Go Quickly, and Tell

“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said, Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.”
—Matthew 28:6,7

ON SUNDAY, APRIL 20, this year, many people will again commemorate the greatest event of all time, even the resurrection from the dead of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Among millions there is a wide variety of ideas as to who Jesus was, and of what his death and resurrection mean to a distraught and suffering world today. Some, who join in the celebration of this greatest of all miracles, seriously doubt that it ever occurred. Others believe that Jesus was God himself, hence was not actually dead.

But these misconceptions of such a vital and glorious Truth of the Word of God need not take away from its luster in the minds and hearts of those who have been permitted to know this and other “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 13:11) To these the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the inspiration of their hope, the proof that his death-sacrifice as a vicarious atonement for their sins was acceptable, well pleasing to the Heavenly Father, and that now he liveth to make intercession for them at the antitypical mercy seat.

While the unbelieving world is unaware of what Jesus’ resurrection will yet mean to them, we know that the exercise of Divine power nearly two thousand years ago to raise him from the dead is an assurance to all men that, in the world’s judgment, or trial day, they will be given an opportunity to learn righteousness, obey, and live. (Acts 17:30,31; Isa. 26:9) Because this is true, those who now know God’s plan of salvation can rejoice in what the resurrection of Jesus means for them, and also for all mankind.

Paul wrote, “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.” (I Cor. 15:14,15) How sweeping is this statement, yet how true! The glorious Gospel of Christ which we cherish in our hearts, and are so happy to proclaim far and wide, would be but an empty tale—even worse, a delusion—if Christ was not raised from the dead.

But we do not need to dwell upon such a negative thought. With Paul we can say, “Now is Christ risen from the dead.” (I Cor. 15:20) And not only so, but he became “the firstfruits of them that slept” in death. Because he lives, we too shall live; and because he lives, all mankind will be awakened from the sleep of death and given an opportunity to live forever. Our preaching is not vain. In witnessing for Jesus and for the Word of God, we are not false witnesses, but bearers of a Truth which is vibrant with hope for both the church and the world.

Important as this Truth is, however, there is more for us to do about it than merely to rejoice. Our hearts are filled with joy, as was Mary’s. When Jesus appeared to her, and she realized that she was in the presence of her beloved Master and Lord, her first impulse was to linger there and to embrace him. (John 20:17) For the moment she thought only of what his resurrection meant to her. Perhaps, at times, we too might be prone to ‘linger,’ thinking only of the joy the Divine plan has brought to us, particularly of Jesus’ part in that plan.

No doubt Jesus was pleased with Mary’s feelings in the matter, as the Lord is also glad to see our deep appreciation of the Truth, but there was something more to be done about it. There was a message concerning him to be taken to others. The angel that met “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” at the sepulchre said to them, “Go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.” As they started on this mission, Jesus met them. They “held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”—Matt. 28:1,2,7,9,10


The great Creator of the universe had exercised his mighty power to raise Jesus from the dead and exalt him to the Divine nature. He was now “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8) and could move from one part of Palestine to another instantly. He could have manifested himself to his disciples, wherever they were, much more quickly than ‘Mary Magdalene and the other Mary’ could reach them and tell them he had been raised from the dead. But he chose not to do it that way. He preferred to have human messengers convey the good news, so the commission was given, ‘Go quickly, and tell.’

This has been the Lord’s method throughout the entire age. The responsibility to go quickly, and tell, has been placed upon all to whom the Lord, through the Truth, has revealed himself. The Lord’s messengers have not all been furnished with the full outline of the Divine plan, but they have been given the responsibility of making known whatever of Truth the Lord has revealed to them. The glad tidings given to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary was simply the fact that Jesus was no longer dead, that death no longer had dominion over him. They were also to explain that he had not yet ascended to his Father. We still have the glorious message of the Truths of the Divine plan of which the death and resurrection of Jesus are the cornerstones.


Jesus said to Mary, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” (John 20:17) The Greek word here translated ‘touch’ is one that is used in the New Testament almost exclusively to describe the efforts of those who endeavored to touch Jesus, or his garments, with the hope of receiving healing from him. Seemingly Mary, realizing that her Master was alive again, thought first of obtaining a special blessing from him, but he explained that this was premature—‘for I am not yet ascended to my Father.’—John 20:17

Then Jesus asked Mary to tell his disciples that he expected to go to the Father, implying that she also would then receive rich blessings from him. It was only a few days before this that Jesus had outlined to his disciples those precious Truths contained in the sixteenth chapter of John pertaining to the blessings they would receive when he did go to the Father. Now he wanted them to know that although he had been raised from the dead they were not yet to expect the blessings he had promised.

