Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Luke 24:1-13

English Standard Version (ESV)

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

3 Responses to “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

  1. Fr Paul Fenech says:

    The women saw the stone rolled away and did not find the body of Jesus there and were perplexed. Peter saw the linen cloths by themselves and was narvelled. None of them believed. Because by themselves, these facts need to be interpreted. Some would see in them signs of Chrit’s rising from the death, whilst others may see in them signs that the body of Jesus was stolen! The women believed when the two men reminded them of what Jesus had said some time before, and they remembered. Because faith comes from hearing the Word of God.

  2. Fr Paul Fenech says:

    v.4 “behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.”
    It is only in the Gospel of Luke, from all the Synoptics, that we encounter these two men at the Resurrection. In Mark’s story there is only one “young man” mentioned (16:5). Surely, St Luke must have had something in mind. Maybe only other “two men” mentioned in his Gospel at the transfiguration of the Lord (9:28-36). There, the one with shining appearance was Jesus. Luke uses the same basic Greek adjective “astrapto” (shining, dazzling, glistering) only twice in his Gospel, precisely on these two occasions! So, could these two men have been Moses and Eliah? Now they are shining because Jesus is in glory.
    Now, what is the role of these two men in this passage? It is very similar to that of Moses and Eliah at the transfiguration. There, the latter represented the Old Testament, all that God had revealed through the Law and the Prophets. They were a reminder to Peter, James and John of what was said about the coming Saviour and Messaiah. They were the best preparation for them to listen to what God the Father now had to say: “He is my beloved Son: hear him!” The same are doing these two men here: they are reminding the women of what Jesus had told them not so long before about His destiny. As soon as they remembered, something happened in them. We are left to guess what. You do not need much effort to understand what happened. While in Mark’s narrative, the young man ordered the women to go and tell the Good News to the apostles (16:7), here, there was no need to be given that order, they immedeatly go to share the News. They hear, they remember, they believe. We see the same thing happening with the two disciples of Emmaws: “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he (Jesus) expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Lk 24:27). They heard, they remembered (that is, they saw the connection with, and in the breaking of the bread), and their eyes were opened to believe!

  3. Fr. Paul Fenech says:

    v. 5 “…’Why do you seek the living among the dead?'”
    Actually, the women were not seeking the living among the dead. They went to the tomb with spices and ointment, in order to treat the dead body of Jesus as it was custom in those days, and for which they did not have the time of doing when He was laid down there just before the beginning of the Sabbath day. They were seeking the dead among the dead. Their perplexity is quite understandable; not that they might have had least idea that He might have risen, but the natural perplexity at what might have happened to the dead body.
    Once they were evangelized, given the News of His resurrection, according to His own words, and truly they remembered them (because faith comes from hearing), and believed the Good News of those men, that Jesus is alive, then the words of those men were more than logical: why should they seek the living among the dead?!
    Thanks to the guidance of those two men, the women understood that that was not the place where they should be! In fact, had they believed the words of Jesus announced to them and to all His disciples (some six times in the Gospel of Luke), they would have never spent all that money in the spices, and they would have never departed for the tomb. Thanks to their “unbelief”, today we have their witness, confirmed by that of Peter and John, of the empty tomb. Jesus is no dead anymore, to seek Him among the dead is useless and waist of time and energy. We will never find Him there.

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