The Risen Christ in Galilee.


And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you, S. MATTHEW xxviii. 7. I these hurried and eager sentences we detect the spirit that came into the world through the Resurrection of Christ. ot another hour nor moment must pass before the disciples and the world know that the Lord is risen. * Come, see the place where He lay ; go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead ; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee ; there shall ye see Him : lo, I have told you. This tone of triumphant satisfaction over the fulfilment of Christ s words, and of more than satisfaction that His death has given way to life, mingled so artlessly in these simple words, shows that there is no art in them, but only truth. o one can read them without feeling that they were intended to convey the truth. They irresistibly suggest facts ; they wear, and can be made to wear, no other cast than that of reality. The chief and essential feature of Christ s life is that it is a series of human facts from an actual birth to an actual ascension. So long as He is within the vision of the world, every act and process and stage have this feature of actuality. The reason is evident. The spiritual and eternal life of man stands first on the broad base of this world. Here we first find ourselves ; here we take our start ; here and out of the elements of the world we build the foundations on which we for ever stand, for human life goes before, and lies at the bottom of any other life we may reach. And the more thoroughly and fully life is lived out in this world, the better is the ground for any other life. The very essence and meaning of Christ s life lie in the entireness in which He made His life to consist in real processes and facts. It was a human life that He lived, and not some other kind of life. He was God in actual human life. Hence He was born ; hence He lived, and died, and when He rose He 60

OUTLI ES O VARIOUS PASSAGES simply added another fact to His life of the same real character. There is a great deal in the history that conveys this sense of reality

not put there for the purpose, but found because it is there. When we read the phrase, * Behold, He goeth before you into Galilee, the question rises, Why did Christ make an appointment with His disciples in Galilee ? Why did He make that distant place the scene of the main evidence of His Resurrection ? Why not here in Jerusa lem ? Whether they were consciously aimed at or not, certain results were secured that could not have been gained had His appearance been confined to Jerusalem. I. His Resurrection was thus separated from all those superstitions known as ghosts or apparitions. Christ rises out of the tomb, discloses Himself to the eyes of loving sympathy, sends a message to His disciples, and goes before them on the long journey to Galilee. It is easy to see how the disciples were thus led to think of the Resurrection, and of other events in Christ s life that were miraculous, as separate from and unlike the supersti tions and psychological wonders Avith which the world was filled. The latter were contrary to nature ; they had little to do with morals, and were the offspring of mystery and credulity, and of blind groping after the unknown ; they were aside from human life, and out of its true line. But the miraculous element in Christ is in the true line of human life ; it is the natural fulfilment of life, and it is also a fulfilment of morals. Hence, a full belief in Christ has always acted against superstition. Superstition has been nearly driven out of the world by the Christian faith, while at the same time it has maintained belief in its own great supernatural facts. The reason it has been able to do this is, that these facts have been kept apart from the superstitions of the world ; or, in other words, because a true distinc tion has been observed. II. This appointment in Galilee was a testing lesson in faith. We believe on evidence, but in difficult things we want the greatest possible amount of evidence. Faith is awakened in us, but faith needs to be trained and confirmed by some hard act of faith. The disciples heard of the Resurrection, but heard it as an idle tale. Then He appeared to them, and they were affrighted, supposing they had seen a spirit. They behold His hands and feet ; they handle Him, and find that He has flesh and bones, and is not a ghostly apparition. But there may yet be room for doubt ; it may be an illusion or con tagion of credulity that has crept into their wearied and excited minds. And so they are led away from the scene of the event to Galilee, a three days journey. Thus a twofold end is gained : fresh confirmation, and a stern, testing lesson in faith. We may be very sure that the disciples, when they beheld their


EASTER DAY Lord in the mountain He had appointed, found themselves possessed of an experience that became as solid rock beneath them for all their lives. They worshipped Him with humble and glad adoration, some doubting for the moment in their startled surprise, for in this common world great events require adjustment in our common-thinking minds. III. We find another explanation of this meeting in Galilee in the fact that Christ saw fit to give them their great commission on the scene of their common labours. For it was in Galilee that they had been called and set to their work. It was in Galilee that the great sermon had been spoken which lay at the bottom of the Gospel ; and here His mighty works were chiefly done. His presence in Jerusalem was incidental to His life, and not the main field of it. or did Jerusalem so well represent the world that was to be discipled as the northern province. The centre of Pharisaic bigotry and hatred, it might be a starting-point for the Gospel work, but it ill represented the poor and needy world for which the Gospel was primarily intended. If there be a class that is not included in the work of the Gospel, it is the Pharisaic class. The bigot and the hypocrite are seldom converted. The disciples began in Jerusalem, as they were commanded, but only to be scattered like chaff before the wind in regions where there was a better field. We cannot resist the thought that a mountain was selected by Christ for announcing the great commission, because it aided Him in enforcing it. There was no place so fit for giving His great, final commission. Apart from the world, and yet the world stretched out before them ; above the world, and yet upon it ; commanding the villages at the foot, and yet stretching their gaze into dim and unmeasured distance ; by actual sight beholding men and women in the fields to be discipled, and by imagination beholding all the nations of the earth thus the disciples stood while He said : All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you : and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. 1 The place and the scene reinforced the words ; the voice of nature was added to the voice of their Master. It imprinted His words upon their imaginations, and they could not but have felt the subtle sympathy and likeness between

the lofty and far-reaching scene and the exalted, universal commission they had received. Such thoughts are no mere play of fancy, but are features of Christ s life, to be studied and understood if possible, for so only can we get at the consciousness of Christ before the created works of the Father. The world to Him was not a mere 62

OUTLI ES O VARIOUS PASSAGES standing-ground for His feet, but was a revelation of God in the order of which He stood, and to the central meaning of which He pierced. He who went before His disciples into Galilee, goes before us also in all the hard and testing ways of life. We have a Leader who is also a sharer in our life. I do not know of any other way in which to get a comfortable or endurable view of existence. If it is a solitary journey, a dark plunge into the uncertainty of to-morrow; if it is a life unhelped of some other power than our own, there is little to be said for it or done with it. A divine Leader who is also with us, conducting us into His own glory and lifting us into His own peace this turns life into another thing. It is the crowning feature, as it is weJl-nigh the whole of the Christian system, that it leads up to an ascension ; not resurrection merely, but a rising and a return to God who made us, to the Father from whose creative life we came forth. It is the end that colours and gives character to the whole. From the ascension stream back rays that lighten all the way of life. In such a light its vanity and weariness and pain and uncertainty die out. T. T. HU GER.



Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful