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Posts tagged ‘Death and resurrection’

A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Ordeal of questions {Matthew 22:15-46 }

II —The Ordeal of questions. {#Mt 22:15-46 }

The open challenge has failed; but more subtle weapons may succeed. The Pharisees have found it of no avail to confront their enemy; but they may still be able to entangle Him. They will at all events try. They will spring upon Him some hard questions, of such a kind that, answering on the spur of the moment, He will be sure to compromise Himself.

1. The first shall be one of those semi-political semi-religious questions on which feeling is running high — the lawfulness or unlawfulness of paying tribute to Caesar. The old Pharisees who had challenged His authority keep in the background, that the sinister purpose of the question may not appear; but they are represented by some of their disciples who, coming fresh upon the scene and addressing Jesus m terms of respect and appreciation, may readily pass for guileless inquirers. They were accompanied by some Herodians, whose divergence of view on the point made it all the more natural that they should join with Pharisees in asking the question; for it might fairly be considered that they had been disputing with one another in regard to it, and had concluded to submit the question to His decision as to one who would be sure to know the truth and fearless to tell it. So together they come with the request:

“Master, we know that Thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest Thou for any man: for Thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest Thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?”

But they cannot impose upon Him:

“Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?”

Having thus unmasked them, without a moment’s hesitation He answers them. They had expected a “yes” or a “no”—a “yes” which would have set the people against Him, or better still a “no” which would have put Him at the mercy of the government. But, avoiding Scylla on the one hand, and Charybdis on the other, He makes straight for His goal by asking for a piece of coin and calling attention to Caesar’s stamp upon it. Those who use Caesar’s coin should not refuse to pay Caesar’s tribute; but, while the relation which with their own acquiescence they sustain to the Roman emperor implied corresponding obligations in the sphere it covered, this did not at all interfere with what is due to the King of kings and Lord of lords, in Whose image we all are made, and Whose superscription every one of us bears:

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Thus He not only avoids the net they had spread for Him, and gives them the very best answer to their question, but, in doing so, He lays down a great principle of far-reaching application and permanent value respecting the difficult and much-to-be-vexed question as to the relations between Church and State. “O answer full of miracle!” as one had said. No wonder that

“when they had heard these words they marvelled, and left Him, and went their way.”

2. Next come forward certain Sadducees. That the Pharisees had an understanding with them also seems likely from what is said both in ver. 15, which seems a general introduction to the series of questions, and in ver. 34, from which it would appear that they were somewhere out of sight, waiting to hear the result of this new attack. Though the alliance seems a strange one, it is not the first time that common hostility to the Christ of God has drawn together the two great rival parties. {see #Mt 16:1 } If we are right in supposing them to be in combination now, it is a remarkable illustration of the deep hostility of the Pharisees that they should not only combine with the Sadducees against Him, as they had done before, but that they should look with complacency on their using against Him a weapon which threatened one of their own doctrines. For the object of the attack was to cast ridicule on the doctrine of the resurrection, which assuredly the Pharisees did not deny.

The difficulty they raise is of the same kind as those which are painfully familiar in these days, when men of coarse minds and fleshly imaginations show by their crude objections their incapacity even to think on spiritual themes. The case they supposed was one they knew He could not find fault with so far as this world was concerned, for everything was done in accordance with the letter of the law of Moses, the inference being that whatever confusion there was in it must belong to what they would call His figment of the resurrection:

“In the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.”

It is worthy of note that our Lord’s-answer is much less stern than in the former case. These men were not hypocrites. They were scornful, perhaps flippant; but they were not intentionally dishonest. The difficulty they felt was due to the coarseness of their minds, but it was a real difficulty to them. Our Lord accordingly gives them a kindly answer, not denouncing them, but calmly showing them where they are wrong:

“Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”

Ye know not the power of God, or ye would not suppose that the life to come, would be a mere repetition of the life that now is, with all its fleshly conditions the same as now. That there is continuity of life is of course implied in the very idea of resurrection, but true life resides not in the flesh, but in the spirit, and therefore the continuity will be a spiritual continuity; and the power of God will effect such changes on the body itself that it will rise out of its fleshly condition into a state of being like that of the angels of God. The thought is the same as that which was afterwards expanded by the apostle Paul in such passages as #Ro 8:5-11, 1Co 15:35-54.

Ye know not the Scriptures, or you would find in the writings of Moses from which you quote, and to which you attach supreme importance, evidence enough of the great doctrine you deny.

“Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?”

Here, again, Jesus not only answers the Sadducees, but puts the great and all-important doctrine of the life to come and the resurrection of the body on its deepest foundation. There are those who have expressed astonishment that He did not quote from some of the later prophets, where He could have found passages much clearer and more to the point: but not only was it desirable that, as they had based their question on Moses, He should give His answer from the same source; but in doing so He has put the great truth on a permanent and universal basis; for the argument rests not on the authority of Moses, nor, as some have supposed, upon the present tense “I am,” but on the relation between God and His people. The thought is that such a relation between mortal man and the eternal God as is implied in the declaration

“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”

is itself a guarantee of immortality. Not for the spirit only, for it is not as spirits merely, but as men that we are taken into relation to the living God; and that relation, being of God, must share His immortality:

“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

The thought is put in a very striking way in a well-known passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews:

“But now they the patriarchs desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.”

Our Lord’s answer suggests the best way of assuring ourselves of this glorious hope. Let God be real to us, and life and immortality will be real too. If we would escape the doubts of old Sadducee and new Agnostic, we must be much with God, and strengthen more and more the ties which bind us to Him.

3. The next attempt of the Pharisees is on an entirely new line. They have found that they cannot impose upon Him by sending pretended inquirers to question Him. But they have managed to lay their hands on a real inquirer now — one of themselves, a student of the law, who is exercised on a question much discussed, arid to which very different answers are given; they will suggest to him to carry his question to Jesus and see what He will say to it. That this was the real state of the case appears from the fuller account in St. Mark’s Gospel. When, then, St. Matthew speaks of him as asking Jesus a question, “tempting Him,” we are not to impute the same sinister motives as actuated those who sent him. He also was in a certain sense tempting Jesus — i.e., putting Him to the test, but with no sinister motive, with a real desire to find out the truth, and probably also to find out if this Jesus was one who could really help an inquirer after truth. In this spirit, then, he asks the question,

“Which is the great commandment in the law?”

The answer our Lord immediately gives is now so familiar that it is difficult to realise how great a thing it was to give it for the first time. True, He takes it from the Scriptures; but think what command of the Scriptures is involved in this prompt reply. The passages quoted lie far apart — the one in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, the other in the nineteenth of Leviticus in quite an obscure corner; and nowhere are they spoken of as the first and second commandments, nor indeed were they regarded as commandments in the usually understood sense of the word. When we consider all this we recognise what from one point of view might be called a miracle of genius, and from another a flash of inspiration, in the instantaneous selection of these two passages, and bringing them together so as to furnish a summary of the law and the prophets beyond all praise which the veriest unbeliever, if only he have a mind to appreciate that which is excellent, must recognise as worthy of being written in letters of light. That one short answer to a sudden question—asked indeed by a true man, but really sprung upon Him by His enemies who were watching for His halting—is of more value in morals than all the writings of all the ethical philosophers, from Socrates to Herbert Spencer.

It is now time to question the questioners. The opportunity is most favourable. They are gathered together to hear what He will say to their last attempt to entangle Him. Once more He has not only met the difficulty, but has done so in such a way as to make the truth on the subject in dispute shine with the very light of heaven. There could not, then, be a better opportunity of turning their thoughts in a direction which might lead them, if possible in spite of themselves, into the light of God.

The question Jesus asks (vv. 41-45) is undoubtedly a puzzling one for them; but it is no mere Scripture conundrum. The difficulty in which it lands them is one which, if only they would honestly face it, would be the means of removing the veil from their eyes, and leading them, ere it is too late, to welcome the Son of David come in the name of the Lord to save them. They fully accepted the psalm to which He referred as a psalm of David concerning the. Messiah. If, then, they would honestly read that psalm they would see that the Messiah when He comes must be, not a mere earthly monarch, as David was, but a heavenly monarch, one who should sit on the throne of God and bring into subjection the enemies of the kingdom of heaven. If only they would take their ideas of the Christ from the Scriptures which were their boast, they could not fail to see Him standing now before them. For we must remember that they had not only the words He spoke to guide them. They had before them the Messiah Himself, with the light of heaven in His eye, with the love of God in His face; and had they had any love for the light, they would have recognised Him then — they would have seen in Him, whom they had often heard of as David’s Son, the Lord of David, and therefore the Lord of the Temple, and the heavenly King of Israel. But they love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil: therefore their hearts remain unchanged, the eyes of their spirit unopened; they are only abashed and silenced:

