These are some of my notes for Sunday April 4, 2010 in the Lifeway Explore the Bible series.
Books referenced in these notes are:
1. The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright
2. NIV Application Commentary: Luke by Darrell Bock
N.T. Wright points out four reasons the Resurrection accounts are remarkable:
1.Their lack of scriptural references, compared with the previous parts of the gospels’ accounts.
2.Their lack of extrapolating the personal after-life hope of the individual Christian from the resurrection of Jesus. This is rare in the NT, but simply absent in the resurrection accounts.
3.Their portrait of Jesus, who physically just seems odd. He doesn’t shine like the angels, he eats food like everyone else, yet he can go unrecognized by followers, appear and disappear at will, and later ascends to Heaven.
4.The presence of women as primary witnesses of the empty tomb. Opinions vary about how acceptable women legal testimony was among ancient peoples, but the scale generally runs from grudgingly accepted if absolutely necessary to completely disregarded as worthless. Why then a group of women as he earliest witnesses?(Wright)
Wright’s take on the infamous differences between the gospels’ resurrection accounts is that they are most logically explained as:
1.Taken from early eyewitness sources, which like all eyewitness accounts, tell not strictly what happened, but what the eyewitnesses understood to have happened. Testimony is events filtered through a person’s mind, after all. The variances in the gospel accounts thus seem more plausibly real than a very unified, point for point matching account.
2.The other variances come from the fact that each gospel writer is writing his own account, with different emphases to make and thus different details to highlight from accounts that nevertheless, cohere as one historical record.(Wright)
Darrell Bock NIVAC: Luke
Lk 24 is divided into 4 sections:
1.Angelic announcement of the Resurrection
2.Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus
3.Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in the locked room
The women went to the tomb as early as possible, beginning before actual dawn. Their first hint that something unusual is going on is the rolled away stone. These stones were large, heavy, and fit into a groove. Their purpose was to stop wild animals and grave robbers from entering the tomb, where the body was left to decay until only the bones remained, which would be removed to be placed in a bone box later. This was a custom among the Jews predominantly in the first century AD. The tomb door itself was likely rather small and set low to the ground.
The women enter the tomb to see what has happened, and discover the body is missing. As they start to ponder what awful thing has happened, two “men” in shining white clothes appear. Immediately realizing they are in the presence of unearthly beings, the women bow to the ground.
The angels’ question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead” closely resembles proverbial phrasing of ancient times, the meaning of which is, “why are you doing something stupid?” That it also matches the circumstance of that first Easter is all the more appropriate.
“He has risen” in Greek credits the actual “rising” to another besides Jesus, here plainly implying the power of God. The angels reminder of Jesus’ words of His passion and resurrection are both a reminder and a form of rebuke, again. Jesus’ followers should take His words more to heart, judging not what is said, but who is saying them.
That the Son of Man “must be delivered….” implies a divine plan behind Jesus’ suffering and death.
“Peace be with you”: Another wonderful two-sided phrase. This is both the standard Jewish greeting and also the effect Christ brings to His followers.
Doubts arise in your hearts: It’s useful to remember that in ancient times the heart was considered the thinking organ, and the bowels the organs of feeling and emotion.
Hands and feet: That unusual resurrection body thing again. Jesus is living, yet he bears some semblance of the wounds that the disciples know killed him.
Eat… broiled fish: A further proof of Jesus’ physicality.
This is what I told you: Indeed, Jesus spoke of His coming suffering and death so much that Peter finally speaks for the group in practically telling Jesus to shut up about such a horrible possibility. It is a measure of how terrible a death it was, and how different from ancient expectation for the Messiah that Jesus is still, even after the repeated passion predictions and the actual event, having to explain why He had to die and return to life.
Repentance…forgiveness…witnesses: As N.T. Wright and others point out, it is interesting that there is very little emphasis on how Jesus’ resurrection affects the individual. Instead, Luke’s Jesus’ message is “I’m back. Here is the next stage in my mission and yours.”