Ch. 6: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Redemption Accomplished and Promise Fulfilled • The Resurrection of Christ forms the heart of the kerygma, the essential message of our faith. • Without the Resurrection the Gospels never would have been written.
Thanks to Christ’s Resurrection, which is part of the Paschal Mystery, those who participate in that Mystery: • die to sin and Satan’s power over us • receive grace, God’s favor in this life • their souls survive physical death and their bodies will rise again at the Last Judgment
The Resurrection was a historical event. • Its historicity can be verified by facts reported by both Jesus’ disciples and his enemies: • The empty tomb—no one ever claimed to find a body • Reports of seeing Jesus after his death (Mary Magdalene, Thomas, the Apostles, two disciples on road to Emmaus, 500 people in one place, St. Paul)
The Resurrection was also a transcendent event. • It goes beyond the realm of history and our own understanding of space and time. • No one witnessed how it physically happened. • Though the Risen Jesus, was recognizable, his glorified body transcended ordinary life.
The Resurrection Accounts in the Four Gospels Matthew 28 Women at the Empty Tomb (Mt 28:1-8): • Mary Magdalene and her companion encounter an angel at the empty tomb, who instructs them to tell others that Jesus has been raised. Jesus Appears to the Women (Mt 28:9-1): • Jesus meets the women on their way to tell the disciples and tells them that he will meet them in Galilee.
The Report of the Guards (Mt 28:11-15): • Pharisees post guards at the tomb so Jesus’ body won’t be stolen and then bribe the guards when Jesus is raised Jesus Appears to the Eleven before his Ascension (Mt 28:16-20): • Jesus sends the apostles out to all the nations and promises to be with them always
Mark 16 Women at the Tomb (Mk 16:1-8): • An angel tells Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome to tell Peter and the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee, but the women remain silent because they are afraid. • Mark may have intended this abrupt ending as a challenge for us to carry on the work of discipleship.
The Longer Ending of Mark’s Gospel (Mk 16:9-20): • Probably added by the Church in the second century and includes scenes similar to those in other Gospels: • appearance to Mary Magdalene • two disciples on the road • Jesus appearing to the Eleven • the Ascension of Jesus The Shorter Ending: • Tells how the women did report to Peter and the other Apostles and gives Jesus’ commission to the Apostles
Luke 24 Appearance to the Women at the Tomb (Lk 24:1-12): • Two angels appear to Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Joanna at the empty tomb and remind them of Jesus’ prophesies of his Resurrection. Appearance on the Road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35): • Jesus joins two disciples walking on the road and opens the Scriptures to them, though they only recognize him later in the breaking of the bread. • (This is unique to Luke’s Gospel.)
Jesus Appears to the Disciples in Jerusalem (Lk 24:36-49): • Jesus appears in the midst of the Apostles, invites them to touch his wounds, and helps them to understand how the Scriptures had foretold his suffering and Resurrection. The Ascension (Lk 24:50-53): • Jesus blesses his disciples and is taken up to Heaven, and the Apostles return to the Temple in Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit .
John 20-21 The Empty Tomb (Jn 20:1-10): • Mary Magdalene reports that the tomb is empty, and Peter and the Beloved Disciplerun to the tomb to see for themselves. The Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:11-18): • Mary encounters Jesus in the garden, mistaking him for the gardener, and is told not to cling to Jesus because he has not yet ascended to the Father.
Jesus Appears to the Twelve (Jn 20:19-23): • On Easter Sunday evening Jesus mysteriously appears through the locked doors in the room where the Apostles are hiding for fear of the authorities and gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Appears to Thomas (Jn 20:24-29): • Jesus appears to Thomas, who had not been present when he appeared to the others, and invites him to put his fingers in his wounds. Thomas responds, “My Lord and my God!” • (This story is unique to John.)
Appearance by the Sea (Jn 21:1-14): • Jesus calls out to the Apostles, who are fishing on the Sea of Tiberias in Galilee, instructs them to cast their nets to the right, and they make a great catch of fish. When they arrive on the shore, Jesus offers them a breakfast of fish and bread. Dialogue Between the Risen Lord and Peter (Jn 21:15-25): • Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, and each time Peter responds yes—a reversal of his betrayal in the courtyard. Jesus tells Peter to feed his sheep, establishing him as the pastor who will guide the Church.
Summary of the Four Gospel Accounts • That the Gospel writers made no attempt to mask the differences between the accounts actually argues that there were true, valid experiences behind each of them. • There are also several similarities in the four Gospel accounts: • The Resurrection took place on Sunday morning • There were women present • The tomb was empty • There were “messengers” at the tomb • There were several appearances to the disciples
Several verifiable facts help us to respond to those who are skeptical about the validity of the Resurrection: • Jesus actually did die by being crucified on a cross by Pontius Pilate. • The Apostles and other disciples of Jesus were convinced that he rose from the dead. • St. Paul saw the Risen Lord. • Jesus’ tomb was empty.
Our Participation in Christ’s Resurrection The meaning and saving significance of Christ’s Resurrection: • The Resurrection confirms all Christ’s works and teaching. • The Resurrection, following Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, accomplishes our Salvation. • The Resurrection gives us new life, justifies us in God’s grace, and adopts us into the divine family. • Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians participate in the Life, suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.
Meeting the Risen Lord Jesus lives on in his Church, especially in the sacraments, where we participate in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus in a tangible way: • Baptism: the Lord comes to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, forming us into his own image and initiating us into the Church • Confirmation: the Holy Spirit strengthens us to live Christ-like lives
Penance: Jesus forgives our sins and welcomes us back into the divine family. • Anointing of the Sick: Jesus offers us healing in times of illness. • Holy Orders/Matrimony: Christ helps us to live loving lives of service and to build up the People of God. • Eucharist: Christ associates us with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the Father offered once and for all on the cross and pours out the graces of Salvation on the Church.
The Ascension and Glorification of Jesus Christ • Jesus’ glorification consists of his Resurrection, his Ascension into Heaven, and Pentecost: • The Ascension and Pentecost are continuations of the Resurrection accounts: • Having ascended to the Father, Jesus continually intercedes for us with the Father and prepares a place for us with him in Heaven. • On Pentecost, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, giving them the power and courage to preach the Gospel.