“The early Christians not only said that Jesus had been raised from the dead; they concluded from this that God’s new age had indeed begun”

Eclectic Orthodoxy

What then did the earliest Christians mean when they said that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead?

They cannot have meant that, though his body remained in a tomb, his spirit or soul was now safe in the hands of God, perhaps even given a place of honor. That was a perfectly reasonable Jewish thing to think about someone now dead, particularly a great leader or teacher, particularly one who had died a cruel death. There was normal Jewish language to express such a belief. If that had been what Jesus’ first believed about him, Jesus would have been on a par, in their eyes, with the Maccabean martyrs of the prophets of old.

Resurrection implies at the very least a coming back to something that had been forfeited, that is, bodily life. In the well-developed Jewish language for describing the continuing nonphysical existence of someone who…

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2 Responses to “The early Christians not only said that Jesus had been raised from the dead; they concluded from this that God’s new age had indeed begun”

  1. mary says:

    Thanks for re-posting this, Fr. Aidan.

    It ties in with some other things I’ve been thinking lately…It is interesting that the early Church did not budge from their belief in Jesus as the Messiah, to the point of shedding their blood for this belief – even though nothing in the world around them seemed to have changed. Oppression and cruelty continued and yet they were out publicly preaching about “the new Life”. And miracles were occurring at their hands,supporting the idea that a new Life was being lived within them. Everything had changed (while apparently nothing had changed).

    One of the things that worries me is that it seems that many believers no longer see the new Life and the miraculous power of the Resurrection. I don’t mean to state that in a way that is either judging other people’s faith or suggesting that I am not equally vulnerable to the same pitfalls. But it seems we have heard the Gospels so many times that they seem sort of normal and not so particularly amazing, though we might feel some extra fervor at the time of the seasonal celebrations.

    i was chatting with some people at my church quite recently, with considerable enthusiasm actually, about the truth of the Gospel and the victory won by Christ. I received a strangely negative response that all they saw in the world was evil and the power of Satan. Of course, any of us may fall into discouragement with the sufferings of this life – our personal sufferings or those in the world. But I am wondering what the Resurrection really means to us now…

    It is hard for me to imagine a Christian life that is not being continuously charged into new Life by the Resurrection, with the faith, hope and love that entails.

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