Sunday's readings:
Entrance antiphon Psalms 139:18, 5-6 or Luke 24:34; Revelation 1:6.
First Reading Acts 10:34a, 37-43. Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23;
Second reading Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8.
Gospel for morning Mass: John 20:1-9 or Luke 24:1-12.
For an afternoon or evening Mass: Luke 24:13-15.

In the entrance antiphon we declare our joy on the day we commemorate the Resurrection of the Christ!
The first reading: Acts 10:34a, 37-43. In the first reading we hear St. Peter's speech to the household of the Roman Centurion Cornelius, a God-fearing Gentile who is ready to embrace Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Peter proclaims the living Christ, his life, His death, and His Resurrection. He begins by announcing that the revelation of God's choice of Israel did not mean that He withheld His divine favor from the Gentiles. He tells his Gentile converts that God's revelation of His divine plan for the salvation of humanity through Israel culminated in Jesus of Nazareth-God the Son. Jesus was put to death crucifixion, but Peter uses the significant phrase "by hanging him on a tree"-the sign of one under the Law of Moses who was cursed, to convey that Jesus, who was without sin, took upon Himself the sins of the old covenant people and all mankind for the sake of our salvation (Dt 21:22 ; also see Acts 5:30). As St. Paul explained in Galatians 3:13: Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who hands on a tree," that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Then Peter testified, having been a witness to the events, that Jesus arose from the dead on the third day (Acts 10:39, 41) and has commissioned His disciples to preach the Gospel of salvation by testifying that Jesus is "the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead" and that "everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name" (Acts 10:42-43).

Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23. The psalm begins by proclaiming God's enduring love for His people (verses 1-2). Verses 16-17 speak of "the Lord's right hand" that has been "lifted high," which we understand to be Christ who has given us life and victory over death. The last verses of the psalm makes us think of the opening of the gates of heaven by our Savior (CCC 1026) so that the righteous might one day enter into His heavenly Sanctuary and receive the gift of eternal salvation.

The second reading from Colossians 3:1-4 tells about the implications of the events of Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection for all of us. It is through our Christian baptism that we have died to our sinful selves and have been raised up to new life in Christ Jesus. St. Paul urges us to "Think of what is above, not what is on earth" (Col 3:2). It is the risen, living Christ that is the source of our salvation, and He has freed us from the false attachments to the material things of this world. One day He will return and at that time we will live with Christ in the presence of God.

The alternative second reading is 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8. Leaven, zyme in the Greek text, is an old piece of sour dough used for its fermenting properties that is in fact a form of corruption of the original piece of dough. When the sour zyme is added into a new batch of dough, it "corrupts" the entire batch in a process that produces a light and airy loaf of bread when baked. In Scripture leaven is used as both a positive and a negative example. Leavened bread was permitted to be eaten in the communal meal of the Toda "thanksgiving offering" (Lev 7:13) and for the "firstfruits" of the wheat harvest (Lev 23:7). Jesus uses leaven as a positive example in His teaching on the growth of the Kingdom (Mt 13:33; Lk 13:20-21). But, in Scripture leaven is also a natural symbol for sin. Since leaven induces fermentation, which is a form of corruption, it is a good symbol for sin which becomes a source of corruption that becomes all pervasive in a life like leaven in dough. Leavent is used by St. Paul as a negative example in this passage as it is by Jesus in Matthew 16:6-11; Mark 8:15 and Luke 12:1. St. Paul teaches that Christ, the true Pascal Lamb, destroys the old leaven of sin and makes possible a holy life of which unleavened bread is the symbol (also see Gal 5:9). It is the reason Latin Rite Catholics use unleavened bread in their offering for the Eucharist while the Eastern Rites use leavened bread. The rejection of leaven as a symbol for sin is also found in the Old Testament prohibitions and commands of the Law. For example leavened bread was prohibited in sacrifices that were burned on God's holy altar (Lev 2:4). It was also prohibited during the celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in which leaven was a viewed as a sign of the corrupting influence of evil on human nature and a symbol for sin which can easily multiply and spread through God's holy community. All leaven, including any old bread containing leaven, was to be removed from the houses of the covenant people and no leaven products were to be consumed for a period from noon on the day of the Passover sacrifice until the completion of the feast of Unleavened Bread at the conclusion of the Sacred Assembly on the 21st of Nisan, eight days later (Ex 12:8, 15, 17-20; 13:6-7; 23:15; 34:18; Mishnah: Pesahim, 1:3-1:4; 10:1A).

