Bible Red Thread 11d: The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 28)
title : Bible Red Thread 11d: The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 28)
Bible Red Thread 11d: The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 28)
Seeds die to give life to a beautiful plant or tree. With the resurrection of Jesus, the consequences are far greater.
It was just a start! How many events have taken place in Jerusalem in a few days? We went from the acclamation of Jesus to a cheering crowd, shouting “Hosanna! that is to say, “save now!” to the same type of crowd five days later, demanding his death by shouting “crucify him!” “. This “prophet” who animated the daily life of the inhabitants of Israel for about three years and of whom each person had formed an opinion, is now dead. The body of Jesus is so impure – the corpse of a person sentenced to death by crucifixion – that it is taken down from the cross at night. Especially since we are on the eve of Easter, a period during which this kind of activity is prohibited by religious law. Finally, Jesus is put in a tomb in a hurry, thanks to the generosity of a certain Joseph of Arimathea.
A promising announcement: However, on many occasions, in front of his disciples but also in front of the religious leaders, Jesus had alluded to his future return to life. He even raised several dead people to life, including his friend Lazarus (a few days earlier). Enough to prove that he is capable of accomplishing what he had announced. If the disciples did not understand the scope of Jesus’ announcement, the religious leaders are very worried: because for them “this circumstance would be worse than the others”. Enough to justify a surprising step on their part: they established exceptional security for a corpse, by sealing the tombstone, and setting up armed watchmen in front of the tomb.
A discrete resurrection: But all these precautions are illusory. While Jerusalem is still teeming with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean basin for the great Passover feast, and everyone is wondering how to understand these events, the fate of the universe is discretely sealed at the bottom of a lost garden of Palestine, transformed into a cemetery. On the third day, suddenly, there is an earthquake, lightning, the appearance of an angel and… the resurrection of Jesus! God kept his promises! Apart from the guards, no direct witness was able to witness the scene. Religious leaders are quick to bribe them, encouraging them to spread the rumour that Jesus’s body has been stolen.
An unlikely initial witness: These paltry lies cannot stop God: the resurrection of his Son cannot be hidden. It is to a woman that Jesus chooses to first reveal himself to. As tradition dictated, she came as soon as possible to tend to the remains of Jesus. She had strong moments with him since he had cured her of unclean spirits that tormented her. However, she does not recognize him immediately. It is by naming her by her first name that Jesus makes himself known. For her, there is no doubt: it is indeed Jesus, she can attest to it! After all, she’s been through in his presence, she can’t confuse him with anyone else.
Yes! Jesus has risen. Here is Mary of Magdalene commissioned by Jesus to witness his resurrection to the other disciples. If we had wanted to find a worse witness, and a risk that will render this news suspicious, we would not have gone about it differently. The credibility of a woman – moreover, formerly possessed – was considered zero for the society of that era! Mary is accompanied by Jesus in her mission as a witness. He appears to many people with whom He had created relationships. All receive the mandate to announce that He is very much alive. Paul will count several hundred eyewitnesses, still alive when writing his epistles.
What the red thread had announced: While Jesus has already risen, all those who had followed these events are still groggy, not realizing that historic moments are unfolding before their eyes. When Jesus walks with two men who return home to Emmaus, their village, Jesus has to face a perilous misunderstanding: the disciples did not understand the significance of these events! Jesus explains to them that what happened is in accordance with what had been announced. For this, he reminds them of the red thread of the current Old Testament, recalling the writings of Moses, and then of the prophets, to confirm that in all these events, God, the sovereign one, has been able to complete His rescue plan planned for centuries.
The resurrection of Jesus already reminds me that Jesus conquered death, which was not part of God’s original plan. It was the fruit of the breach of confidence of the creature towards its Creator; however, it is no longer a fatality. By resurrecting Jesus, God also demonstrates that His justice has been satisfied: the bloodshed was perfect to redeem any creature, so God can restore life to Jesus, who did not deserve death. Finally, the resurrection of Jesus ensures that there is eternal life for all who put their trust in Jesus in order to be reconciled to God. Yes! God confirms for the umpteenth time in this red thread that He is the only one worthy of trust. Here you are faced with the same choice as Adam and Eve, with many more elements. Will you trust him?
Jesus conquered death. Death is the consequence of mankind’s divorce from God. Jesus is therefore the One who makes it possible to rediscover communion with God. 34
1. Now late on sabbath, as it was the dusk of the next day after sabbath, came Mary of Magdala and the other Mary to look at the sepulchre.
2. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of [the] Lord, descending out of heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.
3. And his look was as lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
4. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became as dead men.
5. And the angel answering said to the women, Fear not *ye*, for I know that ye seek Jesus the crucified one.
6. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7. And go quickly and say to his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goes before you into Galilee, there shall ye see him. Behold, I have told you.
8. And going out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to bring his disciples word.
9. And as they went to bring his disciples word, behold also, Jesus met them, saying, Hail! And they coming up took him by the feet, and did him homage.
10. Then Jesus says to them, Fear not; go, bring word to my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there they shall see me.
11. And as they went, behold, some of the watch went into the city, and brought word to the chief priests of all that had taken place.
12. And having assembled with the elders, and having taken counsel, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
13. saying, Say that his disciples coming by night stole him [while] we [were] sleeping.
14. And if this should come to the hearing of the governor, *we* will persuade him, and save *you* from all anxiety.
15. And they took the money and did as they had been taught. And this report is current among the Jews until this day.
16. But the eleven disciples went into Galilee to the mountain which Jesus had appointed them.
17. And when they saw him, they did homage to him: but some doubted.
18. And Jesus coming up spoke to them, saying, All power has been given me in heaven and upon earth.
19. Go [therefore] and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit;
20. teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have enjoined you. And behold, *I* am with you all the days, until the completion of the age.
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Related Links / Notes
Study Notes are translated from the original French and available in the online magazine TaJeunesse (literlly “Your Youth”). The orginal texts are magazine articles. The texts provided here follow that form and include some of the images from the magazine, and help provide a deep understanding of the main themes of the Bible.
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