Sunday, April 24, 2011

Scripture and the Resurrection of Jesus

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!!
If you were Jesus, how would you go about proving your resurrection? Today is Easter Sunday. Would you simply come into the presence of the people and declare, “Here I am! I have risen from the dead!” This would be the more empirical approach: the appeal to the five senses! Well, He tried that, but they would not believe the report others were bringing to them (Mark 16:14).
Luke 24 is an interesting chapter on Jesus’ way of proving, or substantiating, or showing Himself to be the risen Lord Who was crucified a few days ago. When Jesus travels down the Emmaus road with those two people, He is asked if He is not the only One Who has not heard what has lately happened in Jerusalem- namely, the crucifixion of Jesus! What bothers these two persons is that the body of Jesus is missing, and they cannot explain it. Jesus could have made short work of it all by simply saying, “Look, here I am. See my hands, see my side. It is I.” But He does not do that!! Jesus uses Scripture to prove His resurrection!
Let that sink in for a while, dear reader. He uses Scripture which for these folks is the Old Testament. Imagine that! Rather than showing Himself, which He does later, He resorts to the ultimate authority- the word of God, the Scriptures. This for me shows that Scripture carries greater weight for the proof of Jesus’ resurrection than His own body which appeals to the empirical proof so many of us would choose over the metaphysical proof of Scripture. We would tend to say, “Who can argue against His resurrection when we have seen His resurrected body?” Jesus seems to be saying, “Who cannot help but believe I have risen because of what the Scriptures say?!”
Later on in Luke 24:36-46 Jesus, when with His disciples, uses both the empirical approach and the more metaphysical, or faith based approach as per the appeal to Scriptures. Jesus has a very, very elevated view of Scripture. For Him I believe Scripture has even more authority than what is gained through empirical means. What we attain through the senses needs interpretation. And we can interpret experiences in very erroneous ways. Scriptures clarify our experiences, and Scriptures for Jesus clarified His resurrection.
John 20:29 is the real thrust of this writing. It’s all about the Scriptures. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe. The only way you and I can believe today is through our faith in the written word- Scripture! It trumps experience.
Today we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection not because we have seen Him with our eyes, but because of what the Scriptures say. And that is exactly where Jesus, I believe, wants us to be at- believe because of the word of God.
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!

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