“No man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

Matthew 22:7-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Invitations after City’s Destruction

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 22:15-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Caesar’s Things and God’s Things

Matthew 22:23-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sadducees Question on the Resurrection

Matthew 22:29-33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Resurrection Proof from Moses

Matthew 22:34-40 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Which Is the Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:41-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Asks a Trump Question

Additional readings to Matthew 22:41-46

A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Marriage Feast {Matthew 22:1-14 }

Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction

Matthew 7:13-23 – The True Disciple

1 The way to destruction and a Narrow gate on the Way leading to Life

MT7:13 “Enter[1] by the Narrow Gate.[2] For the way to destruction is broad and roomy[3] and many are those entering by it.[4] MT7:14 For, narrow the Gate and cramped the Way leading to Life[5] and few are those finding it.[6]

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[1] Enter: The person described in the conclusion who ‘hears and does the teachings’ of the Nazarene as found in this sermon, is obviously a true or real disciple. The principles already laid out by the Nazarene may appear daunting to his audience, for it asks each one who will follow to go far beyond the Torah. It asks the would-be disciple to go beyond the letter to the spirit of the Law.

What is expected of the Nazarene disciple? Though this sermon does not dwell on doctrinal points of the Christ, it does allude to or infer several. These are called The Seven Principles and are outlined in the Lord’s Prayer. So, the Friend of the Nazarene would have to accept these primary points. The main thrust of the Mountain Teachings is ‘love your neighbor.’ The Nazarene Saint will have to become a New Person in dealings with neighbors: unselfish selflessness motivated by an interest which seeks the highest good of neighbor will characterize the ‘true disciple’ (For details see the book Nazarene Principles©).

English: Islamic Jesus (Isa) miniature of Serm...

English: Islamic Jesus (Isa) miniature of Sermon on the Mount Deutsch: Altpersische Miniatur mit Jesus (a.) bei der Bergpredigt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[2] Narrow Gate: A gate may lead into a city or a home (Jeremiah 37:13; Acts 12:13, 14). The entrance to the Household of Faith is narrow and restrictive. The gate is the first element to enter such a Household. We might view these teachings of the Nazarene in his Mountain Teachings as part and parcel of this “gate” with its belief system and restrictive requirements, even demands, on that person who would desire ‘to follow the Lamb no matter where he goes.’ (Revelation 14:5) Though possessed of lofty requirements it is really the ideal of the New Person with the Transformed Mind (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:13, 15, 23, 24). The Nazarene is only asking that you be a decent and well-mannered human being. Even when an agnostic evolutionist is asked about the ideal person, a description of Christ (or that person of Jesus’ sermon) is forthcoming. Note Luke 13:24 and the effort needed to get through the narrow door.’ In Luke the ‘narrow door’ is in response to a question whether only a few are being saved. To this Jesus’ exhorts, ‘Strain every nerve’ (GDSP); or, ‘agonize the agony,’ if the literal Greek is favored. The “gate” seems to be that of the “sheepfold” and not a subject about the salvation of all humanity (John chapter 10).

[3] The way to destruction is broad and roomy: “Destruction” is often associated with Sheol or the grave in the Hebrew Bible (Job 26:6; 28:22; Proverbs 15:11; 27:20). It is that place all persons will enter with the possibility of escaping at the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 2:13-15; Job 14:12-15). Those who enter the gate of the sheepfold or household of faith accept the ‘heavenly calling’ (Hebrews 3:1) and are transformed from death to life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:1).

The way to Destruction is “broad and spacious” because it allows for a wide diversity of convictions and beliefs. The Narrow Gate must include the contents of the Nazarene’s Mountain Teachings contained in Matthew chapters 5-7.

[4] Many are those entering by it: Paul teaches that “all” descendants of Adam go into Death and that “all” will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). However, some find “real life” during their lifetimes (1 Timothy 6:19). They are among the “few” in contrast to the billions who lose that opportunity described by Revelation 20:4, 6.

[5] Narrow the Gate and cramped the Way leading to Life: Various renderings: KJ: straight is the gate; KNX: how small is the gate; GDSP: the road is hard. The Mountain Teachings demonstrate the narrowness and rigidity of the Nazarene’s requirements for entrance into the Realm of Profession.

[6] Few are those finding it: Perhaps “find” applies to the ultimate attainment of the Kingdom of the Father. Note that Daniel 12:2, with reference to the resurrection of the Saints, “many” are mentioned. Whereas, Paul says “all” with reference to all Adam’s children (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). The final tally of the Church will be “few” compared to the totality of those raised at the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:5, 13-15).

