,10; John 20:18

12. These other Disciples (perhaps in the Upper Room) do not believe. (Mark 16:11, Luke 24:11)

Why were Peter and John separated from the rest of the Disciples? I don’t know, but it may be that the rest of the Disciples took refuge in the Upper Room, (where they had locked themselves in that day), whereas John was lodging with Mother Mary at the instruction of Christ, who said,

26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”
27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
(John 19:26-27 NKJV)

Peter meanwhile may have been mourning with them to both comfort them and be comforted. He may not have felt worthy of being with the Disciples. Note that the angel told the women separate instructions about Peter. This may have led Mary to make the decision to run to them, possibly without discussing the matter with the others who fled.

“But go, tell His disciples– and Peter– that He is going before you into Galilee.” (Mark 16:7)

However, though this may all be true, it seems Peter had his own place where he was staying. It may be that Mary Magdalene went to Peter in one place and John nearby, as it says,

John 20:2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them,
John 20:10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

[John 20:10 is interesting because the word in the Greek may not be homes, but some translate it as a singular “home” while the Greek may not mean home at all. “The disciples therefore went away again unto their own friends.” (John 20:10 YLT) “Then the disciples returned to their colleagues.” (John 20:10 MIT) The correct translation may affect the interpretation here.]

We do read of Peter traveling on with Cleopas separately that afternoon, so it may be that Cleopas had offered a place to Peter. Where John was staying is even less clear, but it was a festival and he may have simply known people (even some of the women or others they traveled with) who offered him shelter. Also note that Thomas wasn’t there either, so they were a bit scattered still.