Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene (Mk 16:9-16:9)

“Now when Jesus

Rose early

On the first day

Of the week,

He appeared first

To Mary Magdalene,

From whom

He had cast out

Seven demons.”

 

Ἀναστὰς δὲ πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββάτου ἐφάνη πρῶτον Μαρίᾳ τῇ Μαγδαληνῇ, παρ’ ἧς ἐκβεβλήκει ἑπτὰ δαιμόνια.

 

Next, we have the longer ending of Mark that contains the appearances or apparitions of the risen Jesus that can be found in the other gospel stories.  This too was an addition to the original ending, but it was in Greek, probably from the late second or early third century.  It was included in the Latin Vulgate and the King James English version of the Bible, so that it is found in most Bibles today.  This particular text is similar to Matthew, chapter 28:9, where Jesus appeared to the women as they were leaving the tomb.  Luke, chapter 24:10, had the women tell the apostles about the resurrection, without Jesus appearing to them.  In John, chapter 20:14-17, Mary Magdalene has a conversation with the risen Jesus.  Clearly Mary Magdalene was involved in these incidents at the tomb.  Here Mark said that the risen Jesus (Ἀναστὰς) first appeared to Mary Magdalene (ἐφάνη πρῶτον Μαρίᾳ τῇ Μαγδαληνῇ,) early on the first day of the week (δὲ πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββάτου).  In this unique text, it explicitly said that this was the Mary Magdalene that Jesus had cast out 7 demons from (παρ’ ἧς ἐκβεβλήκει ἑπτὰ δαιμόνια).

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They were astonished and afraid (Mk 16:8-16:8)

“Thus,

The women went out.

They fled

From the tomb.

Terror

And amazement

Had seized them.

They said nothing

To anyone.

They were afraid.”

 

καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, εἶχεν γὰρ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις· καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπαν· ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.

 

This text is similar to Matthew, chapter 28:8, but there they left with joy and fear and told the other disciples.  Luke, chapter 24:10, had Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, and the other women tell the apostles about the resurrection.  In John, chapter 20:2, Mary Magdalene told Peter and the other beloved disciple about Jesus’ resurrection.  Here Mark said that these 3 women, left or fled from the tomb (καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου) with both terror and amazement (εἶχεν γὰρ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις).  However, they did not tell anyone (καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπαν) because they were so afraid (ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ).  This seems to be in contradiction with the other 3 gospel stories.

Jesus found them asleep again (Mk 14:40-14:40)

“Once more,

Jesus came.

He found them

Sleeping.

Their eyes

Were very heavy.

They did not know

What to say to him.”

 

καὶ πάλιν ἐλθὼν εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ καταβαρυνόμενοι, καὶ οὐκ ᾔδεισαν τί ἀποκριθῶσιν αὐτῷ.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:43, but there is an addition about the apostles being embarrassed and not able to say anything here.  In Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 22, there is nothing more about these 2nd and 3rd visits of Jesus.  Mark recounted that Jesus again came (καὶ πάλιν ἐλθὼν) and this time he again found his 3 disciples sleeping (εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας), because their eyes were heavy or overburdened (ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ καταβαρυνόμενοι).  This was the 2nd time that he found his 3 trusted apostles sleeping.  There were no excuses, except that they were tired.  They did not know what to answer to Jesus (καὶ οὐκ ᾔδεισαν τί ἀποκριθῶσιν αὐτῷ).  They had failed to stay awake and be vigilant, pure and simple.

Invited guests refuse to come to the wedding banquet (Mt 22:3-22:3)

“The king sent

His slaves

To call those

Who had been invited

To the wedding banquet.

But they would not come.”

 

καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους εἰς τοὺς γάμους, καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν.

 

This is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 14:17.  Jesus continued with this parable.  The king sent his slaves (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ) to call the invited guests (καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους) to the wedding feast or banquet (εἰς τοὺς γάμους).  However, they would not come or did not wish to come (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν).  Now, this was a problem.  They have refused an invitation to the wedding banquet of God, the Father, the king.  He had sent his slaves, the prophets or the apostles, to call them, but they still did not want to come to the wedding feast.

The Early Growth of Christianity

Under the leadership of the apostles Peter and Paul, who both died around the year 64 CE, the early Christian community grew from Jerusalem to Rome, from a Palestinian Jewish sect to a more universal group that included Gentile non-Jewish people, all around the Mediterranean area.  The travels of Paul as found in the Acts of the Apostles and his letters give a glimpse into what was happening back then.  The followers of Jesus Christ began to differentiate themselves from the Rabbinic Judaism that was developing at the same time.

Universal letters

There are seven other letters that are not addressed to a specific church, but are more universal in nature.  They are the three letters that have been attributed to John, although there is no explicit mention of his name in them.  They are 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John, dating from 100-110 CE.  There are two letters that explicitly say that they are from Peter, 1 Peter and 2 Peter, written sometime between the late 60s and 130 CE.  Then there are the individually named letters from James, from the 90s-100 CE, and Jude, from 70-90 CE.  These letters have the purported authors as the apostles of the early Christian communities, John, Peter, James, and Jude.