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Preceding article

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:21-26 – 1. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:13

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 7: Matthew 7:1-5 Judgment and neighbor love

Matthew 7:12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Summary on the Torah’s Fulfillment

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Additional reading

  1. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places
  2. Obtain favour from Yahweh
  3. Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still

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Further reading

  1. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Contrasts
  2. Two Gates
  3. Enter the Narrow Gate
  4. Life’s Narrow and Wide Gates
  5. 8. Doors and Destinations
  6. A Narrow Door…
  7. The Narrow Gate
  8. The Narrow Gate (by Jack Bailey)
  9. Daily Mass: The narrow gate. Catholic Inspiration
  10. The Protestant – Catholic divide – The Narrow and the Wide Gates
  11. Love, Entering the Narrow Gate
  12. The Narrow Way
  13. Religious Theology – The wide gate!
  14. Taking responsibility – the narrow gate that leads to life
  15. Difficult is the Way that Leads to Life
  16. Those Who Find It Are Few.
  17. Only dead fish swim with the stream
  18. against the stream
  19. How to choose between the wide and the narrow
  20. How to choose between the wide and the narrow:part 3
  21. Guard My Feet Lord
  22. But Officer, It’s the “Spirit” of the Law
  23. How to be a spirit-of-the-law or hope-based leader
  24. You are a spiritual being: Act like one
  25. From nobodies to somebodies
  26. Day 16 – How much more valuable is a person?
  27. Matthew ch. 15
  28. The Path of Love
  29. footprints and deep mental paths
  30. The Renewed Mind: When the Impossible Seems Logical
  31. The Cost of Discipleship
  32. The Cost of Discipleship (discussion questions)
  33. Be serious, strive hard – January 12, 2017
  34. The Way home Psalm 56:3-4 Luke 13:22-30
  35. Navel-Gazing vs Finding the Real Cause of it All!
  36. Urgency
  37. Turnstile Salvation
  38. Awaken
  39. Exodus 10, Job 28, Luke 13, 1 Corinthians 14
  40. The Crumb That Turns Stale With Time

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A fact of History or just a fancy Story

A man killed for an other

The previous weeks we looked at the suffering of Jesus and how he came to an end. When he was killed, our story did not end. We got to read that he in a strange way disappeared from the grave in which he was put in.

Christian views on Hell

Certain Christian views on Hell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three days after the crucifixion, the tomb of Jesus was found empty by his closest friends, who did not know what could have happened. normally his body would be part of the world of the dead, going to become victim of decay. But to the unbelief and surprise Jesus appeared to his followers, who where very much afraid for what went on and for the reprisals of the Romans and locals.

They all had witnessed how Jesus died and knew he was buried. Today there are people who take Jesus to be God, but than they forget that God can not die. Jesus really did. He had given his body, of flesh and blood to his Holy Father, the Only One God, Jehovah. In common with all other men his life came to an end, but unlike other men he returned from Hades (Sheol = hell) were he had stayed for three days. He was not tortured over there, because the hell is just the burial place or grave, where people are place in when they die. there would also not be one reason to put Jesus into a torture place for the sins he might  have done, because Jesus was the only man who could stay without any sin.

Jesus offered himself to his Father who resurrected him out of the dead and made him higher than angels, to which he was lower before. God is and always has been the most High, but now He allowed Jesus to come sit next to Him, to be a mediator between Him (God) and men.

A great miracle and reason for Christianity

For Christians this taking out of death is one of the greatest of all miracles since the creation itself, and could have been accomplished only if Jesus got the full blessing of his Father,  God, the Creator of the universe. The death and resurrection of Jesus marks the central point of God’s master plan for the world.

The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of the promises made by God and the reason of existence of Christianity. Everything else that was said or done by Christ and the apostles is secondary in importance to the resurrection. If the resurrection did not take place then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then we got the proof of the Old Testament sayings and have proof of the Messiah ship of the Nazarene Jew Jeshua, Jesus Christ, the son of man and son of God.

In case Jesus would have been God, than God just faked a death and presented a show of His body going out of a grave. As an eternal spirit God has always existed and shall always exist, but is also everywhere at once, and not bounded to any place. But Jesus Christ was bounded to the environment where he preached. He also was tempted, while God can not be tempted. After he died, Jesus was taken out of the boundary where his body was put in the clothes. The guards in front of his grave could take care his body was not been stolen, nor that a living person would be able to roll away the very heave stone on his own.

