What do you think a new house will look like built out of this rubble? So it is, I believe, with the resurrection of the dead. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is the truth that God will take the decaying and disintegrating remains of those who have died and create from them a new body, one fit for the kingdom of God. With these two questions, Paul expresses the unbelief of some Corinthians in any resurrection of dead bodies. You will remember that our Lord had a strong word of warning for those who would call another a fool: It should be pointed out that the word used by our Lord in Matthew 5: The difference in meaning between these words is not that great.
Our Lord Himself uses the same word Paul employs in our text to rebuke the Pharisees for their foolish fetish with ceremonial washings Luke He uses it again in Luke This is the case in Psalm It is also the implication in Ephesians 5: I believe that when Paul uses this strong rebuke, it is because anyone who rejects the resurrection of the dead must also reject the resurrection of Christ.
To do this, one must reject the gospel and thus place himself in the company of those who deny God. Do the Corinthians take this heresy casually, embracing those who hold it as they proudly embraced the immoral man in 1 Corinthians 5? I think it is likely, especially in the light of these words from the pen of Paul in his second Epistle to the Corinthians:. Would we suppose that death and decay are some kind of insurmountable problem for God, rendering Him incapable of resurrecting our bodies from the natural processes of corruption and decay?
We need only to look at the realm of nature to see the folly of such logic. This is a most important point. Wheat seeds produce wheat plants; rye seed produces rye plants, and so on. There is nothing particularly beautiful about a grain bin filled with wheat seed, but there is great beauty in a wheat field! It is important to notice that in the question raised in verse 38, God is not mentioned: And what kind of body does God give those He raises? It is better for the skeptic to reject the resurrection of the dead as a natural phenomenon.
But when he does so, he specifies that the body which is given is the body God has given. Paul goes even further, indicating that the body God gives is just exactly the body He wishes to give. Would anyone dare to deny the resurrection? Then let them dare to deny that God raises the dead. Would anyone dare to question the quality of the body God gives those whose corpses He raises? Then let them hear that God gives them just the body He wants! God created not only the plant world, but the animal kingdom as well, and beyond this, the heavens above.
Does the mention of plants, each containing their own seed, of mankind, of beasts, of birds, of fish, and of heavenly bodies not take us back to the first two chapters of Genesis? Surely Paul has the first creation in mind. The God who called creation into existence is surely the God who can cause a decaying corpse to come to life. To put it a little differently, God created man from the dust of the earth. Death turns man back to dust. Think back on the creation account in Genesis. God created the heavens and the earth.
He created birds and fish and beasts. Whales live deep beneath the sea. Their glory does not come from their light weight, but from their design which allows them to endure the pressures of the depths. Each member of the animal kingdom has a body whose glory is found in relationship to its domain and function. Seeing this glorious design in the bodies God made in the first creation, do we dare to doubt the glory of the bodies God will create in the new creation? We can be assured that our resurrection body will be the perfect body, the glorious body which ideally suits us for heaven.
Paul applies the principles he has established from nature in verses to the issue at hand, the resurrection of the dead, in verses The resurrection of the dead is like the death of the seed and the new, resurrected life of the plant which springs forth from the earth due to the germination of that seed.
There is a direct link between the earthly body that dies and decays in the earth and the new, resurrected body. The resurrected body comes forth from the body that died. The resurrection body is superior to the old body in several important ways, which Paul indicates:. Our resurrected bodies are imperishable. They are not subject to corruption or death. There is nothing very noble about the process of dying or about death itself. With few exceptions, we put dead bodies away from us, out of sight. For the Old Testament Israelites, contact with a dead body made one unclean. The resurrected body is characterized by glory, not dishonor.
The frailty of the human body may be concealed for a time, but as we age it becomes harder and harder to hide. Our body dies because it succumbs to deterioration and disease. Our resurrection bodies are characterized by power. The resurrection of our bodies testifies to the greatness of that power. The physical body is a natural body, while the resurrected body is spiritual. As such, it is an earth-bound body. Our present bodies suit us well for living on this earth.
Our earthly bodies do not suit us for heaven, as Paul will soon point out. Neither the meaning nor the implications of this fact are immediately clear, but they are very important. Verses contrast the nature of our earthly, physical bodies with that of our heavenly, spiritual bodies.
The actions of both men impact all men. How can the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ affect all men? Salvation is all about our identity or our identification. By virtue of being human, we are identified with Adam in his fallen humanity, in his condemnation, and thus in his death.
