Christ Risen

Can things come right in Australian cricket? Can awful things change?
"Christ is risen; Christ will come again."
Rolling stone entrance of family tomb of Herod, Jerusalem - one of very few remaining - unlikely Joseph had exactly comparable example
Remorse and change has been expressed over cricket wrong-doing (cheating) - link  available
Child abuse perpetrators instead claiming victimhood (unchanged?) - link available below

"Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again"

Challenging as the news record is, there is a much, much, so much, better story of ultimate change to take in than the stories in the headlines. The opening quote to this post encapsulates the matter; here are details:
The above is from a PDF (link below) on the primary sources on Jesus' resurrection. He had been buried; now he was not!

It may have seemed to the religious power-brokers that Passover, as it was intended, that the disturbance was ended and "things" could return to "normal". Wrong!

People kept on about Jesus - in Jerusalem, and even wider afield. Much wider afield in fact, as with the late entry Apostle, Paul, travelling "gospel-izer", thinker, and writer. So, for example, looking back he wrote to "distant" readers:
When I came to you, brothers and sisters,[a] I did not come proclaiming the mystery[b] of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-2, NRSV).

With all the emphasis on Jesus not being held by the grave; the stress that he is in fact risen from the dead and is alive, it looks a tad strange for Paul's summary to be "Jesus Christ, and him crucified".  Surely he should say, Christ crucified and risen? That requires some consideration. How was Jesus (Christ) spoken of in those days after his crucifixion? Many were the references to "Christ crucified". 

In that era people heard the word "Christ" in a different way to us, especially Jewish people or people of Jewish background or belief. It was simply unthinkable that their "Messiah" (=Christ) should die under God's curse. So, Paul goes on writing and speaking of Christ as Christ, not as dead Jesus. A dead Jesus can not be Messiah (Christ). He is actually saying: "Christ (Jesus) is risen, though certainly he did die for sinners". He is alive; he remains always, Christ. The fact that Christ had been crucified is overwhelming. (Countless were the crucifixions; none of them bore this significance.)

As described in the previous post, "Jesus Executed", the sources show that Jesus knew what he was doing and that he so generously and deliberately took up his cross, repugnant as it was. His sheep needed his life to be spent that they might have life eternal. God's mercy and forgiveness were there for sure then. They are fully available to all right now. (This should not confuse or obscure the necessity of us providing for the safety of our vulnerable.)

Just a few short weeks later Jerusalem was again disturbed on account of that man who had come from Nazareth, the crucified "blasphemer". We get the picture from the book called Acts. Peter and company had been doing stuff and getting an unauthorised hearing in the Temple precinct. The authorities demanded an explanation; just exactly how were they doing the healing? Peter's reply included blunt words:
then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’[a]
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12, NIV).
No question but that Jesus had been properly crucified; all unanimously agreed they had had him nailed up but - the "ridiculous" claim he was alive! That Jesus was the one to be the Saviour! That he, Jesus, was the Christ. That they - priests/leaders - had done something wrong! That they should be accountable! That life after death was possible (not that old nonsense again!). This would not be countenanced. Circumspectly, they restrained themselves to (futile) warnings. (Eventually, they did their worst, but in vain.)

Curiously - the incident in Acts chapter three places a man lame from birth at a Temple gate daily - did he see Jesus?  Had he previously seen Apostles who were there each day? Why was he still lame until the moment? Perhaps the size of the Temple comes into it? What about the crowds of people? No answer is given.

The early chapters of Acts also have a simple "Christ" being used as a kind of second name for Jesus of Nazareth (rather than saying, "The Christ").  If those are Peter's actual words, and there is no indication of a different reading, that looks like an early usage. However, there are also many textual instances of the Saviour being identified as "Christ Jesus", which carries the original sense. The phrases seem to be interchangeable. (Here I have left aside the question of Aramaic or Greek, and of different witnesses reversing the words.)

Under the name of Peter we find description of Jesus the crucified one, in the terms of Isaiah 53:
He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
    nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
    who always judges fairly.
He personally carried our sins
    in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
    and live for what is right.
By his wounds
    you are healed
(1 Peter 2:22-24, NLT). 
The focus here on the fact of Jesus' execution is very clear, and that's no error!

The writer of the document we know as "Hebrews" paints a vivid picture. This perspective looks to the hidden reality in the universe in descriptive terms arising from the superseded Old Testament system of constant animal sacrifice in the Temple of God:
 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (Hebrews 9:24-28, NIV)
Jesus (ie, Christ) offered - himself. The blood, in this once for all sacrifice, was his. He makes representation himself to God, but only for us, not for himself. There can be no further sacrifice. Jesus will come again to "wrap up" things for those awaiting for him, both the breathing and those who went before.

But there is no mention there of Christ being risen? Surely it is implied - he appeared once; he will appear again. He rose to make intercession - or was he not already doing so? We are straying here into the cloudy topic of life after death; of the speculative nature of the period between. That may be a topic of its own?

Returning to the Corinthian letter of Paul:
Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles,[a] Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength 1 Corinthians 2:21-25, NLT).
The fact that Christ (Jesus) was crucified may be offensive, or it may be nonsense (especially when filled out with "risen"!) but it is integral to God's salvation plan. Under that plan, God brings power to bear on human beings, if they will allow it (!); God bestows wisdom of human beings, if they are humble enough to listen. 

