Sunday, April 16, 2006


Yesterday was my sister's birthday and I told her, (being the wonderful older sister I am), "Your birthday is the only day this year that Jesus was dead all day long!" (She looked mock-indignant but thought it was funny.)

In trying to decide what to write about just now she and I had a good discussion about easter and Jesus' resurrection and all that. In my class about the gospels the other day we looked at all the resurrection accounts and discussed how and why they appear different, so I was ready with all sorts of theological data to bore my sister with, but I had fun with the discussion anyway... =)

So reading the 4 gospel accounts, it is unclear who was there when they discovered Jesus' body wasn't in the tomb, or what happened, or whether the women told anyone and who they told, and who came to see, and how many angel(s)/young men there were--but the main part is the same: Jesus died on Friday, all his disciples (being the good Jews they were) stayed at home on Saturday because it was Sabbath and it was too far to walk to his tomb, and then when they went to visit the tomb Sunday morning, Jesus' body wasn't there and no one knew where it was.

Three of the four gospels has post-resurrection accounts of individuals seeing Jesus in the flesh for the forty days after his resurrection. Mark has no conclusion, really (at least in the part that is legitimate, ending at Mark 16:8). It just says that the women saw that Jesus wasn't there, a young man told them he wasn't there but to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee as he'd said, and the women left and told no one because they were afraid.

I kind of like this ending, because it makes you decide what you believe yourself. So, what did happen? It's pretty much agreed among historians that the main facts are true: a man named Jesus of Nazareth lived during that time, died, and his disciples didn't take his body but believed that he had raised from the dead. The disciples wouldn't have taken the body, because it's pretty clear from reading the gospels that they didn't have any idea what was going to happen before Jesus died. And the Jewish leaders wouldn't have taken the body, or else they would have shown it once the disciples started saying Jesus had been raised. No one knows for sure what happened, historically speaking...

So Mark leaves the question open: what do you believe? Who do you say that he is? (Mark 8:29)


Paul said...

He's the one who keeps telling me the same thing every day in a million different ways.

Happy Easter


Lovin' Life Liz said...

Ironic that you post about this, since I had been thinking on the variances within the Gospels. I read a really good book I picked up at Dillons for about $2.50, called "The Case for Easter" which touches on lots of issues, including the variance between the gospels. I can't remember all of what he said (its late) but one itneresting point he made was something along the lines of--well--if they had all been the same, it would have appeared to be plagirized! From my own small understanding, just as each person has a different perspective/view of a certain situation, so must have had the Gospel writers, and each Gospel can add to our own understanding.