The Gospel reading: John 20:1-9
Notice that the word "tomb" is repeated seven times in nine verses (vs. 1 twice, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8).
It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,' she said, 'and we don't know where they have put him.' So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead (underlining added).

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark... Literally "day one of the week," a Hebrew idiom.

Fr. Brown in his commentary for Anchor Bible points out that the use of the Greek word for the 4th Watch proi [pro-ee], translated here as "very early" may be evidence that John is using Roman time. The Jews and Romans had the night watches separated into the same time divisions but the Jews did not use this word for the 4th Watch. The 4th Watch was from 3AM to dawn. The use of this word and that it is still dark suggests it is the time of the 4th Watch Roman time [the Roman day began at 12 midnight].

... the first day of the week.
#1: It is Sunday which was also the first day of Creation [Saturday was day 7 therefore day #1 had to be Sunday]. Resurrection Sunday is the first day of the New Creation in Christ!
#2: According to the schedule of the 7 Sacred Feasts, this day is the Feast of Firstfruits which in Leviticus 23:5-14 was celebrated the day after the Sabbath of the week of Passover/Unleavened Bread.
#3: This day was to become the New Covenant Sabbath: the day set aside for man to commune with God. It is the Lord's Day, the day of worship for New Covenant believers.

As Christians we no longer keep the Old Covenant Sabbath, Saturday. The Old Covenant is fulfilled. All creation has been redeemed and it is now the time of the New Covenant "Day of the Lord." Palm Sunday, the Resurrection, Jesus' second appearance to the 11 Apostles, and Pentecost all fell on Sundays. After Pentecost it became the custom for the New Covenant Church to worship on the first day of the week (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10; also Matthew 28:1). As Catholics we still observe the Old Covenant custom of the day beginning at sundown and so our Sunday Vigil Mass takes place at sundown on Saturday (although many priests have forgotten this connection and fail to change the Mass times in the Spring and Summer to coincide with the setting of the sun and the beginning of the next liturgical day).

The day after the Sabbath of the Holy Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the day God ordained annual feast of Firstfruits. Jesus arose from the dead on this feast. Please consult the chart The Seven Sacred Feasts of the Old Covenant in the Charts and Resources section of the website. It is important to ask #1 what was the purpose of the Feast of Firstfruits and #2 how was it fulfilled in Christ? See Leviticus 23:10-14; Romans 8:22-23; 1 Corinthians 10:1-3; 15:20-23; and Revelation 14:4. When the children of Israel took possession of the Promised Land and reaped the harvest, every year they were to bring the first sheaf of the barley harvest and present it to the Lord on the first day after the Sabbath of Passover Week. That meant that this feast would always be celebrated on a Sunday, unlike the other feasts (except the Feast of Weeks) where the day of the feast was set at a specific date and the day of the week for the feast would change from year to year. In addition to the firstfruits of the barley harvest (the first of the grain to ripen for harvesting in the spring), it was ordained that an unblemished male lamb must be sacrificed. Offered along with the lamb of sacrifice and the cereal offering was a cake of unleavened wheat flour (this festival observance is within the 7-day Feast of Unleavened bread but only unleavened bread could be offered on God's holy altar) mixed with oil as food and a libation of red wine for the Lord God (Lev 23:12-13). In advance of this sacrifice, nothing was to be eaten from the newly harvested grain (Leviticus 23:14). This feast commemorated the crossing of the Red Sea (1 Cor 10:1-3) when the Exodus generation of the Israelites became the "Firstfruits" of a free people, and their children became the "Firstfruits" of the covenant people living in the Promised Land. It was commanded to be a perpetual sacrifice (Lev 23:14)-the Passover and Fest of Unleavened Bread are not described as perpetual sacrifices.  

