The resurrection of Jesus
The resurrection of Jesus is the absolute keystone of my faith. If the resurrection didn’t happen, I would have great difficulty in believing.
I want to experience being close to Jesus. When I prayed for this, it seemed to me that I received the answer, “You need to spend time with me if you want to feel close.” I also felt that I was being called to write a blog about what I read daily in the bible, and that this blog was to take priority over all my other writing. In other words, I was being called on to be obedient and to put my faith in Jesus first.
I’ve done that, working through St John’s gospel and St Luke’s gospel. It has been easier to talk to people about Jesus, which is a change in me that goes beyond merely being familiar with the bible. To that extent my prayer is being answered. Thank you, God!
I feel called now to spend some time looking at the resurrection of Jesus, so here goes!
The key to understanding a phenomenon or an event is to examine the evidence. There are several different kinds of evidence.
I was trained as a scientist, and worked in technological role throughout my career. The sort of evidence with which I am most familiar is evidence that is reproducible, in other words if you do the same thing the same way you get the same answer, Additionally, if you are trying to understand something properly, you have to challenge your way of thinking to see if you can pick holes in it.
Legal evidence is based on the testimony of witnesses. This may be a report of what someone saw or heard. Sometimes it may seem more ‘factual’ than that, but in the UK at least it comes back to the testimony of witnesses. If we look at DNA profiling, for example, a human witness has to declare how the sample was obtained, demonstrate that it could not have been contaminated before testing (‘chain of custody’), and explain its significance in terms that the court can understand.
Almost always there are conflicts between the evidence of different witnesses. It is the job of the court to weigh the different witness statements and come to a conclusion. The law recognises that mistakes can occur, and provides an appeal process to mitigate against that happening.
Historical evidence admits just about any sort of information, on the basis that even when a story is plainly a legend, it can shed light on the nature of the subject. Whereas legal evidence rarely permits hearsay, historical evidence welcomes it. (What, after all, is documentary evidence other than a form of hearsay?). Historical evidence requires critical scrutiny by experts who are looking largely for consistency between different sources.
Most of the evidence I will consider is historical. Some of it may approach the standard of legal evidence in the form of testimonies from people who believe they have experienced the risen Jesus. None of the evidence will be scientific; the question to be answered does not lend itself to reproducibility! Note that I am not a historian. My conclusions will be flawed to a greater or lesser extent by that lack. I shall probably read commentaries by experts as part of my study.
I am going to start by collating all the bible passages that deal with Jesus being active in the physical world after his crucifixion.
I feel you are calling me to look more deeply at the resurrection of Jesus. I don’t know where this will lead, and I’m apprehensive. Please guide me and help me in my study.
In Jesus’ name, Amen