Sunday, March 23, 2008

An Empty Tomb is Not Enough

One of the more miserable cliches which has attended the Christian faith is the one which speaks of the cross and the empty tomb.

An empty tomb is not enough.

An empty tomb could mean nothing more than that the disciples somehow did manage to steal the body of Jesus, or worse, that the real resurrection of Jesus is a spiritual resurrection and nothing more, or that he was received up into heaven, rather like Elijah or Moses or Enoch. Such tripe has become popular among the intelligentsia who like to pride themselves in their erudite ability to explain for us what the Scriptures are really talking about, the chin-rubbing, squinting 'theologians' who say that Jesus really arose when the hearts of his people came alive with faith.


What the eyewitness accounts provide is an irrefutable attestation--to say nothing of their being divinely inspired--of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Yes, the very corpse, the very body that was laid in the tomb, has been renewed and reborn. It is of the personal appearance of Jesus to his disciples, and to the women, that these accounts testify. We have handled him, says the Apostle John. We examined him, and we believe, exults the Apostle Thomas.

We might even borrow a turn of phrase from Patrick Henry and say, Give me a resurrected Jesus or give me death!

Or, to put it in the preferable words of St. Paul,

If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.


Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

You hit the nail on the head!

In Orthodox Matins (Tone 2) we say, "Answer, O Jews, how was it that the guardian soldiers lost the King whom they were guarding? Why was it that the stone could not retain the Book of life? Either must ye, therefore, deliver to us him that was buried, or worship with us him who is risen, shouting, Glory to thy bountiful mercies, our Savior, glory to thee."

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

And as someone recently pointed out (in a Lutheran blog, if my recollection serves, which lately it doesn't much), the disciples who saw Jesus did not at first recognize Him. Which rules out that they were having hallucinations or delusions. Their brains would have reconstructed Him as they had known Him. He would have been instantly recognizable.

How wise of God, NOT to be instantly recognizable when He arose!