Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Good morning! We continue to look into the resurrection stories. Today, we read a passage of Mark. The stories report that Jesus first appeared to some women who wanted to go to the grave. They also report that the disciples did not believe them.
Of course, when it comes to the resurrection, we need to carefully check the evidence. Did Jesus rise? Can it be true that something serious happened here? Or is it just to be treated as an old story, nice to read, but without any relevance?
I am quite convinced that it is more than a nice story. It is a disturbing story. It is a credible story. The idea that this was invented by early Christians is just not convincing. There are too many points which you would not invent this way, which are against typical customs of the first century. Let us read, for example, in the end of the gospel of Mark:
11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterwards Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. (Mark 16, 11ff)
The bible cites women as first witnesses of the resurrection. It is very unlikely, that in a time where women did not count as witnesses, this would be a story you would make up. Similarly, discussing the unbelief of the disciples, with Jesus rebuking them, is not what would be likely to be invented in the first century.
More Arguments …
Today we scientifically argue that resurrections do not happen, they are not observed, and thus are very unlikely. Actually, the bible confirms this view. Resurrections do not happen usually, they are very unlikely, and the disciples new this. They did not believe the resurrection, since it is a very unlikely event, which you do not easily believe!
Yet, the disciples later were willing to be put to death since they did not want to drop the resurrection. They were preaching that Jesus lives, even though they we not willing to believe initially. They all did not believe, until they met Jesus, until he talked to them, explained to them, and convinced them. Then, they went on, and put all their life onto this particular very special and unlikely event.
The disciples preached the living Jesus. And shortly thereafter, when Jesus has gone “to the father”, they started to experience the holy spirit. He was back, but in different form. He was there now for every human, not any more in physical form, but in spiritual form, to be able to be with all of them all the time. The story of Christianity IS miraculous. Yet, with the holy spirit and the Christian history, it starts to be accessible for all, for me and for you. There are more arguments, which with full reason, we can explore and understand. (Roland Potthast)