2023 Study Summary 27: “He Is Risen”
Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21
“HE IS RISEN”
Matthew 28. Christ the Lord is risen—He appears to many—He has all power in heaven and earth—He sends the Apostles to teach and baptize all nations.
Mark 16. Christ is risen—He appears to Mary Magdalene, then to others—He sends the Apostles to preach and promises that signs will follow faith—He ascends into heaven.
Luke 24. Angels announce the resurrection of Christ—He walks on the Emmaus road—He appears with a body of flesh and bones, eats food, testifies of His divinity, and promises the Holy Ghost—He ascends into heaven.
John 20. Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John find the empty tomb—The risen Christ appears to Mary Magdalene in the garden—He appears to the disciples and shows His resurrected body—Thomas feels the wounds in Jesus’ hands, feet, and side—Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
John 21. Jesus appears to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias—He says, Feed my sheep—He foretells Peter’s martyrdom and that John will not die.
What has varied in resurrection beliefs?
The Pharisees’ and the Sadducees had differing views of the scriptures. The Sadducees rejected the concept of a resurrection of the dead (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18–27; Acts 23:8) , however, the Pharisees did believe in the resurrection, believing in an afterlife with appropriate rewards and punishments. The chief priests and high priest were Sadducees, holding a majority of seats in the Sanhedrin, (three councils of 23-men each, plus the High Priest appointed by a Roman Ruler). The Sadducees as a group ceased after the destruction of Jerusalem, but the Pharisees’ legacy lived on. In fact, the Pharisees were responsible for the compilation of the Mishnah, an important document with reference to the continuation of Judaism beyond the destruction of the temple. In this way the Pharisees laid the groundwork for modern-day Orthodox Judaism. Nowadays, many Orthodox Jews (only around 5-percent of world Jewry) continue to consider some form of resurrection.
How do resurrection beliefs affect Jewish life and death practices?
Resurrection is the belief that the dead will return to life with a physical body. This belief is stated in daily prayers and at funerals. To those Orthodox, this affects their attitudes to cremation, organ transplants and autopsies as they believe they must be buried in complete form so that they can be resurrected as a whole being. Some authoritative rabbis, such as Moses Maimonides (1138-1204), suggested that the resurrection of the dead will occur during the future Messianic Age. Most Orthodox Jews believe in some form of Judgement based on God providing Children of Israel with His laws (mitzvot). This is a theme of the festival of Rosh Hashanah (biblical new year) which has Jews considering their behavior and how well they have followed the laws leading to reward or punishment. The reward is an eternity in ‘Gan Eden’ (‘Garden of Eden’ – heaven) or punishment for eternity in ‘Gehenna’ (hell). Jesus clearly taught resurrection, “But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee” (Matthew 26:32, Mark 14:28) This wonderful promise applies to all! “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)
How does “bread” help me understand that resurrection is part of the atonement?
As clearly defined earlier, pouring, and sipping wine followed by breaking and eating bread with a prayer including an anticipation of a future deliverance, (still done to this day by religious Jews) was changed at the Last Supper by Jesus, “Do this in remembrance . . .” Clearly, it was a new presentation of an eternal ordinance. Every religious Jew still begins every meal with a broken piece of bread and a prayer. Can you imagine the “stranger” revealing Himself as the resurrected Savior after He had joined disciples on the way to Emmaus, explaining the scriptures to them and then “he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.” (Luke 24 30-31) I can just hear Him say again, “Do this in remembrance of me . . .” Emmaus must have been close enough to Jerusalem – that they, “. . . rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.” (Luke 24:33-35)
How did Simon peter, the rock, come to know how to witness of the Rock of Salvation?
Previously, Simon Peter (the rock) was allowed to sink in the water, crying out “Lord save me.” (Matthew 14:30) He did. Again, teaching what it meant to ‘sink to new heights,’ “Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, that this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” (Matthew 26:34) Peter did. Later, lovingly, with the greatest mercy, Jesus brought Peter up from the depths of denial – to his leadership strength, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17) These three devotions became a sequel to three the three denials. “Feed my Lambs, Feed my sheep, Feed my sheep, as a special witness of the Risen Lord, Peter had the experience of sinking to new heights. Ultimately, to give his own life. “. . . signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.” (John 21:19)
How did Peter’s martyrdom seal his witness of the Savior?
In the New Testament, both Zacharias and his son John were killed by a wicked generation and a priesthood (or priestcraft) that existed alongside of righteous priestly men and women who anticipated the impending arrival of the Messiah. Jesus foretold Simon Peter that he would give his mortal life as a witness of the Eternal Son of God. In these modern times, evil pretenders “give their lives” to further their misguided cause. They pretend that they are using religion as a worthy reason for their and other’s deaths. These are false martyrs that tear down and destroy. True martyrs seal their testimonies of the Redeemer, the Savior, the Giver of Life with their lives. These are true prophets who leave a legacy of life. As tragic as their deaths may be for those so close to them, they build a future. They show us, “Go ye into all the world.” They lead us to God. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:19-20)