Responses to “Resurrection?”

Mark 15:42-47 and Parallels  (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 179)

The body of Jesus is given to whom?  (Joseph of Arimathea)

What did he do with it?  (wrapped the body, placed it in a tomb carved out of the rock and rolled a rock over the opening)

Along with Jesus, what is dead?  (the hope of the disciples, the container for God)

What is still alive? (Jesus’s thoughts and teachings, respect for Jesus, the search for the Kingdom)

What does it mean that women are present throughout? (the feminine holds together what is present, holds the chaotic unconscious, alludes to death as a womb, source of birth is present)


Mark, the earliest gospel, tells only of an empty tomb. List all the possibilities, no matter how unlikely, for the tomb being empty? (witnesses went to wrong tomb, the body was stolen or returned to Jesus’ family, Jesus was resuscitated, metamorphosis into another form, matter to energy transformation, the witnesses looked in wrong place in tomb, the resurrection is made up by storytellers, mythical expression, ‘beamed up’ to an alien spaceship, resurrection)

The Synoptic gospels, post-Easter

Most of the gospel material having to do with resurrection is in Luke, with some in Matthew, but the total content of this material amounts to only about 50 verses. Compare this with the Sermon on the Mount which occupies 3 chapters in Matthew and another  33 verses in Luke.  Considering the immense importance and uniqueness of the resurrection, how do you explain the brevity of its treatment?  (It wasn’t important compared to Jesus’ life and teachings; there weren’t many resurrection stories around; the stories were fabrications of the story tellers’ imaginations, created to make for a good ending.)

Luke 24:13-32 and parallels (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 188)

Where and to whom did Jesus appear? (in Emmaus to two followers of Jesus)

Where and to whom did Jesus appear in Lk 24:33-34? (to Simon with the eleven disciples in Jerusalem, 12 km from Emmaus)

Where and to whom did Jesus appear in Mt. 28:16-20? (to the eleven disciples in Galilee, 127 km away from where Luke says they are)

What in us would want these stories to be factually true?  (our yearnings for security, certainty and freedom from existential anxiety)

What in us would want these stories to be factually untrue? (our desire for predictability, understanding and control)

What in us would want these stories to be mythically true? (The God-centre in us that demands continued movement toward wholeness)

In Luke 24:35-36, who does Jesus say he is? (the Christ)

How has he related himself to the Christ previously?  (He has consistently rebuked others to be silent about the idea when it has arisen, and refused to give an affirmative answer when asked)

In Luke 24:44-49, Jesus is quoting scripture from Hosea 2:6. Compare with his words with the words from scripture. What is different? (“us” in Hosea and there is not reference to the Christ or Messiah, i.e. the passage from Hosea is not a reference to any one person, and certainly not the Christ, and there is no mention of ‘suffering’ in Hosea)

With whom is Jesus identifying himself here? (the Christ)

What does he say in Lk. v.47? (Forgiveness of sins should be preached to all nations in his name)

What is reference in v. 49? (to the coming of the Spirit)

How much of this did Jesus teach in our study of the gospels?  (none of it; he never pointed to himself, nor did the synoptic gospels record teachings about the Spirit)

In Mt. 28:18-20, what is Jesus saying? (claiming authority, command to disciples to baptise in the name of the trinity!!)

How many of these were included in Jesus’ teachings while alive? (none; the trinity did not come into the teaching of the church until well after Jesus’s death, nor did he ever claim such authority, nor was baptism a ritual for believers.)

Taken altogether, what is the source of this material? (early church, disciples)

However, this material came to be, and however questionable is its link to Jesus, something happened to the disciples, which later was expressed in the form of resurrection, to take them from scattered, fearful, grief-stricken, despairing men to active preachers of the risen Christ.  

What are all the possibilities you can think of to explain this change in the disciples?  (awareness of the God within; in touch with the son of man in their psyches; a new realisation of God acting in them as in Jesus; new consciousness; the ‘gutter-to-glory’ phenomenon; barriers in psyche cracked open; projections onto Jesus had to be taken back inside lest they die; an awakening analogous to Jesus’ baptism.  Any of these could be then expressed in terms of Jesus come alive, and of course, a real resurrection is also a possible explanation.)

How much time passed between crucifixion and their preaching of the risen Christ?  (a few weeks – to Pentecost?  or by the writing, maybe 15-20 years to the writing of St. Paul)

If Jesus can be the Christ who died and rose, what follows?  (he can return, we can do likewise)

Out of all this, what might have been the origin of Christianity, as distinct from the ‘People of the Way’, as the early followers were called)?  (the human need to project the need for a saviour on another; the seeds Jesus sowed sprouted; the yearning to be whole; God’s struggle in us to be whole; the clever teaching of St. Paul)

Write: What came alive in the disciples? (an understanding, via experience, of Jesus’ journey to God; a rebirth of hope and meaning; a recognition of God in themselves and its yearning to become alive in them, i.e. a ‘resurrection’ experience)

Regardless of what actually happened in history, the story of Jesus has become actualised as myth.  As myth (an eternal story in the human psyche), it has power to energise and change people,  through changing people, to change culture and the course of human events. As the original events were encapsulated in the oral tradition and passed on to succeeding generations, they were fitted into the format supplied by the myth running in the people’s psyches. 

As St.Paul recognised, it brings a “new creation” (Gal.6:15), and this new creation is real, repeatable and is the gift of God through Jesus, whether or not Jesus actual arose from the tomb.See also on this site:“Resurrection” and “What if Jesus Didn’t Rise from the Grave?”

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