The historicity of the resurrection

By Dave Henning / January 21, 2022

“Belief in the historicity of the resurrection, however, can change you wholly — but not through intellectual assent alone.  It is only by meeting the risen Lord personally and uniting with him by faith that we are changed.”- Timothy Keller

“Now Mary stood outside of the tomb crying. . . .  She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.”- John 20:11,14 (NIV)

In Chapter 6 (“Personal Hope: 1”) of Hope in Times of Fear, Timothy Keller notes that the New Testament gives us five case studies of people who met Jesus after His resurrection.  Four case studies occur in the last two chapters of John.  And we find the fifth, Paul’s conversion, in Acts 9.

Today Pastor Keller presents the first case study, Mary.

Case Study #1: Mary meets Jesus.  When the risen Jesus approached Mary, she failed to recognize Him.  Because Christ’s resurrected body — the body He had before — now presented as wholly transformed and perfected.

Furthermore, Mary constructed a narrative through which she filtered everything.  As a result, the angels at the tomb and Jesus fell short of her expectations.  Even when Jesus stood right in front of her.

Hence, Pastor Keller observes, Mary represents the entire human race.  Therefore, the message of the Bible here is that God never fits our human categories and conceptions.  Consequently, Pastor Keller exhorts:

“There would be no hope for us if God waited for us to make the first move.  We would be lost if he stood apart from us, waiting for us to figure out for ourselves who and where he is.  Unless he calls us by name, we would never come to him. . . .

Christian salvation is never our attainment, a prize after a long struggle while God waits for us.  No, he comes to us and wakes us out of sleep.  It is always a gift of grace.”

Finally, the author encourages, faith explodes in your life in the form of love to the degree you understand your need for grace.

Today’s question: How has the historicity of the resurrection changed you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Intellectual reasoning and assent = faith?”

About the author

Dave Henning

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