By acknowledging our sin and the condemnation we rightly deserve, and by trusting in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our place, we enter into a new identity. The gospel is the good news that we can change our identity by faith in Jesus Christ.
It is by identifying with Him by faith that we are saved from our sins and enter into eternal life. The Son of God took on human flesh, a natural body. In His life and in His death, our Lord revealed His identification with man in his humanity. Did Adam have a natural, fleshly body?
So did Jesus Christ. Did Adam have a perishable body? So did our Lord Jesus Christ. This is why He was able to die on the cross of Calvary. Is the natural body of Adam characterized by weakness? So was the earthly body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord knew hunger Matthew 4: He was so weakened by His torture that another had to carry His cross Luke Does the natural body die in dishonor?
There is no more dishonorable way to die than crucifixion. Our Lord identified with our dishonor in death. I speak as if insane I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. They are so wise; he is foolish. They are so strong; he is so weak. They are already reigning; he is the dregs of humanity. What is wrong with the Corinthians? If Christ identified with man in his natural, weak and dishonorable condition, and Paul is similarly characterized, what does this tell us about the Corinthians and their denial of the resurrection of the dead?
I think it tells us a great deal. That comes at the resurrection of the dead, which takes place when our Lord returns to the earth to establish His kingdom. At that time, we will be able to identify with the risen Christ by the possession of our new, resurrected bodies that are free from sin, corruption, sickness, and death. We must identify with Him in His weakness, in His dishonor, in His death, and partly in His resurrection.
This is why Paul speaks of his ministry in terms of dishonor and weakness. This is the calling of the Christian: Spirituality cannot be separated from what we do in and with our bodies:. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body. Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? May it never be! Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? How shall we who died to sin still live in it? But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. They did not want to identify with His weakness and dishonor but with His power and glory. To reject a future resurrection, with a spiritual and glorified body was in the minds of some to open the door to a spiritual existence now which permitted bodily indulgences and which assured them of peace and prosperity, health and wealth now, without having to endure the sufferings and shame of our Lord in this life.
But Paul has shown it up for what it is, a denial of the gospel by which we are saved and by which we are to live see Colossians 2: I like the way the New Revised Standard Version begins verse All of what Paul has been saying boils down to this: The last half of verse 50 simply repeats the same truth in different words: Many restaurants have a sign in the front window, which reads something like this: That is the way heaven is. Heaven is a place where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sickness, or death.
These mortal bodies which we possess here on earth are not suited for heaven. The death and burial of our earthly bodies is not an unfortunate circumstance; it is a necessity. The Aquarius was simply not designed for reentry. It was designed for outer space and specifically for a lunar landing.
Our earthly bodies were not designed for the kingdom of God. They have to be left behind, because they are not suited for eternal habitation. For us to dwell eternally in the presence of God, we must have different bodies. We cannot dwell in heaven in these bodies. It is just that simple. For those who have died, this will happen at the resurrection of the dead.
5 Reasons to Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus
That is what Paul has been saying in verses At the resurrection of the dead, our natural bodies are exchanged for spiritual bodies; our earthly bodies are transformed into heavenly bodies; our perishable bodies are transformed into imperishable bodies. The resurrection of the dead is the means by which bodies unfit for heaven are miraculously transformed into bodies which are perfectly suited for heaven. The resurrection of the dead is a truth which was revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures see Job This is what the Bible calls a mystery.
A mystery is not a secret which no one has ever heard about before, but something about which some information has been given without being understood. We need a transformation of our earthly bodies, whether living or dead. This is the mystery which Paul now reveals. But not all men will die. The kingdom of God begins with the return of our Lord to this earth. Those of us who are fascinated with computers compare various pieces of hardware in terms of their speed. My first hard drive had an access time of something like 70 milliseconds.
The one I now use is right around 10 milliseconds thousandths of a second. The speed of memory is measured in nanoseconds, billionths of a second. Now that is a very small piece of time. There will be no one waiting in line for this change! The sequence of events is spelled out in verse Dispensationalists think it is a very different trumpet than do the non-dispensationalists.
