Day 176: Should We Believe Mary?

John 20:1-9 :

Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went early, while it was still dark, to the tomb, and saw the stone taken away from the tomb. Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!”

Therefore Peter and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter, and came to the tomb first. Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths lying, yet he didn’t enter in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying, and the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed. For as yet they didn’t know the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

This is a fascinating piece of history. The disciples didn’t believe Jesus yet. Even though Jesus told them that He would resurrect, the “eyes of their minds” were still blinded to the whole thing. This is like it is before we believe in Jesus too. God has to open our eyes to the truth so that we can even comprehend it. This is why it is so important for us to continue to pray for those we love to believe in Jesus.

Now Mary Magdalene, came and told them that the body was missing. Evidently, the men didn’t believe her… imagine that? So, they ran to the tomb to check. Sure enough, the body was really missing, so they went back home.

I think that the disciples were pretty discouraged at this point. We read more about that next time. This passage has some interesting information that makes it difficult to refute the account of the resurrection of Jesus.

First, a woman was first to discover it. This is not a good way to lie to the Romans and the Jews. At this point in history, a woman’s testimony didn’t hold up in court! Some have argued that the disciples made up the resurrection account, but that doesn’t make sense in that if they were to lie, they wouldn’t have a good reason to tell the story this way. If they wanted to trick people, why did they have Mary see it first if that isn’t how it really happened? Wouldn’t it be better to use the testimony of someone who would be admitted into court? Also, why would they ever admit that, at one point, they thought that someone stole the body? That was later to become an argument against the resurrection.

Also, regarding the famous Shroud of Turin, this passage suggests some problems. For one thing, the text clearly says “cloths” not “cloth”. This would indicate a wrap in strips. The Bible doesn’t really mention a single piece of cloth here. Also, it clearly indicates that the head covering was separate. The Shroud is clearly one piece and it included the head. Because of these things, I don’t have a reason to believe that the Shroud of Turin was used for Jesus.