After Jesus' Resurrection on the Feast of Firstfruits, the Pharisees who were the ruling party of the Sanhedrin changed the date of this feast to Nisan 16. We do not know exactly when this change took place but we do know the Sadducees continued to hold that the Scripture passage in Leviticus 23:11 be interpreted literally and the Karaite Jews, a sect of modern Judaism that considers themselves to be the descendants of the Sadducees, continue to celebrate this feast on the first day after the Sabbath of Passover week-on a Sunday. We do know, however, that by the time Josephus wrote his history of the Jews (circa 80/90 AD) the change initiated by the Pharisees was accepted and Firstfruits was designated as the 16th of Nisan. Josephus records that Pentecost (and therefore Firstfruits that determined the celebration of Pentecost fifty days later as the ancients counted without the concept of a zero-place value) used to always fall on the first day of the week, Sunday (Antiquities of the Jews, 13. 8.4 [252]). With the exception of the Jewish Karaites and the Samaritans, who celebrate Firstfruits on a Sunday, modern Jews do not keep the special observance of this "perpetual" feast, but Christians do keep the perpetual observance in the Feast of the Resurrection of the Lamb of God who provides our food of the unleavened bread and wine to nourish His faithful on their journey to salvation! See the chart in the Appendix to this lesson.

#2.   How was this feast fulfilled in Christ? Jesus Christ is Himself the "firstfruits" of the New Creation who makes possible the first fruits of the harvest of souls into heaven that will result in the Resurrection of the righteous dead at the end of time: We are well aware that the whole creation, until this time, has been groaning in labor pains. And not only that: we too, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we are groaning inside ourselves, waiting with eagerness for our bodies to be set free (Romans 8:22-23). It is through our baptism into Christ's death and Resurrection that we have now become re-born into the family of God. In 1Corinthians 10:1-3 and 1Corinthians 15:20-23 St Paul writes about these "firstfruits": In fact, however, Christ has been raised from the dead, as the firstfruits of all who have fallen asleep. As it was by one man that death came, so through one man has come the resurrection of the dead. Just as all die in Adam, so in Christ all will be brought to life; but all of them in their proper order: Christ the firstfurits, and next, at his coming, those who belong to him.

Jesus Christ is the Resurrected Firstborn Son of God. He is the true Lamb of the Sacrifice and now in our New Covenant liturgical feast we unite ourselves to His sacrifice and in turn receive Him in what has the appearance of cake of unleavened wheat and wine (which was also offered along with the sacrifice of the lamb at the feast of Firstfruits).  He is food for our souls, and in consuming Christ we become part of His holy sacrifice.

Returning to verse 1: John seems to indicate that Mary Magdala is alone, although "the other Mary" [of Clopas] may have accompanied her or followed soon after her [see Matthew 28:1]. The other Gospels list Mary Magdala as one of several women who go to the tomb of Christ on the first day of the week [Sunday]. Mark 16:1 names these women, along with Salome the mother of James and John Zebedee, at the tomb just when the sun "had risen", or "was rising." Luke does not mention how many women went to the tomb; he writes that they went "at the first sign of dawn". It may be that Mary (or both Marys) went first before dawn and the others came at first light. There may have been 2 or 3 groups of women going to the tomb that morning. See the chart "Harmony of the Gospels: The Resurrection".

But Mary, the mother of Jesus is missing. Perhaps because she knows He is no longer in the tomb. Her Son had risen as God's Firstfruits of the New Creation. The disciple Mary of Magdala, a woman from a fishing village on the shores of the Galilee, is a central figure in the story of the Resurrection. She is mentioned 12 times in the Gospels:

27:56 15:40 8:2 19:25
27:61 15:47 8:2 20:1
28:1 16:1   20:18

Mary of Magdala is only mentioned at the cross and in the Resurrection accounts with the exception of Luke 8:2 where we learn that Jesus had exorcised this woman, casting out 7 evil spirits. Luke also includes the information that she was one of several wealthy women (with Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward, and Susanna) who provided for Jesus and his disciples out of their own resources. According to some traditions she is the sinful woman who anointed Jesus at the home of Simon the Pharisee, but the identity of this woman as Mary Magdala is not confirmed, nor is she ever identified in Scripture as a prostitute.

Mark and Luke record that the women had come to the tomb with aromatic resins and herbs to anoint Jesus' body on this 3rd day that Jesus was in the tomb (as the ancients counted with no zero place value). The women did not come the day before because the day after the crucifixion (beginning at sundown) was the Jewish Sabbath.  The Sabbath was a day of rest and no work was to be accomplished, even preparing the dead. The women met on the way to the tomb. The Gospel of Mark records that the women were concerned about who would help them roll the stone away from the tomb entrance, but when they arrived they discovered that the stone-which was very big - had already been rolled back (Mark 16:3-4).

