The Incredibility of the Resurrection

In Mark 12 the Sadducees confront Jesus with questions about resurrection. They create a complicated hypothetical involving seven brothers, no children, and a wife who had been passed along once these brothers die in succession. They ask Jesus whose wife will this woman be? It is a bizarre question, and it is being asked by Sadducees who in fact deny the truth of the resurrection. They either want to trap Jesus or make resurrection out to be a ridiculous belief.

But Jesus replies saying that they really don’t know what they’re talking about. They know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. These deniers of the resurrection do not understand the resurrection at all.

This got me thinking back to an article I read a couple years ago. Christians do not deny the resurrection, we affirm it. But do we understand it any better than the Sadducees? Do we think about what happens after we die? Do we think about the resurrection of the dead? A bodily resurrection like that of Jesus?

Resurrection is a key belief in Christianity, and it is right there in the creeds that we recite. But do we get our understanding from God and his word or from pop-culture and its movies and books?

This article, which I originally read in a Newsweek, waiting at the doctor’s office, can be found here (Daily Beast). It looks at that tension that people have in which they believe in an afterlife, but have trouble with a bodily resurrection. But, as the article ends, “Resurrection may be unbelievable, but belief in a traditional heaven requires it.”

As the title says, the resurrection is incredible. You can read it two ways. The accounts of the resurrection of Jesus areĀ not credible nor is the belief that our fate is the same. Or you read it as saying the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead, signifying the death of death for all who believe in him, is simply a wonderful truth and cause for great hope.

A Prophet Not Accepted in His Hometown

In Mark 6 Jesus returns to his hometown, Nazareth, teaching in the synagogue, but while some people were astonished, others were more reluctant to accept not only Jesus’ teachings but the man himself. They wonder where he got this teaching, since they didn’t see this in Nazareth. They wonder how this Jesus could perform such mighty works and say, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?”

They know Jesus, but they know him before he had began his ministry and revealed himself as the Christ. The people of Nazareth know Jesus the carpenter, not the Messiah. And because they think they already know him they’ve made their conclusions. Jesus can’t change their assumptions about who he is.

How often do our preconceived notions or past experiences limit our ability to accept something or someone new? If we knew someone years ago and they were a bit of a terror, when they appear reformed do we believe they have changed? Or can we not get beyond our previous conclusions and think it must be a facade? In a similar way, if we know someone as an upstanding citizen and all around “good person,” do we refuse to believe that they could have made some grave mistake? Does the past again inform us more than the facts, and have us say, “Oh, no… they’d never do that. They’re a good person. I don’t believe it.”

We are quick to come to conclusions, even without all the information. Nazareth thought they knew Jesus, but they didn’t know the whole story. They wouldn’t accept that even though he was a carpenter, even though he was a man, that he was also fully God. We should not be so rash to close off ourselves from the continued working of God in and through people. We should not be so prideful as to think we already know the full picture. Like with Jesus going back to his hometown showing himself to be more than they expected, we should know that God is full of surprises and is quick to go beyond our expectations.