Who is the first person to see the resurrected Lord? What mysteries are revealed by the so-called “contradictions” between the evangelists relative to the moment of Resurrection? Watch this video to find out.
And the Evangelist which tangles everything up completely, is the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John who talks about… An Athonite Cell Joys from the Holy Mountain Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy. Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. Amen. Today I will speak to you a little bit about the steps of knowing God, as they are revealed to us in the Holy Scripture, and especially I will tell you, also based on the Holy Scripture, and especially on the Holy Fathers, in this case based on St. Gregory Palamas, who the first person was who recognized God as God. Because brethren, you should know, that we know that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man, but His contemporaries did not know this. They did not know this. The first sign of this we see with the Mother of God. The Mother of God, being the greatest saint, being a perfect saint, being the purest person on this earth, she did not know that her Son is God.
She did not know that He was God. And we see this when at 12 years old, when the Savior was 12 years old, the Savior got lost in Jerusalem as His parents considered, meaning St. Joseph and the Mother of God, and they searched for our Lord Jesus Christ, for 3 days in the caravan that was returning from Jerusalem, and finally they found Him in the temple. They find Him in the temple, teaching the elders of the people. And then the Mother of God says the famous words: My Son, why did You do this to us? With sorrow, ‘odinomeni’ in Greek, your father and I searched for You. And then the Savior answers the Mother of God with respect but also with wisdom: Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house? Meaning My Father is not Holy Righteous Joseph, rather My Father is God. So if the Mother of God knew that our Lord Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Holy Trinity, is truly God, of course the Mother of God would not have thought that the Savior got lost, because God does not get lost, and besides this, she would not have searched for Him with sorrow. She would not have searched for Him with sorrow.
This shows that, as St. Silouan the Athonite also says, the Mother of God did not have at that time full knowledge. On the other hand, all the Holy Fathers say that the perfect things that God did, things which He could not have done more perfectly if we can put it that way, are: The joy of heaven, the incarnation of the Word, and the Mother of God. If the Mother of God, as the perfect person, as the person without sin, because the Mother of God is the only person without sin, other than our Lord Jesus Christ of course, if she was without sin and did not have this knowledge, it means that the others did not know either. They did not know that our Lord Jesus Christ is Yahweh Himself. And of course to the Jews this was completely and utterly inconceivable, because to them Yahweh was completely and utterly unreachable, untouchable, beyond anything. In theological and philosophical terms, He was completely transcendent.
This lack of knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as true God, we see in the Holy Apostle Peter. When the Savior asks the Apostles, saying: Who do the people say I am? The Holy Apostles say, Lord You are Elijah, You are Jeremiah, one of the prophets which has actually reincarnated, ressurected, – which is also a heresy, not a true thing – risen from the dead, and that is why miracles are worked through You. And then the Savior asks His apostles: But who do you say that I am? And then the Holy Apostle Peter says: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Then the Savior responds: Blessed are you, Simon Bar Iona. Meaning son of Jonah. In other words just as you are the son of Iona, I am the Son of God. Meaning I am not the Son of God like how all people are by extension, through grace, rather I am the natural Son of God, in the same way that you are the son of Jonah, I am the Son of God the Father. Consubstantial with Him, alike with Him in everything. And the Savior continued: This was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, meaning your mind, your brain, did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. To prove that the Holy Apostle Peter did not come up with it as a result of his reason, meaning the Holy Apostle Peter did not know what he was saying, was the fact that the next day, or shortly after this crucial confession of Holy Apostle Peter, the Savior tells them: Now we will go to Jerusalem, they will beat me, they will torture me, they will kill me, and on the third day I will rise. And then Holy Apostle Peter says to Him: Far be it from You, Lord; let’s try to keep You away from it, to hide You. And then the Savior tells him: Get behind Me, Satan! Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men. Of course!
That is, if the Holy Apostle Peter realized that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, true God, omnipotent, omniscient, beyond time, as I said, totally transcendent, beyond space, beyond death, beyond everything, of course he would not have told Him: Come Lord, I will give you some advice, keep Yourself away because it is not good, leave it because I know better… And because of this, because the Holy Apostle Peter was judging in a very human way, driven by a love for the Savior, of course, but this love was a totally human love, without the perspective, without the scope of God’s divine plan of salvation, it was actually based on a sentimental love if you wish, a paternal love towards the Savior, especially since the Holy Apostle Peter was very old, he was around 80 years old, and the Savior was young, around 33 years old, so because he was on a human plane, the Savior tells him: Get behind Me, opposer! In Hebrew “satan”, “satanas” means “opposer” “him who is in opposition” “him who opposes.” So as we can see, neither the Mother of God, nor the Holy Apostle Peter the doyen of old age, if you will, the leader of the Apostles, did not know that our Lord Jesus Christ is God on earth.
And again, to not go on for too long, I will give you another example, and afterwards I will tell you the great mystery, who the first person is who realized that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly God. The other example we see at the Resurrection of Lazarus. When Jesus is greeted by Martha and Mary, and in order to not go into all the details as I spoke in a previous recording on this, the Savior says to Martha: Your brother Lazarus will rise. And Martha says, Yes, Lord, I know that he will rise in the resurrection at the last day. And the Savior says to her: I am the Resurrection and the Life, He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. Do you believe this? And St. Martha, who became a saint after the Resurrection, said to Him, Yes, Lord, I believe in You, I believe you are the Resurrection and the Life, I believe that you are the Messiah. And the Savior says: Alright if you believe this, let’s open the tomb. And Martha says to Him: Lord, by this time there is a stench, for it is the fourth day. So the Savior says: But didn’t I tell you to believe that I am the Resurrection and Life? So even though Martha had confessed our Lord Jesus Christ with her lips, saying that He is the Messiah, the awaited One, of course she did not realize what she was saying. All these persons, led by the Mother of God, who, paying attention here, had a vast spiritual knowledge, especially the Mother of God, they knew, they felt that He was the Messiah, Someone very great, but they could not imagine that He was God incarnate. Alright.
So who is the person who first realized that the so-called Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary, is the true God, the incarnate God? Consider that the God who made this whole universe, including Athon behind me, incarnated into a man…I don’t know, two meters high? St. Gregory Palamas explains, in his fulminating word at the Resurrection, everything is based on a seeming contradiction between the evangelists. Please pick up the Gospel, unfortunately I did not bring the Gospel with me, but I should have in order to read to you, I will tell you from memory. In the Gospel of Holy Apostle Matthew, to go in order, Holy Apostle Matthew says that when it was still dark, the Myrrhbearers were going to the tomb of the Lord. Getting there, on the way, they were wondering who would roll back the stone. Because the stone from the tomb was a very large stone. The tomb was an imperial tomb, a tomb of a prominent nobleman, of Joseph, and the stones of these tombs, I don’t know if you know, were cylindrical.
They were asking themselves, who will roll away the stone, so that we may be able to go into the tomb of the Lord? And asking themselves this, they got close to the tomb, as the Holy Apostle Matthew says: [Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week (Sunday) began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. (Mt. 28:1-2)] And the angel asks the two myrrhbearers, meaning Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. He asks: Why do you look for the living among the dead? And then the two bowed, they saw that the tomb is empty, and they ran back to the Apostles to tell them the great news. On the way, the two myrrhbearers, meaning Mary Magdalene and the other Mary… Mary Magdalene – why is she called so? Because she is from the area of Magdala, Maria i Magdalini, meaning Mary from Magdala, translated as Mary Magdalene.
