23 Apr He has Risen!
It seems to me that I would not have believed such a fanciful story sight unseen! Like anyone I need evidence. This past Easter Season I have been thinking about that conversation the women had with the apostles after they visited the tomb of Jesus. I see Luke 24 in three distinct scenes:
Scene 1 – The Women Discover Jesus is Risen
“He has risen. He is risen, indeed!” The words are sometimes accompanied by the exchange of three kisses on alternate cheeks. In the Orthodox and Catholic churches, this is called the “Paschal greeting” The first to hear the words ‘He is risen’ were several Jewish women. These women reported what they heard to the apostles who didn’t believe them. Perhaps it was because they assumed Jesus was a failed Messiah in that He did not usher in the Kingdom. Perhaps they assumed the testimony of women were not binding. They did not believe previously from scripture that Messiah would rise from the dead, but the evidence that He has risen led them to a new acquaintance of Jewish scripture.
Scene 2 – The Road to Emmaus
Jesus appears on the road to Emmaus. He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Again we see that Jesus reorients them — His risen body lead them to reinterpret their own scripture.
Scene 3 – Jesus at the Table
“When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.” In Judaism, the host breaks the bread and the text is asserting that He is still the King and the Father. Today some say His appearance left “unfulfilled” messianic expectation and this is central notion of Judaism’s reluctance to follow Him. The messianic claim made on His behalf led to his death on the cross, and this in turn led to a reinterpretation of His advent.
Jewish scholar Pinchas Lapide wrote: “The resurrection of Jesus on that Easter Sunday and His appearances in the following days were purely Jewish faith experiences. Not one Gentile saw him after Good Friday. Everything that the Gentile church heard about the resurrection came only from Jewish sources because He appeared after Easter Sunday as the Risen One exclusively to Jews. I accept the resurrection of Easter Sunday not as an invention of the community of disciples, but as a historical fact.”
I don’t believe that I would have done any better than those first eye witnesses. His appearance changed everything! Jesus directed them to Moses and the prophets in light of His resurrection and their eyes were opened. It seems to me that The New Testament asserts the Messiahship of Jesus. It does not try to prove it. He is the risen King of Israel and as we see Him we see our scripture and tradition with a new understanding.
Written by Andrew Barron, Canadian Director