Wednesday, April 13, 2022

"Amazingly, something changed..."

Michael Kruger on "One of the Most Overlooked Arguments for the Resurrection":
.... It is an often overlooked fact that provides the necessary context for the discussion. That fact is simply this: the earliest Christians came to believe, against all odds and against all expectations, that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead.

Notice the distinctive nature of this claim. The claim is not that Jesus rose from the dead (though, I think he did). The claim is that the earliest followers of Jesus came to believe—and very strongly believe— that he did. And that is a wholly other matter.

Why? Because it is a historical fact that is not disputed. And it is a historical fact that requires a substantive explanation. ....

Now, some might postulate that it wouldn’t take much to convince Jesus’ followers that he had risen from the dead. After all, it might argued, followers of would-be messiahs might be inclined to think their guy might just do something miraculous. Maybe they were expecting Jesus to rise, and they just saw what they wanted to see.

But here it might be helpful to know that Jesus was not the first would-be messiah to be killed by the Romans. In fact, even in the same era, there were two other potential messiahs: Simon bar-Giora (AD 66-70), and Simeon bar Kochba (AD 132-135). After they both were killed by the Romans, the same thing happened: their messianic movement came to an abrupt and tragic end.

In other words, the historical record shows that the death of would-be Messiahs is so counter-intuitive to the Messianic expectations of the day that movements can never recover from it. In the minds of first-century Jews, the death of the would-be Messiah shows that he was definitely not the Messiah.

In fact, even Jesus’s own disciples seemed to understand this. When Jesus died, they didn’t think, “Well, maybe he’s the messiah after all.” No, they were utterly defeated, hiding in shame.

But then, amazingly, something changed. .... (more)
Michael J. Kruger, "One of the Most Overlooked Arguments for the Resurrection," canon fodder, April 13, 2022.

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