Greetings from Manila! Today is Easter morning, so I decided to read the Easter accounts for my quiet time. In Matthew, Mark, and John, its clear that Jesus and his disciples went to Galilee after his resurrection. In fact Jesus commanded his disciples to go there. But in Luke, they were commanded to stay in Jerusalem. Thus, in Matthew, Mark and John, it seems Jesus ascended into heaven (or gave the Great Commission) from a mountain in Galilee, while in Luke it seems to be the Mount of Olives. I tried to reconcile these accounts, but have not been able to. What complicates this is that the Book of Acts follows the Luke narrative and indicates that the disciples never left Jerusalem. My purpose in asking about this is so that I can explain this in case someone asks me. I understand that one explanation is that minor discrepancies are actually proof of authenticity. But how does that fit in with the principle that the Bible is perfect in that it is internally consistent? --Rommel Casis
Matthew 28 and Luke 24 are clearly separate accounts, and focus on different locations. There is no need to "harmonize," since there is no contradiction. It seems Luke 24:47 and 49 are causing the difficulty. Jesus had told them that the evangelization of the world would begin in Jerusalem. They were not to launch until clothed with power from on high. I do not interpret this as Jesus telling them not to leave the city at all... only that they should wait till being clothed with power (in Jerusalem) before they began spreading the faith (beginning there).
Galilee (Matthew 28) seems to have happened soon after Passover. There were seven weeks between Passover and Pentecost--plenty of time for all the events to fit in. I would not think everyone would just "stay over" after Passover, waiting idly for the Feast of Weeks to arrive. So they went "home." They met Jesus there. Later they were back in Jerusalem, ten days before Pentecost. Luke may suggest they did not leave, but this is never explicitly stated.
Why Jesus had them meet him in Galilee I am not sure. At any rate, Matthew 28 does not give us Jesus' "last words," nor does it claim to. They are, however, his last words in Matthew. Which means Matthew is giving them ultimate emphasis--nothing more.
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