What becomes of the emphasis on "Christ Risen"? It is constantly implied, for there is no point to a message of a decaying to dust crucified teacher/healer. Such a (hypothetical) pretender would not be proclaimed.

URL to copy and paste for PDF of the "Risen" scripture quotations as above, which is in 4 column, landscape format:

Cricket: URL for copy & paste

The cricket story must surely be to the better; so much more so than anything like the appalling denials in another offensive scandal in the news: Whilst the cricket story is probably unfinished, the simmering issue of  sexual predator offence and consequence is definitely ongoing.  The link is to revelation (of doubtful value) of some astonishing and deplorable attitudes, with perpetrators claiming remorseless victimhood:
Paedophile decision: URL for copy & paste

Jesus' burial and resurrection day surely posed many a challenge then, as now. We can see something of it in the NT documents, comparing here the pericopes that are paralleled:

Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Matthew 27:55-56, NRSV).

There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem (Mark 15:40-41, NRSV).

But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things (Luke 23:49, NRSV).

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home (John 19:25-27, NRSV).

Jesus’ side pierced (John 19:31-37)

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb (Matthew 27:57-61, ESV).

And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died.
[a] And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph[b] bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid (Mark 15:42-47, ESV)

Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.[a] The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment (Luke 23:50-56, ESV).

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus[a] by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds[b] in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there (John 19:38-42, ESV).

 Tomb guard set (Matthew 27:62-66)

The Sabbath was over, and it was almost daybreak on Sunday when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. Suddenly a strong earthquake struck, and the Lord’s angel came down from heaven. He rolled away the stone and sat on it. The angel looked as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook from fear and fell down, as though they were dead. The angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was nailed to a cross. He isn’t here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come, see the place where his body was lying. Now hurry! Tell his disciples that he has been raised to life and is on his way to Galilee. Go there, and you will see him. That is what I came to tell you.” The women were frightened and yet very happy, as they hurried from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples (Matthew 28:1-8, CEV).

After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James bought some spices to put on Jesus' body. Very early on Sunday morning, just as the sun was coming up, they went to the tomb. On their way, they were asking one another, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” But when they looked, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. And it was a huge stone! The women went into the tomb, and on the right side they saw a young man in a white robe sitting there. They were alarmed.
The man said, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus from Nazareth, who was nailed to a cross. God has raised him to life, and he isn’t here. You can see the place where they put his body. Now go and tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that he will go ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” When the women ran from the tomb, they were confused and shaking all over. They were too afraid to tell anyone what had happened
(Mark 16:1-8, CEV).

Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices that they had prepared. When they found the stone rolled away from the entrance, they went in. But they did not find the body of the Lord[a] Jesus, and they did not know what to think. Suddenly two men in shining white clothes stood beside them. The women were afraid and bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why are you looking in the place of the dead for someone who is alive? Jesus isn’t here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, ’The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life.’ “ Then they remembered what Jesus had said.
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and some other women were the ones who had gone to the tomb. When they returned, they told the eleven apostles and the others what had happened. The apostles thought it was all nonsense, and they would not believe. But Peter ran to the tomb. And when he stooped down and looked in, he saw only the burial clothes. Then he returned, wondering what had happened
[b] (Luke 24:1-12, CEV).

On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran to Simon Peter and to Jesus' favorite disciple and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb! We don’t know where they have put him.” Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. They ran side by side, until the other disciple ran faster than Peter and got there first. He bent over and saw the strips of linen cloth lying inside the tomb, but he did not go in. When Simon Peter got there, he went into the tomb and saw the strips of cloth. He also saw the piece of cloth that had been used to cover Jesus' face. It was rolled up and in a place by itself. The disciple who got there first then went into the tomb, and when he saw it, he believed. At that time Peter and the other disciple did not know that the Scriptures said Jesus would rise to life. So the two of them went back to the other disciples.
Mary Magdalene stood crying outside the tomb. She was still weeping, when she stooped down and saw two angels inside. They were dressed in white and were sitting where Jesus' body had been. One was at the head and the other was at the foot. The angels asked Mary, “Why are you crying?”
She answered, “They have taken away my Lord’s body! I don’t know where they have put him”
(John 20:1-13, CEV).

Just then[a] Jesus met them and said, “Good morning!” They came up, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him. Then Jesus told them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see Me there” (Matthew 28:9-10, HCSB).

Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things. But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women (Luke 24:10-11, HCSB).

Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not know it was Jesus. “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Supposing He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve removed Him, tell me where you’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning around, she said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!”[a]—which means “Teacher.” “Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what[b] He had said to her (John 20:14-18, HSCB).

Traumatised guard reports (Matthew 28:11-15) 
Jesus with two men on Emmaus road (Luke 24:13-35)

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence (Luke 24:36-43, NIV).
On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together. They had locked the doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Jesus came in and stood among them. He said, “May peace be with you!” Then he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were very happy when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “May peace be with you! The Father has sent me. So now I am sending you.” He then breathed on them. He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:19-23, NLT).

Jesus and disciples incl Thomas (John 20:24-49)
Jesus and disciples on mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20)
Jesus and disciples by sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-14)

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Scripture passages copied through

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AL 5/6/24 nc

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