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The Book of Jesus

Chapter Twenty

The New Amsterdam Publishing Company
Copyright © 1997

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The Empty Tomb

NARRATOR.
When the Sabbath was over on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, Salome and certain others brought spices to anoint him. And very early in the morning they went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. The women had been saying to one another:
WOMAN.
Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?
NARRATOR.
All at once there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descended from heaven, came and rolled back the stone from the entrance of the tomb and sat on it. His face was like lightning and his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened, that they became like dead men. One of the women, Mary of Magdala, arrived at the tomb while it was still dark and seeing that the stone had been rolled back from the tomb, ran and came to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved and said to them:
MARY OF MAGDALA.
They've taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they've put him.
NARRATOR.
When the other women arrived at the tomb, just as the sun was rising, they saw that the stone, which was very big, had already been rolled back away from the tomb. And on entering the tomb, they discovered that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there.
As they stood there not knowing what to think, two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side and they were struck with amazement. Terrified, the women bowed their faces to the ground. Now one of them, a young man in a long white robe, who was sitting on the right side said to them:
MAN 1.
Don't be afraid. You're looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.
MAN 2.
Why are looking for the living among the dead.
MAN 1.
He's not here, he has risen as he said he would. Come and see the place where they laid him.
MAN 2.
See, here's the place where they laid him.
MAN 1.
Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee; that the Son of Man had to be handed over into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and rise again on the third day.
NARRATOR.
And they remembered Jesus' words.
MAN 1.
Now go quickly, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He has risen from the dead and he is going before you to Galilee. It is there you will see him, just as he told you.' Now I have told you.
NARRATOR.
Filled with fear, awe and great joy the women came out and quickly ran away from the tomb because they were frightened out of their wits and ran to tell the disciples. Having risen early in the morning on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary of Magdala, out of whom he had cast seven devils. Mary of Magdala, who had returned to the tomb after telling Peter and the other disciple that the tomb was empty, stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, the one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been placed. And they said to her:
ANGEL.
Woman, why are you weeping?
MARY OF MAGDALA.
Because they've taken away my Lord and I don't know where they've laid him.
NARRATOR.
When she had said this, she turned back and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn't know it was Jesus.
JESUS.
Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?
NARRATOR.
Mary, supposing him to be the gardener said to him:
MARY OF MAGDALA.
Sir, if you have him away, tell me where you have put him and I will go and remove him.
JESUS.
Mary.
NARRATOR.
She turned herself and said to him:
MARY OF MAGDALA.
Rabbuni.
NARRATOR.
Which is to say, Master.
JESUS.
Don't touch me, because I have not ascended to My Father. But go to my brothers and say to them: "I ascend to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God."
NARRATOR.
She then went to tell those who had been his companions what had transpired. When she arrived, they were weeping and mourning. She told them that she had seen him and had been with him and that he was alive. But they didn't believe her. Now as Mary, the mother of James and Salome were on their way back from the tomb to tell the disciples what they had seen and heard: Jesus appeared to them and said:
JESUS.
Greetings.
NARRATOR.
And the woman came up and falling down before him, clasped his feet and worshipped him.
JESUS.
Don't be afraid, go tell my brothers that they should leave for Galilee and they will see me there.
NARRATOR.
When the women returned from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The woman were Mary of Magdala, Joanna and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them also told the apostles, but their story seemed pure nonsense and they didn't believe them. Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, however went running to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and looking in saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but he did not go in.
Simon Peter who was following came up, bent down, saw the binding cloths but nothing else, went right into the tomb and saw the linen cloths on the ground. He also saw the cloth that had been over his head rolled up in a place by itself and not with the other linen cloths. Then the other disciple who reached the tomb first also went in and he saw and believed. For as yet they didn't understand the scripture, "that he must rise from the dead". The disciples then went back home again and Peter wondered in himself what was going happen.

Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18

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The Leaders Take Precautions

NARRATOR.
While they were on their way, some of the guards went into the city to tell the chief priests all the things that had occurred. They held a meeting with the elders and after discussing the matter, gave the soldiers a large sum of money saying:
CHIEF PRIESTS and ELDERS.
Say that his disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were sleeping. And if the governor should hear about this, we'll talk to him and persuade him so you don't get into trouble.
NARRATOR.
So they took the money and carried out their instructions and to this day, this story is commonly reported among the Jews.

Matthew 28:11-15

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Jesus Appears To Cleopas

NARRATOR.
That very same day two of them were on their way into the country to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem and they talked about all the things that had happened. And it occurred that as they were talking and reasoning together, Jesus himself came up and went with them, but his identity was hidden from their eyes and they didn't recognize him. And he said to them:
JESUS.
What are you discussing between yourselves that's making you so sad while you walk?
NARRATOR.
One of them, whose name was Cleopas answered him and said:
CLEOPAS.
Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem and don't know the things that have happened there these last few days.?
JESUS.
What things?
CLEOPAS and OTHERS.
The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth who proved to be a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and all the people. And how the chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would set Israel free and besides all of this, today is the third day since these things were done. And this isn't all, some woman from our group who were at the tomb early this morning have astounded us. When they didn't find his body they came back and told us that they had seen a vision of Angels, which said that he was alive. Some of our friends who were with us also went to the tomb and found it exactly as the woman had said, but they didn't see him.
JESUS.
You foolish men! So slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Shouldn't have Christ suffered these things and so enter into his glory?
NARRATOR.
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them about all the things in the scriptures that pertained to him. When they drew near to the village where they were going, he made out as if he was going further, but they pressed him to stay with them saying:
CLEOPAS and OTHERS.
Stay with us, for it's getting towards evening and the day is almost over.
NARRATOR.
So he went in and stayed with them. And it happened that as he sat at dinner with them, he took bread and blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they knew him, but he vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another:
CLEOPAS and OTHERS.
Didn't our heart burn within us while he talked with us on the road and while he opened the scriptures to us? And they rose up that same hour, returned to Jerusalem to tell the others.

Mark 16:12,13; Luke 24:13-33...

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Jesus Appears to the Eleven

NARRATOR.
Now it was still the first day of the week in the evening when they arrived in Jerusalem and found the eleven gathered together at dinner with their companions. They told them what had happened, but they didn't believe them either. They said:
CLEOPAS.
The Lord has for a fact risen and appeared to Simon.
NARRATOR.
They then recounted what had happened on the road and how they had recognized him at the breaking of bread. Now the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews. As they were speaking, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them and said:
JESUS.
Peace be with you.
NARRATOR.
But they were terrified and frightened as they thought they were seeing a spirit. But he said:
JESUS.
Why are you troubled and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves, a spirit has no flesh and bones, as you can see I have.
NARRATOR.
And when he had said these things, he showed his hands and his side to them. Their joy was so great when they saw the Lord that they still couldn't believe it and they stood there dumbfounded. He then said to them:
JESUS.
Have you anything to eat?
NARRATOR.
They offered him a piece of grilled fish. He took it and ate before their eyes. Jesus reproached their unbelief and hardness of heart because they didn't believe the ones who had seen him after he was risen.
JESUS.
These are the words which I had spoken to you while I was yet with you; that all things must be fulfilled that were written in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and in the Psalms concerning me.
NARRATOR.
He then opened their understanding so that they might understand the scriptures.
JESUS.
For it is written and because it is written it compelled Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day. And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Look, I send the promise of my Father upon you. Peace be with you, as my Father has sent me, even so I send you.
NARRATOR.
When he had said this he breathed on them and said:
JESUS.
Receive the Holy Spirit. For those sins you forgive, they are forgiven and for those whose sins you retain, they are retained. Go out into all the world and preach the Good News to every creature. He that believes and is baptized will be saved, but he that doesn't believe shall be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with those who believe: They will cast out devils in my name, they will speak with new tongues, they will pick up snakes in their hands and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them, they will lay their hands on the sick and they will recover.
NARRATOR.
And Jesus led them out as far as the outskirts of Bethany. He lifted up his hands and blessed them. Now as he blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. They worshipped him and then went back to Jerusalem full of joy and they continued in the Temple praising and blessing God. But Thomas called Didymus (the twin) who was one of the twelve was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him:
DISCIPLES.
We have seen the Lord!
THOMAS.
Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made and thirst my hand into his side, I won't believe it!
NARRATOR.
Now eight days after he had been risen, the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was among them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them.
JESUS.
Peace be with you.
NARRATOR.
Then he said to Thomas:
JESUS.
Put your finger here. Look, here are my hands, put your hand out and put it into my side. Doubt no longer, but believe.
THOMAS.
My Lord and my God.
JESUS.
Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.
NARRATOR.
The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him, they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them:
JESUS.
All authority had been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go you therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all the things whatsoever I have commanded you and know that I am with you always even to the end of time.
NARRATOR.
There were other signs that Jesus worked in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written in order that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that in believing you might have life through his name.

Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-19...; Luke 24:...33-53; John 20:19-31

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The Compassion of Jesus

NARRATOR.
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Galilee and it occurred like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the Sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said:
PETER.
I'm going fishing.
OTHERS.
We'll also go with you.
NARRATOR.
They went out and got into the boat, but they didn't catch anything that night. When morning had come, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn't know that it was Jesus. Jesus then said to them:
JESUS.
Friends, have you caught anything?
OTHERS.
No.
JESUS.
Cast the net out on the starboard side of the boat and you'll find something.
NARRATOR.
They dropped the net and caught so many fish that they couldn't haul it in. The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter:
DISCIPLE.
It's the Lord!
NARRATOR.
Now when Peter, who had practically nothing on, heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his fisherman's coat around him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat as they weren't far from land. Being only about a 100 yards from shore, they dragged the net and the fish with them. As soon as they came ashore, they saw a charcoal fire with some fish cooking on it and some bread. Jesus then said to them:
JESUS.
Bring some of the fish you've just caught.
NARRATOR.
Simon Peter went back to the boat and dragged the net ashore full of big fish, one hundred and fifty three of them. And in spite of there being so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said:
JESUS.
Come and have some breakfast.
NARRATOR.
But none of the disciples asked; "Who are you?"; for they knew that it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them. He then gave them some fish also. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples after he was risen from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter:
JESUS.
Simon, son of John, do you love me?
PETER.
Yes Lord, you know that I love you!
JESUS.
Feed my lambs. Simon, son of John, do you love me?
PETER.
Yes Lord, you know that I love you!!
JESUS.
Look after my sheep. Simon, son of John, do you love me?
NARRATOR.
Peter was upset that he asked him a third time, "Do you love me?"
PETER.
Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you!
JESUS.
Feed my sheep. I tell you most solemnly, when you were young, you put on your own belt and walked wherever you wanted to, but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will put a belt round you and take you where you don't want to go.
NARRATOR.
Jesus said this, indicating the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. When he had said this, he said to Peter:
JESUS.
Follow me.
NARRATOR.
Then Peter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them; the one who had leaned on his breast at supper and said; "Lord, who is it that betrays you?" Peter seeing him said to Jesus:
PETER.
What about him, Lord?
JESUS.
If I want him to stay behind until I come, what does it concern you. You follow me!
NARRATOR.
The rumor then went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus didn't say to him that he wouldn't die, but "If I want him to stay behind until I come, what does it concern you?" This is the disciple who vouches for these things and wrote these things and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did and if they all would have been written down, I suppose that even the world itself could not hold all the books that would have to be written. So then after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it. Amen.

Mark 16:...19,20; John 21:1-25

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