... she saw that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.
Here the expression "the other disciple" is joined for the first time to "the beloved" or "the one whom Jesus loved" which helps us identify the "other disciple" who had access to the house of the high priest Annas, as John, or at least as the same man as the "beloved disciple." You will notice that from the time of the preparation of the Upper Room for the Passover Meal in Luke's Gospels and from now on in the Gospel of John as well as in Acts of Apostles, and Galatians, Peter will always be paired with John. This pairing helps to confirm the identity of the "beloved Apostle" as St. John, as he is identified by the Fathers of the Church [see Luke 22:8; Acts 1:13; 3:1, 3, 4, 11; 4:1, 3, 7, 13, 19, 23; 8:14, 17, 25; Galatians 2:9].

"They have taken him out of the tomb," she said, "and we don't know where they have put him."
Mary's "we" confirms the Synoptic accounts that other women were with her. Luke 24:10-11 records that Joanna and Mary the mother of James went with her to tell the Apostles the news of Christ's Resurrection. The Synoptic Gospels record that at first the Apostles did not believe the women.

 Verses 3-5 So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground but did not go in.

Instead of "reached the tomb" the text literally reads came into the tomb. Most tombs had a narrow hall-like entrance that opened into a wider room. The "other disciple" must have entered the tomb and then peering into the wider room observed the burial cloths.

If this "other disciple" is indeed John, he is a much younger man than Simon Peter and it is reasonable that he should run faster. He did not enter the tomb first because he recognized the priority and the superiority of Peter, the one to whom Jesus entrusted the "keys of the kingdom" in Matthew 16:16-18.  John is acknowledging Peter as Christ's choice as the leader of the Apostles. From now on, when the Apostles are listed, Peter is listed first, as always, but now John is listed immediately after Peter [see Acts 1:13].

There must have been enough daylight to see into the interior of the tomb. This suggests that the opening of the tomb faced east. It is interesting that the instructions for God's Tabernacle were that it was always to face toward the east (Exodus 27:13; 38:13). The Temple in Jerusalem was also built facing east, as were all early Christian churches including St. Peter's in Rome.

Verses 6-8 Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloths lying on the ground and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.

Once again John mentions linen cloths in the plural. This reference is probably to the sidon, or burial shroud, and the soudarion, or cloth that had covered Jesus' head when He was taken down from the cross and then used in His burial. John mentions such a cloth as part of Lazarus' burial garb (see Jn 11:44). It was the practice for a cloth to be passed under the chin and tied on top of the head to prevent the mouth of the deceased from falling open. The disciple probably observed these cloths lying on the shelf of the tomb where the body had laid. The observation that the one cloth was still rolled up could indicate it was still rolled in an oval loop and the ends tied as it had been when it had been around Jesus' head and chin. It was separate perhaps because it was still lying where Christ's head had been while the shroud itself was in a heap at the other end of the burial bed or on the floor of the tomb. The shroud of Turin is over 14 feet long.

There are two relics known as the "soudarion" of Christ (also spelled sudarium). One is the relic of the image of the face of Jesus on the veil of the woman who has come to be known as Veronica (name meaning "true image"). This holy cloth is in Rome. The other is the cloth that was placed over Christ's face when His body was removed from the cross and used in His burial because it contained His bloodstains. The blood must accompany the body that is why a person who died a violent death was not washed in preparation for burial. This soudarion is kept in Oviado, Spain and the blood on this cloth exactly matches the blood type of the bloodstains on the face of the man of the Shroud of Turin-AB positive.

What did the "beloved disciple" see that made him believe? What he believed, of course, was that Jesus had been raised from the dead but was it simply the empty tomb and the burial clothes? What did he see that made him believe Jesus had been resurrected? This is a mystery. Some scholars contend that this disciple did not suddenly come to believe in the Resurrection but was now convinced that Mary Magdala had spoken the truth when she said that the body was missing. Ancient scholars have made the suggestion that it is seeing the burial clothes that supported his belief in Jesus' Resurrection because if Jesus' body had been taken by grave robbers they would have taken the body still wrapped in the clothes to avoid drawing attention to themselves. St John Chrysostom supports this argument: If anyone had removed the body, he would not have stripped it first; nor would he have taken the trouble to remove and roll up the soudarion and put it in a place by itself [Homilies on St. John LXXXV, 4].

