What the resurrection means
Of all religions, Christianity is the one that has the most historical evidence, and therefore the least to hide, in what it purports. We should never hide from, or routinely dismiss, the historical aspect of Christianity.
If all we have are historical reasons for our belief in the resurrection, then it is possible to conclude, with a certain amount of probability, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ happened in history.
However, we also recognize that, when we are thinking about the “why” question as it pertains to the resurrection of Christ, Christians should never be content to begin and end their belief in the resurrection of Christ with only historical data. Those data can support our belief in the resurrection. They can supplement what we believe and why we believe it.
But historical data cannot be the center of our…
Cross and Resurrection: The Crux of the Matter for Muslims
Nabeel Qureshi is an unlikely Christian. Besides growing to adulthood as a devout Muslim, you could say he was a Muslim of Muslims, having descended from one of Muhammad's chief Sunni successors.
Yet while a devout Muslim he found Jesus, and he tells the fascinating story in his new book Seeking Allah Finding Jesus. Qureshi’s story of finding Jesus serves as a powerful guide for Christians, to help them better understand Islam and the people of that faith.
On this Good Friday, in anticipation of Resurrection Sunday, I want to share an important section that calls out the crux of the matter for Muslims and Christians alike: The cross and resurrection.
Qureshi shares two compelling ideas: first, the cross is "a litmus test between Islam and Christianity," (146) and secondly, "the only thing Christianity has over Islam is the resurrection." (167)
Faith in a Resurrected Christ Rescues Us from Misplaced Faith — An Excerpt from “Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection”
In a few days many of us will teach on the most monumental event in history: Christ's resurrection. As I prepare for this honor myself I have been referencing a new resource on the subject, Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection.
Today we are excerpting from this book not only to provide you a personal reflection. We also want to help you help your people replace their misplaced faith with true faith.
The authors argue a resurrected Christ rescues us from misplaced faith in 3 ways:
- The resurrection implies his death, which forgives us for the cosmic crime of treasonous faith in other things.
- Jesus is the right place for our faith because he is “the resurrection and the life.”
- The resurrection tells us that Jesus can satisfy our God-sized desires in this life and the next.
May this excerpt bless you and your people as you prepare for and preach Christ's resurrection.
-Jeremy Bouma, Th.M. (@bouma)
“Raised?” Will Help You Teach The Implications of the Resurrection This Easter
Like most of you, at the start of Holy Week I am deep in reflection upon the most monumental event in history: the resurrection.
I'm deep in reflection not only personally, but pastorally. And the reason why is this: I want to preach the resurrection well. Not for the sake of professionalism, but for the sake of my people.
On the one hand I want them to believe it. To believe that that the tomb really is empty. That Jesus actually did rise from the dead to new physical life.
On the other I have something more pastoral in mind: I want my people this Sunday to grasp the event's significance and implications.
I want them to drink deep the marrow of its life-changing power, for them and for our world. I want them to know that death doesn't have the final word in their story because it didn't have the final word in Jesus' story.
Yes I want them to believe the event itself, that Jesus physically lives. I also want them to live the event, to understand how the resurrection impacts life right now, as much as the next life.
A new book is helping me craft my sermon to do just that. It’s called Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection. Its authors respect our doubts, though clearly challenge people to believe in and then live the resurrection. Right now it’s helping me outline three clear, compelling implications of the resurrection: give, celebrate, and serve.
The Resurrection Has Consequences — An Excerpt from “Evangelical Theology” by Michael Bird
We do not merely preach a crucified Christ; we preach a risen crucified Christ whom God has exalted to the highest place. Because as Michael Bird reminds us in his new book Evangelical Theology, the cross and resurrection form an indissoluble unity.
"The cross without the resurrection is just martyrdom…Conversely the resurrection without the cross is a miraculous intrusion into history, a redemptive-historical enigma, and a paranormal freak show with indeterminable significance." (436)
But what does the resurrection actually mean?
The resurrection “is not simply an amazing fact that God brings dead people to life. It has a host of consequences.” (447) Today Michael Bird reminds us what those consequences are, particularly for our resurrection-inspired Kingdom ministries—whether in a church or a classroom.
-Jeremy Bouma, Th.M. (@bouma)
What Do We Gain From a Raised Christ? 6 Big, Clear Benefits Say Dodson and Watson
An important new resource for our postmodern, post-Christian world released last week. It's called Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection. In it authors Jonathan K. Dodson and Brad Watson give people the permission to doubt the central claim of the Christian faith: That Jesus was actually, physically raised from the dead.
One of the things I appreciate about this book is how its entirely resurrection-centric. Not heaven-centric or purpose-and-meaning-centric. The resurrection takes center stage as the two authors carefully, pastorally draw readers into Christ's new life.
Furthermore, I appreciate how careful they are not to replace one consumeristic need with another. They make it clear "it's important to see the hope is not gaining a resurrection body. While stunning, the new body isn't the final reward. Christ is the ultimate reward. Jesus is the resurrection and the life…" (emph. mine, 35)
A super-cool new zombie body doesn't replace a super-cool land in outer space—as if escape from death and decay replaces escape from hell. No what we gain is Christ and being found in Him, as Paul writes. Because Jesus lives we live, but in Him.
Ok, fine, but how does that work itself out practically, in our daily lives? What I love most about this book is how Dodson and Watson take great care to apply the deep theological truth that Jesus was raised. The authors suggest we receive 6 big, clear benefits, because Jesus lives.
