The New Creation and the Resurrection

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The Talmud even reports that Jesus Yeshu was hanged as in on the cross on the eve of the Passover b Sanh 43a-b; cf. Justin Martyr Dial. Lucian, a Greek writer of the 2 nd century, mentions the crucifixion of Jesus as well The Death of Peregrine , This is very significant, because to be hung on a tree, to be crucified, was to be cursed in the eyes of the Jews. Paul tells us this Gal. How could Christianity develop and believe in a crucified, cursed, carpenter as their long-awaited promised Messiah?

What could make sense of the fact that Jesus was crucified and later venerated as the Promised One, indeed, God incarnate? This makes the existence of the Church all the more amazing. Why would people such as Peter, James, and Paul follow—to death!

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What could account for this historical fact? Why would Jews switch their day of worship from Saturday, the Sabbath, to Sunday in light of someone that died a horrible death on the cross? Of course, we know that Jesus, the Messiah, died as the Lamb of God to take away our sins. We see that His death was the fulfillment of passages like Isaiah However, that was not immediately understood.

They did not a first understand that the Messiah must suffer many things cf. Second, Jesus was Buried. Jesus was buried 1 Cor. Laid in a tomb and later His tomb was found empty. There are multiple attestations of this. Further, they tell us that women were the first people on the scene.

Instead, it would have made sense for them to say that Peter, for instance, was the first person on the scene. Also, they would not have left any discrepancies in the accounts. However, discrepancies remain. They are not irreconcilable but they remain. If the story of the empty tomb was fabricated the account of it would be much more tidy. One of the theories put forward against the resurrection is that Jesus was not actually dead when He was taken off the cross. He would have been in no position to convince His disciples that He had rose from the dead. Plus, He would then be a deceiver which greatly conflicts with His amazing ethical teachings.

All of this aside, it is just not possible that Jesus would have lived through the whole ordeal. In fact because of the type of beating that Jesus underwent before He was even crucified He could have died even beforehand so there was no way that He would have lived through the crucifixion. They would have known if Jesus was not dead. People have even claimed that Jesus death was faked. They claim that Jesus was slipped a drug that put Him into a deep stupor they use Mk.

However, this theory falls short for a number of reasons.

Death, Heaven, Resurrection, and the New Creation by Kent Burreson

Not least is the fact that had Jesus fell into a deep stupor He would have in fact died. One of the ways, probably the most common way, which people died on the cross was through asphyxiation. Thus if Jesus was drugged He would have certainly died of asphyxiation anyhow.

However, the important feature may be not how he died but rather whether he died. Clearly, the weight of historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right ribs, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death. Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.

This is because if someone is willing to claim that Jesus did not die on the cross rather than face the other evidence then the other evidence must be substantial indeed. So what then is the significance that Jesus was buried and that Paul and the confession stated that? Jesus rose from the dead 1 Cor. Actually, it was never even claimed that the tomb was not empty. That was not an option that anyone could have claimed because the tomb was empty. Yet, that claim is preposterous for a few reasons. People have also put forward the idea that the women went to the wrong tomb.

If the women had gone to the wrong tomb then the authorities would have said so. They did know where the tomb was; they set guards in front of it. First , we see early attestation that the tomb was empty. Paul quoted an early confession that Jesus was raised 1 Cor. We also have other very reliable historical sources that all claim that the tomb was empty. Perhaps if the disciples would have moved somewhere else then it would have been possible but not in Jerusalem.

People there had certainly seen Jesus teach, die a horrible death, or at least heard rumors about Jesus. Jews and Gentiles alike had reasons for hostility against the radical upstart movement. If the tomb was not empty then there could be no Christian movement; especially in Jerusalem. Paul and the Gospel writers all identify and give names of multiple people that were said to be eyewitnesses of the resurrection. If people wanted to they could question them and determine the validly of their claims.

Again, and thirdly, the fact that the Gospels tell us that women discovered the empty tomb argues for its validity. This, once again, is because if the Gospel accounts had been made up, they would not have been made up to include women being the witnesses to the empty tomb. Something else to consider looking at is the Shroud of Turin. Fourth, Jesus Appeared to Many. Jesus appeared too many 1 Cor. Paul gave a pretty substantial list of witnesses. In fact, Paul basically said, they are still around, here are their names, you can go question them yourself.

Actually, that is apparently what Luke did. Luke did a thorough investigation of the whole thing and his final verdict was that the resurrection and thus the Church did indeed happen. The New Testament lists twelve separate appearances over a forty-day period: [24]. As has been very often pointed out:. And who would die for a known lie? Who would go to a bloody painful death if it could be avoided simply by denying a lie? After Jesus was taken His apostles were scared and hid in the upper room. Peter denied Jesus 3 times. After the apostles saw the resurrected Jesus they were no longer scared, they were emboldened.

All of the apostles died for their beliefs, except John. Yet, tradition says he was boiled alive and later exiled to the island Patmos. Following is how the apostles died:. Many have contended that the appearances were just hallucinations. However, this theory also falls short for various reasons. However, as I said, the Gospel accounts have small, though not contradictory, discrepancies in them.

This would not make any sense if the early followers of Jesus got together and fabricated the whole thing. However, it would not make any sense for them to fabricate the whole thing anyhow. What would they gain from such lies?! Nothing but persecution and death. So clearly the crucifixion of Jesus was not just some conspiracy theory that some whacks made up to serve their own end. Can you imagine the disciples saying, in the words of William Lane Craig,. Why not die for nothing?

