The Resurrection Thru A Jewish Lens

Written by gregdenham on April 1st, 2010

To understand the resurrection of Jesus, we must examine it through a first century Jewish lens. 

The resurrection of Jesus is Jewish history!

To the early followers of Jesus like Peter, James, John, Mary and Joanna (all first century Jews), the resurrection was a reality that was undeniable. They believed it happened.  The only reasonable explanation for a group of Jews to follow Jesus as the Messiah was that there was overwhelming evidence that He had bodily risen from the dead.  Their belief in the resurrection needed to be more than the kind of belief Plato described as an “in-between knowing and not knowing state.” Jesus had been executed by Roman authorities and in order for people to worship Jesus as Messiah King, it had to be based on a reality that excluded any possibility of “hallucinations”, or “visions” of Jesus being alive after His execution.  The first Jewish Christians in Jerusalem knew Jesus conquered the grave.  How?  Because there was an empty tomb and Jesus met with them numerous times and was even seen by five hundred at once, revealing that He was alive!  Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus, there would be no Christianity. 

I’d like to make a few distinctions.

We live in an age of science and it has brought incredible advancement and helped us to see the genius of God. But science is unable to answer why we’re here, and what the purpose of life is, and who God is!  In addition, life’s experiences are beyond science. Even a committed scientist experiences the delight of listening to music, watching a football game or falling in love – these are all experienced and enjoyed outside the scientific discipline. As committed as a scientist is to scientific knowledge, the belief that she has that her husband loves her or that Mozart’s music is beautiful, is beyond scientific knowing.

All of this to say, the resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of science but a matter of history! Science studies the repeatable. Historians study the unrepeatable. While science overwhelmingly says that people who die do not resurrect, this does not mean that it did not happen once. And why would a historian have a problem with a reality of history taking place only once? After all, there was, and could be, only one first landing on the moon.

What Jesus demonstrated was unparalleled. What He did, He did once. Just like the prophet Zechariah foretold. Jesus humbly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey at the beginning of Passover week, not to conquer Jerusalem with a swift right hand and demand worship, but to conquer sin and death the greatest enemy we all face. The Son of God, God incarnate, came humbly to win your heart by giving His life in death and resurrection, paying the debt of sin on the cross and through His resurrection providing the power over sin — all because He loves you. Incredible!

You know what all of this means?

In short, God wants to give you His love. Himself. Forgiveness. Hope beyond the grave. He came to make all things new! But He won’t force Himself on you. He gives you a choice. Open your heart to Jesus Christ through repentance and faith. You won’t regret it!

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Michael says:

    A thief on the left and one on the right
    Up on the hill about twilight
    One lived forever, the other died
    While a thorny head hung to one side

    Two men accused of breaking the law
    Up on the side of Golgotha
    One man accused of being a king
    That’s the saddest song I’ll ever sing

    Two got to heaven from The Killing Ground

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