TWENTY-EIGHT THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS Now late on the night of the Sabbath, as the first of the week did dawn, Mary Magdelene and the other Mary, to see the sepulcher, came down. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord appeared from heaven, and drew back the stone, and sat upon it near the entrance to the tomb, and his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment like snow. And for fear of him the guards were scared, and became like dead men at the show. But the angel spoke to the women and said, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified and was laid in this tomb. But he is not here, for he is risen, even as he said. Come see where the Lord was laid. Go, tell the disciples, he was dead, but that he has arisen, and he goes now before thee to where you shall see him up in Galilee. Behold, I have foretold it to you." And they departed in fear and great joy outpoured, and they ran to tell the disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and implored them, "Hail! Do not be afraid; go, take word to my brethren, that they are to set out for Galilee; there they shall see me then." And they came up and embraced his feet, worshipping him, and their hearts were overflowing with great happiness, and then did what he told them to empart. Now while they were going, some of the guard came into the city to report to the chief priests what had happened, and they gathered to resort to give money to the soldiers to say, "His disciples sneaked by night and stole the body while we were asleep." And they promised to persuade the Procurator, if he heard, to keep them out of trouble, and they took the money, and did this. Thus about among the Jews, even abroad, the story spread in this way, and it is heard and believed by many even to the present day. But the eleven went up to Galilee to the mountain Jesus had set. And when they saw him, they worshipped him, but some of them doubted yet. And Jesus drew near and spoke to them, "All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go forth, I do bid thee, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them of how I came, and to observe all I have commanded; let my gospel be unfurled. And behold, I am with you all days, even onto the consummation of the world." JESUS APPEARS TO THE APOSTLES (FROM JOHN 20-21) When it was late that same day, the first of the week, although the doors where the disciples had gathered were closed for fear the Jews would know where they were, Jesus came and stood in the midst of them in the room and said, "Peace to you," and showed them in his hands and side, the wounds. The disciples therefore rejoiced at the sight of the Lord who said, "It is true, I am risen. Peace to you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you." And saying this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven the,; believe; and whose sins you retain, they are retained." Now Thomas, one of the twelve, was not there, and later, when they told him, he said, "Unless I see where the nails left prints, and put my hand in his side, I will not believe this is so." And after eight days, he came once again, and said to Thomas, "That you know, bring here your fingers, and see my hands; and bring here also your hand, and put it into my side, and be not unbelieving, but believing, for here I stand." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God," relieved. And Jesus said, "You see and believe. Blessed are those who have not, yet believe." And many other signs Jesus worked not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe and that you may always look on Jesus as Lord, the Son of God, and that through his fame, you may believe, and that, believing, you may have life in his name. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him, should not perish, but live eternally on. And Jesus again showed himself at the Sea of Tiberius, where the disciples had been fishing but caught nothing, and he said to them, "There, put your nets down," and they did, to the right of the ship as he bade, and raising the net, it was tearing, for it was so overlaid. And they ate the fish, and likewise, he gave to them their bread, and no one asked for they knew, he had risen from the dead, and that this was the Lord, but three times, he asked Peter, "Simon, dost thou love me even more than these do?" And Peter was quick to avow, "Yes, Lord, thou know I love thee," but he was grieved because he did keep asking, and each time, Jesus replied to him, "Simon Peter, feed my sheep." THE ASCENSION (FROM ACTS, ONE) For forty days he showed himself and preached of the Kingdom of God and bade them to bear witness to all men, then with them towards Bethany, trod. And he lifted his hands and blessed them, and he was lifted up before their eyes, and a cloud took him out of sight, and while they were gazing into the skies, two men stood by in white garments, and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking to heaven, do you not know it shall be that this Jesus shall come in the same way as you have seen him go? He bade you to preach His gospel. Go, that the world may know." THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (FROM ACTS, TWO) And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they gathered in one place together, and suddenly there arose a sound from heaven as of a wind violently blowing; and it filled the whole house where they were sitting, for it was as he had willed before he ascended - - - he had told them that the Paraclete would descend and give them power to be witness for him onto the earth's very ends. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, and they hung over each of them, and the Spirit filled them, and they spoke in foreign tongues, even as the Spirit prompted them to speak, and going out, they who heard were amazed, for each in his own language understood their every word. Now all were perplexed and bewildered, but some said, in mockery, "These men are just full of new wine," but Peter, quoting prophecy, said, "This is what was spoken by Joel, 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says the Lord, that I will pour forth from heaven, of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your children shall prophecy, and your old men shall dream dreams, and your young shall visions see. And in those days, upon my handmaids, my Spirit I shall pour, and they also shall prophecy. And I will show before all, wonders in heaven and signs on earth, blood and fire, and vapor of smoke. And the moon shall be turned into blood, and the sun in darkness be cloaked, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest days. And it shall come to pass that those who call