Jesus Has Patience For Doubting the Resurrection, So Should We — An Excerpt From “Raised?”
Many doubt that in the beginning God created. The Red Sea's parting, Jericho's falling walls, and Jonah's big fish are roundly doubted. Others doubt Jesus' miracles, and the belief that He is the only way, truth, and life.
And then there's that bit about the resurrection. To the modern mind, the notion is utterly implausible. With such an incredible assertion at the heart of the Christian faith, should it come as a surprise that some people struggle to believe?
Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson, authors of a new, fresh book on the resurrection, say it shouldn’t. And where our first impulse might be to implore people to get over their doubt and just believe, they say otherwise.
In Raised?: Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection, Dodson and Watson say Jesus Himself has room for doubt, even invites it. They insist Thomas' experience is proof positive:
[Jesus] invites Thomas to place his hands on his tender crucifixion wounds, to feel the truth. This scene is palpably human and curiously divine. We can identify with Thomas’s response, but Jesus’ tender patience is superhuman…
In other words, Jesus has patience for doubt—even of His resurrection. And so should we.
Unlike any other book on the subject, Raised? grapples with the believability of the resurrection and encourages your people to doubt in order to believe. Dodson and Watson don’t shy away from the hard questions or settle for easy answers. They will help your people see how the resurrection changes everything, offering hope for the future and answers to the life and death questions we all have.
The excerpt below explains why Jesus allowed doubt, even embraced it. It also encourages you to do the same for the sake of reaching an increasingly doubting culture with the gospel.
-Jeremy Bouma, Th.M. (@bouma)
Check out the books website (www.raisedbook.com) for more information and resources to help your church and groups study the resurrection. Also, be sure to watch the video "Doubt," the first in a fourt-part documentary that's designed to be watched and discussed in small groups.
Grant Osborne on the Resurrection
“The darkness that hung over the land for the last three hours of the crucifixion, symbolizing the death of hope, yielded to the the life of the light of God, and Jesus the Risen Lord came forth from the tomb! In him and in this event lies the hope of humanity, and that hope has been realized.
We have been lifted out of the depths of despair that the reality of this life must produce apart from the Jesus event. In his resurrection we enter a new potential and a new reality that replaces defeat with victory, despair with joy, the decay of death with life for eternity.”
– Grant Osborne in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament:…
Wednesday Giveaway (Thanksgiving Edition) – Keller and Wright DVDs
This week we have something of a special giveaway. Two of our more recent products are a pair of DVD sessions based on The Reason for God by Tim Keller and Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright, and as we head into Thanksgiving our two winners will receive both the DVD series of their choice and the accompanying participants guide.
In The Reason for God pastor and author Timothy Keller meets with a group of people over six sessions to address their doubts and objections to Christianity. Using literature, philosophy, real-life experiences, and the Bible, Keller and the…
Beaches, Bikinis, and the Body of Christ
by Lynn Cohick
No, this is not a blog advocating (or decrying) beach evangelism, the butt of many (sometimes well deserved) jokes. This is much more serious, it is musings on what it means to be embodied as believers in Jesus. This past week my sister-in-law was on a panel discussing body image among young women. The epidemic of anorexia and bulimia, the evidence of which is displayed on YouTube and Facebook, reminded me yet again of the need for Christians to affirm our faith in the resurrection of the body.
“Ephesians and Resurrection” by Lynn H. Cohick
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to the evangelical faith, and is fixed firmly in the Church’s creeds. But how does this reality live itself out within the daily lives of the faithful?
Recently, in one of my classes, I heard some horror stories regarding evangelical college students’ lack of understanding about the resurrection. One aspect of this problem, I think, is the relegation of its reality to the ‘next life’ as though Christ’s resurrection has no impact in the here and now. A close reading of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians suggests otherwise, although conclusions about Paul’s opinions on resurrection expressed in this letter have led some to assert a deutero-Pauline authorship. My goal is not to argue the relative merits of Pauline authorship of Ephesians or Colossians, although I hope to show that concerning the resurrection, Ephesians and Colossians line up well with Paul’s views expressed in Romans, for example. My focus is more modest: to describe briefly one aspect of resurrection as expressed in certain letters of the Pauline corpus. In Eph 2:6, Paul declares that God raised us (with Christ) and seated us (with Christ) in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. The phrase in parentheses is added both by implication from verse 5 and due to the force of the prefix
συν attached to the verbs. The use of the past (aorist) tense here invites comment, because in other passages Paul speaks about resurrection as something to which we look forward.
“Good Friday…or was it Wednesday or Thursday?” by Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
Scripture clearly predicted in Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (cf. Jonah 1:17). But if our Lord was crucified on "Good Friday," that would not leave 72 hours (24 hrs. x 3 days and nights =72), but instead probably something more like 38 hours for our Lord to be in the tomb (Friday afternoon til midnight, 7-9 hours + Saturday 24 hrs. + four or five hours on Easter Sunday morning = 36-38 hours total. That certainly does not equal three full days and three full nights of 72 hours.
However, notice I inserted the words "full" in each case, which of course is the way a Westerner would take a statement like "three days and three nights," but Scripture did not use this expression in the same way some of us might use it. However, what we miss is the fact that "three days and three nights" was a stereotypical phrase that allowed the full day and night to be counted when any part of that time was included.