The Resurrection of the Dead
For reference while reading this blog, join and contemplate on the following readings:
1 Corinthians 15-16
1 Thessalonians 4-5
2 Thessalonians 2
2 Peter 3
The Resurrection is at the centre of our faith and St Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 15, when he states that if Christ is not risen from the dead, then we, as Christians, are the most pitiable of people because our faith is empty. However, fear not, St Paul confirms that Christ truly has risen, through the testimony of his life, where he preaches Christ’s Resurrection to his martyrdom!
Sometimes we find ourselves doubting the resurrection because we think it doesn’t make sense scientifically, which requires that something be observable and repeatable under certain conditions. But one thing we have to realise is that the resurrection is not meant to be looked at scientifically, but it is to be looked at as a historical event. And one of the biggest pieces of evidence that this historical event really occurred is the witness of the Apostles after Christ’s resurrection. These normal people could have gone back to their everyday lives, and accepted that they were fooled in the three years of Christ’s ministry. Instead they dedicated their whole lives to spreading the message of Christ and His Resurrection. Would they dedicate their lives to a lie? Some may argue they just did it because it made them fill their time, kept them united or made them famous. Sure, that would have lasted for a while. But when they were threatened with and were at the point of death, for any sane person, that would have been the final straw. Nobody would die for a lie! And yet we see all of the Apostles, except for John the Beloved, being martyred for the sake of Christ. And if you think they did it because of peer pressure or because they were together and everyone was doing, then think again! St Mark was martyred in Egypt, St Paul in Italy and St Thomas in India, and so they weren’t there supporting each other at their toughest moment and it would have been easy for them to admit that they were preaching a lie so that they could save their lives. And yet they didn’t! And they didn’t because they were sure of what they had seen and what they had heard, and they knew that Christ had truly risen from the dead! So the question still stands, why would so many of them die for a lie? And if you can’t find an answer then this is just one piece of evidence to convince you that Christ truly is risen!
The rest of the readings mentioned tell us how to respond to the Resurrection of Christ. The gist of it is that we should always live with the Resurrection at the forefront of our mind, living out what we say in the Creed where “we look for the Resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” The chapters tell us to be ready for His coming, since we know neither the day nor hour, but that we should not wait in fear, but in joy and comfort, as we know that Jesus will come to save those who believe. This waiting time should also be used as an opportunity to “put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) and to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) And the best way to do this is in the Church, and by living her life of prayer, repentance, and by participating in her Sacraments.