For the moment, let us agree that there is to be a trumpet blast. This blast is something like the starting gun at a race. When the trumpet sounds, things begin to happen. Our Lord returns to the earth although this is not specifically mentioned here. The dead in Christ are first raised from the grave, the old body being transformed as it is raised so that what was sown as a natural body rises as a spiritual body. After the dead in Christ are raised, those alive at this time are instantaneously changed in body so that their perishable bodies are now imperishable, their natural bodies are now spiritual bodies.
In but the twinkling of an eye, Paul says, we become just like those whose bodies have been raised from the dead. O death, where is your sting? When these transformations take place, Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled. Paul turns to the prophecy of Isaiah to show that the resurrection of the dead and transformation of the living is, indeed, the same victory over death which he spoke of in verses The last enemy to be defeated and abolished by our Lord is death This is accomplished by the resurrection of the dead and the transformation of the living.
Isaiah 25 is about the coming of the kingdom of God. What refreshing and welcome news this would be to those who were about to be sent into captivity in a foreign land. The first 5 verses of chapter 25 describe the defeat and judgment of those nations who have rejected God and persecuted His people.
Beginning at verse 6, Isaiah begins to describe the restoration of the nation Israel at the commencement of the kingdom of God, brought about by the return of Messiah. The kingdom is described as a lavish banquet set before the people of God. This covering may well be a shroud like that which is put over a dead body. If so, this is a symbolic way of saying what will be clearly stated in verse 8, that God is going to swallow up death by His victory. No wonder Paul speaks of death being swallowed up in victory; this is just as Isaiah prophesied.
The distinctive of the prophecy to which Paul refers is that in this text, Isaiah not only speaks of the resurrection of the dead as we see in Death is done away with. Paul now turns our attention to the words of the prophet Hosea: O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? This victory will not be understood until we first grasp the grip which death has over men. That death grip is depicted in the second chapter of Hebrews:. Of all the obsessions and fears named these days, one almost never hears of the fear of death. Yet it is this fear which makes virtual slaves of all men.
The writer to the Hebrews tells us that the devil has a grip on men through their fear of death.
Death is the destiny of all men. The Son of God took on humanity, flesh and blood, at His incarnation, and then by His death and resurrection rendered death and the devil powerless. Those who have trusted in Christ need no longer live in fear of death. Death and the fear of death have been swallowed up by the triumph of our Lord over them. Paul asks death where its victory is and where its sting is. Death is the final enemy of our Lord, and ultimately for us. Does death have the last word? Death is as frightening for the Christian as a scorpion whose stinger has been plucked out or a deadly viper whose fangs have been removed.
This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Romans 3: We need not suffer the penalty of death which our sins deserve because Christ suffered that penalty in our place.
He died for us, paying the death penalty for our sins. Death has no claim on us because our debt has been paid, by the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, Christ died to sin. Christ died for our sins, taking our sins, their guilt and punishment, upon Himself and thus freeing us from the penalty for sin—death. Sin has no power over a corpse. Sin overpowers those who are alive see Romans 7. Death owned us through sin, our sin. But by faith in Jesus Christ, we have died to sin in Him. Death has no power over us.
Death has no claim on us. Death has no victory over us. Death has no sting for us. Death no longer owns us; in fact, we own death:. Death cannot keep us from the love of God see Romans 8: The only thing death can now do is to hasten the day when we are forever in His presence. Death actually does us a favor:.
Third, Christ died to the law. If a police officer pulls us over, he cannot write us a ticket for breathing or for humming along with our radio. This is because there is no law against breathing or humming. The only power a police officer has is that power which is given to him by the law.
A Refresher Course on the Resurrection of the Dead (1 Cor. 15) | xecykisypife.tk
The wages of sin is death, and the law defines sin. But if there is no law, there is no crime, no sin. Nevertheless, sin abuses the law in such a way that it is used to condemn us to death. The good news is that Christ died to the law, and thus those who are in Christ have died to the law in Him—and to its power to condemn us: I must remind you that this freedom from death, sin, and the condemnation of the law is only true for the Christian.
Death does own the one who is outside Christ, who has never acknowledged his sin and trusted in the work of Christ on Calvary. Think of the rich man in Luke While death ended the earthly suffering of Lazarus and brought him into eternal blessings, death ended the earthly bliss of the rich man and brought him into eternal torment. Death now made this man an eternal captive, whose plight could not be reversed see also Hebrews 9: And even resurrection was of no use to this man or to his lost family members Luke Death had a sting for this rich man; death had a victory.
