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Episode 41 – John 20 – I Am Alive: The Resurrection
This week we study John 20, the resurrection of Jesus. This is THE event of the life of Christ, the pivotal moment when death was conquered. Sharon begins her lecture with a look at Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, two of the individuals who played important roles after the crucifixion. Nicodemus brings 100 pounds of myrrh and aloe to anoint the body of Jesus in a manner truly fit for a king. Jesus’ body is placed in the newly hewn tomb gifted by Joseph of Arimathea, which recalls that just as the infant Jesus was carried in the virginal womb of Mary, he was laid to rest in the untouched tomb near Golgotha.
As Jesus passed through the walls of Mary leaving her ever-virgin, he can walk through locked doors as well. Sharon goes on to tell us more details about myrrh and the burial customs of first-century Israel. The Catholic Chrism oil of today, prefigured in Exodus 30, contains myrrh as one of its ingredients. Myrrh was used not only to anoint Jesus’ body, but it was also a gift of the Magi, showing how this oil was used at Jesus’ birth and when he was born again at the resurrection.
Sharon then focused on additional details of this passage, including how John notes that the linen facecloth was rolled up separately from the burial linens. Had the body of Jesus been stolen, these valuable linens would also have been taken by grave robbers. We then learn more about Mary Magdalene, a woman of means who traveled with Jesus, providing assistance to him and the apostles. Mary Magdalene becomes the apostle to the apostles, being the first to proclaim to them the event of the resurrection. At first, mistaking Jesus for a gardener, Mary recognizes him as he calls her name. By eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the old Adam was banished from the garden by disobedience. Jesus is the new Adam who, through obedience to the Father, provides entry into the new garden where we now eat from the new tree of life, the Eucharist.
Later, Jesus appears to the ten apostles (Thomas and Judas are missing), where they experience a private Pentecost. As the Father breathed the spirit of life into Adam, Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into the apostles, giving them the authority to forgive sins, something only God can do. Because they are acting in persona Christi, in the person of Christ, the apostles and their successors become the permanent solution to the permanent problem of sin, replacing the Jewish high priest who once a year offered sacrifice for the atonement of sin, a temporary solution to the permanent problem of sin.
Finally, Sharon concludes this lecture by comparing Jesus’ reaction to Mary Magdalene and Thomas. Jesus does not want Mary to touch and cling to him, yet he invites Thomas to intimately touch his wounds. Why? Thomas, as well as the other apostles, are the new priesthood and Jesus invites Thomas to enter fully into the mystery of his humanity and divinity. Priests are called to immerse themselves into the suffering of Christ in a special way, whereby they become conduits of grace and bring us the sacraments. This mystery helps us understand the words of St Paul: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations (Col 1: 24-26).” By entering into the sufferings of Christ, the priesthood replaces what is lacking (the physical presence of Christ) and makes the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations.
Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.
For more in this series, visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page.
“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more, go to www.seekingtruth.net