127. What are the signs that bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus?

Along with the essential sign of the empty tomb, the Resurrection of Jesus is witnessed to by the women who first encountered Christ and proclaimed him to the apostles. Jesus then “appeared to Cephas (Peter) and then to the Twelve. Following that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brethren at one time” (1 Corinthians 15:5-6) and to others as well. The apostles could not have invented the story of the resurrection since it seemed impossible to them. As a matter of fact, Jesus himself upbraided them for their unbelief.


Veja este tema no Catecismo

Paragraph 639

639. The mystery of Christ's resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about A.D. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and 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. . ."490 The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.491

Paragraph 640

640. "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen."492 The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ's body from the tomb could be explained otherwise.493 Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter.494 The disciple "whom Jesus loved" affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered "the linen cloths lying there", "he saw and believed".495 This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb's condition that the absence of Jesus' body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus.496

Paragraph 641

641. Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One.497 Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ's Resurrection for the apostles themselves.498 They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers,499 and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"500

Paragraph 642

642. Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles - and Peter in particular - in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning. As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church. the faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary "witnesses to his Resurrection", but they are not the only ones - Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles.501

Paragraph 643

643. Given all these testimonies, Christ's Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples' faith was drastically put to the test by their master's Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold.502 The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized ("looking sad"503) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an "idle tale".504 When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, "he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen."505

Paragraph 644

644. Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. "In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering."506 Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord's last appearance in Galilee "some doubted."507 Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles' faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.

Paragraph 656

656. Faith in the Resurrection has as its object an event which as historically attested to by the disciples, who really encountered the Risen One. At the same time, this event is mysteriously transcendent insofar as it is the entry of Christ's humanity into the glory of God.

Paragraph 657

657. The empty tomb and the linen cloths lying there signify in themselves that by God's power Christ's body had escaped the bonds of death and corruption. They prepared the disciples to encounter the Risen Lord.


Acesse nossos estudos biblicos:

What does Wisdom 8:7 teach us about wisdom as a source of virtue and honor?

How the Annunciation Story Can Inspire Us to Trust God (Luke 1:26-38)

What is the importance of humility and repentance according to the book of Baruch?

What does the Assyrian conquest of Samaria and the fall of the Northern Kingdom teach about the importance of obedience to God?

Saul’s Character and the Consequences of His Choices: A Case Study in Leadership (1 Samuel 9-15)

What is the importance of faith in the healing of blind Bartimaeus, described in Matthew 20:29-34?

What is the true nature of evil, according to the story of Job described in Job 2:1-13?

wcp

Share
Published by
wcp

Recent Posts

1. What is the plan of God for man?

God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created…

5 years ago

2. Why does man have a desire for God?

God himself, in creating man in his own image, has written upon his heart the…

5 years ago

3. How is it possible to know God with only the light of human reason?

Starting from creation, that is from the world and from the human person, through reason…

5 years ago

4. Is the light of reason alone sufficient to know the mystery of God?

In coming to a knowledge of God by the light of reason alone man experiences…

5 years ago

5. How can we speak about God?

By taking as our starting point the perfections of man and of the other creatures…

5 years ago

6. What does God reveal to man?

God in his goodness and wisdom reveals himself. With deeds and words, he reveals himself…

5 years ago

This website uses cookies.