It is only those who are in Christ by faith who can taunt death as Paul does, for it is a defeated enemy. Let us briefly consider them. These words are addressed to Christians, and the hope which Paul speaks of is for Christians only. Second, true doctrine the doctrine of the gospel, of the resurrection of Christ, of the resurrection of the dead gives us stability, even in the midst of troubled times and in the face of false teaching. False teaching destabilizes Christians; true doctrine stabilizes us:. Third, true doctrine inspires diligent service, while false doctrine leads to passivity.
The teachings of Scripture related to the second coming not to mention the remainder of biblical truth are intended to stimulate our service. There are those who abuse doctrines such as the sovereignty of God and the second coming by making them an excuse for passivity. Paul concludes this chapter, devoted to prophecy, by encouraging diligent and persistent service. Let us take these verses in the spirit in which they were intended, which is to motivate us to diligence.
To live is not vain, but gain. Several other applications of this chapter come to mind, which I would like to share with you in conclusion. Faith in Jesus Christ frees us from the fear of death and thus from our slavery to the devil. This truth comes to us from our text in 1 Corinthians 15, as well as from the second chapter of Hebrews.
We need no longer be held hostage by the fear of death. Death is a defeated foe. Death is the way to life, and it is to be the way of life for the Christian. We should certainly not worry about death or fear it, but we should not cease thinking about it. Death really is the way of life, both for the apostle Paul and for our Lord. Let us begin with Paul. Notice how much death and dying is imbedded in his thinking, motivation, and ministry:. And He will yet deliver us 2 Corinthians 1: I speak as if insane I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death 2 Corinthians Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.
But for this purpose I came to this hour. This passage is worth a great deal more consideration than given in this lesson, but it illustrates very beautifully how our Lord saw death as the means to the completion of His calling, and to the completion of the calling of those who would be His disciples. In chapter 11, Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. Many had witnessed this miracle, and many others had heard of it. This caused the enemies of our Lord to seek to solve the problem He posed for them by putting both Lazarus and Jesus to death!
But when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, many of those who hailed Him as Messiah did so because of the raising of Lazarus see Jesus was, at that moment, at the peak of His popularity. It was at this point in time that some Greeks approached Philip wanting an audience with Jesus. And so they went to Jesus with this request. And then He goes on to say that a grain of wheat cannot bear fruit until it falls into the earth and dies. Afterward, it will bear much fruit. Jesus then applies this principle to His disciples. Do you see it? It looked as though Jesus would draw the Greeks to Himself by meeting with them in Jerusalem.
Jesus refused to do so. Jesus indicated that the way for Him to bear fruit was to die. And then He applied this same truth to His disciples. Those who love their lives will lose their lives; those who hate their lives in this world will keep them eternally. Jesus taught that the way to life was the way of the cross. By means of His death, burial, and resurrection, we have been given life by faith in Him.
Now, as Christians, we are to apply the same principle to our earthly life. We are to take up our cross, to hate our life, to die to self, and in this way, we will obtain life eternal. Here is an entirely unique approach to life. It is one you will never find originating from unbelievers, but you will find it repeatedly taught in the Word of God. Death is a defeated enemy; indeed death is our friend, and our way of life. To God be the glory! At Corinth, the denial of the resurrection of the dead was a doctrine consciously held and openly professed to others.
There are times when the gospel is unconsciously denied. For example, when Peter ceased to eat with the Gentile saints and moved to the Jewish table, he was unconsciously denying the gospel, and for this he was strongly rebuked Galatians 2: This denial of the resurrection of the dead at Corinth was not unconscious, but deliberate. The context in 2 Timothy is the suffering and hardship God calls us to endure in this present age in order to enter into the eternal blessings of the next see verses 3, Those who insisted that the resurrection had already come were those who maintained that Christians should be presently experiencing all of the pleasures and blessings of eternity and should not be suffering.
This can only happen if the dead are raised. Regardless of whether Paul here refers to the resurrection of the unbelieving dead, it is clearly taught in Revelation 20 and elsewhere. It is at this point in time when death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire Revelation The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead; nevertheless, they asked a question concerning the marital status of a woman in the resurrection. The error of the Sadducees, as exposed by Jesus, is virtually the same as the error which Paul now seeks to correct at Corinth.
First, the resurrection of the dead is rejected because men do not understand the power of God. Second, people have problems with the way things will be in the resurrection because they do not understand the nature of the resurrection body. While our Lord died as an atonement for our sins, only those who receive the gift of eternal life by faith will obtain this forgiveness. In this sense, the benefit of His atoning work is limited to the elect.
