martes, 5 de abril de 2016

A Biblical Reflection on the Resurrection

By Azam Vianney Mansha (cjm)

The Resurrection of Jesus is the most extraordinary and significant event in the human history. It laid the foundation for Christianity and was crucial in the formation of the Christian Community throughout the world. Undoubtedly the Resurrection of Jesus is a fundamental dogma of Christianity, yet it has been attacked, questioned and scientifically investigated on baseless theological, intellectual, doctrinal and philosophical assumptions. Undeniably, there is no harm in searching for the truth. I believe that our whole life is a journey towards the inner truth, but at the same time I must pose a question: ‘Does the search lead us to accept the Truth?’

Recently, one of my friends asked me to share my views on the following theories:

1. The Swoon Theory: This is the idea that Jesus didn’t really die, but faked death on the cross, then conned his disciples into believing that he had conquered death only to live out his life elsewhere.

2. The Theft Theory: It holds that the disciples, other sympathizers, perhaps robbers or even Christ’s enemies, stole the corpse. This is the oldest and most widespread argument against Christ’s resurrection.

I am a student of the Bible who believes that ‘Bible makes sense[1].’ Therefore my findings and research revolve round the Holy Bible. In addition, it is not a detailed study paper with scientific research. I have consulted a few meaningful resources to support my argument. But still the main source is the Bible.

In order to understand the Resurrection of Jesus, we need to make a brief overview chart of the pre-resurrection events in the life of Jesus. This is also an attempt to say that Jesus was not an illusion, but He is fully human and fully divine.

  • Jesus was born through Mary ‘And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes,’ (Lk. 2:7a).[2] 
  • "Wise men from the East paid homage to Him…and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh" (Mt. 2:11b).
  • Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist at river Jordon ‘…And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water…’ (Mt. 3: 13-17).
  • Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God…’ (Mk. 1: 14-20).
  • Jesus appointed twelve men from Israel ‘…(Mk. 3: 7-12).
  • Jesus was arrested under Pilate: ‘So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him’ (Jn. 18: 12).
  • Jesus was hanged between two thieves and died on the Cross (Lk. 23: 39-49).
  • Jesus was laid in the tomb and was buried ‘Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid’ (Lk. 23: 53).

Now we have sufficient pre-resurrection evidence about the life of Jesus. Therefore let us move into
finding the facts about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • Seal was broken (Mt. 27: 62-66): In human history, only in Egypt guards were placed at the tomb of a dead king. The reason behind was to secure the pyramid (tomb) where gold and other necessary things were placed for the use of the dead king. In Israelite history, it was the first time when guards were placed at the tomb of a dead person in the fear that he was going to rise from the dead. Despite their efforts, Jesus rose from the dead and no human power could control his Resurrection.

  • The stone was removed (Mk. 16: 1-8): Removal of the large stone in the presence of the guards is impossible. It can only be possible either when guards are involved or they are absent from their duty. There are three things to be observed; (1) It was the demand of the chief priests and Pharisees (Mt. 27: 63, 66), (2) So that nobody enters into the tomb, and (3) steal the body of Jesus. We are told by the evangelists that women did not come to see the Risen Lord. In reality they were questioning among themselves (Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome) who would remove the large stone. Certainly women’s anxiety was right but the stone was removed prior to their arrival and a person had told them ‘‘do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him.’'

  • Empty tomb (Lk. 24: 1-6): For the time being, if we believe, the seal was broken and the large stone removed by the disciples of Jesus, then what about the body of Jesus? The guards supposedly were sleeping during the night. Then what about the women who in the morning came to see the body of Jesus? The women would have questioned the guards and guards would have searched the body of Christ. As far as the disciples’ bravery is concerned, it is hard to believe they even dared to go to the tomb. The tomb was empty because Jesus was truly risen.

  • The guards left the place (Mt. 28: 11-15): Having faced the Resurrection of Jesus, the guards left their place of duty to see the chief priests. The guards were not allowed to leave the ground until they found any evidence. They left the place because they faced the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus. Another Biblical evidence is about taking the money from the chief priests. The Son of God was exchanged for money two times, 1. Judas sold Jesus to the Jews and 2. Guards sold the Resurrection of Jesus to the Jews.

  • The Napkin (Jn. 20: 1-10): The napkin is put on the head of a dead person. The author of the Fourth Gospel has told us that the napkin was found with the linen cloth in the tomb but the napkin was ‘rolled up in a place by itself.’ I believe that the napkin sign was for the disciples to know what had happened, especially for John ‘whom Jesus loved (Jn. 13: 23b). John belonged to the inner circle of Jesus. He quickly realized that Jesus had risen from the dead by the way the napkin had been rolled. He believed that it had been rolled by Lord Jesus Himself.

In fine, I would say that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was a victory over death, a transition from death to life and a journey to eternal life (Jn 3:16b). Let us participate in the faith of Peter ‘For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty (2Peter 1: 16) and believe in the Resurrection of Jesus. 


[1]Brueggemann Walter, The Bible Makes Sense (Minnessota: St. Mary’s College Press).

[2]New Revised Standard Version is quoted.

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