Resurrection – is there any room for doubt?

Tony ChadwickPosted on Monday, April 22, 2013 by Tony Chadwick

Resurrection – shows that Jesus really is the Messiah

Based on readings from Acts 9:36-43 and John 10:22-30

These readings present two initial questions as we consider them:

  • What is the difference between Jesus and Tabitha (Dorcas) being raised from the dead?
  • Why was Jesus so reticent and elliptic about who He was?

History is full of reinterpretation; the Magna Carta, for example, came to be much more important than it was originally – a quick fix in 1215 which did not last. History had repeatedly reinterpreted what it means and its importance derives from that.

The same is true the evolution of the concept of the Messiah or the ‘Anointed One’. The Jews expected a Messiah – but we look at Jesus through a New Testament prism – whereas the Jews of the time would have looked at him in Old Testament terms.

What were the 1st century AD Jews expecting?

This gets very complicated as it evolves over time, but key passages are Daniel 6:13-14 and Daniel 9:25-26.

There seem to be a clear set of five characteristics of the ‘anointed one’ – and you can use this of any King:

  • Person concerned is God’s choice the result of the direct action of the Holy Spirit
  • Appointed to accomplish a redemptive purpose – see Jesus’ teaching
  • Judgement of foes – see Jesus’ teaching
  • Dominion over nations – it’s world-wide not just for the Jews, as Jesus says
  • God (Yahweh) is the real agent – well, nobody else!

There are connections back to:

  • Garden of Eden and Adam – the fall and restoration
  • Moses – covenant with God – Exodus and the promised land
  • David – kingship
  • Psalms – dominion over the world not just for Jews – e.g. Psalm 2
  • Prophetic – e.g. Isaiah 9 v 6-7
That is the Spiritual end – what did 1st Century Jews actually think?

Matthew 20:20-23 shows that James and John’s mother thought in terms of a material view of an earthly kingdom – the history of the exile and current occupation by the Romans.

Disciples in other places follow a similar tack, wondering who is the greatest? Simon did get the right answer in Matthew 16:13-20 but this clearly did not stick.

Back to one of the original questions, Dorcas (Tabitha) dies – Peter comes along and raises her from the dead. Elijah does the same with the son of the widow of Zarapheth in 1 Kings 17:13-14

What is different about Jesus’ resurrection (from other raisings from the dead in the Bible)? Was he not just a great prophet?

Jesus died a slow painful death – but God’s will was that He rose – and there was no known human intervention – it was a shock to the disciples!

Apostles had:

  • Received Jesus teaching
  • Witnessed his death and resurrection

After Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came, had the spirit of fear and confusion replaced by certainty…in other words, did this work work? – Yes!

God took a bunch of people – frightened, unsure and led them to create (and inspire others) to create the worldwide church. As often with God, though we tend to have it on a smaller scale, He does not do what we expect, but he keeps his promises – and we should keep ours!

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