[8. So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. (Mt 28:8-9)] So they see the Savior risen and in light and they grab his feet and venerate Him with their faces down to the earth, the Savior telling them to “Rejoice!” That is what happens in the Gospel of Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew. In the Gospel of the Holy Apostle Mark, he talks about the fact that at the first ray of light, other myrrhbearers go there, and they see the stone overturned already. [Matthew: Mary Magdalene and the the other Mary Mark: Mary Magdalene, Maria the mother of Jacob and Salome] They return, and they tell the Apostles: We do not have an account of the Savior. If I am not mistaken. In the Gospel of St. Luke, we see other myrrhbearers, [Luke: Maria Magdalene, Mary mother of Jacob, Joanna and the others]
The Evangelist which totally confuses things is the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John who talks about St. Mary Magdalene who, being at the grave at night, wept there. [But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping. (John 20:11)] And when the Savior appears, the Savior was in the penumbra, as it was dark out, so St. Mary Magdalene does not recognize the Savior, and the Savior asks, [Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” (John 20:15)]
Wait a second… What do you mean she did not know where they put Him since in the Gospel of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew it says that they grabbed His feet? How is this possible? Let’s clarify things a little bit. First of all, I do not know if you were paying attention to what I was telling you, it is observed that each Evangelist is speaking of a different time of day. The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew talks about darkness, when it was still dark outside. In Mark’s, it was the first ray of light. And for Luca, it was when the sun rose. The proof that the 3 Evangelists speak of different moments in the day, is also the fact that each of them relate of different myrrhbearers. The most important thing is that, in the Gospel of Holy Apostle and Evangelist John, we have the proof that Mary Magdalene in fact did not meet our risen Lord Jesus Christ as the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew actually implies. Because if she had met Him and worshiped Him and grabbed Him by the feet, then of course she would not have wondered: but where is His body as I do not know where they put Him. Especially since she was addressing the Savior as a gardener because she did not recognize Him, being dark, she had addressed Him: Lord, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.
So Mary Magdalene had not seen the Lord and was not aware of His resurrection. Because she thought He was still dead and someone had taken the body, as an act of impiety. So the only one who saw our Lord Jesus Christ risen, and who grabbed His feet and venerated Him, was the other Mary. The other Mary. Who is the other Mary? Who is the other Mary who needs no description, no surname, who was so well known in the early Christian community that it was not necessary to say that she was Mary of Cleopas, that she was Mary Magdalene? We are talking about the Mother of God. Why? Because only the Mother of God realized, in the moment that the angel said that Christ is risen, at that moment the Mother of God realized only God could have defeated death, could have risen through Himself. Until then, throughout human history, there had been resurrections done by others. For the first time, someone was so powerful that He could break the bonds of death, meaning to rise through Himself. To place back His own soul. To put back His soul in the body, and actually come out through the stone. Because, let’s not forget, that in Matthew – he is the only one of the Evangelists who notes that the myrrhbearers saw the stone rolling. So Matthew is first from a chronological point of view due to the fact that he describes time and due to the fact that all the other Evangelists say that the stone was already overturned from the tomb.
Read and you will see. So Matthew is first, and you should know that this Gospel of the Resurrection, meaning the Gospel of Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew which is first, is never read throughout the year, it is only read for the Resurrection. It is a great mystery. And that’s where we find that the first person who knew our Lord Jesus Christ as truly the Son of God, was indeed the Mother of God. And of course it was expected and worthy that the Mother of God be the first to realize for the first time, to know for the first time, that her Son is God. Why? Because she was and is the most pure person in the entire history of mankind, and she could understand the capital significance of this fact – of the incarnation of Yahweh, of the incarnation of God the Word, the One who is totally transcendent.
So consider: The Word which is totally immaterial, totally spiritual, travelled the greatest existential distance possible, reaching flesh. As even St. John the Theologian says “And the Word became flesh.” It’s about sarx – It became meat. That is, He overcame all this existential distance, between the spirit, between the absolute immateriality, to the seat of sin, to the absolute matter which is the flesh. And He did this because of love for us, love for people. You should know.
Due to the fact that the Mother of God was the first who realized, at the Resurrection of the Lord, that her Son is God, and received on this occasion full knowledge, because of this, if we pay attention, in Byzantine icons, if you have seen the Byzantine icons of the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Mother of God is not represented in the icon of the descent of the Holy Spirit, although she was present there. She is not represented because the Mother of God received the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation, she received the power to give life on her own, to give birth of herself, as the Archangel said, and secondly she received full knowledge, as I said, at the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brethren, I recommend that you read St. Gregory Palamas, he is an extraordinary saint, and as can be seen, Scripture has immense, great mysteries which delight our soul, and which give us a different vision of our reality, of the reality that we live in. And you should know that we have to, – to speak very concretely and very practically – we need to grow in the knowledge of the reality in which we move in, and not be like moles and think that everything ends with what we will eat, what we will drink, and the things of everyday life, the news and the quarrels between us. Let us, brethren, raise our minds above the worldly things and reach the loving and utterly transcendent God. May God help us in this. Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. Amen.
May the Lord help us!
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