Title: Gospel of John [20:1-2]. Christ's Resurrection, part 1.
MAT 27:62 Now on the next day, which is the one after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate,
MAT 27:63 and said, "Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I am to rise again.'
Transference arrogance - labeling others with the sins that you commit. They called Him deceiver when they have set out to deceive Pilate and the crowd from the beginning.
And in fact, we never see those of the Sanhedrin addressing Jesus by His name.
MAT 27:64 "Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last deception will be worse than the first."
They also accuse the disciples of deception.
They fear the results of deception because they know from enacting it, the damage it can do to a person or group.
MAT 27:65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how."
It may be that since the crucifixion was supposed to last for days that the four soldiers who performed it upon Christ were still under orders for the task and were the ones sent to guard the tomb.
MAT 27:66 And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.
The stone was large and very heavy.
MAT 27:59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
MAT 27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.
MAR 16:3 And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?"
MAR 16:4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.
The seal was a chord stretched across the stone and sealed with clay at each end. Affixed to this was the seal of Pilate. To break this was to break Roman law.
They sealed the stone in the presence of the Roman guard and then affixed Pilate's signet upon it thus indicating that anyone breaking this seal would be accountable to Pilate, incur the wrath of Roman law, and would be crucified. Any movement of the stone would result in breaking the seal.
Not ever thinking the resurrection would actually happen, their actions only further proved its historic reality.
In trying to thwart God's plan they overreached themselves and provided additional witness to the fact of the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus.
The history of the Life of Christ upon earth closes with a Miracle as great as that of its inception. It may be said that the one casts light upon the other. If He was what the Gospels represent Him, He must have been born of a pure Virgin, without sin, and He must have risen from the Dead. If the story of His Birth be true, we can believe that of His Resurrection; if that of His Resurrection be true, we can believe that of His Birth. In the nature of things, the latter was incapable of strict historical proof; and, in the nature of things, His Resurrection demanded and was capable of the fullest historical evidence.
In general we ought to remember, that the Evangelists, and afterwards Paul, are not so much concerned to narrate the whole history of the Resurrection as to furnish the evidence for it.
Forty days on earth in a resurrection body are summarized in just a few paragraphs.
Matthew gives the appearance to the women of the angel and of Christ and the command of Christ for them to go and tell the disciples and then he alone narrates briefly the bribery of the soldiers by the Sanhedrin to say that the disciples stole the body. From there he goes right to the quiet of the mount on the sea of Galilee where the Lord gave them the commission to make disciples of all the nations.
Mark is much more brief. He gives the account of the women seeing the angel and being told by him to go and tell the disciples that He is risen. The very end of the gospel, MAR 16:9-19 is not found in the best manuscripts and should be regarded as added.
Luke gives the appearance of the angels to the women, the appearance of Christ to the two men on the road to Emmaus, their announcement of that to the disciples, and then the appearing of the Lord in the midst of them. The Lord then leads them out to Bethany, blesses them, then leaves them, and then they return to Jerusalem rejoicing.
John gives us the most detail, but for a term of forty days it is still exceedingly brief.
His appearance to Paul in Act 9 is also brief. It is to be concluded that God wants us to know the fact of the resurrection and not all the details that occurred around Him in those days.
What is clear is that no one expected Him to rise bodily, from the same body that was perfect and mortal, laid in the tomb and into the perfect and immortal body of the resurrection. What went into the tomb walked out in three days time transformed into what He now is, and retaining the scars of His crucifixion.
The women returned to the tomb on Sunday with more spices for further preservation and reverence of Him and who supposed that His body had been removed. The disciples completely dismissed the eye witness account of the women that He was written. The men on the road to Emmaus were saddened, thinking that Jesus was supposed to redeem Israel, meaning to them, to establish her earthly kingdom. Of course the Sanhedrin taking precautions against the theft of His body and Pilate allowing it. No one, not one, expected Him to rise bodily from the grave.
