Sunday, April 26, 2009

Christ´s Death and Resurrection

HISTORICAL SETTING OF JESUS DEATH.[5] The execution of Jesus of Nazareth on a cross is among the most securely established facts of his life. The precise date of the crucifixion is more difficult to establish. All four evangelist agree that it was the Friday of the Jewish Passover week.

The Synoptics tells us that Jesus’ last meal seems to be a Passover meal in which case he would have died on the 15th of Nissan. The Synoptics wants to emphasize that the last meal was a Passover meal.

For John, Jesus died on the preparation day for the Passover (Jn 19:14) while the Passover lambs are being slaughtered in the Temple. That would make it 14th of Nisan. John would like to present Jesus as the true Passover Lamb.

Astronomical calculations would give us 7th April AD 30 as the probable date.

Jesus was seen by the Romans as a political rebel. He was executed as a political rebel as attested by the inscriptions in the cross. The conclusion is often drawn from this: Jesus was a guerrilla leader of the Zealot type. The Romans were block mailed by the Jewish authorities since Pilate’s record with Rome was already quite poor, which made him easy target for pressure.

Jewish Involvement. 2 Elements: (1)Messiah issue – important to the accusation before Pilate. (2) Jesus’ saying about the destruction of the temple – secure the conviction as a false prophet and blasphemer.

Two mockery supporting the view:

1. purple cloak and a crown of thorns

2. Blind Man’s Buff

Jesus was caught in two millstones of power. But all that was superficial. It is insufficient to stress the political misunderstanding and the political aspect of his death. For the New Testament, Jesus’ death is not just the doing of the Jews and the Romans, BUT THE SAVING ACT OF GOD and Jesus’ VOLUNTARY SELF-SACRIFICE. (Historich & Geschichtlich)

The ESCATHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE[6] of Jesus Death’s central themes:

(1) They are POST-EASTER interpretations and not authentic sayings. That applies particularly to the third prophecy, which gives very precise details of the actual course of the Passion.

(2) The Passion tradition is clearly an old and SELF-CONTAINED ELEMENT of the New Testament tradition. It is close to the historical events, even if many details of the events remain uncertain. The Passion tradition clearly reveals the influence of THEOLOGICAL interests. These may be apologetic, dogmatic or devotional. They show that the Passion were not intended to be just narratives but as A PREACHING.

(3) Jesus understood His death as the fulfilment of the Father’s will. He knew that it’s a probability that he will die but he did not know the details. (a) The trials and tribulations are part of the Proclamation of the Basileia. (b) Jesus could see that there is a conflict heading, a growing opposition to his message. (c) He saw himself in the life of the Prophets.

The primacy of the proclamation of the Kingdom is PRIORITY. He has the WILLINGNESS to be SACRIFICED in view of the Proclamation of the Kingdom. He ACCEPTED it.

Jesus death was interpreted as a SAVING and EXPIATORY death ‘for us’ and ‘for many.’ He paid the debt on behalf of our salvation. His sacrifice is called a RANSOM (LUTRON) [7]for many. – this could not be supported at all because it would be problematic. We will fall into a mythologicalized and false ideology of Christ’s death.

There are two perspectives that we can get from the general intention (ipsissima intentio) – (1) Jesus’ Commitment. He was committed to proclaim the Kingdom of God despite the risk of being kiled (2) Love & Service that heals radical alienation between humanity and God. He has the attitude of service for Salvation. Salvation embodied Service.

The Resurrection is the Core of the Christian Faith. It is the central event of our Faith. The Foundational experience of the disciples is that JESUS is ALIVE. Resurrection is necessary for a TOTAL CHRISTOLOGY to develop. It means understanding the whole person of Jesus, his mission, humanity, all of that had been said about him.


1. Foundational

2. Expression of the Risen person of Jesus

3. Totally transforms the person of Jesus and US ALSO

4. It brings the final definitive proclamation of the Kingdom

5. If Jesus haven’t been raised, we are still in our sins

Jesus’ full nature and person are comprehended only with Resurrection faith.

The resurrection is NEVER described in the NEW TESTAMENT! It cant be described in terms of historical proof only. The EMPTY TOMB is the least important evidence. It is just a CORRABORATING evidence. It is not even part of the eschatological event of resurrection. Christian faith APPEALS to the LIVING ENCOUNTER with the Risen Lord. It was mentioned in all the gospels – Mk 16:16; Mt. 28:5; Lk 24:3; Jn 20:1-10.

We don’t believe in Christ’s Absence but in his Presence.

The credible witness is our transformed lives. It is a RADICAL TRANSFORMATION.

Paul explained the Resurrection of Jesus in Corinthians by

(1) Showing that it is a FACT (1-11). Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (Is. 53), that he was buried, and was RAISED to life on the third day, appeared first to CEPHAS and secondly to the TWELVE, appeared to him, and he said that he preach what they preach, and that is what we ought to believe in.

(2) He also showed that his resurrection is of EQUAL CERATINTY (12-19) – If Christ has not been raised then our preaching and believing is useless. If the dead has not been raised, Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, we are still in our sins.

(3) Christ is the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ. Death was destroyed, overcome by Christ. God will be all in all when everything has been subjected to Christ, the one whom God had subjected everything.

(4) Resurrection Faith is supposed to be in put in practice. There should be conversion seen in ones life.

(5) Resurrection is God’s gift to Christ and also to us. In what manner are we to be resurrected? It can be described into four images on how this resurrection would take place: (15:42-44)

a. the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable

b. the thing that is sown in contemptible but what is raised is glorious

c. the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful

d. when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit.

(6) God’s Victory. God’s loving plan for all people – that we are not all going to die but we shall all be changed. Kingdom of God.

Resurrection Appearances

· “Experience,” “Encounter,” “Revelation”

· Become witnesses – Mission

· Result of a “conversion” / transformation

· An initiative on God’s part

· “Fully Awake”


1. The Resurrection is Central to Christianity

3 types to deny resurrection: (a) Lie Theory (b) Psychological Theory (c) Swoon Theory or Comma on the Cross

2. The Resurrection is a Bodily One. His resurrection stands as guarantee of our own physical resurrection and salvation. A resurrected body is a spiritual (pneumatikon)body. It has the dual dimension of continuity (with the earthly body) and change (into the resurrected body). There is “identity with transformation”

3. Distinguish between Resurrection and Resuscitation.

Resuscitation – Lazarus, Jairus daughter, son of Widow of Naim

Resurrection is not a resuscitation of a corpse. It is a radical transformation.

4. The resurrection is Non-Historical. It is not limited to a historical event. The Resurrection is TRANSHISTORICAL, an Eschatological event. It is beyond the human experience of seeing and speaking. It is God’s act. God who is transcending space and time is not an historical character. The resurrection is outside the world of natural causes therefore it is NOT STRICTLY HISTORICAL. It is meta-historical, above history. We are not saying that it did not happen. It is simply to respect the distinctive dimensions of an event that so transcends our ordinary categories of thought as to render our language impoverished in describing it.

5. The actual resurrection is NEVER DESCRIBED. We do not have historical proof of the resurrection.

6. It is more accurate to say that “JESUS was RAISED

7. Easter is MORE THAN AN EMPTY TOMB. The resurrection of Jesus is more than just the absence of his body from the grave. Christians do not believe in the empty tomb any more than nature can approve a vacuum. The Easter is not one of only ABSENCE: “He is not here” (Mt 28:6); but of PRESENCE “and know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!” Mt. 28:20

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