Monthly Archives: July 2018


All the faithful followers of Jesus must have been stunned and disheartened. Here was the Man that walked on water, that calmed the stormy sea, that multiplied a few loaves and fishes to feed thousands, that raised His friend Lazarus and others from the dead, that healed a host of sick folk, that restored withered limbs, that restored sight to the blind and so many other miracles the world itself could not contain their account if they should all be written (John 20:30,31), here is that Man now crucified and buried in a borrowed tomb. There must have been many, including the apostles, who were emotionally drained and deflated. They must have felt as though all hope was lost.

A group of women that followed Jesus from Galilee, standing far enough away not to be too involved but close enough to observe, had seen the Lord hang on an old, rugged cross and then die and agonizing death (Luke 23:49). They also saw Joseph of Arimethea take the Lord’s body down from that cross and wrap it in a linen cloth and then lay it in a newly hewn sepulchre (Luke 23:53-55). Knowing now where He was lain, they returned and prepared spices for the embalming of the body (Luke 23:56). They obviously had no expectation of a resurrection at that time.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, Joanna, Salome and certain others with them which came from Galilee (Mark 16:; Luke 23:5524:1,10), brought the spices unto the sepulchre expecting to prepare the body of the Lord. When they found the stone already rolled away from the opening, they went in and found not the body of the Lord (Luke 24:3). Mary Magdalene, distressed at the missing body, immediately ran away from the sepulchre and found herself running to Peter and John (John 20:2), leaving the other women at the tomb perplexed (Luke 24:4). She told the two apostles that someone must have taken the body because it was no longer there and she did not know where they could have lain Him (John 20:2). Again, there is not yet the notion of Jesus’ resurrection in her mind, for she fears His body had been stolen. But the apostles are nursing their own thoughts.

In the meantime, the other women who had remained at the sepulchre encountered “two men in shining garments” (Luke 24:4), one standing by them and the other “young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment” (Mark 16:5). The women fell to the ground in fear (Luke 24:5). This “young man,” an angel, told the women not to be afraid because Jesus has risen. “Behold,” he says, “the place where they lay Him” (Mark 16:6). He further told them to go and tell His disciples and Peter that “He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you” (Mark 16:7). The women were frightened and fled, perhaps wandering and thinking what they should do, but they do not immediately follow the instructions of the angel because they did not tell anyone and were afraid and amazed (Mark 16:8).

After Mary Magdalene had spoken to them, Peter and John immediately set out to see this (John 20:3). They both ran together and as they came closer to the sepulchre, John outran Peter, reaching the sepulchre first (John 20:4). John stopped at the opening and looked but did not go in. His heart must have been racing from running and from wonder. He saw the linen clothes in which they had wrapped the body of the Lord. Peter finally made it to the sepulchre and entered immediately and saw the napkin and the linen burial clothes. John summoned the courage to enter and, seeing these things, believed (John 20:8). Did they speak to one another about their thoughts or did they instinctively know what each other were thinking?

Mary had followed behind Peter and John, who had now left, for she was standing there “without the sepulchre weeping” (John 20:11). She, herself, now looked again into the sepulchre and saw the two angels “sitting, one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain” (John 20:12). They ask her why she wept and she still did not consider the possibility that Jesus had risen. She told them someone had taken the body of the Lord and she knew not where (John 20:13). Then turning around she saw Jesus but only thought He was the gardener (John 20:15). He asked her why she wept and she inquired if He had taken the body, she would be glad to remove it for Him.

Just then, Jesus spoke her name, “Mary” (John 20:16). There was no mistaking this voice and the way He spoke her name. She knew then that He was Jesus, her Master, risen from the dead (John 20:16). Jesus told her to go and tell the apostles that He was ascending back to the Father. Mary then “came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her” (John 20:18). At no time did Mary think the Lord had risen until she had spoken with Him herself.

