Over Easter at Worthing Tab we had our usual Maundy Thursday seminar. For the last couple of years we have looked at the subject of suffering and how we can only understand the suffering in the world by understanding the suffering of the cross. This year however we had a seminar on the resurrection of Jesus. In the seminar I wanted to explore the resurrection under three headings – fantasy, fact and faith. You can listen to a rough audio recording of the seminar via SoundCloud linked below – I’ve also given the seminar outline below. I should also say thanks to Glen Scrivener for his help in thinking through some of the issues for this seminar.
The purpose of our Seminar this evening is to examine the Resurrection of Jesus
If the Resurrection is true – then it is the most life changing event in history.
• Three sections
• I’m going to present the seminar in two parts with a break in the middle,
• and then we’ll take a final break before answering some questions.
4. Definition of Resurrection
What is Resurrection as the bible talks about it?
a. What Resurrection is
After dying , coming back to life, completely, bodily,eternally, on this earth.
b. What Resurrection is not
iii. Lazarus and other biblical examples
To many the Bible is just a book of myths, legends, fairy tales. It’s at this point that we Christians will try and move the subject on to fact – But first I want to engage with this idea that the Resurrection is a fantasy, what do people mean when they say the Bible is just Myths, what is the argument here?
1. Ancient Myths
Most scholars hold that although the gods suggested in this ‘resurrection motif’ die, they do not generally return in terms of rising as the same deity.
No god has ever claimed to do what Jesus has done! The Jesus Myth is not like all the other myths, it is a unique claim.
2. Modern Myths
Literature is full of stories of resurrection motif.
i. Gandalf – The Fellowship of the Ring
ii. Aslan – the lion the witch and the wardrobe
v. Harry Potter
ii. Wrath of Kahn
iii. The Lion King
3. Fantasy conclusion
Why do these modern myths resonate with is – and why is it they are so similar to one another.
- Christopher Brooker
- Lewis and Tolkien
- The Bible – The True Myth
[end of first recording]
1. The four facts
There are four historical facts – that historians agree on – which must be explained by any adequate historical hypothesis:
a. Fact one – After his crucifixion Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea in a tomb.
b. Fact two – On the Sunday after the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers.
c. Fact three – On different occasions and under various circumstances different individuals and groups of people believed they saw Jesus alive from the dead.
d. Fact Four – The original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every predisposition to the contrary.
These facts demand an explanation – what is the most rational explanation for these Historical facts?
a. The conspiracy theory
b. The hallucination theory
3. Science and Miracles
Evidence does not produce Faith – only God can do that.
• The foundation of the Christian belief is that Jesus rose again.
• What does it mean for Jesus to have come back to life?
• Jesus alone has authority over death, without Jesus’ Resurrection death is Lord.
• But Why did Jesus do it?
• Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. [Jn 15:13]
• Jesus died for you and he came back to life – for you.
Jesus said [to her], “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Jn 11:25–26.
That’s the Question – do you believe this – Do you know it to be true?
[end of second recording]
1. Were the 500 who saw Jesus alive all in the same place, or different places?
2. When did Jesus become Lord? Was it only at his Resurrection?
3. Is ‘myth’ an appropriate term to use when talking about Scripture?
4. If Faith is not the result of an intellectual excercise, what is the beginning of faith, and how do we get it?
5. On the cross Jesus said “Why have you forsaken me?” Was this Jesus experiencing Hell on the cross?
6. Would you say the fellowship of the ring is a picture of the church?
7. Was Tolkien trying to display the Gospel through the Lord f the Rings?
8. Why did Jesus resurrect Lazarus? Surely that’s a temporary fix, so why do it?
[end of third recording]