Is the Resurrection Ridiculous?

Many people think so.

Artwork in the 18th century reflected the growing skepticism towards miracles. Halos and angels began to gradually disappear. Only what can proved by reason or scientific experience can be trusted. While there is openness to spirituality, the bodily resurrection of Jesus is still a hard thing to swallow, even for many Christians.

It always has been, and understandably so.

rafael_paulus_athene_grt

Paul in Athens, Raphael

The 1st Christians weren’t illiterate peasants who in 33 AD were so gullible that they didn’t know that corpses don’t rise from the dead. Mary Magdalene assumes that Jesus’ body was moved (John 20:15). Most people continued to believe that (Matthew 28:13-15). The disciples dismissed her story as nonsense (Luke 24:11).

Even when the disciples believed, skepticism persisted. Religious authorities were horrified by the idea (Acts 4:2). Greek intellectuals mocked Christians for believing it (Acts 17:32). Festus, the regional governor, thought people were insane for believing it (Acts 26:24).

One reason I believe the disciples’ claim about a bodily resurrection is their disbelief – and that of their critics. There was nothing to gain from preaching such a ridiculous message: they paid a terrible price when they proclaimed the resurrection. Most of the disciples suffered and died for their beliefs.

In the end, Peter challenges each one of us to “judge for yourselves” (Acts 4:19). Not just if the resurrection is believable, but if Jesus is a resurrected Lord and Savior. If we truly accept this, it should change everything about our lives, just like the original skeptics.

About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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1 Response to Is the Resurrection Ridiculous?

  1. Pingback: Is the Resurrection Ridiculous? - HUNTINGTOWN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

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