4th April 2018

Irrelevant Details

“Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”
Luke 24:10-11 (ESV)

After Mary encountered the risen Christ, she and the other women hurried off to the upper room to break the news to the men. But the breathless women weren’t believed. The men had been brought the news by women, who would not have been considered credible witnesses in the culture of the day. So they thought it was plain nonsense – just a fairy tale, idle talk.

There’s a lot of folk today to whom the resurrection is just that – nothing more than a fable. But people who study the way eye-witness accounts of events are given, say that one of the characteristics of a true account is ‘irrelevant detail.’ And that’s just what we have. John recorded Mary’s experience at the tomb. He records it all, just as she must have told the doubting disciples: how she sees the angels in the tomb, talks with them, turns away from them, then sees Jesus and thinks he’s the gardener. She responds to the Gardener’s question about why she is crying and what she is looking for, without even realising that it is Jesus she is talking to, until he calls her name. Then she turns round to him, and then she knows who he is (John 20:11-16).

Given that the one mind-blowing and important fact was that Jesus had been resurrected, why did John bother to write down all of Mary’s experience for us? How glad we can be that he did. If the resurrection had happened today Mary Magdalene might have whipped out her smart phone and taken a picture, but we have only eye-witness accounts and ‘irrelevant detail’ is one of indications of the veracity of the gospel accounts.

Our thanks to you, our Father, that you have made sure that we have credible accounts of the resurrection and that you have opened our eyes so we can believe and come to know the risen Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Study by Hilary Buck


About the Author:
Hilary Buck pastors Grace Communion in Lewes.
Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
Mountfield Road

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Hilary Buck
Email: hilaryjbuck@gmail.com

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