Now as the other women finally decided to tell the disciples of what had happened, Jesus appeared to them as they returned. He met them saying, “All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him” (Matt. 28:9). He then told them to tell His brethren that they would see Him in Galilee (Matt. 28:10). When the women told the apostles, adding their testimony to Mary Magdalene’s, to them their words seemed as idle tales and they believed them not (Luke 24:11).

However, when Peter heard the testimony of the women, that they had seen the Lord, he once again headed for the empty tomb. He ran again to the sepulchre, no doubt anxious to see the Lord for himself, and looked in and saw everything as he had seen it before (Luke 24:12). He “departed, wondering in himself at that which had come to pass” (Luke 24:12). But sometime while he was separated from the rest of the apostles, the Lord appeared to Peter alone (I Cor. 15:5). We are not given the details of that appearance, but it must have been a very emotional one for Peter.

Later that day, the Lord also appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He casually drew Himself near to them as they were walking, and discussing the things which had happened that day (Luke 24:14,15). He engaged them in conversation and explained to them the events that happened by means of the scriptures (Luke 24:25-27). As it was getting toward evening he tarried with them and ate (Luke 24:28-30). As He ate, their eyes were opened and they now recognized Him. But just as they recognized Him, He “vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:31). In the very same hour, they rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the apostles of the events they, themselves, had witnessed (Luke 24:33).

As they told the apostles of the things that had happened to them, they were told that the Lord had appeared to Peter as well as the women (Luke 24:34,35). “And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you” (Luke 24:36). But the disciples were terrified and affrighted and thought Jesus was a spirit. He showed them His hands and His feet and they could hardly believe for joy (Luke 24:41). Over the next forty days the Lord would show Himself “alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 13).

Eric L. Padgett


“We have seen the Lord” (John 20:25)! These words must have been spoken with great excitement. Thomas had not been present when the Lord appeared to the Twelve earlier that week, the first day of the week, the very day He arose from the dead (John 20:19,24). The other ten apostles were trying throughout the week to convince Thomas of the truth of their encounter with the risen Lord. They were joyous because they had seen the risen Saviour (John 20:20). But Thomas could not bring himself to believe them. His response was as stern as it could be: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). No wonder many call him “doubting Thomas.”

We know a little bit more about Thomas from the references we have of him in the New Testament. For instance, we can gather from his name that he was probably a twin. The name “Thomas” is a Greek form of the Aramaic word which means “the twin.” He is also called “Didymus” (John 20:24), which also means “twin.” The identity of his twin is not revealed in scripture but some have suggested that because he is most often listed with Matthew, that he was his twin (Matt. 10:3; Luke 6:15; Mark 3:18). Other traditions say that he had a twin sister named Lydia. The truth is, we really don’t know.

While most people latch on to Thomas’ statement above and condemn him for his doubt, there is another side to this we should not fail to see. Besides, Thomas is not the only doubter amongst the Twelve. When Mary Magdalene told the apostles of Jesus’ resurrection and appearance to her, they “believed not” (Mark 16:11). Afterword, when Jesus appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, He “upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen” (Mark 16:14). All of the apostles had experienced some form of doubt at some point.

Often during their time with the Lord they expressed doubt in some form. Peter doubted as he began to sink in the waves on the sea of Galilee, so that the Lord had to rescue him from drowning (Matt. 14:29-31). Jesus rebuked all the apostles as they were in a vessel with Him when the winds and waves threatened their safety, or so they thought (Matt. 8:25,26). Jesus rebuked their lack of faith when they thought He condemned them for not bringing bread. He reminded them of the fact that He had multiplied the loaves and fish (Matt. 16:5-12). Jesus said to them on these occasions, “O ye of little faith” (e.g., Matt. 16:8).

But these events were from an earlier time with the Lord. Now, at the close of Jesus’ time on earth, they should have known better. But much of the source of their doubt now was that which comes from being overwhelmed with joy at some good news it can hardly be believed. Even when the Lord was standing before their very eyes, probably late on the first day of the week, they were “terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit” (Luke 24:36,37). Jesus showed them His hands and feet and this is probably what caused Thomas, who was not present on this ocassion, to say that unless he saw them he would not believe either (Luke 24:39,40; John 20:25). But the reason they had trouble believing was that they were overcome with joy (Luke 24:41). The very same could be said of Thomas, as well. The other apostles, then, were really not any different than Thomas.

