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let him go and tell his brethren some message from the word, go and do his duty and work for Christ, and he shall find in his own experience, that it is more blessed to give than to receive, that whilst he comforts others he is himself comforted; and like the freezing traveller in the Alps, as he labours to recall life to the stiffening frame of another, it begins to flow more warmly in his own veins. In the path of duty, his obedience shall be commonly rewarded, as that of the women, by meeting Christ at some unexpected point, and hearing from his lips the gracious benediction, “All hail !" and he shall receive the blessing invoked upon the well-beloved Gaius by the loving disciple, and prosper and be in health even as his soul prospereth.
3. Jesus worshipped. “They came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."
The fact that strikes us here is, that Christ permitted the women to do that now, which he forbade to Mary but a few moments before. Why was this ? Not because he loved them more than her, for to her he granted the most signal mark of his favour, in first appearing to her. The reason is to be found in the difference of feeling that prompted the act. Mary embraced his feet, because she thought that Christ had returned to remain on earth, and set up an earthly kingdom, and her act expressed this conviction, and was an
utterance of welcome. Hence, Jesus forbade it, and assured her that the time for this joyous reunion had not arrived. “Touch me not!" (with such views and expectations as these,) "for I am not yet ascended to my Father and your Father," have not yet reached that final home and rest, where these hopes and feelings shall be realized and may properly be expressed.
But with the women, the feeling was adoration, not gratulation; “They fell at his feet and wor. shipped him," thus recognizing him as the Divine Redeemer, the Son of God, so declared with power by the resurrection of the dead. This feeling Jesus allowed to be expressed, and thus gave the most emphatic sanction to his Divinity, by permitting an act which evinced adoration of him as God, whilst he forbade the same act, when it only expressed affection for him as man. Had he not been aware that he had a right to this worship as God, he would have rejected it with as much horror as Paul and Barnabas did at Lystra, or the angel did in the Apocalypse. But receiving the embrace of worship, whilst he forbade that of wel. come, he gave the most impressive attestation to the fact that he was “God manifest in the flesh ;" “the Word that was God, made flesh and dwelling among men;" the son of David, yet “God over all, blessed for ever."
4. The brotherly appellation. “Go, tell my brethren."
The ordinary name given by Jesus to his followers was “disciples." He never applied the term “brethren " to them but once before, and there it was made necessary by the remarks to which he replied. “Whoso doeth the will of my Father, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Here for the first time, as a spontaneous appellation, he calls them his brethren.
The reason of this is obvious, and lays bare the touching tenderness of his heart. The disciples had forsaken him and fled, and in unbelieving despair, had given up all as lost. Hence, when they heard that he had risen from the dead, their first feeling would be that they had forfeited all claims to his regard, and been cut off from all relation to him. It was in beautiful condescension to these fears, and relief to these accusings, that he addressed them, after all this cowardice and unbelief, not as culprits or deserters, not even as disciples or friends, but with the endearing, and as yet unusual name of "brethren."
It is this long-suffering tenderness of Jesus that binds our hearts to him with so much constraining power. We also have forsaken, forgotten, and disbelieved him, have lost our first love and backslidden from him. Had he treated us as we have him, we would long ago have been hopelessly rejected. But in all our wanderings, as soon as he has seen the rising of a penitent desire to return, his message to us has ever been, “Go tell my brethren to return, and learn how freely Jesus can forgive.” That this forgiving and loving heart is even now throbbing on the throne, he gave us token in this brotherly message that he sent to the sinning disciples, at the very threshold of heaven. The long-suffering that he had at the very door of our Father's house with its many mansions, he has still, for "he is not ashamed to call them brethren,” Heb. ii. 11.
5. The brotherly message. “Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”
This message was in direct reference to the promise made before, Matt. xxvi. 32, “After I am risen again I will go before you into Galilee." It was therefore an assurance to them, that although they had been unfaithful to him, he would not be so to them, but would keep his promises.
But why did he make this appointment in Galilee? Why not in Judea ? Judea was nearer to Jerusalem, and a more highly esteemed district of the country. For these very reasons he probably chose Galilee. It was the most distant, and the least esteemed. There was many an humble heart in Galilee that longed to meet him, but could not because of disease, old age, distance, or
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poverty, and for the sake of such he appointed the meeting there. It was then but another token of his love. This love appeared during all his public career. He seems to have had a yearning tenderness toward the despised Galileans. His first miracle was in Cana of Galilee; his first teaching was there; his sermon on the mount was delivered in Galilee; he was transfigured there; in Capernaum of Galilee he made his home; on the sea of Galilee he walked the waves at midnight, and stilled the storm; on the shores of that sea he called the fishermen of Galilee by miracles wrought in its waters; on the mountains that look down on that sea he spent long nights in prayer; and from Galilee came those loving women who were last at the cross and first at the sepulchre. Hence it was a new token of his love.
To us he has left also an appointment, to meet him not in Galilee or Lebanon, but in "Mount Zion, the city of the living God;" and that appointment also he will keep, if we are but faithful. He “will come again and receive us to himself," in that place that is “preparing" for us, just as we are preparing for it. Let us endeavour to be ready for this meeting, when the summons comes.