Why dislike torture and whipping inflicted for no good reason? Let us go out to all nations and overthrow their institutions and denounce their gods! If Jesus Christ has been raised there is purpose and direction to the cosmos; to our life. If Jesus rose from the dead His claim and promises our justified. If Jesus rose then we, who have faith in Him, will also rise. If Jesus rose the Kingdom of God and new creation has broke into this broken world. See also e. If Jesus died in A. See See also Ibid. Justin Martyr Apology I ch. Also the Alexamenos graffito shows how foolish many thought it was to worship one that had been crucified.

The graffiti depicts a Christian worshiping an image of a man on a cross with a donkey head. Thomas R. Yet he later was enlightened to the fact that the Scriptures were fulfilled v.

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Also, Loren T. Eerdmans Publishing Co. People, not least Paul, did not expect a suffering servant that would die a violent death to be the long awaited messiah. They expected a messiah that would bring violence to their oppressors. Also, Craig, The Son Rises, This, though ludicrous, is not any worse than thinking Jesus did not really die. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption.

And they did not kill him, for certain. Jesus was a Jew, and anti-Semitism was rife in the Greco-Roman world. He came from Nazareth, a tiny village in Galilee, a remote landlocked principality. There were a lot of significant things that happened on this Thursday.

So we commemorate Maundy Thursday for these reasons. What does Maundy mean? So on Muandy Thursday we think of the command and the covenant. It is important to remember both. So, what was the command? Love one another. That is what we are told to do. Until we realize that we are given a comparison.

The command is that we love one another love even as Jesus has loved us Jn. How can we live up to it? We must remember the amazing context in which it was given. There were all sorts of events and themes that converged on this weekend in history. The Passover, a historical event in the life of the Jews where they celebrated their spectacular salvation, was celebrated. Yet, we also see that the LORD reaches down to save again, and this time no blood needed to be painted on the door frame. There was no need for a Passover lamb. He had come in the form of a Suffering Servant cf.

Jesus brings a New Covenant Matt. One that had long since been promised. One that gives His people new hearts, hearts to follow after God cf. God takes His peoples sins literally upon Himself cf. God taking the violations of the covenant upon Himself, Gen. He fulfills the Covenant that His people continually failed to fulfill. Jesus felt the weight of being forsaken. Jesus fulfills the covenant and His blood is spilled for us, and yet there is still a type of condition to the covenant: we must follow hard after Him.

So, first notice that on Maundy Thursday so many years ago, Peter tells Jesus that he does not want Him to wash his feet Jn. Works do not save us. We are saved by accepting the work that Jesus did on our behalf, He washed us. However, that in no way negates the importance of works, to the contrary; it gives works deep significance. We are called to imitate Christ v. Jesus told Peter he could not work for salvation v. Jesus served Peter even enabling Peter to serve Him cf.

John ; ; Gal. John ; tradition says, death by upside down crucifixion cf. John May we serve in the same way and with the same motivation that Peter did. We find people by characteristics. There were certain things people were looking for. In fact, even John the baptizer was confused over who exactly the Christ would be and do cf.

We see that there were many converging views throughout Scripture and in other literature around the time. There were many so-called christs or promised ones that led people astray e. Acts ; ; Ant. Scripture indeed has many promises. How could one person meet them all? In fact, could the Messiah even be a person at all cf. A Few Questions. As we look at this text in the surrounding context of the book, the New Testament, and the whole of Scripture a few questions come to mind.

What did the Jews expect in regard to the Messiah? Where do we see the Jewish expectations for the Messiah in Scripture?

Where did the Jewish expectation of peace and victory go? How from a New Testament perspective do we make sense of the fact that the Messiah suffered and died? What did Paul and others say about the Messiah? Main Point. However, before we get to these questions, or some of them, I think it will be helpful to state what I see as the main point of this passage in light of the whole of Scripture.

The main point: Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Messiah and fulfills the messianic prophecies in unexpected and amazing ways. Messianic Expectations. There are many texts in Scripture that tell us about the expectation of the Messiah. See for instance: 2 Sam.

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There are also many other texts that are somewhat ambiguous but nevertheless point to the Messiah. Messianic Expectations as Seen in Zechariah. However, since our passage today mainly deals with Zechariah we will primarily look at the expectations brought up by that book. Here is a tentative list:. Untie it and bring it here. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Explanation of the Text. First, we see that Jesus orchestrated the whole course of events Lk. Jesus directed His disciples about what to do. Second, the events took place to fulfill Scripture Zech.

But his victory is over his external, earthly enemies. The authorities had put seals in his sepulcher and guards to keep watch, and, lo, the seals are broken and the guards asleep. Men are present only as inert and passive witnesses; they do not really take part in the Resurrection. In the Eastern image, the scene is altogether different. It is not developed under an open sky, but underground. In the resurrection, Jesus does not come out but descends. With extraordinary energy he takes Adam and Eve by the hand, who were waiting in the realm of the dead, and pulls them with him to life and resurrection.

Behind the two parents, an innumerable multitude of men and women who awaited the redemption. Jesus tramples on the gates of hell which he himself has just dislocated and broken. We are involved in this representation. Every man who looks is invited to be identified with Adam, and every woman with Eve, and to stretch out their hands to allow themselves to be gripped and pulled by Christ out of the sepulcher. This is the new universal Easter exodus.

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