It is probable that the disciples expected something like the second coming at a future date, but still an unsure date. Might Jesus' return at a future time and be like Elijah, or a spiritual apparition, or like an angel? To be sure, what they expected in the purpose and history of the Messiah was now changed in their minds and it was full of confusion, and for certain, when they see Him bodily resurrected it will be completely changed and they will come to know Him more and the purpose of the Messiah much more. Christ will show them from the OT scriptures how this all fits. It would seem that it would have been useless for Him to do so before they witnessed the resurrection, for there would have only been more questions than answers. Sitting before them, scars and all, it was undeniable and with that great miracle accepted, now the OT scriptures could be opened up to them and even more so when they would be filled with the Spirit of Truth at Pentecost.
If this is all true, and by the accounts of their behavior and actions it is, how is it that they would invent something so alien to them and to Jewish thought? The resurrection is probably the most attacked truth concerning Christ.
In 1966 it all began for the Presbyterian church when the Principal of Knox College (the Presbyterian seminary) by the name of Geering published an article in the Outlook, the Presbyterian periodical, for Easter 1966, on the meaning of the resurrection. He attempted, says Geering,
"to sketch the difficulties of relating the Resurrection narratives of the New Testament to the kind of world in which we live, and to show that, in spite of these, the Resurrection faith of the church can still have meaning for men who have left behind the world view of the first century." [Geering]
In this article, Principal Geering quoted with approval Professor Smith of Glasgow:
"… we may freely say that the bones of Jesus lie somewhere in Palestine … Christian faith is not destroyed by this admission. On the contrary, only now, when this has been said, are we in a position to ask about the meaning of the resurrection as an integral part of the message concerning Jesus." [Smith]
To most intelligent people any meaning left in the doctrine of the resurrection, with the testimony of the NT and the apostles thus summarily dismissed, had the same order of reality as the emperor's new clothes in Hans Christian Anderson's satire. But curiously, when the writer of the article concluded his essay with the cry, "The Lord is risen indeed!" many in the church found some optimistic ground to the give the Principle the benefit of the doubt.
A religion which rejects the supernatural makes few demands and in no way differs from accepted public opinion.
A religion, after all, which rejects the supernatural, makes few demands, and finds no sanction or authority for any proclamation which it makes apart from the small sounds of rhetoric, differs in no way from the rough and ready code of most common people. It is only an appeal to the secular in order to widen the church's influence, if it has any left, and fill seats with giving bodies.
As far as I can tell, the Presbyterian church has returned to the belief of a bodily resurrection of Christ. But this is just one example of many over the course of Church history that have attacked this essential doctrine and we know it started right in the beginning of the church since it had to be addressed in the epistles several times.
There is no way to account for the change in the disciples themselves other than the resurrection of Christ.
1CO 15:12 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?
1CO 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
1CO 15:14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
There is no point to anything in Christianity if there is no resurrection. Who we are in Christ is eternal and what we do as believers are eternal results. If it all ends at the grave then there is no point to any of it. If God allowed us to fall and allowed us to live in this fallen world with the consequences of that fall and then asked us to believe in Him and perform His work and then He just allowed us to end then all we could say about God is that He is a selfish, narcissistic tyrant. Yet God allowed our fall and then saved us so that we could live with Him forever in His joy, love, and righteousness. He asked us to live the life of Christ after overcoming sin for us and that fruit exists forever as a testimony to His power accomplished in the midst of great opposition.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
If death conquered Christ, and all who believed in Him, then man's fall was greater than God, and our faith is in vain since that faith would be in something weak.
Spiritual and subsequently physical death were the result of the fall as well as the cursing of the earth and with this the dire consequences of human history.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."
1CO 15:25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
1CO 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
1CO 15:15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
Since His resurrection and the resurrection of the dead is true then those who teach it isn't true are false witnesses of God.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.
1CO 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
1CO 15:17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
Since sin brought death, if Christ didn’t conquer death through resurrection then He didn't conquer sin.
Naturally Satan is a big promoter of arguments against the corporal resurrection of Christ. If it is not true then God is dead and Satan can reign independent as he lusts for.
Without resurrection Christ would have come from heaven and been conquered by the earth. This is the annihilation of God.
1CO 15:18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
1CO 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.