Ancient scholars have also suggested that it was the position or form of the clothes and not just their presence that convinced the "Beloved disciple." It is their suggestion that Jesus emerged from His burial clothes in a supernatural manner that allowed Him to pass through the clothes still leaving them virtually in place, still wrapped and tied like an empty cocoon.  Other scholars contend that the force of the words mean much more that simply acceptance of Mary's statement but rather that it is the Beloved disciple who is the first to believe in the risen Savior in his "seeing and believing"! If the Shroud of Turin is the burial shroud that truly bears the imprint of the Resurrected Savior, perhaps this disciple saw the imprint of Jesus on the shroud and believed.

Verses 9 Till this moment they had still not understood the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

When Mary Magdala first came to them, the disciples did not believe her words that Jesus was not in the tomb. Didn't it occur to them then that He had been resurrected? It hadn't occurred to Mary as you will see in verses 11-13. They knew but they didn't understand. St. Matthew tells us that even the chief priests and the Pharisees knew of Jesus' claim that in three days He would arise from the dead (Mt 27:62-66). It is the reason they requested that Pilate must place a guard and seal the tomb. Then too, Jesus also prophetically predicted His Resurrection repeatedly in His attempt to prepare His disciples:

Jesus' Prophecies of His Resurrection
Matthew 12:38-40; 16:21; 17:9, 23; 20:18, 19; 26:32; 27:62
Mark 8:31-9:1; 9:10, 31; 10:32-34; 14:28, 58
Luke 9:22-27
John 2:18-22; 12:34; chapters 14-16

Jesus not only predicted His Resurrection but He also emphasized that His Resurrection from the dead would be the prophetic "sign" to authenticate His claim that He is the Messiah!

Matthew 12:1-8; 16:21; 17:9, 22, 23; 20:18, 19; 26:32
Mark 9:10
Luke 9:22-27, 44


2:18-22 NJB The Jews intervened and said, 'What sign can you show us that you should act like this?' Jesus answered, 'Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews replied, 'It has taken 46 years to build this Temple: are you going to raise it up again in three days?' But he was speaking of the Temple that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what he had said.

Perhaps they were thinking of resurrection in the same way that Martha understood in chapter 11 when Jesus spoke to her of Lazarus' resurrection. She assumed He was speaking of the resurrection at the final judgment. Or, perhaps they "knew" in the same way that we "know" that one day we will face a final judgment before the throne of God when we will be held accountable for our lives. We "know" but do we really understand?

But now, they not only believe but now they recall the Scriptures that prophesized these events. It is possible that John is referring to Psalms 16:10, to Hosea 6:2, to Jonah 2:1, or 2:1. But it is also possible that since there is no specific Old Testament reference here it may be John's intent to suggest that all of Old Testament Scripture had been fulfilled in Jesus' Resurrection. This is what Jesus will explain to the disciples on their way to Emmaus in Luke chapter 24:25-27, Then he said to them, 'You foolish men! So slow to believe all that the prophets have said! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?' Then starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the Scriptures that were about himself.  And again to the Apostles in Luke 24:45-46, He then opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and he said to them, "So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead...."  St Paul will make this same reference to Scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, The tradition I handed on to you in the first place, a tradition which I had myself received, was that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried; and that on the third day, he was raised to life, in accordance with the Scriptures... It is a truth we especially acknowledge on the celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection of our Savior on Easter Sunday.

