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Early Christians Didn’t Believe In The Resurrection Until…

October 12, 2015

Grace to you! One of the interesting facts of the bible is its blatant honesty about the people of God in its pages. It repeatedly exposes the failures of people who are supposed to model what it means to trust the Lord. An event that leaves the early disciples in a conundrum is the resurrection of Jesus. Far from what many modern skeptics believe about the naiveté of the early Christians faith being willing to believe in myths such as a physical resurrection, scripture portrays them with a blazing honesty. It shocks us when we look at their initial response upon hearing of the Lord Jesus whom they saw flogged, beaten physically beyond recognition, crucified, and then his lifeless body laid in a tomb were told that Jesus was now alive! They simply could not believe it!!!

Listen to these words in Luke 24:33-43 “33 And they (the women who just saw Jesus alive) rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how Jesus was known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus Himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I Myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and He took it and ate before them.”

And this is not the only recorded skepticism various disciples had about a dead man really being alive. Look at these references also for more stubborn unwillingness to accept the fact that Jesus literally rose from the dead: Matthew 28:1-17, especially vs 17; John 20:24-31, especially vs 25; Luke 24:1-11, especially vs 11.

Why such skepticism? Because dead people, at least in their experiences, didn’t come back to life. But that was the point! God had broken into history and raised Christ from the dead despite their assumptions about how reality worked! I find it interesting when I talk to my skeptical friends about Christ’s resurrection. They express reluctance to accept the idea that a dead man came back to life three days later. If they would look a little closer at the biblical accounts, they would see they have the same skepticism in common with the early Christians. Perhaps they will see that faith isn’t blind, but built on the fact that something mind blowing had to change the rampant skepticism of the early followers of Jesus. What could resurrect their dashed hopes in the dead Jesus? Only a real physical resurrection!

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