the name of the Lord, shall be saved.'" THE VISION OF SAUL (BEGINNING ACTS 9,1-30) But this man Saul was yet breathing against the disciples, threats; and he went onto the high priests and sought letters that he might be set out to Damascus synagogues to find people of the Way, and bring them to bounds in Jerusalem. But it happened that on that day as he came near to Damascus, suddenly a great light from heaven shone 'round about him, and he fell to the ground in fright, and heard a voice saying to him, "Why do you persecute me, Saul?" And Saul said, "Who art thou, Lord," and he s poke to him this call: "I am Jesus, who you persecute. Arise and go ye into the city and it will be told thee what it is that ye must do." Now the men who journeyed with him were startled, having heard the voice though they saw nothing, so they uttered not a word. And Saul rose up from the ground, but could not see and so they led him by hand into Damascus. Three days he neither saw nor fed. A certain disciple was in Damascus whose name was Ananias, and the Lord spoke to him in a vision and told him to go thus, to seek out Saul of Tarsus, and though he knew his fame, the Lord told him not to fear, for he had chosen this very same man a vessel to carry forth his name among nations and kings and all the children of Israel. And he went forth to bring the word of God onto Saul. He entered the house and lay his hands upon him, "Brother, the Lord Jesus, who on the way to Damascus appeared to you, has sent me that thou may recover thy sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit this day." And straightway there fell from out of his eyes something like scales, and his sight returned and he arose, was baptized, and he grew well. Now for some days he joined along with the disciples there to preach that Jesus is the Son of God, and those who heard his speech were amazed as they knew his fame, and why it was that he had come. But Saul confounded all of them, and it came to pass that some there did plot to murder him, but learning of the plan, they lowered him over the wall by night in a basket to save this man. Saul sought to join with the disciples in Jerusalem, but they were afraid of him until Barnabas explained what had happened. Then he stayed amongst them, preaching boldly and with great zeal, the Word, until their enemies sought to kill him, but they sent him away secured to Tarsus, and he became known as Paul, and he went around with Peter and the other apostles, preaching and working profound miracles in the name of the Lord, surviving shipwreck and prisons and schemes to kill him, preaching the light of reason to Rome and in between. (FROM PETER 1, 22-25) Now that obedience to charity has purified your souls, for a brotherly love that is sincere, love one another the more whole-- heartily and intensely. For you have been reborn, not from seed that is corruptible, but by the Word of God adorned. For, "All flesh is as grass, and all its glory as the flowers of grass; the grass withered, and the flower has fallen - - - but the Word of the Lord will last and endure forever." Now this is the Word of the gospel preached onto you for salvation; you were slaves, but your mind has brought freedom to you. (JOHN 1,1-5) In the beginning was the Word and with God was the Word; and the Word was God. And he was in the beginning with God. Assured, all things were made through him, and without him was there made nothing that ever has been made. In him was life that saved, and the life was the light of men, the light of reason man had got. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness grasps it not. It was the true light that enlightens every man who ever comes into the world, and the world knew him not nor whence he was from. To as many as received him, he gave the power to become sons of God; to those who believe in his name. Who were born not from blood, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of him - - - of God, of the true light that enlightens man - - - ye must be born again! And the Word made flesh dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace, truth, beauty, and love. John bore witness concerning him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who is to come after me has been set above my head, because he was before me.'" And of his fullness, we have received a flow of grace and reason to all who have believed. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and reason through Christ came, that we might be, like him, children of the unseen God his life proclaimed. (FROM PETER TWO 3, 1-13) This, beloved, you must know first, that in the last days there will come deceitful scoffers, men who walk according to their lusts, and from their mouths will come denial, saying, "Where is the promise of his return? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were learned from the beginning of creation." For they are ignorant of this, that there were heavens long ago, and an earth formed from the abyss through the Word of God. By these means, the world that then was, deluged by water, perished, as from the water it has been brought. But the heavens that now are, and the earth, by that same will have been stored up, saved for the fire till the day of judgment is fulfilled, and the word destroys ungodly men. But, beloved, know his way; one day with the Lord is a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord does not delay in His promises, but for your sake is long-suffering, not wishing that any should perish, but all turn to repenting. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; at that time the heavens will pass away with great violence, the elements will be dissolved with heat and gas, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up. Seeing, therefore, that all things are to be dissolved, what manner of man ought you more to be in holy and pious behavior, you who await and hasten toward the coming of the day of God, by which the heavens, on fire, will be forged and dissolved, and the elements will melt away in the fervent heat of hell. But we look for new heavens and the new earth of His promise where reason does dwell.
THE 23RD PSALM The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me; beside the still waters. Bount- ifully he restoreth my soul: in the paths, he leadeth me, of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff give me comfort. In the presence of mine enemies, thou preparest a table before me; with oil, thou anointest my head; my cup runneth over. Surely, goodness and mercy shall have led me all the days of my life; and forever I will dwell in the house of the Lord, my shepherd, and my God, without fail.
Go to Spring 1998 issue of POeTRY Return to beginning of POeTRY