Why was the stone in Jesus'tomb rolled out?

Questions I was asking myself:

If Jesus resurrected as a man, with a man’s strength,He could not have rolled the boulder out himself from inside.Ah…, but he was God at the same time that He was a man,so He could roll any stone no matter how heavy.Yet, He could not carry the cross himself when He was hurting and weak(and He was a God then also).

Since the stone appeared rolled out, how come the guardian soldiers did not notice the stone was being moved from the inside? If they were sleeping, someone would argue that
anybody could have stolen the body while they were in deep sleep.

And then why bother in moving the stone at all,Jesus ,being God, must have known that the women would go in the morning to annoint the body, and upon entering the tomb they would have found the body missing anyways.And besides, Jesus could come out of the tomb through the rock, not need to have an opening.

Anybody care to comment on my doubts?I do not like to have doubts, and wish they dissipate and go away from me, so that I can concentrate on having a fruitful Lent.

Please help,Tam

I always saw it as symbolic.

“opening the gates of hell/death”

i figured there was no better symbol for having left the realm of the dead. for the grave having no hold on him, than opening it.

“Next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, After three days I will rise again.' Therefore order the sepulchre to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people, He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the sepulchre secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.” (Matt 27:62-66 RSV emphasis mine). Notice that the stone was sealed and guarded by the authority of Pilate. If a soldier fell asleep while on duty, the punishment was death. Also, breaking the seal without proper authorization was punishable by death. As we see in Matt 28:11-15, “While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, `His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.” (RSV emphasis mine).

As far as who rolled the stone away, Jesus didn’t do it. Matt 28:1-7 reads, ‘Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.”’ (RSV emphasis mine). Note, it was an angel that rolled the stone away. The guards “became like dead men” (they fainted from fear), and the stone was rolled away so the women (and others) could look in and see that Jesus was gone (the guards would not have moved the stone without authorization - remember, it had been sealed).

Hope this helps!

when Jesus was carrying the cross, He was doing so as fully human so as such He had a very difficult task. Now when He resurrected from the dead He already had a glorified body and His Divine nature was more “at work” rather than His human nature although He is God made man whose total explanation of course remains a mystery.

This is correct, and I think, significant - the stone didn’t need to be rolled away for Jesus (who, after all, appeared within a locked room later). The angel rolled the stone away so that the women and the disciples could enter the tomb.

That information has totally clarified my doubts.I am grateful for the help of all the posters in my thread.
Now, his glorified body appeared somewhat different than his earthly body,so people did not recognize Him at first.Am I right?

[quote=Tamsulosin] Now, his glorified body appeared somewhat different than his earthly body,so people did not recognize Him at first.Am I right?

There were the two men on the road to Emmaus that didn’t recognize Him until He blessed and broke the bread at the meal (and then was taken from them), and there was one of the women at the tomb that thought He was the gardener. Otherwise, people seemed to recognize Him immediately. Exactly what He looked like, we don’t know. We do know that He had been beaten and had parts of His beard and hair pulled out (not to mention the scourging, crown of thorns, etc…). And we definitely know He had the nail marks in His hands and feet, and the spear wound in His side. I’m sure He was at least cleaned up when these people saw Him (not the bloody mess that was taken from the cross).

Incidentally, it’s possible (and not unlikely) that the two on the Emmaus Road were a man and a woman. I don’t have the notes readily at hand, but heard it explicated once. Possibly Cleaphas/Clopas and his wife (Mary?)

It appears that Jesus, in His glorified Body, could decide whether and how to reveal His identity.

So, the blocking stone was removed not so much for Jesus’ sake, but for the sake of the disciples, am I right? :slight_smile:

That’s certainly one way of interpreting the Gospel accounts of the resurrected Jesus being unrecognizable - that His appearance was, in some way, physically different, and only when He either shows His ‘true’ appearance or does/says something familiar (again, there are multiple ways of interpreting Luke’s cryptic statement about the disciples of Emmaus, that “their eyes were opened”) that they begin to recognize that it is Jesus.

Drifting a bit-off topic for the moment - this is just something I’d like to share - as of now the only Jesus film that I know of which utilizes this interpretation is the BBC series The Passion (2008). The Jesus that appears to Mary and the Jesus that appears to the disciples on the road to Emmaus are each played by two different actors - who are distinct from the actor playing the ‘regular’ Jesus. In many other Jesus films I know of, they use the same actor to play Jesus but would usually obscure His face with something.

Mary Magdalene near the tomb did not recognize Him until he called her name.

John 20: 14-16 …When she had said this she turned round and beheld Jesus standing there, and she did not know that it was Jesus… “She, thinking that he was the gardener, said to him, " Sir, if thou hast removed him, tell me where thou hast laid him and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” Turning she said to him, “Rabboni”.

It does make me wonder. In the depictions of the Resurrection many of us western Christians are familiar with, Jesus is raised from the tomb looking like this:

This question then arises. Where did the resurrected Jesus get clothes? It’s a bit hard - and rather odd - to imagine a naked man (or even one which has a piece of cloth slung over his shoulders) walking around at dawn in spring. Of course, He couldn’t have brought His grave clothes with Him - those were left in the tomb!