Some will be raised for eternal condemnation, while believers will be raised for eternal blessing. Thus, the work of our Lord has both a limited effect salvation and blessing for only the elect and an unlimited effect the resurrection of all men from the dead. He knew what his dream was, but he did not know what it meant. Our Lord had made it clear to His disciples that it would be some time before the kingdom of God was established see Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; John Shall I redeem them from death?
Paul employs these words as a triumphant taunt. Death is mocked, because it has lost its grip. A Healthy Transition Deuteronomy Book Review -- Love as a Way of Life. Book Review -- Sacred Marriage. A Study in 1 Corinthians. Introduction A rather quick and easy way to judge the orthodoxy of any preacher, I have concluded, is to listen to a funeral message he has delivered. The Problem at Corinth 12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
In his sermon to those in the market place of Athens, Paul preached these words: The Jewish Sadducees did not embrace the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead either: Symptoms of the Rejection of the Resurrection of the Dead in the Corinthian Church Everywhere we look in 1 Corinthians we can see the fruit of this doctrinal error of rejecting the resurrection of the dead. The next thing we notice is that each of these accounts bears striking indications of having been derived from eye witnesses. The account of an eye-witness is readily distinguishable from the account of one who is merely retailing what others have told him.
Any one who is accustomed to weigh evidence in court or in historical study soon learns how to distinguish the report of an eye witness from mere hearsay evidence. Any careful student of the Gospel records of the resurrection will readily detect many marks of the eye witness. Some years ago when lecturing at an American university, a gentleman was introduced to me as being a skeptic. I asked him, "What line of study are you pursuing? I said, "Then you know that the account of an eye witness differs in marked respects from the account of one who is simply telling what he has heard from others?
I next asked, "Have you carefully read the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection of Christ? The third thing that we notice about these Gospel narratives is their naturalness, straightforwardness, artlessness and simplicity. The accounts, it is true, have to do with the supernatural, but the accounts themselves are most natural. There is a remarkable absence of all attempt at coloring and effect. There is nothing but the simple, straightforward telling of facts as they actually occurred. It frequently happens that when a witness is on the witness stand, the story he tells is so artless, so straightforward, so natural, there is such an entire absence of any attempt at coloring or effect that his testimony bears weight independently of anything we may know of the character or previous history of the witness.
As we listen to his story, we say to ourselves, "This man is telling the truth. This is the precise case with the four Gospel narratives of the resurrection of Christ. The Gospel writers do not seem to have reflected at all upon the meaning or bearing of many of the facts which they relate.
They simply tell right out what they saw in all simplicity and straightforwardness, leaving the philosophizing to others. William Furness, the great Unitarian scholar and critic, who certainly was not over-much disposed in favor of the supernatural, says, "Nothing can exceed in artlessness and simplicity the four accounts of the first appearance of Jesus after His crucifixion. If these qualities are not discernible here, we must despair of ever being able to discern them anywhere.
Suppose we should find four accounts of the battle of Monmouth. Suppose, furthermore, that nothing decisive was known as to the authorship of these four accounts, but, when we laid them side by side, we found that they were manifestly independent accounts. We found, furthermore, striking indications that they were from eye witnesses. We found them all marked by that artlessness, straightforwardness and simplicity that always carries conviction; we found that, while apparently disagreeing in minor details, they agreed substantially in their account of the battle—even though we had no knowledge of the authorship or date of these accounts, would we not, in the absence of any other accounts, say, "Here is a true account of the battle of Monmouth?
Manifestly separate and independent from one another, bearing the clear marks of having been derived from eye witnesses, characterized by an unparalleled artlessness, simplicity and straightforwardness, apparently disagreeing in minor details, but in perfect agreement as to the great central facts related. If we are fair and honest, if we follow the canons of evidence followed in court, if we follow any sound and sane law of literary and historical criticism, are we not logically driven to say, "Here is a true account of the resurrection of Jesus.
The next thing we notice is the unintentional evidence of words, phrases, and accidental details. It oftentimes happens that when a witness is on the stand, the unintentional evidence that he bears by words and phrases which he uses, and by accidental details which he introduces, is more convincing than his direct testimony, because it is not the testimony of the witness, but a testimony of the truth to itself. The Gospel accounts abound in evidence of this sort. Take, as the first instance, the fact that in all the Gospel records of the resurrection, we are given to understand that Jesus was not at first recognized by His disciples when He appeared to them after His resurrection, e.