Charlatan or madman

If all of this is somehow a delusion and if Jesus of Nazareth did not really rise from the dead, then he is either a god who fooled everybody, and let the people suffer for many years before intervening, or he was no different from other great men who are also dead. He is worse than they, in fact, because he is thereby branded as either a charlatan or a madman, since he staked all his claims to be the son of God and being the Way to his Father, and who would come back to the earth after his death.

On the other hand, if the resurrection is really a demonstrable fact of history, then not only are his claims vindicated, but so are God His promises and the promises of Jesus. In case Jesus really died and was taken out of death, we have the proof of the love of God, who is willing to bring an end to the curse brought forward by the first men. In Jesus we can find then the new Adam, or the first one of  the New Creation, the 2° Adam. With Christ Jesus we than can find a new beginning of which all followers of Christ may be part of.

Then we may believe that death is not, after all, the great victor, but is a defeated foe.

“3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5 KJ21)

Provider of a New Covenant

Jesus had brought his followers hope to life using the true Word, showing them how they could follow in his footsteps and go through the small gate to enter the Kingdom of God. By the work Jesus had done, his death made them free. By his offering they became partakers of the New Covenant with God  by which they received new life which is not like their old life. Also for us, who want to follow Christ Jesus and believe in his resurrection we are not bounded any more to our old birth coming from mortal sperm. In case we face the reality of the Nazarene man having died and being resurrected by the Force of God, we can receive that new birth which comes from God’s living Word, which lives and stays for ever. (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23) We can get a new and better life, because Jesus was willing to give himself as a ransom for us all.

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind; be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13 KJ21)

“By Him ye believe in God, who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1:21 KJ21)

Seeing the son, lower than the Father

In case you have doubts about the death and resurrection of Christ, think what reasons the whole parade would have been useful for. If Jesus is God, why did God wait such a long time before taking steps to save the world. And why did He not say directly who He really was when He would have been here on earth as Jesus. Plus how could all those people see and touch Jesus when he would have been God, because God Himself told the world that they could not see Him and live.

“And He said, “Thou canst not see My face, for there shall no man see Me and live.”” (Exodus 33:20 KJ21)

When we take Jesus to be God, we minimise his suffering, his death and his resurrection. Though as followers of Christ, being Christian, we should follow the teachings of our master and believe his words.  He never claimed to be God and always told others to recognise the Hand of his father in the works he did. Jesus also was fully aware that his Father, God was mightier than him.

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, “Verily, verily I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19 KJ21)

“Ye have heard how I said unto you, ‘I go away and come again unto you.’ If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice because I said, ‘I go unto the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 KJ21)

Worshipping the Right One

Jesus often spoke to his Father, whom he worshipped and told us also to pray to Him like he prayed to his Father, who is the Master or Head of Christ.

“But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3 KJ21)

“And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son Himself also be subject unto Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28 KJ21)

As Christians we should believe the words of Christ and be believers because we trust the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead.

Smoke and mirrors

We have to face it — if Jesus did not really died and there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything the apostles told us is smoke and mirrors, and everything we have staked our life on is smoke and mirrors.

But we also have to be aware that there is an even bigger problem and a very bad sign we do give to those who do not believe in God or who do believe in other gods than our only One God, Jehovah. We would namely give the impression that all the sayings of the Old Testament make no sense at all and that God bends His words. We would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits the apostles passed on to us verifying that God raised up Christ — sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.

If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. If Christ is God he could not die and was not dead, so could not have been standing up from death, but if he would have fallen asleep, He just would have woken up and walk out the grave, no matter if it was sealed or closed by one or more heavy stones, because He can go through everything.

And if Christ wasn’t raised, then all we are doing is making wise vesicles, fooling ourselves and wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves and there would be nothing any more.  It all shall be finished and without any prospects. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration, like we can enjoy the quotes from special humans or other religious figures, for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Women at the Sepulchre (The Angel at the Tomb of Christ) - Benjamin West - overall.jpg

The Women at the Sepulchre (The Angel at the Tomb of Christ) – 1805, Benjamin West (1738–1820)

“12  Now if Christ is preached, that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 and if Christ be not risen, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found to be false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up, if so it be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is Christ not raised; 17 and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20  But now Christ is risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of those who slept. 21 For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive; 23 but every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-23 KJ21)

With the ignominious death of their master, his disciples were utterly confused and afraid for their own lives. There is no possibility that they could have continued as teachers of the Nazarene’s doctrines, and even less that others could have been persuaded to follow them, in those circumstances. The people who had seen and hear about Jesus and his miracles would have joked about him and his followers which would have been fooled all the way long.

