Belief In the Resurrection

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Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early to prepare the body of Jesus with spices. When she got to the tomb she saw the stone had been rolled away. Her presumption was that someone had stolen the body of Jesus. So she goes and tells the disciples that someone has taken Jesus. The Peter and John run to the tomb to verify what Mary said. When they got their they observed that what she said was true. They saw that Jesus Body was not there.
We see by the action of these three that they did not believe in the resurrection. We know this on several accounts. If Mary believed that Jesus was going to be resurrected on the third day, why was she going to his tomb. Mark 8:31
Mark 8:31 NASB95
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Jesus taught that He would be resurrected on the third day. So why did Mary not believe?
Peter and John were taught that Jesus would rise again on the third day. So why did they not believe? If they believed they would have explained to Mary that He was not there because He had risen from the dead. Instead they went to verify her story? So why is there unbelief here?
I believe the answer is the same for why people don’t believe today. The resurrection doesn’t make sense. It does not fall in line with what is suppose to happen. When a person dies they are buried and they are never seen again. The resurrection goes against the natural order that people have. 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
1 Corinthians 1:18–31 NASB95
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
If you think about what we believe logically it doesn’t make sense to a lost and dying world. A lost and dying world sees Jesus as a man that lived a long time ago and was a good moral teacher, a good person, and a historical figure that was killed and buried. They believe that he is dead and buried somewhere because that is what happens when you die.
We believe that He is not dead but alive because He was resurrected from the dead. We believe that one day He is going to return and establish His kingdom. We believe that the trumpet will blow , the sky will roll back like a scroll and He will return to establish His kingdom.
To the intellectual this is foolishness and a fairy tale. They believe that anyone that would believe something like that is just plain dumb. It doesn’t make sense to them and that is not the natural order of the way things happen. They believe when a person dies they are buried and go through the natural process of returning to the dust. This is what intellectuals believe happened to Jesus as well.
Unbelief is rooted in elevating yourself above God. People who do not have faith in Jesus because they trust in their own logic and understanding of how the world works rather than what God says. Romans 1:18-23
Romans 1:18–23 NASB95
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Man became futile in their speculations and their foolish hearts were darkened. They exchanged the truth of God for their own understanding of the natural order.
Some people will not believe in Jesus because the resurrection doesn’t make sense. They have never known anyone else to be resurrected, so why would Jesus?

Partial Belief

When John saw that the body of Jesus was missing and the grave clothes were lying there neatly folded vs. 8 says that he believed. However vs 9 says that he did not understand that Jesus must rise from the dead. John believed that Jesus was resurrected but did not know why. He could obviously see that that the body of Jesus was gone and knew that Jesus taught that He would be resurrected so he believed in the resurrection of Jesus. Though he believed in the resurrection he did not understand the magnitude or importance of the resurrection. He had a partial belief.
It was not until Jesus appeared to the disciples and explained His resurrection that they had a full belief. Mark 16:14-15
Mark 16:14–15 NASB95
Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
The disciples were not willing to believe because of their hardness of heart. It was the understanding of why the resurrection was so important that they believed.
Luke 24:44–49 NASB95
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. “You are witnesses of these things. “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Jesus opened their minds to understand the scripture. They then understood that Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law, fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament, and ushered in forgiveness and salvation from sin and death. He also commanded them to go and share this message.
The only way we can fully understand and believe is when the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us. Our faith in Jesus becomes stronger the more we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal His word to us.

Full Belief

When Mary heard her name called by Jesus she ran and fell at His feet and began to worship Him. She believed and understood that Jesus was her Savior. She worshipped Him. I find it interesting His response. John 20:17
John 20:17 NASB95
Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’ ”
Richard Phillips explains it this way: There are two other ways to understand Jesus’ warning to Mary that not only make sense of it but also help us to grasp the meaning. First, Jesus seems to have been informing her that his ascension was not yet to take place, so that she had no need to hold on to him as if she would lose him again.
Second, Jesus was pointing out that his death and resurrection had forever transformed his relationship to Mary and the other disciples. Because she thought she had lost the physical nearness of Jesus, we can imagine her excitement at seeing him restored to bodily life. But Jesus would not have her hold onto the past and the former mode of relationship. He was not stifling her desire for a relationship, but merely pointing her to the higher mode that would ensue with his ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit. Vos explains that “the desire for a real communion of life would soon be met in a new and far higher way than was possible under the conditions of local earthly nearness.” Christians today, living on the other side of Christ’s ascension and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, enjoy a higher form of communion with Jesus even than the disciples who knew him in the flesh. We have spiritual communion with the living Savior through the Spirit who indwells us. As Paul expressed it: “Christ … lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
Richard D. Phillips, John, ed. Richard D. Phillips, Philip Graham Ryken, and Daniel M. Doriani, 1st ed., vol. 2, Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014), 639–640.
True belief in Jesus Christ reveals that we have a tangible relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Though we cannot physically see or touch Him, we can have a relationship with Him. John 16:12-15
John 16:12–15 NASB95
“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.
Jesus does not speak in words we hear with our ears, He speaks in a language that we hear with our hearts. Jesus does not do what we see him do by sight, but gives us eyes of faith to understand what He does and will do.
Jesus is alive right now! He wants to have a relationship with you. In order for that to happen you must repent and believe.
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