CHAPTER 13–The Reality Of The Resurrection

Written by gregdenham on March 11th, 2010

CHAPTER THIRTEEN –The Reality Of The Resurrection

N.T. Wright does an extensive survey of the non-Jewish thought of the first-century Mediterranean world, both east and west, and reveals that the universal view of the people of that time was that a bodily resurrection was impossible. Why? In Greco-Roman thinking, the soul or spirit was good and the physical and material world was weak, corrupt, and defiling. To them the physical, by definition, was always falling apart and therefore salvation was conceived as liberation from the body. In this worldview resurrection was not only impossible, but totally undesirable. No soul, having gotten free from its body, would ever want it back. Even those who believed in reincarnation understood that the return to embodied life meant that the soul was not yet out of its prison. The goal was to get free of the body forever. Once your soul is free of its body, a return to re-embodied life was outlandish, unthinkable, and impossible.

In the first century there were many other messianic movements whose would-be messiahs were executed. However,

In not one single case do we hear the slightest mention of the disappointed followers claiming that their hero had been raised from the dead. They knew better. Resurrection was not a private event. Jewish revolutionaries whose leader had been executed by the authorities, and who managed to escape arrest themselves, had two options: give up the revolution, or find another leader. Claiming that the original leader was alive again was simply not an option. Unless, of course, he was.

There were doens of other messianic pretenders who lives and careers ended the same way Jesus’ did. Why would the disciples of Jesus have come to the conclusion that that his crucifixion had not been a defeat but a triumph—unless they had seen him risen from the dead?

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