Risen - ? - !

Pre-Jesus Jerusalem multi-use tomb being modelled by excavators - roof collapsed
In John’s account following the execution of Jesus on the Roman cross we read:
Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. It was still dark. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. So she ran to Simon Peter and another disciple, the one Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb! We don’t know where they have put him!”
Mary (and others - “we”) saw an emptied tomb. (There was more to the story of the women. For example, John goes on to recount that this Mary was the first to speak with the risen Jesus.)
So Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. Both of them were running. The other disciple ran faster than Peter. He reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there. But he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him. He went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there. He also saw the funeral cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place. It was separate from the linen. The disciple who had reached the tomb first also went inside. He saw and believed. They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. (John 20:1-9, NIRV)

Inside that tomb, wrapping cloths remained, but not discarded in a tangle. Peter and the other disciple saw empty funeral wrappings - an empty tomb! Now they believed - but what? John says they did not understand yet and thus agrees with the other Gospels. They had heard teaching from Jesus but, although it doubtless gave them some preparation, they had not taken in the reality of the impossible. They knew the Old Testament’s words but did not grasp application to the Christ (Jesus). “Jesus had to rise from the dead”. Now they knew - at least in part.
Luke’s collection of truth about Jesus from the same first day of that week included these reminder lines spoken to the women:
He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man[a] must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”
Then they remembered that he had said this.
(Luke 24:6-8, NLT)
“Remember”, “remembered”, - as we see in John, there was a gap between what had been heard and what was known, or understood, or believed. They had to recall what they had heard.

Evidently the women were present at one time (or more), or had been told what Jesus had been teaching before the fatal visit to Jerusalem. We can turn back to hear:
Jesus took the twelve apostles aside and said:
We are now on our way to Jerusalem. Everything that the prophets wrote about the Son of Man will happen there. He will be handed over to foreigners,[a] who will make fun of him, mistreat him, and spit on him. They will beat him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life.
The apostles did not understand what Jesus was talking about. They could not understand, because the meaning of what he said was hidden from them.
(Luke 18:31-34, CEV)
The meaning was hidden from them. Maybe it sounds obvious to us, but it seems to me unsurprising that those first apostles did not grasp what Jesus was saying about what was to transpire. They had spent all those months with him, learning about the Kingdom and coming to recognise who he was(is). They looked forward to the King taking up his power and reigning. An execution by foreigners just did not fit. Memorable words he spoke, right enough! Words not understandable by minds limited by what is known to be possible. Words as yet impenetrable to them.

Matthew and Mark also record that moment of confusion or consternation. John wrote that they knew death was likely in Jerusalem.
So Thomas, called the Twin,[a] said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16, ESV). Not long after that decision John records a moment of conversation:
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” (John 13:36-37, ESV) All four Gospels tell of Peter’s confidence. (Luke also says to the point of death.)

The above was close to the final week; there were earlier moments. All the synoptics also record these. John tells that the decision for Jesus’ death had been taken and the authorities were looking for him. Judea had become too dangerous.  Mark has this:
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9:30-32, NRSV)
Why would they have been afraid to ask? Matthew adds that the disciples were distressed at his words. Perhaps we see here a form of denial?

The first recorded time Jesus spoke in such terms came at a specially significant moment. Jesus and disciples were travelling north and he asked them about popular views of himself. The replies indicated Jesus was popularly seen as a prophetic figure. Then Peter (as spokesperson) revealed that to them Jesus was the Christ. (However that identification was not to be circulated.) Then there comes a record of a really strained moment which was the first recorded time Jesus spoke of his forthcoming death:
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord![a] This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance[b] to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Matthew 18:21-23, ESV)
This interchange must have had an impact! Did the last bit of the dialogue overshadow all that came before?

It was evident that the twelve (at least) grasped that Jerusalem had become risky. The record shows that they were courageously prepared to face action fraught with danger. John has it:
So Thomas, called the Twin,[b] said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16, ESV). This came as Jesus was going to Judea’s Bethany to restore his beloved Lazarus to life. Maybe Lazarus’ resurrection could have been a preparation for what they would experience in Jerusalem? After all, once Jesus was killed, how else could they have any further hope? Death was the end.

