Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Resurrection

There are some (many, in fact) who believe that it is impossible for Jesus to have been raised from the dead. They paint all types of scenarios to help explain it away. Some believe that Jesus’ body was disposed of at a garbage dump or that He was only stunned or He took some drug to lower His body temperature. Some believe that His disciples stole His body from the tomb.

But why would the disciples record the events the way they did if they knew that it was a lie. If Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, why would they say that he was? Did they really believe that he would be raised from the dead? Would that thought even cross their mind? Did anyone but them know that Jesus said he was going to die and be raised again? Jesus only told his disciples so there was no reason for them to make up a story about a failed political leader, a man who mislead them into believing He was the Messiah. Why would they make up a story about resurrection, when that was the furtherest thing from their mind? They didn't understand that Jesus was a sacrifice for sin, that' wasn't even a Jewish thought at the time. They would be looking for the kingdom of God, not salvation from their sins.

To demonstrate, let's look at the attitude of the discples after Jesus' death:

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?"

Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. Why did the bring spices? They were preparing Him for burial. They were surprised that the stone was rolled away because they weren’t expecting it to be empty. They expected him to be there.

Luke 24:10 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, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

The disciples didn’t believe the report since they weren’t expecting Jesus to be raised from the dead.

Jesus told them it would happen but they didn’t understand:
Luke 24:5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise."
Why would they believe that Jesus was going to die and be raised from the dead? Up until the time of his death they were waiting for Jesus to establish His kingdom on earth, they did not expect or understand the cross. After he explains that he is to be killed at the hands of men, they start talking about who will be the greatest in the kingdom of God:
Mark 9:30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise." 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. 33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."
And when He didn’t usher in the kingdom of God, they were crushed. They could not understand. They expected the new age of holiness and righteousness promised in the Old Testament to be fulfilled and established by the Messiah, the Holy One of Israel:
Luke 24:13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, "What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" 19 And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see." 25 And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
The disciples did not realize that Isaiah 53 promised that the Savior of Israel, the Anointed One would be wounded from our transgression, they didn’t understand that would take the form of the cross and death. But it would also take the form of resurrection.

This was not offered as a proof of Jesus’ resurrection since I don’t believe that there is any proof that could be offered for those who are unwilling to believe, we can see that in Scripture:
Matthew 28:11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' 14 And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.
For those who believe it is wondrous news, it is the good news of the Christian’s hope:
1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Philippians 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
One final thought, why would these men write of this hope if they knew they had known. They would have understood that what they believed was in vain if they were lying about Jesus’ resurrection. If they were preaching a falsehood and they knew it, why not renounce it at the first sign of persecution? They didn't because they believe that He is risen…He is risen indeed.

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  1. Kim from Hiraeth said...
    He is Risen, indeed!
    Christopher Taylor said...
    I just think it's telling that nobody seriously argues that the tomb was not actually empty. They try to find ways it could have happened other than resurrection, but they recognize that yes, it was actually an empty tomb.
    michele said...
    That's a good point.

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