Belief In The Resurrection

Been to a bookstore lately?  Visited a “Christian” bookstore?  Have you found yourself within the section labeled “Spirituality”, “Religion”, or “Christianity”?  If so, you’ve been close enough to observe some statements regarding the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.  Most Christians still believe that Christ rose again after three days in a tomb.  However, more and more everyday, liberal scholarship is offering another view.  There’s a thought now that Jesus didn’t actually raise from the dead.  His spirit may have.  But to claim a physical resurrection is too much.  Or there are those who claim the entire story is simply fantasy.  Jesus was a good man – perhaps a good teacher.  But the Son of God?  No.  And history has recorded too many audacious claims about this man.

So what say you?  What about a physical resurrection?  What does the resurrection mean to followers of Christ?

Paul wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14 ESV).  It seems that Paul thought the resurrection to be crucial to what one believed.  By the way, for early Christians, the phrase “raising from the dead” would literally mean raising from the dead.  In other words, spiritual resurrection wasn’t in their minds.  They believed in a physical resurrection.  Witnesses record Jesus appearing to the women, to the disciples, and then to hundreds of others (including Paul).

These visions of the risen Christ wasn’t just a cool show.  It was much more than that.  Moltmann writes of three different dimensions of the resurrection in Jesus Christ: for today’s world:

1.  They were prospective visions of hope: the men and women saw the crucified Jesus as the living Christ in the splendour cast ahead by God’s coming glory;

2.  They were retrospective visions of remembrance: the disciples recognized Jesus from the marks of the nails and from the way he broke the bread.  The One who will come is the One crucified on Golgotha; and

3.  They were personal call visions: the men and women concerned perceived in this ‘seeing’ their own call to apostleship: ‘As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.

You see, what you believe about the resurrection is what faith you have in God.  The faith you have in God is based upon the physical resurrection of Jesus.  For followers of Christ, separating the two isn’t possible.

What say you?

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6 Responses to “Belief In The Resurrection”

  1. As I child I did always imagine the resurrected Christ as a ghost. But I understand the word of God to say that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead – body and all – but resurrected in a new body – not human – a perfect body. (Is this the body we too will have when we rise for eternal life with Him?)

    John 20 where Mary Magdalene states that someone had taken the Lord out of the tomb; she would not have said this if there was still a body there. Then, He appears to Mary in his new body (she did not recognize him). Then, Jesus appears to the disciples – “Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them”.. THEN more and more amazing – Thomas touches Jesus’s wounds. When I read this chapter, I understand that it was Jesus, but his body was not human flesh… It was perfection. And… God is so much bigger than my puny thoughts. Jesus – Immanuel – God with us – Born of a Virgin…Died for the redemption of our sins and ROSE AGAIN defeating death and sin… I AM THAT I AM…so much the Bible speaks of the awesomeness of our LORD… and if people read it… and if it seems impossible to fathom… well it is… But that is our God, creator of all things, the One who fills space and time… the One I serve and fear and love and trust that thinks me worthy enough to want me to live forever with Him… Its so humbling…. and writers who claim the things you say they are claiming.. they are wise in their own eyes without fear of God.. and for me – that is a scary place to be.

  2. Not sure what you mean about your last statement about “writers” Maria. Are you referring to Moltmann and what he says above?

    • No, I’m referring to liberal scholarship mentioned above. Sorry 🙂

      • No problem. I understand the problem with liberal scholarship myself. Here, I think Moltmann is on to something. I appreciate each of the perspectives he offers. Look especially at #3. Hmmm. The cross should affect the way we live. I wonder how many think about these things.

  3. I see what you mean now – I went off on anther direction – There is a deeper purpose – even more than forgiveness of sin – but to be concerned (as Jesus was concerned) for the salvation of others… As Jesus, for the love of us all, lived on earth and died, came back alive with the marks of the nails, speaking and eating – demonstrating eternal life.. then we who believe in his life, his death, his eternity – we too, for the love of others – will not only feel the forgiveness of our sin through what we believe, but also act out on it and claim the truth about God, His Son and His salvation for all men so they too.. will believe and they too.. will go and speak.

  4. Amazed at old liberal rehash of spiritual resurrection. But why should I be when naturalism and science taken as the sum total of knowledge still seem to rule the day? Not to mention the spirit of antichrist which is in the world.

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