Despite the teaching Jesus gave it was obviously hard (unthinkable) to grasp what was happening; to expect not only a death but now a resurrection. Luke reports a resurrection day moment which shows how challenging it was to take hold of the facts. Two troubled, confused disciples were walking and talking west to Emmaus (about 11 km) when they had an unknowing direct conversation with Jesus back from the dead. Although they could have known in advance, they did not. The things happening had them grieved and disturbed. Though they did not know it was him, Jesus spoke with them about their problem.
“What things?” Jesus asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet. He was powerful in what he said and did in the sight of God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Jesus over to be sentenced to death. They nailed him to a cross. But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to set Israel free. Also, it is the third day since all this happened. Some of our women amazed us too. Early this morning they went to the tomb. But they didn’t find his body. So they came and told us what they had seen. They saw angels, who said Jesus was alive. Then some of our friends went to the tomb. They saw it was empty, just as the women had said. They didn’t see Jesus’ body there.”
Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are! How long it takes you to believe all that the prophets said! Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and then receive his glory?” Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures. He began with Moses and all the Prophets.
(Luke 24: 19-27, NIRV)
I think it fair to say the twelve disciples (and probably others) had grasped the deadly threat which lay in Jerusalem.

Not so long after these events we find Peter with others in Jerusalem itself boldly saying to an astounded crowd:
You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact! (Acts 3:15, NLT) No doubts evident now - it was clear that it was not Jesus they had misunderstood; rather they had not grasped what kind of a Saviour he is.
Paul gives this overall explanation of the vital significance of Jesus’ death and his taking back his life again:
Once we were God’s enemies. But we have been brought back to him because his Son has died for us. Now that God has brought us back, we are even more secure. We know that we will be saved because Christ lives. (Romans 5:10, NIRV)
Jesus, its author or source, had said much of life. His purpose was totally life-giving. He said:
I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest. (John 10:10, CEV) 

Paul took the good news of Jesus to Corinth (Acts 18:11). He had an ongoing complex relationship with the believers there, as seen in the Corinthian letters. What did he teach there in 18 months? His venerable creed-like summary statement covered the central facts and implied much:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5, ESV). "Of first importance": That is the essential "view", the core or foundation to truly knowing Jesus. The word "Christ" may be "unpacked", along with "for our sins".  (The summary expands as shown here and in previous posts.)

My camera has a “Pano” setting because it is not possible to view the full scene with an ordinary exposure. So it is with the tremendous panorama of salvation, which is nonetheless presented to us in what Jesus did. Compare, for instance the following words from Paul, each passage with its own emphasis. Does it seem too complex? We are dealing with the action of God to redeem humankind and resolve the age-long issues arising from alienation. No simple matter! 
Jesus gave his life for our sins. He set us free from this evil world. That was what our God and Father wanted. (Galatians 1:4, NIRV)
Jesus said this himself beforehand:
And if you want to be first, you must be the slave of the rest. The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue[a] many people. (Matthew 20:27-28, CEV)
So then, a slave who rescues at the cost of his life. Or, a shepherd, whose service is to death:
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15, NRSV) It seems plain, but was this obscure before the resurrection? Probably - hard to see how it could be otherwise.
To make it possible for you (and me) to be delivered or rescued it required Jesus’ life.

Consider a paragraph from Romans:
just as we read in the Scriptures. But these words were not written only for Abraham. They were written for us, since we will also be accepted because of our faith in God, who raised our Lord Jesus to life. God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.
By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace
[a] with God. Christ has also introduced us[b] to God’s undeserved kindness on which we take our stand. So we are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God. (Romans 4:23-5:2, CEV)
So God has extended undeserved kindness uswards and achieved what we could not. God’s work stands and the opportunity is there now. Any who will, may humbly accept. God knows!

Note: The image above shows a Jewish tomb site from centuries before Jesus. There is a highly embellished Jerusalem site claimed to be that of Jesus' burial, which Dr Rasmussen accepts as the location identified during the 326 AD visit to the ruins by Helena (mother of Constantine). Not everyone agrees!

 Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NIRV) are taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL READER'S VERSION®.Copyright © 1996, 1998 Biblica. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of Biblica.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NRSV) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Note: Bible text sourced through Biblegateway.com. I retain in the publishers' text the references to footnotes where they occur. You can check them out by viewing the text on-line. Often they are replicated in different translations.

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