The first time we read of Thomas speaking is when the Lord purposed to go into Judea again (John 11:7). The apostles, it seems, thought they had a duty to remind the Lord that the Jews had, of late, sought to stone Him and that going back might not be a good idea (John 11:8). But Jesus said He was going back to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:11-15). It was then that Thomas spoke to the other apostles: “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (John 11:16). In this statement, Thomas shows both his complete devotion to the Lord but also manifests either a lack of understanding of the Lord’s teaching or a lack of faith.

Thomas was not unlike Peter in this way: though he said he would die with the Lord, when the time came for the Lord to be taken, he fled just like all the other apostles (Matt. 26:56). Peter had said “Though all other men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended” (Matt. 26:33). Yet Peter denied the Lord three times that very night (Matt. 26:34). Though Thomas loved the Lord, he seemed unable to get his mind around just who Jesus was. When Jesus told the apostles that they knew where He was going and the way He was going, Thomas confessed his ignorance about these matters (John 14:1-5).

One week later, we find Thomas assembled with the other apostles. Why he was not there the first time, the Bible does not say but it may well be he was grieving for the Lord, thinking that all was lost since His crucifixion. But now he is there and the Lord appears miraculously in their midst (John 20:26). After greeting them all, the first thing the Lord does is to address Thomas “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27). The Bible does not say whether he did or not, but the last thing we hear him say to the Lord is, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). He had learned who Jesus was.

Eric L. Padgett


Somewhere outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem (Heb. 13:12) there was a place called Calvary. The Greek word translated “calvary” (kranion) meant “skull.” Luke used this word (Luke 23:33) while the other gospel accounts preferred the Hebrew word “Golgotha,” which also meant “skull” (Matt. 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17). This place was near the city (John 19:20) where there was a fairly busy road that led to the country (Matt. 27:39; Mark 15:21). It was here on a cross far away that Jesus suffered and died by crucifixion.

It is fairly easy enough to reconstruct and relate the historical events which occurred so many years ago. In many ways they were not unlike events which had happened many times before. Persons pronounced guilty by Roman power were often condemned to death and executed by Rome. But on levels that we, perhaps, can never fully comprehend, things happened that day so profound that all the world was forever changed.

As Jesus hung on that old, rugged cross, slowly and cruelly asphyxiating, He managed enough breath to utter seven, short sentences. One of the last of these was the statement, “It is finished” (John 19:30). It is natural to assume that Jesus was anticipating His own death and in such earthly suffering death would have been a welcomed release. But there is more to His saying than a mere expectation to end His physical pain.

Jesus had stated earlier “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me and finish His work” (John 4:34). As Jesus worked His way toward Jerusalem, He told His apostles that “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished” (Luke 18:31). When Jesus prayed to the Father the night of His arrest, He said “I have finished the work Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4). What was this work?

Among other things which could be mentioned, Jesus brought an end to the Law of Moses (Rom. 10:4). The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ and when it had fulfilled it’s purpose it was no longer necessary (Gal. 3:24). Paul tells us that Jesus took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross (Col. 2:14). Jesus had not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it and to fulfill it all (Matt. 5:18). That law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did (Heb. 7:19).

The law of Moses was only “a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things,” and it could “never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins” (Hebrews 10:1-2).

Daniel tells us that when Jesus came it was to “finish transgression” (Dan. 9:24). It was also to “make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” In Christ we are a “new creation” (II Cor. 5:17). Old things are passed away; all things become new! We are now cleansed of all things that we could not be cleansed of under the law of Moses (Acts 13:38,39).

The world was altered that day in a fundamental way. Man’s relationship to God was changed through the mediatorial work of the Messiah. Upon His ascension back to the Father, the way into the holiest of all was made available to man (Heb. 6:17-20). The change was so profound that the angels and prophets, themselves, sought to look into these things (I Pet. 1:10-12). The Lord “inaugurated the kingdom of God” and gave “birth to a new world.”

