Saturday, October 12, 2019

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Easter: 1st Service – Jesus' Resurrection

Mark 16:1-8 (NKJV)
16:1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
8 So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


Luther's Explanatory Notes

1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.

When the Sabbath was past. We must notice here that Mark writes in Hebrew [style] about the Sabbath, for the Jews began the day in the evening, and counted to the evening of the following day. (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13) so that the first and highest Sabbath began on the evening of the day when Christ was crucified; that is on Friday evening, at sunset; but Saturday was the high Sabbath, on which Christ lay in the tomb. Afterwards the Jews had seven whole days, which they celebrated, and called Sabbaths, and began to count with the holy day after the high Sabbath, and called it the first day of the Sabbaths; the third holy day after, they called the second Sabbath and so on.

Here the question arises, Why do we say, Christ arose on the third day, and yet he lay only one day and two nights in the tomb? To this we reply as follows: In his death he comprised parts of three days. So long and no longer must Christ remain in the tomb, that we must assume no corruption had taken place in his body; therefore Christ must rise on the third day, before corruption could set in.

2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large.

Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us? The women act here as timid and troubled people generally do; therefore they proceed without thinking of what was necessary; yea, they have no thought about the armed keepers, nor of the wrath of Pilate and of the Jews, but venture to go on their way. What impelled the good women to risk their bodies and their lives in this way? Nothing else but the affection and love for their Master. This courage they had not of themselves; but here immediately the power of the resurrection of Christ was felt, whose spirit makes these women (who are by nature very timid) so bold and courageous, that they even dared to do that which would have terrified men.

In these women we also have a beautiful example of a spiritual heart, which undertakes to perform an impossible work, of which all the world despairs. Faith can make such a heart, which sees only Christ; although these women had not yet the perfect faith. For they could neither believe nor think that Christ should rise from the dead, and become an eternal King; yet, by holding fast to the word, they have such a faith that they loved his life. They excel all others in Jerusalem, even the dear apostles. We see how much Christ is pleased with faith, that he is only concerned how He shall comfort such a heart. Therefore they also have the honor of first seeing Christ after his resurrection.

5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 

He is risen! He is not here. Christ is not here, so also a Christian must not be here. Therefore no man can confine either Christ or a Christian into certain special rules; it is said, He is not here; the husks He has left here; namely, worldly righteousness, piety, wisdom, law, and what more there is of that matter he has entirely put off.

But the factious spirits come on and say, "Very well, let us do as we please." But if becoming a monk, praying, fasting, etc., does not make you a Christian; then certainly it will not make a Christian of you if you tear down the monasteries, despise the government, eat your fill and get drunk. For a Christian, of whatever station he may be, is above everything on earth; the reason he is called a Christian is that he clings to the man who died and rose again, and is not here — in the sepulchre. Let a Christian abide by this and nothing else. After you have this treasure and riches, which is above everything, then go down and say: "A Christian must also live and be with the people," as St. Paul also says, (Col. 3:5,) "Mortify therefore your members, which are upon the earth."


Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 171-172

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