The Resurrection – massive cultural explosion

March 10, 2013 admin

fireworksFor what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

The 1st century Mediterranean world experienced a cultural and spiritual explosion, the reverberations of which continue to send ripples around the globe.

After the crucifixion of Jesus, the historical narrative reveals that His followers were ready to quit. And their grief was compounded: in addition to violently losing their Friend, the Eleven experienced profound disappointment at this unexpected conclusion to their kingdom aspirations. In spite of His predictions of the Cross, Jesus was projected by His closest disciples as the messianic champion who would stand up to stuffy Jewish religious leaders, throw off yoke of Roman oppression, and set up the Kingdom of God.

The Twelve anticipated being at the center of authority, His governing cabinet. After all, hadn’t they made a personal investment of 3 years of their lives, away from businesses, wives and families as they followed Jesus in His itinerant, nomadic ministry?

But now it appeared to be over. N.T. Wright has colourfully suggested that their options were two: go home, or get themselves a new Messiah.

But that all changed on resurrection Sunday.

And the disciples of Jesus – and those who attached themselves to them in the early church – turned the world upside down as a result. Jesus’ siblings had been cynics, but His brother James was forever fundamentally transformed when he saw the risen Saviour, and became a pillar of the first church in Jerusalem. James and Jude were New Testament contributors.

Another unexpected, high-profile defection: Saul of Tarsus. Saul had been the “golden-haired boy” of Judaism, taken from his home in Tarsus (probably as a pre-teen) because of his unusual mental gifts, to live and be educated in Jerusalem as a child prodigy under the watchful eye of Gamaliel.

But Saul – known within the church by his Greek name Paul – was irrevocably altered by his encounter with the risen Christ.

And within 10 years, every city in Israel had a community of Christ-followers. Within a generation, a church was in every major city around the Mediterranean.

The tectonic plates of culture had experienced massive shift as a result of the resurrection of Christ – and the world would never be the same.

Takeaway – do I really understand the essential place of the resurrection of Christ in the Gospel, in my faith? Am I prepared to defend this as a historically verifiable incident?