We are not told why this was so, but if we will think awhile over it, we will soon discover why it was so. But the Gospel narratives simply record the fact without attempting to explain it. If the stories were fictitious, they certainly would never have been made up in this way, for the writer would have seen at once the objection that would arise in the minds of those who did not wish to believe in His resurrection, that is, that it was not really Jesus Whom the disciples saw. Why, then, is the story told in this way? For the self-evident reason that the evangelists were not making up a story for effect, but simply recording events precisely as they occurred.
This is the way in which it occurred, therefore this is the way in which they told it. It is not a fabrication of imaginary incidents, but an exact record of facts carefully observed and accurately recorded. Take a second instance: In all the Gospel records of the appearances of Jesus after His resurrection, there is not a single recorded appearance to an enemy or opponent of Christ.
All His appearances were to those who were already believers. Why this was so we can easily see by a little thought, but nowhere in the Gospels are we told why it was so. If the stories had been fabricated, they certainly would never have been made up in this way. If the Gospels were, as some would have us believe, fabrications constructed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred years after the alleged events recorded, when all the actors were dead and gone and no one could gainsay any lies told, Jesus would have been represented as appearing to Caiaphas, and Annas, and Pilate, and Herod, and confounding them by His re-appearance from the dead.
But there is no suggestion even of anything of this kind in the Gospel stories. Every appearance is to one who is already a believer. Why is this so? For the self-evident reason that this was the way that things occurred, and the Gospel narratives are not concerned with producing a story for effect, but simply with recording events precisely as they occurred and as they were observed. We find still another instance in the fact that the recorded appearances of Jesus after His resurrection were only occasional. He would appear in the midst of His disciples and disappear, and not be seen again perhaps for several days.
Why this was so, we can easily think out for ourselves—He was evidently seeking to wean His disciples from their old-time communion with Him in the body, and to prepare them for the communion with Himself in the Spirit that was to follow in the days that were to come. We are not, however, told this in the Gospel narratives.
We are left to discover it for ourselves, and this is all the more significant for that reason. It is doubtful if the disciples themselves realized the meaning of the facts. If they had been making up the story to produce effect, they would have represented Jesus as being with them constantly, as living with them, eating and drinking with them, day after day. Why then is the story told as recorded in the four Gospels? Because this is the way in which it had all occurred.
The Gospel writers are simply concerned with giving the exact representation of the facts as witnessed by themselves and others. We find another very striking instance in what is recorded concerning the words of Jesus to Mary at their first meeting. We are left to discover the reason for it if we can, and the commentators have had a great deal of trouble in discovering it.
Their explanations vary widely one from another. I have a reason of my own which I have never seen in any commentary, but which I am persuaded is the true reason, but it would probably be difficult to persuade others that it was the true reason. Why then is this little utterance of Jesus put in the Gospel record without a word of explanation, and which it has taken eighteen centuries to explain, and which is not altogether satisfactorily explained yet? Certainly a writer making up a story would not put in a little detail like that without apparent meaning and without an attempt at an explanation of it.
Stories that are made up are made up for a purpose; details that are inserted are inserted for a purpose, a purpose more or less evident, but eighteen centuries of study have not been able to find out the purpose why this was inserted. Why then do we find it here? Because this is exactly what happened. This is what Jesus said; this is what Mary heard Jesus say; this is what Mary told, and therefore this is what John recorded.
We cannot have a fiction here, but an accurate record of words spoken by Jesus after His resurrection. We find still another instance in John And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen Clothes lie. Mary, returning hurriedly from the tomb, bursts in upon the two disciples and cries, "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him" [ John John and Peter sprang to their feet and ran at the top of their speed to the tomb.
John, the younger of the two disciples it is all the more striking that the narrative does not tell us here that he was the younger of the two disciples , was fleeter of foot and outran Peter and reached the tomb first, but man of retiring and reverent disposition that he was we are not told this here but we know it from a study of his personality as revealed elsewhere he did not enter the tomb, but simply stooped down and looked in.
