It happened, while they were greatly perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling clothing. Becoming terrified, they bowed their faces down to the earth.
They said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but is risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again?”
They remembered his words, returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them told these things to the apostles. These words seemed to them to be nonsense, and they didn’t believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping and looking in, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he departed to his home, wondering what had happened.
At another critical point in the record of Jesus’ life we see yet another supernatural visitation. The first one we discussed in this study was in lesson 3 when the angel came to John the Baptist’s father. An interesting thing about Christianity, is that it depends upon faith in events that were testified to, by witnesses, but that defy our understanding of normal. The Bible is a supernatural book and faith in the Bible means that you believe in the existence of the supernatural. This doesn’t mean that you don’t think critically, it just means that the we allow truth to stand on its own even if we don’t understand how it works.
These men explained to the women that Jesus had come back alive from or “risen” from the dead. When the women get back, the men don’t believe them. Peter goes to check out the empty tomb, but instead of believing what they said he just “departed to his home, wondering what had happened.”
Social Order: This is one of the many places where God chose to use women instead of men. These women were the holders of the truth and God expected the men to believe them, but they didn’t. The God of the Bible is a defender of the equal value of women in society. I am told that at this time in Rome, a woman’s word didn’t hold up in court. We can see here that in God’s economy a woman’s word is equal to that of a man’s.
Apologetics: It is interesting that this record shows that even the disciples were reluctant to believe in this supernatural occurrence after all of the miracles they had already witnessed. This give strength to what Dr. Luke records here. It is more common for a false document to make claims that are unnaturally absent of things like mistake making disciples and the testimony of women in order to make it more believable. The presence of less-than-perfect humanity is evidence that the story is true. It would have also been a better lie to show that Peter was a great leader that always believed and should be followed, but we clearly read that Peter was a normal person and far from perfect.