The current issue of Christianity Today has a most unusual front cover. It declares, “The Most Astonishing Easter Miracle: and it’s not the empty tomb.” Obviously I had to read the article.
The article noted that during the 40 days after the resurrection Jesus only made ten appearances. Those appearances changed history and demonstrated that Jesus was truly alive again, but during that time He was absent much more than He was physically present. The author also noted that Jesus doesn’t seem to put too much stock in His resurrection body, telling Mary not to hold on to Him, and telling Thomas that those who would believe in Him without seeing Him would be even more blessed than he. The author then goes on to write:
“The bodily resurrection is not first and foremost intended to dazzle. It’s not a spiritual spectacular designed to knock our spiritual socks off. It clearly doesn’t do that, as the Gospel writers note. When Jesus appears to the 11 to give the Great Commission, for example, Matthew notes that while some worshiped him, some still doubted. And Luke notes that Jesus had to give ‘many convincing proofs that he was alive.’ His resurrection appearances were not a slam dunk for faith.”
After noting the crucial importance of the resurrection, he continues: “Still, why does Jesus seemingly downplay or relativize his bodily resurrection? Because he knew that what was coming was more miraculous and astonishing still. He was not satisfied to be a mere object of wonder and worship, someone we observe and marvel at from afar. Someone we could merely touch, see, and hear as someone separate from us. He did not want to establish a religion that memorialized this miracle, set it in lifeless stone.
“No, the great miracle that the gospel proclaims is not merely that Christ lived bodily after the Crucifixion but that he lives dynamically in us today. The Resurrection is one with the Ascension and Pentecost— we cannot grasp the meaning of the Resurrection in isolation, because these two other events display an even greater miracle: Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).”
God Bless, Rick