A physical body, not a ghost, returned to life

When Jesus appeared to his closest friends he proofed to them that he was not a ghost, while his Father is Ghost. They could see the marks of his wounds.

“5 And as they were afraid and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke unto you when He was yet in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”” (Luke 24:5-7 KJ21)

File:Köln - An Groß St Martin - Groß St Martin in 34 ies.jpg

Stigmata, visual signs of his torture. – Groß St. Martin, An Groß St. Martin in Cologne – Photo Frank Vincentz

“19 And He said unto them, “What things?” And they said unto Him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death and have crucified him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel. And beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea, and certain women also of our company, who were early at the sepulcher, made us astonished. 23 And when they found not his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the sepulcher and found it even so as the women had said, but him they saw not.” 25 Then He said unto them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:19-27 KJ21)

“36  And as they thus spoke, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them and said unto them, “Peace be unto you.” 37 But they were terrified and afraid, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said unto them, “Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me to have.” 40 And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, “Have ye here any meat?” 42 And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate before them. 44 And He said unto them, “These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, 46 and said unto them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high.”” (Luke 24:36-49 KJ21)

John his doubts and fears immediately gave way to an amazed faith when he had entered the empty tomb. The collapsed grave clothes yielded no possible interpretation except that the physical body of the crucified Christ had returned to life, in such a remarkable form that it could simply pass through the linen wrappings and enter henceforth into the power of an endless life, like Jesus had foretold should happen! Spirit does not die and therefore cannot be “resurrected”, but they had met and spend many hours with the man from Nazareth.

Pilate was given assurance that Jesus died by the centurion (Mark 15:43-45). The savage spear thrust into his side by the soldier (John 19:34) made certain of his death, “and forthwith came there out blood and water,” evidencing complete collapse of the heart cavity.

Body not taken away

The disciples were hiding in fear of their lives and nothing could have been further from their thoughts than them trying to take away the body of Christ. Furthermore, the tomb had been sealed, a great stone rolled in front of it, and a watch of Roman soldiers set to guard it (Matthew 27:62-66). What is interesting about the witness of the disciples is that it is never presented as conclusive, or even as important. The reason for this is that there was no need for a human witness to the empty tomb at the time at which the gospels were written, because the witness of the whole population of Jerusalem – not to mention pilgrims from all over the known world – was that the tomb was empty. The inhabitants form Jerusalem could witness themselves what happened to the place where Jesus was been buried. In case the grave was not empty and it was not enough clear that the apostles had hidden the body they could not have made so many converts.

Several looked for Jesus, who was crucified, but could not find him in the grave. The angels had told the wives that he was risen and that they had  to go quickly and tell his disciples that Jesus was risen from the dead. They told them that they would see him. When they and the apostles were going, some of the guard came into the city and reported unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of money to the soldiers to say that his disciples came by night and stole him away while they slept.  So they took the money and did as they were taught.

This story was current among Jews from the earliest times, and we have independent evidence of this. For example, Justin quotes a debate in which his opponent refers to Jesus as:

“One Galilean deceiver, whom we crucified, but his disciples stole him by night from the tomb… and now deceive them by asserting that he has risen from the dead and ascended into heaven” (Justin Martyr: Dialogue Against Trypho,108 [c.AD150]).

The story does, in fact, persist to the present day.

Judea in 30 AD was a province subject to revolt and terrorism. It was no place for soldiers to sleep in the open: any soldiers who were not alert were likely to be killed by Zealots. It is thus unlikely that my guard would go to sleep, and inconceivable that they would sleep so soundly that a group of men large enough to carry away a dead body could roll aside the stone over the grave mouth (this itself would be a noisy operation) without at least one of the guard waking up.

More significant still is the condition of the disciples. Before the resurrection they were broken men, afraid and in hiding. Afterwards they were bold preachers of the gospel, who were prepared to turn the world upside down in order to preach the risen Christ. Not only that, but they were almost all put to death for their faith (probably John was the only disciple to die a natural death, and even he was exiled). None of them ever denied their faith in the risen Christ. It would take a group of several men to remove a body from a grave; if the body of Jesus had been stolen all of the men in the group would have known that the resurrection never took place, and at least one of them would have been expected to break down and confess in the face of certain and unpleasant death. If one of the disciples had confessed to stealing the body, we would certainly have known it, because the Roman and Jewish authorities would have ensured that it was reported. That it was not reported shows that it never happened, and that the disciples did not steal the body.