Jesus had explained to his disciples that he was going away—returning “to him that sent me,” he said. They were saddened by this, and then Jesus said further that it was “expedient” for them that he go away, “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.” The ‘Comforter,’ that is, the Holy Spirit, Jesus continued, “shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he [the Holy Spirit] shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”—John 16:5-7,14,15

What a marvelously comprehensive promise! ‘All things that the Father hath are mine,’ said Jesus, and these ‘all things’ were to be shown to his disciples and made available to them by the Holy Spirit. But this was dependent upon his returning to the Father, bearing the blood of atonement to be sprinkled upon the antitypical mercy seat, the throne of heavenly grace. Jesus explained it, saying, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.”—vs. 16

While Jesus appeared to his disciples in various fleshly bodies before he returned to his Father, they did not actually see him ‘as he is,’ nor did they see him in the sense of understanding the purpose of his death and their relationship to him as members of his mystical body. Not until the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost did they receive this spiritual vision of him. Not until then did they begin to receive the all things which he promised.

The disciples were perplexed over Jesus’ statement, ‘A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me.’ Jesus noted this, forewarned them of the sorrow they would experience during the time they would not see him, but added, “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name: … ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”—vss. 22-24

Previously Jesus had taught his disciples to pray to the Father, but apparently not in his name. His name would avail to the fullest extent when he had finished his sacrifice, had been raised from the dead, and had returned to the Father to appear in his presence on their behalf. The disciples were in the habit of looking to Jesus for blessings. Mary sought to touch him in order to be blessed. But as Jesus explained, “In that day [that is, after you no longer see me in the flesh] ye shall ask me nothing.” (John 16:23) After he had returned to the Father the procedure would be to make requests to the Father in Jesus’ name.

He said to Mary, ‘I am not yet ascended to my Father’—do not look to me for blessings, for I have none to give; but you may prove your devotion to me by going quickly and telling my disciples that what I explained to them a few days ago will now soon come to pass. In a short time I will go to my Father, and will, as promised, send the Holy Spirit to enlighten and comfort them. And, Mary, if your devotion to me continues, you too will rejoice in being filled with the Spirit, and then ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you,’ even as I promised my disciples.


While Jesus did appear to his disciples on a number of occasions before his ascension, he did not attempt to give them any detailed instructions concerning the Father’s plan. His visits were brief, and had a sense of mystery associated with them which left the disciples each time more or less at a loss to understand the strangely new and different relationship they bore toward him. The last time he manifested himself to them he said they would receive power through the Holy Spirit, and that they were to be his witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth, but he gave them no further information.

Some days elapsed after this, and while waiting and praying in the “upper room” in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit came. (Acts 1:13) Jesus had gone to the Father, and had fulfilled his promise to send the Comforter. Now the many strange things he had said to them, especially that night just before he was crucified, all became clear. Now they could see Jesus as they had never seen him before.

But again, there was no time to tarry, for they now understood clearly the full intent of the commission given to them to be witnesses of Jesus in “Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Now the enlightening and inspirational powers of the Holy Spirit impelled them to go quickly, and proclaim the glorious Gospel of the kingdom far and wide. The Book of Acts is a revealing testimony to the zeal of those first disciples upon whom the Holy Spirit was outpoured at Pentecost.

They had a larger, fuller message of Truth than was given to Mary when the angel said, “Go quickly, and tell the disciples.” They had the complete message which was then due to be proclaimed. But it was not time for the kingdom to be established. The Second Advent of Christ was far in the future. The “meat in due season,” which Jesus had promised to serve to the “household” when he returned to establish his kingdom, was not a part of the glad tidings they were privileged to proclaim.—Luke 12:42,43

Their message was designed to initiate the work of the Gospel Age. Soon the church will live and reign with Christ in the spiritual phase of that long-promised Divine government. Therefore, all the Truths appropriate to this wonderful time in which we are now living are included in the message which we are commissioned to go quickly, and tell, primarily to the Lord’s brethren, and to the whole world as we have opportunity.

How complete the Gospel has now become! Like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, we too have the privilege of proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. But we can now explain that he has ascended to his Father and has appeared in the Father’s presence for us and for all his brethren. We can add also that the Holy Spirit has been given, and that consecrated believers may be filled with the Spirit; begotten, anointed, and sealed by the Spirit. We also rejoice in the “witness” of the Spirit that we are the “children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”—Rom. 8:16,17

Just before Jesus ascended to the Father, the disciples asked him if the time had come to “restore again the kingdom to Israel,” and he said that the Father was keeping the “times” and “the seasons” in his own power. (Acts 1:6,7) Even when the Holy Spirit came upon those first disciples it did not reveal in detail the time features of the plan of God.

He, who returned to the Father and appeared in his presence for us, has come again. We are in the days of his Second Presence. He is here as the Chief Reaper of the harvest which is the “end of the age.” (Matt. 13:39, New International Version) From God’s standpoint, “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet” of those who, having heard this good news, go quickly, to spread the message.—Isa. 52:7

May the resurrection of Jesus continue to inspire us all with ever-increasing zeal as the Lord’s messengers of present Truth! The Truth is ours to cherish and enjoy, and it will mean the most to us in proportion to our self-sacrificing efforts to impart its blessings to others. In Palestine there are two bodies of water, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee receives the waters of Jordan and gives them forth again, so it remains sweet and fresh, and life-giving. The Dead Sea receives the same waters, but does not give them forth. That is why it is ‘dead.’ May we be like Galilee, enjoying the waters of Truth ourselves, while we give them forth that others also may be made to rejoice.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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