Impetuous but older Peter comes stumbling on behind as fast as he can, but when once he reaches the tomb, he never waits a moment outside but plunges headlong in. Is this made up, or, is it life? He was indeed a literary artist of consummate ability who had the skill to make this up if it did not occur just so. There is incidentally a touch of local coloring in the report. When one visits today the tomb which scholars now accept as the real burial place of Jesus, he will find himself unconsciously obliged to stoop down in order to look in.
Still another instance is found in John Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, for he was naked, and did cast himself into the sea. The Apostles had gone at Jesus' command into Galilee to meet Him there, but Jesus does not at once appear. Simon Peter, with the fisherman's passion still stirring in his bosom says, "I go a-fishing" [ John The others replied, "We also go with thee.
In the early dawn Jesus stands upon the shore, but the disciples did not recognize Him in the dim light. Jesus calls to them, "Children, have ye any meat? And they answer, "No. When the cast was made, they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. In an instant, John, the man of quick spiritual perception, says, "It is the Lord. This is not fiction. If some unknown author of the fourth Gospel made this up, he is the master literary artist of the ages, and we should take down every other name from our literary pantheon and place him above them all.
We find a still more touching instance in John She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if thou hast borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. Mary had gone into the city and notified John and Peter that she had found the sepulcher empty.
They start on a run for the sepulcher. As Mary has already made the journey twice, they easily far outstrip her, but with heavy heart and slow and weary feet, she makes her way back to the tomb. Peter and John have long gone when she reaches it, broken-hearted, thinking that not only has her beloved Lord been slain, but that His tomb has been desecrated. She stands without weeping. There are two angels sitting in the tomb, one at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain.
But the grief-stricken woman has no eye for angels. They say unto her, "Woman, why weepest thou? A rustle in the leaves at her back and she turns around to see who is coming. She sees Jesus standing there, but, blinded by tears and despair, she does not recognize her Lord. Jesus also says to her, "Why weepest thou? Of course, she could not do it, but how true to a woman's love that always forgets its weakness and never stops at impossibilities.
There is something to be done and she says, "I will do it," "Tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. This is life; this is reality; this is truth. We find another instance in Mark Surely he was, the very head of the apostolic company. Why then, "and Peter? If the message had been simply to the disciples Peter would have said, "Yes, I was once a disciple, but I can no longer be counted such. I thrice denied my Lord on that awful night with oaths and curses. It does not mean me. I pity the man who is so dull that he can imagine this is fiction.
Incidentally let it be noted that this is recorded only in the Gospel of Mark, which, as is well known, is Peter's Gospel. As Peter dictated to Mark one day what he should record, with tearful eyes and grateful heart he would turn to him and say, "Mark, be sure you put that in, "Tell His disciples and Peter. Take still another instance in John Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: Each is too characteristic to be attributed to the art of some master of fiction. Thomas had not been with the disciples at the first appearance of our Lord.
A week had passed by. Another Lord's Day had come. This time Thomas makes sure of being present; if the Lord is to appear, he will be there. If he had been like some of our modern doubters, he would have taken pains to be away, but, doubter though he was, he was an honest doubter and wanted to know. Suddenly Jesus stands in the midst. He says to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands, and reach thither thy hand; and thrust it into My side: His faith long dammed back bursts every barrier and sweeping onward carries Thomas to a higher height than any other disciple had as yet reached—exultingly and adoringly he cries, as he looks up into the face of Jesus, "My Lord and My God!
Blessed are they [who are so eager to find and so quick to see, and so ready to accept the truth, that they do not wait for actual visible demonstration but are ready to take truth on sufficient testimony] that have not seen and yet have believed. Is it a record of facts as they occurred, or a fictitious production of some master artist? Take still another instance: He saith unto him, Feed My lambs. He saith unto him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?
He saith unto him, Feed My sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep. We are not told in the text, but, if we read it in the light of Peter's thrice repeated denial of his Lord, we will understand it. As Peter had denied his Lord thrice, Jesus three times gave Peter an opportunity to reassert his love.
But this, tender as it was, brings back to Peter that awful night when in the courtyard of Annas and Caiaphas, he thrice denied his Lord, and "Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me. Did the writer make it up with this fact in view? If he did, he surely would have mentioned it. It cannot have been made up. It is not fiction. It is simply reporting what actually occurred. The accurate truthfulness of the record comes out even more strikingly in the Greek than in the English version. Two different words are used for "love.
