Friday, April 25, 2014

"It's Really Me"

"The Unbelief of Thomas"
The Jewish people in the 1st century were not unfamiliar with the idea of people appearing after they died. In fact the entire Roman world was familiar with it too, and sometimes even today some of us will look up and see a deceased loved one.

That sort of thing is what those who rule out a supernatural explanation frequently use to explain the Christian Movement's belief that Jesus had been resurrected. A current example of this is the scholar Bart Ehrman's new book How Jesus Became God.

Interestingly though, unless you count Jesus, there is no record of anyone seeing that sort of vision and taking it to mean that a resurrection in the 1st century Jewish sense (i.e., bodily coming back to life) had taken place.

The early Christians were quite aware that this kind of explanation would occur to people. But they would have none of it. Here is one of them writing on the subject 30 to 50 years after the event:

While the two men were saying these things to the other followers, Jesus himself came and stood among them. He said to them, “Peace be with you.”

This surprised the followers. They were afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost. But Jesus said, “Why are you troubled? Why do you doubt what you see? Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me. Touch me. You can see that I have a living body; a ghost does not have a body like this.”

After Jesus told them this, he showed them his hands and his feet. The followers were amazed and very, very happy to see that Jesus was alive. They still could not believe what they saw. He said to them, “Do you have any food here?” They gave him a piece of cooked fish. While the followers watched, he took the fish and ate it.

(Gospel of Luke chapter 24 verses 36 - 43, ERV)

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