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though instructed in the Christian school, were inclined at first to draw that conclusion; nor was their mistake rectified, until the testimony of their senses, and his solemn assurance had convinced them that he whom they beheld, was no other than the man Jesus. This fact is confirmed by the following passage: "And they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, the Lord is arisen indeed, and hath appeared unto Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known unto them by the breaking of bread. And as they thus spoke Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, why are ye troubled, and why do doubts rise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see me, for a spirit * hath not flesh and bones," Luke xxiv. 33.
*The Jews considered all those spirits, comprehended under the name of demons, as without exception, eril. For this reason the evangelists avoided calling Jesus by that name but the heathens applied the term to either good or bad spirits. A Gentile convert, therefore, when speaking of the mistaken notion entertained by the apostles ou this occasion, might say, that they supposed him to be a demon. Ignatius was certainly a heathen convert, and he thus cites the Passage, Και ότε προς τους περι Πετρου ηλθεν, εφη αυτοις λαβετε, ψηλαφήσατε με και ίδετε, ότι ουκ ειμι δαιμόνιον Jerome supposes that Ignatius quoted the words from the gospel of the Nazarenes, But the supposition is un
From the first part of this extract it is plain, that the eleven had been already convinced before they were informed by those returning from Emmaus, that their Master was really risen. But in what, let me ask, did they think his resurrection to consist? Did they believe that the man Jesus, who had suffered death on the cross, was again restored to life?__Of this they had not the most distant idea. To prove this, I need only observe, that they were alarmed at the sight of him, though he appeared to them in his former benign and familiar form nor did they believe him to be the man Jesus, until they had felt his wounds, handled his bones, and saw him eating. In what then did they suppose his resurrection to consist? They fell into the very notion adopted by the Gnostics. A supernatural being they supposed, inhabited him during his ministry, and enabled him to do the works which they had seen him doing; that this supernatural being, when Jesus was put to death, disengaged itself, and now appeared to them in the shape of that body in which he dwelt.
Our Lord perceiving their mistake, informs them, auros yw eius, It is I myself; that is, It is the very same person, whom you formerly followed as your master, who died on the cross, and was buried, and not a superior spiritual being appearing to you in my well known shape." And
necessary. He had before him the genuine Greek gospel ; and he expressed πνευμά by δαιμόνιον ασωμάτον, as a language more familiar and intelligible to the people of Smyrna. See Machaelis's Introduction, vol. iv. p. 188.
of this he convinces them, by eating* with them, by shewing them his flesh and his bones; by reminding them, that he had foretold those things, and that it was necessary his crucifixion and death should take place, as the fulfilment of what had been written concerning him in the law and the prophets.
Thomas was not present at this interview. When he found that his Master was really risen, it was natural that he should have fallen into the same erroneous conclusion. And this seems to have been the case. "After eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said, Peace be unto you. Then said he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing." John xx. 26. Thomas on being thus unexpectedly ad dressed, and perceiving that it was the voice of Jesus, felt doubtless the same alarm and confu sion with the other disciples when they first saw him. Actuated by emotions of fear and astonishment, he applies to his Master a title, expressive of that superior or divine nature, which at the
Because the demons had not flesh and blood, they were said not to eat any thing.
Ου γαρ σιτον εδουσ', ου πίνουσ' αίθοπα οινόν. ἀναίμονες εισι, και αθάνατοι καλεονται.
As the demons never ate, our Lord, to shew that he was no demon, thus asked his disciples, "Have ye any thing here to eat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and some honey-comb; and he took of these, and ate before them."
moment he supposed him to possess. Thomas answered, and said unto him, My Lord and My God."j
The Evangelist John perceiving that some might construe this address of Thomas, which was dictated by terror and superstition, into testimony for the divinity of Jesus, subjoins to it a clause in which he defines what we should be Heve respecting Jesus Christ, "These things are written that ye might believe, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
Here we are informed by apostolic authority what those articles are, which as Christians we are called upon to believe, and the confirmation of which was the design of the evangelist in pubHishing his gospel. They are then simply these; That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: in other words, That the man Jesus who died and rose again from the dead, and whom the Gnostic teachers rejected and blasphemed, is the Messiah; that he was not, as those deceivers maintained, or as Thomas and the other disciples at first erroneously concluded, a god risen by virtue of his own nature, and acting by his own power, but the Son of God, raised by the power of the Father, and acting solely with his authority and assistance; that being thus a mere man; he is a proper pledge of the resurrection of all mankind, and that finally in the belief of these two principles, we are to look forward to a new life of endless happiness, if we obey and follow him.
When our Lord first appeared to Mary Magdalene, the warm affection which she had cherished for him, the surprise which she must now have
felt on seeing him again, and above all, the apprehension forced upon her mind by his superiority to death, that he was a supernatural being, led her instantly to cling to him, and to address to him that homage which was due only to God. Accordingly he tells her, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father," xx. 17. As though he bad said, "Lay not thy hands thus on me: I am not the proper object of such devout prostrations. My rising from the dead is not the effect of my own power, I possess nothing of my. self, though I am soon to be invested with all power and authority. But this will not take place, till I ascend to my Father; and my present destitute state is a proof, that in my nature there is nothing above the nature of man."
To prevent the disciples from falling into a similar error, and to preclude the inference which he knew they would draw on seeing him risen from the dead, he sends by her a message to apprise them that, though he now proved triumphant over the king of terror, yet he was but their brother, a being possessing the same nature and constitution with themselves, and bearing the same relation in regard to God. "Go unto my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my father, and to your father, to my God, and to your God." xx. 17.