by Rob Lundberg
Continuing on in this series, I would like to tell, in case you have not picked this up, but the objections we are addressing are We have seen up to this point that the Garden Tomb accounts demonstrate very clearly that the gospel writers’ personalities were in tact toward what the Spirit inspired each of writers in what they chose to write under the guise of the Holy Spirit.
For skeptics like the one who challenged me, this next posting is going to reinforce my argument point even stronger. That is what the gospels reflect is what the Holy Spirit directed each writer to pen down. Whether each gospel writer is a direct eyewitness or an indirect eyewitness receiving direct eyewitness testimony, everything they wrote was guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
As it has been in this series, I will stay consistent in how I approach the objection. First I will set it up and then respond to it.
Setting up the “Problem”
As you will see from the charges made by the skeptic, at least in this instance, that there is much neglect to the context of the entire event. Here is what is challenged in this objection:
#1: In speaking to Matthew’s gospel it has been alleged that the angel invited the two women into the tomb and told them to inform the disciples that he would be showing up in Galilee. (Matt 28:1-8)
#2: In Mark’s gospel the person states that the “man in white tells them to inform the disciples that he’ll be showing up in Galilee.” (Mark 16:1-8)
#3: It is challenged that the “two men in white don’t speak.” (Luke 24:1-12) and
#4: Our skeptical friend asserts that Mary Magdalene “finds Peter and tells him the stone is rolled away and that she also informs the “beloved disciple.”” (John 20:1-13)
So, What Do the Passages Say?
So that there is no question to the texts that are being challenged, I am going to quote the passages so that we can review them in the response.
Matthews gospel: 5″The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6”He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7″Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
Mark’s gospel: 6″And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7″But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.‘”
Luke’s gospel: 5“and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6”He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (Please be reminded that our skeptic stated that the angels/men in white do not speak)
John’s gospel: 13 “And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.“
A Response to this Multi-leveled Objection.
The common message that was told the women here in these passages is that “He is not here” (Matt. 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6). John’s gospel gives us a totally different perspective of the empty tomb through the persons that he chose to record under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Mary gives us the impression that the grave is empty. She is the only one in the account that is questioning where Jesus is, but the fact does not change that she would receive news that Jesus was risen.
The challenger of these passages makes the statement that Luke’s gospel that the angels (men) did not say anything (#3). In all actual fact, the words of the angels (men) are recorded for us in 24:6, “He is not here, but He has risen.” This shows us that the challenge is demonstrating the typical tactic of “cherry picking” and not looking at the entire context of the account before presenting their objection. If they honestly looked at the context and thought it through, chances are they would not see the problem they think is there in their delusion.
Given that we have these facts in hand, it is very clear that while the writers wrote different words, and that they had different audiences, it still remains clear that these passages are not in contradiction to any of the others in this instance.
Rob is a blogger, writer and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and to communicate the message of the gospel to a confused culture in a confused, chaotic, “brave new world.” He is available to come and speak to your church, college club, or group. Find out what people are saying.
If you would like to book Rob for a speaking event, you can do so by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org If you have other questions about apologetics or doing apologetics, or if you are looking for apologetics resources, contact our ministry by email.