[quote=patrick457] This question then arises. Where did the resurrected Jesus get clothes? It’s a bit hard - and rather odd - to imagine a naked man (or even one which has a piece of cloth slung over his shoulders) walking around at dawn in spring. Of course, He couldn’t have brought His grave clothes with Him - those were left in the tomb!

Personally, I believe Jesus had left the tomb before the angel rolled the stone away (there is no mention of Him being present when the stone was rolled away). That’s not to say that the picture you posted couldn’t have occurred, but I certainly have my doubts. As for the clothes issue, I would say this - if God could create everything out of nothing, surely He could make a suitable set of clothes for Jesus upon His ressurection. Remember, when Jesus appeared in the locked room with the disciples, He came in with clothes (at least we have no Scriptural references to Him not being clothed).

I have also always understood this to mean that she didn’t recognize Him until He revealed Himself by speaking to her (He is the Word). But it is also possible that it was extremely dark and she only saw a silouette or shadow. We who live in the world of artificial light forget how really, really dark night (and early morning) are supposed to be.

Mary did not know it was Jesus just as, later in the day, the two disciples walking to Emmaus did not know Him. He spoke to her before he said ‘Mary’. This one word was said in a tone which pierced her heart, and opened her eyes to know Him.

Dear Tamsulosin, I have some food for thought for you in regards to your question about people not recognizing Christ. The Road to Emmaus passage is from chapter 24 of Luke. My own comments are in “royal blue”.

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. [This is same day the women went to the tomb and found Jesus is not there. At the same time the Pharisees are having the guards lie about what happened to discredit and arrest the Apostles. These two disciples are probably leaving the town in fear.]

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. [Remember Jesus’s promise that when two or more are gathered in His name, he will be there? Even though Jesus comes to them, they are prevented form recognizing because they fail to understand the role of the Messiah and how much God loves us. They have eyes but do not open them to see. So often God is speaking to us in our presence and we just fail to recognize Him.] He asked them, “What are you 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.” [If we look at the Psalm of the Suffering Servant, all that is described by them is happening and yet they were still holding onto their false notions of what the Messiah is, not what God has already prophesied in the scriptures.]

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. [Notice when Jesus came to them, that was the Introductory Rites of Mass (i.e. the people is assembling together). Now we just heard the Readings and see the Gospel in action. Then Jesus opened up the scriptures to them – the Homily.] 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.” [This is the turning point from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the first century of Christianity, the readings were read in the temples and then the rest of Mass was continued in the homes of the Christians. Also notice, that the two boldly asked this unknown man, who is Jesus, to stay with them. Do we remember to ask Christ to be with us after hearing the homily? We may not understand everything (i.e. He is still *unknown) but we need to call out to Christ boldly, “stay with us!”]

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. [Wow, a lot just happened in this very short time. First, Jesus who is the guess at their home, is the one to take, bless, break, and give the offering bread. In Jewish homes, this offering role is reserved to the head of the household not to the guest! This is where we see the old natural priestly role of the people give way to the supernatural priestly role of our ordained priests. Also, you can see here that they “recognized him”. In other words during the blessing prayers and then breaking of the bread, they see Christ really present in a way they did not see before – *transubstantiation.

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.[Here in the Concluding Rite and the evangelize, we here the words: “Go in the love and peace of the Lord to share Christ with the world.” ](Luke 24:13-25)

I don’t dispute that - actually that’s what I also think. :slight_smile: I’m not taking the artwork literally, but the way artists portray the event which no one has witnessed - that is, the actual resurrection - does make you stop and think for a moment.

On the other hand, we also have this type of depiction:


Nice collection of depictions of the Resurrection:


My favorite is another Rembrandt, technically not the Resurrection but the encounter with Mary - obviously not intended to be “what it really looked like” with that wonderful hat but I just love the sense of confusion-yielding-to-joy:


I think Christ put some sort of block on their minds, until He had finished telling them how He was the one indicted in the Scriptures. I think the Bible records they were kept from recognising Him. In other words, He wanted to get his message across first, then let them know who He was. The reason for that is so that they could then tell the others what He had told them. But had he let them recognise Him from the beginning, they’d have been so overjoyed, that anything He said would have been lost in the emotional overflow.

I think from time to time this happens with other people also. I think angels do something likewise on occasion. I read one story where a drug addict picked up an older hitchhiker. Somehow the hitchhiker was able to gain the addict’s confidence, and he poured out his rather abused life story. The hitchhiker merely looked sad, and then somehow indicated a church.

When the driver turned back to the passenger seat, the old bloke was gone. He disappeared completely. He’d picked up an angel, who gave no indication what he really was, until he’d achieved his purpose - to point the young man to the church.

To me, the most moving moment in all the Scriptures is when Christ simply says “Mary” to Mary Magdalene when she has come looking for him at the tomb, and doesn’t recognise Him.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.