Good Friday and Easter have passed; the community turns to other themes and interests. However, the church does not forget the basic themes of Good Friday and Easter Day. Christ’s death remains the great testimony we have to God’s love and salvation. In his resurrection, he remains for us the first of those who have been raised from death to live life fully in God’s eternal realm. He is preeminent over all human authorities (Revelation 1:5). How do you understand the resurrection? Many attempts have been made to explain it, but the original, biblical, explanation grew out of the old Jewish understanding that God’s messianic king, when he came, would, bring in a new heaven and a new earth, and that the dead would be raised to live life in this kingdom. When people experienced Jesus alive and with them after his crucifixion, they identified it as this anticipated resurrection happening before their eyes. They did not call him a ghost; they knew that it was Jesus that appeared to them – a real person, although no longer restricted by physical and temporal limits. This established the kingdom of God as a fact, a present reality. Yet the empires and nations of the world continued to flex their muscles. Evil continued. But everything had changed. The eyes of faith saw Christ holding all authority, the only one who rules by divine right, the one that all human authorities should look to as the ultimate authority. Yet who was this King of kings and Lord of lords? He was the martyr or witness who died on the cross in an outpouring of God’s reconciling love. (The Greek word for martyr is the same as the word for witness) The church has then expressed its situation as living between the time of Christ’s death and resurrection and the final consummation of all things which he will bring (Basis of Union para 3).
- What are some of the ways that people have tried to explain Christ’s resurrection?
- Luke 24:36-42 specifically says that the risen Christ was not a ghost. Why was this important?
- A witness tells the facts as he or she sees them. What were the facts that Peter and the apostles bore witness to before the council in Jerusalem (Acts 5:27-32)?
- Does a good witness always have to be prepared to be a martyr for the truth?