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author on August 11th, 2010

Last week Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome discovered the open tomb and encountered a young man dressed in white who proclaimed, “He has risen!” (Mark 16:6Mark 16:6
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6 He said to them, “Don’t be amazed. You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen. He is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him!

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). The young man also told them to tell His disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.” (Mark 16:7Mark 16:7
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7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He goes before you into Galilee. There you will see him, as he said to you.’”

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Mark’s Gospel does not tell how Mary Magdalene came to be the first to see the risen Christ (Mark 16:9Mark 16:9
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9 Now when he had risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.

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), so we turn to the Gospel of John for the full story:

Mary Magdalene ran back to Peter and John, but instead of repeating the young man’s message, she told them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put Him” (John 20:1-2John 20:1-2
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20 1 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. 2 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!”

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). Mary returned to the tomb and wept. Two angels were sitting in the tomb where Jesus’ body had been, and when she looked inside they asked, “Woman, why are you crying?” (John 20:11-13John 20:11-13
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11 But Mary was standing outside at the tomb weeping. So, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb, 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 They told her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.”

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She said, “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put Him.” And as she turned around, there stood Jesus – but she did not recognize Him through her tears. He asked, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” She asked him to tell her where they had taken Jesus’ body so she could go and get Him (John 20:13-15John 20:13-15
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13 They told her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and didn’t know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

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).

Then Jesus simply spoke her name, “Mary.” Instantly she turned to Him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (“Teacher” in Aramaic) (John 20:16John 20:16
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16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, “Rhabbouni!” which is to say, “Teacher!”

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). Jesus Himself told her to go tell “My brothers” (John 20:17John 20:17
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17 Jesus said to her, “Don’t touch me, for I haven’t yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers, and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

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). And this time she got the message right. But when she told them, they didn’t believe her (Mark 16:10-11Mark 16:10-11
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10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 When they heard that he was alive, and had been seen by her, they disbelieved.

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).

Did Mary Magdalene lack credibility because of her past demon-possession (Mark 16:9Mark 16:9
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9 Now when he had risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.

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)? Maybe, but how do we explain their response to the next?

Luke records the full account of two of Jesus’ followers who encountered the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus, leaving Jerusalem. Jesus joined them, though they did not recognize Him (Luke 24:13-16Luke 24:13-16
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13 Behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was sixty stadia 60 stadia = about 11 kilometers or about 7 miles. from Jerusalem. 14 They talked with each other about all of these things which had happened. 15 It happened, while they talked and questioned together, that Jesus himself came near, and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

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). Jesus asked them what they were discussing, and they told Him of the events of the past three days (Luke 24:17-24Luke 24:17-24
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17 He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk, and are sad?” 18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things which have happened there in these days?” 19 He said to them, “What things?” They said to him, “The things concerning Jesus, the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we were hoping that it was he who would redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Also, certain women of our company amazed us, having arrived early at the tomb; 23 and when they didn’t find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of us went to the tomb, and found it just like the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”

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When they were finished, their companion rebuked them for their ignorance regarding the prophets who spoke of the suffering Messiah. So starting with Moses, He explained everything concerning Himself (Luke 24:25-27Luke 24:25-27
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25 He said to them, “Foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Didn’t the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?” 27 Beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

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). It was not until later that evening, when they stopped for the night, that Jesus allowed Himself to be recognized by them – while breaking bread (Luke 24:32-33Luke 24:32-33
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32 They said one to another, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us, while he spoke to us along the way, and while he opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 They rose up that very hour, returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and those who were with them,

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Yet Mark 16:12-13Mark 16:12-13
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12 After these things he was revealed in another form to two of them, as they walked, on their way into the country. 13 They went away and told it to the rest. They didn’t believe them, either.

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tells us that the other disciples did not believe these two men either!

Finally, the Lord Himself appeared to all the disciples (Luke 24:36-43Luke 24:36-43
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36 As they said these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were terrified and filled with fear, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is truly me. Touch me and see, for a spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While they still didn’t believe for joy, and wondered, he said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 He took them, and ate in front of them.

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and John 20:19-20John 20:19-20
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19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad when they saw the Lord.

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). Take the time today to read these passages of scripture which describe in detail Mark 16:14Mark 16:14
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14 Afterward he was revealed to the eleven themselves as they sat at the table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they didn’t believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

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and Jesus’ appearance to the eleven remaining disciples. You now have three testimonies to His death and fourteen testimonies to His resurrection.

Will you now believe, too?