Peter, replying, "Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee," uses a weaker word, but one denoting a more tender form of love. Jesus, the second time uses the stronger word, and the second time in his reply Peter uses the weaker word. In His third question, Jesus comes down to Peter's level and uses the weaker word that Peter had used from the beginning. This cannot be fiction. It is accurately reported fact.
She turned herself and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Mary is standing outside the tomb overcome with grief. She has not recognized her Lord, though He has spoken to her. She has mistaken Him for the gardener: She has said, "Sir, if thou hast borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. She falls at His feet and tries to clasp them, and looks up into His face, and cries, "Rabboni, my Master.
This is Jesus, and this is the woman who loved Him. No unknown author of the second, third, or fourth century, could have produced such a masterpiece as this. We stand here unquestionably face to face with reality, with life, with Jesus and Mary as they actually were. One more important illustration: But how deeply significant this little unexplained detail is.
For three days and three nights his body is lying cold and silent in the sepulcher, as truly dead as any body was ever dead, but at last the appointed hour has come, the breath of God sweeps through the sleeping and silent clay, and in that supreme moment of His own earthly life, that supreme moment of human history, when Jesus rises triumphant over death and grave and Satan, there is no excitement upon His part, but with that same majestic self-composure and serenity that marked His whole career, that same Divine calm that He displayed upon storm-tossed Galilee, when His affrighted disciples shook Him from His slumbers and said, "Lord, carest thou not that we perish?
Was that made up? We do not behold here an exquisite masterpiece of the romancer's art; we read here the simple narrative of a matchless detail in a unique life that was actually lived here upon earth, a life so beautiful that one cannot read it with an honest and open mind without feeling the tears coming into his eyes.
But someone will say, all these are little things. True, and it is from that very fact that they gain much of their significance. It is just in such little things that fiction would disclose itself. Fiction displays itself different from fact in the minute; in the great outstanding outlines you can make fiction look like truth, but when you come to examine it minutely and microscopically, you will soon detect that it is not reality but fabrication. But the more microscopically we examine the Gospel narratives, the more we become impressed with their truthfulness.
There is an artlessness and naturalness and self-evident truthfulness in the narratives, down to the minutest detail, that surpasses all the possibilities of art. The third line of proof that the statements contained in the four Gospels regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ are exact statements of historic fact, is:. There are certain proven and admitted facts that demand the resurrection of Christ to account for them. Beyond a question, the foundation truth preached in the early years of the Church's history was the resurrection.
This was the one doctrine upon which the Apostles were ever ringing the changes. Whether Jesus did actually rise from the dead or not, it is certain that the one thing that the Apostles constantly proclaimed was that He had risen. Why should the Apostles use this as the very corner-stone of their creed, if not well attested and firmly believed? But this is not all: They laid down their lives for this doctrine. Men never lay down their lives for a doctrine which they do not firmly believe.
They stated that they had seen Jesus after His resurrection, and rather than give up their statement, they laid down their lives for it. Of course, men may die for error and often have, but it was for error that they firmly believed. In this case they would have known whether they had seen Jesus or not, and they would not merely have been dying for error but dying for a statement which they knew to be false. This is not only incredible but impossible. Furthermore, if the Apostles really firmly believed, as is admitted, that Jesus rose from the dead, they had some facts upon which they founded their belief.
These would have been the facts that they would have related in recounting the story. They certainly would not have made up a story out of imaginary incidents when they had real facts upon which they founded their belief. But if the facts were as recounted in the Gospels, there is no possible escaping the conclusion that Jesus actually arose.
Still further, if Jesus had not arisen, there would have been evidence that He had not. His enemies would have sought and found this evidence, but the Apostles went up and down the very city where He had been crucified and proclaimed right to the faces of His slayers that He had been raised and no one could produce evidence to the contrary.
The very best they could do was to say the guards went to sleep and the disciples stole the body while the guards slept. Men who bear evidence of what happens while they are asleep are not usually regarded as credible witnesses. Further still, if the Apostles had stolen the body, they would have known it themselves and would not have been ready to die for what they knew to be a fraud. Another known fact is the change in the day of rest. The early church came from among the Jews. From time immemorial the Jews had celebrated the seventh day of the week as their day of rest and worship, but we find the early Christians in the Acts of the Apostles, and also in early Christian writings, assembling on the first day of the week.
Nothing is more difficult of accomplishment than the change in a holy day that has been celebrated for centuries and is one of the most cherished customs of the people.