Resurrection appearances

As per many of you I have been reading of the resurrection this morning. None of it reads as if the disciples were having a series of hallucinations, nor is the belief simply in ‘he is alive’ but that ‘his body is not to be found in the tomb’… resurrection.

There were so many cosmic occurrences that surrounded the death and resurrection of Jesus and one that has caused puzzlement is the tombs that were emptied in Jerusalem:

The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many (Matt. 27:52,53).

It has puzzled some commentators and the report is reduced to a ‘theological’ statement separating it from a historical event (R.T. France) – partly because it is only recorded in Matthew. But the language is so similar to that of the language used for the resurrection of Jesus with the ‘appeared to many’ statement.

I think Matthew is very careful in his language – the tombs are opened at his death, but it is only after his resurrection that they are raised. This is not a ‘Lazarus’ resurrection’ but an experience of the resurrection, something that is our hope beyond the grave and seemingly always coinciding time-wise with the parousia of Jesus. Something happens that causes a very real disruption to time in this event.

The dramatic, visible shift to time, the physical manifestation of the ‘new creation’ was present. Our challenge is that ‘new creation’ is here; that we do not have to simply wait for linear time to arrive at the future.

The early disciples did not suffer from hallucinations; they did not need to imagine he was alive; they were rooted in the experience something has visibly and tangibly changed. Easter Sunday – then and now.