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20. Resurrection

1Now on the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb. 2She runneth therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid him. 3Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. 4And they ran both together: and the other disciple outran Peter, and came first to the tomb; 5and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths lying; yet entered he not in. 6Simon Peter therefore also cometh, following him, and entered into the tomb; and he beholdeth the linen cloths lying, 7and the napkin, that was upon his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then entered in therefore the other disciple also, who came first to the tomb, and he saw, and believed. 9For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10So the disciples went away again unto their own home. 11But Mary was standing without at the tomb weeping: so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12and she beholdeth two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and beholdeth Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turneth herself, and saith unto him in Hebrew, Rabboni; which is to say, Teacher. 17Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. 18Mary Magdalene cometh and telleth the disciples, I have seen the Lord; and that he had said these things unto her. 19When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20And when he had said this, he showed unto them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace be unto you: as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit: 23whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: 31but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.

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26. Reach hither thy finger. We have already spoken once about Christ’s entrance, and the form of salutation which he employed. When Christ so readily yields to the improper request of Thomas, 218218     “Ce qu’il avoit demande par l’obstination et l’opiniastrete;” — “what he had asked through obstinacy and stubbornness.” and, of his own accord, invites him to feel his hands, and touch the wound of his side, we learn from this how earnestly desirous he was to promote our faith and that of Thomas; for it was not to Thomas only, but to us also, that he looked, that nothing might be wanting which was necessary for confirming our faith.

The stupidity of Thomas was astonishing and monstrous; for he was not satisfied with merely beholding Christ out wished to have his hands also as witnesses of Christ’s resurrection. Thus he was not only obstinate, but also proud and contemptuous in his treatment of Christ. Now, at least, when he saw Christ, he ought to have been overwhelmed with shame and amazement; but, on the contrary, he boldly and fearlessly stretches forth his hand, as if he were not conscious of any guilt; for it may be readily inferred from the words of the Evangelist, that he did not repent before that he had convinced himself by touching. Thus it happens that, when we render to the word of God less honor than is due to it, there steals upon us, without our knowledge, a glowing obstinacy, which brings along with it a contempt of the word of God, and makes us lose all reverence for it. So much the more earnestly should we labor to restrain the wantonness of our mind, that none of us, by improperly indulging in contradiction, and extinguishing, as it were, the feeling of piety, may block up against ourselves the gate of faith.

My Lord and my God! Thomas awakes at length, though late, and as persons who have been mentally deranged commonly do when they come to themselves, exclaims, in astonishment, My Lord and my God! For the abruptness of the language has great vehemence; nor can it be doubted that shame compelled him to break out into this expression, in order to condemn his own stupidity. Besides, so sudden an exclamation shows that faith was not wholly extinguished in him, though it had been choked; for in the side or hands of Christ he does not handle Christ’s Divinity, but from those signs he infers much more than they exhibited. Whence comes this, but because, after forgetfulness and deep sleep, he suddenly comes to himself? This shows, therefore, the truth of what I said a little ago, that the faith which appeared to be destroyed was, as it were, concealed and buried in his heart.

The same thing happens sometimes with many persons; for they grow wanton for a time, as if they had cast off all fear of God, so that there appears to be no longer any faith in them; but as soon as God has chastised them with a rod, the rebellion of their flesh is subdued, and they return to their right senses. It is certain that disease would not, of itself, be sufficient to teach piety; and hence we infer, that, when the obstructions have been removed, the good seed, which had been concealed and crushed, springs up. We have a striking instance of this in David; for, so long as he is permitted to gratify his lust, we see how he indulges without restraint. Every person would have thought that, at that time, faith had been altogether banished from his mind; and yet, by a short exhortation of the Prophet, he is so suddenly recalled to life, that it may easily be inferred, that some spark, though it had been choked, still remained in his mind, and speedily burst into a flame. So far as relates to the men themselves, they are as guilty as if’ they had renounced faith and all the grace of the Holy Spirit; but the infinite goodness of God prevents the elect from falling so low as to be entirely alienated from God. We ought, therefore, to be most zealously on our guard not to fall from faith; and yet we ought to believe that God restrains his elect by secret bridle, that they may not fall to their destruction, and that He always cherishes miraculously in their hearts some sparks of faith, which he afterwards, at the proper time, kindles anew by the breath of his Spirit.

There are two clauses in this confession. Thomas acknowledges that Christ is his Lord, and then, in the second clauses, 219219     “Au second membre.” he ascends higher, and calls him also his God. We know in what sense Scripture gives to Christ the name of Lord. It is, because the rather hath appointed him to be the highest governor, that he may hold all things under his dominion., that every knee may bow before him, (Philippians 2:10,) and., in short, that he may be the Father’s vicegerent in governing the world. Thus the name Lord properly belongs to him, so far as he is the Mediator manifested in the flesh, and the Head of the Church. But Thomas, having acknowledged him to be Lord, is immediately carried upwards to his eternal Divinity, and justly; for the reason why Christ descended to us, and first was humbled, and afterwards was placed at the Father’s right hand, and obtained dominion over heaven and earth, was, that he might exalt us to his own Divine glory, and to the glory of the Father. That our faith may arrive at the eternal Divinity of Christ., we must begin with that knowledge which is nearer and more easily acquired. Thus it has been justly said by some, that by Christ Man we are conducted to Christ God, because our faith makes such gradual progress that, perceiving Christ on earth, born in a stable, and hanging on a cross., it rises to the glory of his resurrection, and, proceeding onwards, comes at length to his eternal life and power, in which his Divine Majesty is gloriously displayed.

Yet we ought to believe, that we cannot know Christ as our Lord, in a proper manner, without immediately obtaining also a knowledge of his Divinity. Nor is there any room to doubt that this ought to be a confession common to all believers., when we perceive that it is approved by Christ. He certainly would never have endured that the Father should be robbed of the honour due to him, and that this honor should be falsely and groundlessly conveyed to himself. But he plainly ratifies what Thomas said; and, therefore, this passage is abundantly sufficient for refuting the madness of Arius; for it is not lawful to imagine two Gods. Here also is declared the unity of person in Christ; for the same Jesus Christ 220220     “Un mesme Jesus Christ.” is called both God and Lord. Emphatically, to, he twice calls him his own, MY Lord and MY God! declaring, that he speaks in earnest, and with a lively sentiment of faith.




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