The alternate Gospel reading is Luke 24:1-12, and the reading for an afternoon or evening Mass is Luke 24:13-35.
The story of Jesus' Resurrection in Luke 24:1-12 is very similar to the story recorded in St. John's Gospel. However, Luke 24:13-15 records an encounter between the resurrected Christ and two disciples that is only found in St. Luke's Gospel: Now that very day two of them [Jesus' disciples] were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, "What are discussing as you walk along?" They stopped, looking downcast. One of them named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?" And he replied to them, "What sort of things?" They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see." And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?" So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The resurrected Christ encounters two of His disciples on their journey to their village near Jerusalem. One of the disciples is a man named Cleopas (he is also called Clopas). According the Church Fathers Cleopas is the father of Simon/Simeon, the second Christian Bishop of Jerusalem and a kinsman of Jesus. The early Church historian Hegesippus (early to mid-2nd century AD) records that Cleopas was the uncle of Jesus and the brother or brother-in-law of St. Joseph (Church History, Book IV, chapter 22). Jesus' disciple Mary of Cleopas/Clopas is either Cleopas' wife or daughter (Jn 19:25). That Cleopas was the brother of St. Joseph is also mentioned by Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (in the Holy Land) in his 4th century AD history of the Church (Church History, III.11.1 page 146). Most of the Church Fathers believed that the two disciples are Cleopas and his son Simon/Simeon.

The two disciples are broken-hearted over the events of the past three days and appear to doubt the testimony of the women and of Peter and John (Jn 20:1-8) concerning the empty tomb and the possibility that Jesus is raised from the dead. They do not recognize Jesus and share their misgivings concerning the events of the past week. Jesus admonishes them for their doubts. And beginning with the Torah (the five books of Moses from Genesis to Deuteronomy) and continuing with the books of the prophets, Jesus gives them a Scripture lesson on all the passages that were prophecies about Him and His mission of salvation. Still not recognizing Jesus, they invite Him to their home to have dinner and to spend the night. It is in the same very actions of Jesus at the Last Supper as Jesus took, blessed and broke the bread (see Lk 22:19) that their spiritual eyes are opened and they recognize the Christ! They did what all of us must do when we recognize Jesus in the midst of our lives-they ran back to Jerusalem and told the other disciples about their experience of the Christ! In the forty days from His Resurrection to His Ascension, Jesus appeared numerous times to His eleven Apostles, to His men and women disciples, including His kinsmen Cleopas, Simon and James (who will become the first Christian Bishop of Jerusalem and the inspired writer of the Letter of St. James), and to over 500 people at one time (1 Cor 15:6).

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2013 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.




These are shadows of things to come; the reality belongs to Christ (Col 2:17)
(all Biblical quotations are from the New American Bible translation)
14th of Abib (Nisan)
The sacrifice of the unblemished male Passover victims in preparation for the coming judgment of the tenth plague.
Ex 12:1-7; Lev 23:5; Num 28:16; Josh 5:10
Prefigures Christ, the perfect, unblemished victim of sacrifice that ineffective animal sacrifice pointed to:
Lev 17:11; Ps 51:16-17; Is 1:11-17; Jer 6:20; Hos 6:6.
Blood Sacrifice for Atonement:
Last legitimate O.T. sacrifice that prefigured the sacrifice of Jesus Christ:
Jn 1:28; Heb 9:15, 18-23, 26-28; 10:4-10; 1 Pt 1:18-19.
15TH-21ST of Abib (Nisan)

A pilgrim feast that began at sundown on the night of the Passover sacrifice (Ex 23:14; Ex 34:18-23; Num 28:17; Dt 16:5-17; 2 Chr 8:13).
Eating the sacred meal of the Passover victim with unleavened bread. The redemption and salvation of Israel from the death of the tenth plague under the sign of the blood of the sacrificial victim.
Ex 12:7-27, 43-50; Lev 23:6-8; Num 28:17-25
Promised redemption and salvation from sin and death:
Ps 40:7-9/39:7-9; Is 45:17; 51:6-8; 61:10-11.
The Last Supper and the Crucifixion-New Covenant sacrifice of redemption, justification and sanctification:
Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19-20; Rom 5:9; 2 Cor 5:7, 21; Heb 8:13; 10:16-18; 1 Pt 2:24.

On the day after the Sabbath of the holy week of the feast of Unleavened Bread = the first day of the week which is our Sunday
The offering of the "firstfruits" of the harvest; Israel's gratitude to God as the redeemed "firstfruits" of the people of God.
Lev 23:9-14; 26:1-11
The promise of the resurrection of the dead:
Ex 3:15; Hos 6:2; Amos 6:2 (Lk 20:37-38).
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise of our future resurrection:
Mt 28:1, 6-7; Mk 16:1-6.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep ... 1 Cor 15:20

Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2013