Tuesday, April 21, 2020. We are looking into the resurrection stories, as written down in the gospel of Matthew. It is really interesting to read the different reports, each with their particular viewpoint and focus.
Some people have argued that the differences show that the reports cannot be true. But the contrary is the case. The different reports reflect viewpoints and personal testimony of people, just as it is the case in basically every law suit. Having the different reports show that the people who collected and edited the gospels did not modify them just to get one coherent version of it. Discussing this issue with many different scholars and researchers, there is wide range of opinions on the topic. And that again is quite natural - it seems a topic of highest interest if it is true, it will be constantly challenged by various people, and it will be a matter of continuing debate.
When we read the resurrection stories, some of them are strange indeed. There are some features which deserve attention beyond the usual questions of who was the first to discover the empty grave, or how many women came to the grave. Let us assume that Jesus has risen, and let us look at what happens next.
9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28, 9ff)
Jesus sends his disciples to Galilee. He does not send them to Jerusalem. He is not going to the temple. He is not showing himself on the streets in a way that people could see him. He is sending his disciples into a remote place, to meet him there. Why?
It has never been the goal of Jesus to show himself to “the world”, to the general public. It has never been his goal to go to the temple after the resurrection. He did not take over power in Jerusalem. He did not take over in Rome. He did it differently from what people expected - again!
Lord of our Hearts! …
Jesus has announced himself to be the king of peace. He has announced himself to be a different king, not one coming on a horse, but on a donkey. Not by power, nor by might, but by a different power and a different might.
Jesus is the king of hearts. He wants our free decision to search him, to find him, to come to him. He is the king of love. He is the king of trust. He is the Lord of free beings, who love him deeply and follow him by heart. Nothing less is the kindom of heaven. It is a kingdom where the lamb is Lord. The lamb - it is the old image for the ultimate sacrifice. Blood given for the sin of the world. Death at the cross, publically displayed. Sin is judged. Evil cannot prevail. Love wins, practical and deep love.
Jesus lived in an interesting time of world history. Technology to replicate texts on parchment by manual work had been developed already, and it was possible to distribute texts by scrolls and codices of papyrus. Yet, Jesus did not write himself. People wrote down what he taught orally. His disciples reported his case. This is another deep and important observation. The word of God stayed a word, which was put into written form by his disciples, by the church, by the spirit.
The Christian message and the events around the resurrection are the most fascinating and inspiring words I have ever read and heard. And the story of the lamb, of the son of God who is changing the human mind and the human heart, remains the centre point of the universe. (Roland Potthast)