Eric L. Padgett

Then Judas Repented Himself

Judas was a thief. The Bible is plain about this (John 12:6). He did not care for the poor and apparently was afflicted with the root of all kinds of evil (I Tim. 6:10). Another flaw in Judas’ character was that he was hypocritical. He appeared to be concerned about the poor, he made a big speech about how the poor might have been served, when in reality he was simply money hungry (John 12:5,6). The facade worked, for some believed the act (cf. John 13:29). But what is more, he exhibited the ultimate in hypocrisy, when he would betray his Master with an apparent act of sincere friendship (Matt. 26:48; Luke 22:47,48).

Jesus’ words concerning him show the underlying fault in his character. Jesus said that there were some with Him at that time who did not believe and then, John added, that Jesus knew who it was that would betray Him (John 6:64). Later, in the same context, Jesus said “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70). Again, John adds “He spake of Judas Iscariot” (John 6:71). Later, Jesus identified Judas as the son of perdition (John 17:12). Peter would identify the character of Judas by observing that Judas would go to his own place (Acts 1:25).

His act of betrayal became notorious, apparently becoming known to all in Jerusalem (Acts 1:19). The field which was purchased with the blood money became popularly known as “the field of blood” (Acts 1:19). The seriousness of this act of betrayal is revealed by the Lord when He said that it would have been better for that man who betrayed Him if he had never been born (Matt. 26:24)!

It seems that Judas went to make arrangements for the betrayal of Jesus immediately after he, along with a few others, protested the use of the oil for the anointing of Jesus (Matt. 26:6-16). It was from this time he sought opportunity to betray the Lord (Matt. 26:16). When Jesus washed the disciples feet, He told them that they were clean, but not all, indicating that one of them would betray Him (John 13:10,11). Jesus then quotes David’s Psalm about Ahithophel, David’s close advisor who turned on him (Psalm 41:9), “He that eateth bread with Me, hath lifted up his heel against Me” (John 13:18).

Jesus said, “I know whom I have chosen” (John 13:18). This act of betrayal did not take Jesus by surprise. He had been warning the apostles that He would be betrayed and delivered to the Jews and crucified, but perhaps they did not know how close it would be to them. When Jesus finally said to them on the night of His betrayal, “One of you shall betray Me,” they all asked, “Lord is it I?” (Matt. 26:21,22). When Judas asked privately, probably to throw off suspicion from himself, “Master, is it I,” Jesus told him “Thou hast said” and “That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27). He went out immediately (John 13:30).

One would like to think that Judas had some ulterior motive, some good reason in his own mind, to do what he did. But the Bible does not give us one. Jesus chose Judas even though He knew from the beginning he would betray Him. He gave Judas every opportunity to change. His many teachings on the “deceitfulness of riches” (Matt. 12:22,23; Luke 16:11; Matt. 6:19-34; etc.) should have moved Judas, but his heart became too hardened.

But there must have been some kernel of good in Judas. There was at least enough for him to feel remorse for betraying the Lord, when he saw that He was condemned (Matt. 27:3). While he must have known the intent of the chief priests to do Jesus harm, perhaps he thought Jesus would extricate Himself from this trial as He had at other times (e.g., Luke 4:28-30). In the end, his conscience overwhelmed him and he wanted to somehow remove the guilt he felt for his crime. When he threw back the blood-money into the temple he proclaimed “I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matt. 27:4), confessing Jesus’ innocence and his own guilt.

The Bible tells us that Judas “repented himself” (Matt. 27:3). The word used here indicates a sorrow, but not for the sin, but for the consequences, of his actions. His sorrow was not of the godly sort (II Cor. 7:8-11). He did not sorrow unto repentance. Perhaps Judas never did fully understand Jesus’ teaching. Perhaps he was just weak and took the easy way out. The harder way would have been Peter’s way, to live with a knowledge of his sin and serve his Lord and acknowledge his forgiveness.

Eric L. Padgett