The important point about this explanation is that it would be unnecessary if the body of Jesus was still safely in the tomb. There is only one conclusion that can be drawn: The tomb was empty.

“5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, “Fear ye not, for I know that ye seek Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and behold, He goeth before you into Galilee. There shall ye see Him. Lo, I have told you.” 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “All hail.” And they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, “Be not afraid. Go tell My brethren to go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.” 11  Now when they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city and reported unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders and had taken counsel, they gave a large sum of money unto the soldiers, 13 saying, “Say ye, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him and secure you.” 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught; and this account is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” (Matthew 28:5-15 KJ21)

Anyone who wished to find out for themselves could go down to see it; to do so would take only a very short time. Yet Jerusalem was the cradle of the infant church; thousands of people were converted there very soon after the crucifixion.

Believe in Christ Jesus

We may not forget that even in the family of Jesus there where who doubted about Jesus his task. The gospels tell us that James nor any of Jesus’ younger brothers believed in him during his lifetime. It would be very strange that the early church would generate fictitious stories concerning the unbelief of Jesus’ family and they would not have reacted against those stories. We must imagine the grieve the children of Joseph and Mary had with their parents and how they would react if uncertain events happened or unjust stories were told. Though with everything that happened James and his brothers did become active Christian believers following Jesus’ death. James was considered an apostle and eventually rose to the position of leadership of the Jerusalem church. According to the first century Jewish historian Josephus, James was martyred for his faith in Christ in the late 60s CE.

We only can conclude that the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.  There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man. Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ.  But we have to wait our turn: Christ is first, then those with him at his Coming,” (1 Corinthians 15:12-23 )

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Please do read more about this matter in: The Resurrection of Jesus: A fact of History!

Preceding articles:

After the Sabbath after Passover, the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2

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Please do find additional literature:

  1. The Seed Of The Woman Bruised
  2. An unblemished and spotless lamb foreknown
  3. The wrong hero
  4. A god between many gods
  5. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  6. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  7. Altered to fit a Trinity
  8. Attributes to God
  9. Hashem השם, Hebrew for “the Name”
  10. A Jewish Theocracy
  11. Promise of Comforter
  12. Promises, God’s
  13. God does not change
  14. God’s salvation
  15. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #3 A voice to be taken Seriously
  16. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  17. Written to recognise the Promised One
  18. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  19. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  20. About a man who changed history of humankind
  21. Who was Jesus?
  22. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  23. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua > Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua + Jezus, Yeshua, Yahushua
  24. The Beginning of the life of Jesus Christ
  25. Jesus begotten Son of God #4 Promised Prophet and Saviour
  26. Jesus begotten Son of God #6 Anointed Son of God, Adam and Abraham
  27. Jesus begotten Son of God #10 Coming down spirit or flesh seed of Eve
  28. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  29. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  30. Jesus begotten Son of God #16 Prophet to be heard
  31. Jesus begotten Son of God #17 Adam, Eve, Mary and Christianity’s central figure
  32. Jesus begotten Son of God #18 Believing in inhuman or human person
  33. Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
  34. Jesus begotten Son of God #20 Before and After
  35. Man’s plans prevailed by God’s purpose
  36. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  37. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  38. On the Nature of Christ
  39. Jesus spitting image of his father
  40. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  41. A man with an outstanding personality
  42. On the Nature of Christ
  43. Mission son of God perceived as failure
  44. 2 Corinthians 5:19 – God in Christ
  45. How do trinitarians equate divine nature
  46. Self inflicted misery #3 A man given to suffer for us
  47. The meek one riding on an ass
  48. Jesus and His God
  49. Was Jesus Religious
  50. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  51. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  52. Slave for people and God
  53. Apple of Gods eye
  54. Servant of his Father
  55. What did Jesus sing?
  56. What Jesus sang
  57. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  58. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  59. A Messiah to die
  60. Dying or not
  61. Swedish theologian finds historical proof Jesus did not die on a cross
  62. Impaled until death overtook him
  63. An unblemished and spotless lamb foreknown
  64. Crucifixion for suffering
  65. Why 20 Nations Are Defending the Crucifix in Europe
  66. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  67. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  68. Decomposition, decay – vergaan, afsterven, ontbinding
  69. Self inflicted misery #6 Paying by death
  70. Jesus three days in hell
  71. Jesus and the fallen angels in hell
  72. Ressurection of Jesus Christ
  73. Jesus is risen
  74. Risen With Him
  75. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  76. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  77. One Mediator between God and man
  78. Christ having glory
  79. Christ’s coming
  80. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  81. God demonstrates his own love
  82. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  83. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  84. Secret or public return of Jesus
  85. Certainty in a troubled world
  86. Concerning gospelfaith
  87. Breathing to teach
  88. Why believing the Bible
  89. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything

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  • William Lane Craig’s case for the resurrection of Jesus (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Dr. Craig’s famous minimal facts case for the resurrection has been posted at the Christian Apologetics Alliance. He presents 4 facts admitted by the majority of New Testament historians, and then he supplies multiple pieces of evidence for each fact.
  • The Jesus of Faith a myth? (proudfootz.wordpress.com) +
    the term ‘historical Jesus’ as Ehrman will be using it is in contrast to the ‘Jesus of Faith’, that is that when Ehrman is describing an ‘historical Jesus’ he does not mean a Jesus as accepted by most christians: the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, capable of performing miracles, uttering true prophecies, or raising others or himself from the dead, or really appearing as a spirit or some such thing to real humans after a resurrection. The sort of Jesus Ehrman is proposing to establish the real existence of is a mortal man like any other who is born, lives his life, and eventually dies and stays dead.
    +
    most or (unlikely) all of them think Jesus was merely a mortal man like any other.
    +
    it may well be that virtually all the experts believe Jesus really existed, but that doesn’t mean they believe in an ‘historical Jesus’ as Ehrman defines it. This is I think a major difficulty for Ehrman’s thesis because on the one hand he wants to stack the deck in favor of the historical existence of Jesus by citing the united front of ‘all New testament scholars’, but to do so he has to include the many, many people – scholars and laymen alike – who are convinced on the evidence that Jesus was a real miracle-worker who could raise the dead, raise himself from the dead, and was if not a god in his own right the son of a god. For most people Jesus was not a failed prophet, a street-corner rabble-rouser, or a social reformer: Jesus was Lord and Savior, the long-promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, Son of God reigning even now in Heaven, coming soon to judge the living and the dead.
    +
    It’s safe to say that a great number of teachers in theological seminaries and divinity schools (and I think many in ‘secular’ colleges and universities) believe that Jesus not only existed, but worked miracles, rose from the dead, and was the son of a god, and communes with believers from his seat in Heaven. Up until now Ehrman has downplayed this fact.
  • Understanding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (christianity.answers.com)
    The Bible teaches that the resurrection of Jesus was an actual historical event. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all record the resurrection as true. These same accounts also record many other miracles performed by Jesus during his life. Although many have offered alternative explanations for the resurrection, few are plausible and all contradict the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life.
    +
    Some have suggested that perhaps Jesus wasn’t really dead and was able to walk out of his tomb after a few days of rest. The greatest difficulty with this opinion is that it fails to account for the thorough nature of Roman crucifixion. Roman soldiers performed thousands of crucifixions every year. They were experts at using crucifixion to kill people. It is simply not plausible that a man could have lived through a Roman crucifixion and had the energy and ability to break out of a sealed tomb a few days later.
  • Jesus Freaks (live-your-best-life.me)
    What about being called a Jesus Freak though? Would it embarrass you or make you feel politically incorrect? What actions would it take to make you a Jesus Freak? Would you be considered for one if you are just a nice person or maybe someone who doesn’t hang out with the partiers of the crowd? Do you have to go to church for someone to think you are a Jesus Freak? What if, are you ready for this, you read your Bible in public? Certainly that qualifies you for that title. Is this a label you would wear in secret or would you wear it proudly?
  • The Meaning and Purpose of Our Existence. (revivehope.wordpress.com)
    The New Testament is the fulfillment of the events, characters, laws, sacrificial system (the forgiveness of sin), and promises of the Old Testament. The New Testament also prophesies our future and warns us to be spiritually prepared, warning others, and spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
    +
    God sent His sinless Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth to show His tremendous love for us, teaching us and demonstrating God’s power and might over all through various miracles, healings, and even raising people from the dead. He sent His only begotten (to cause) Son to die on our behalf (the penalty/consequence for sin is the shedding of blood) and rose from the dead to demonstrate His love for us and His power over sin and death.

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