By Elias Ayala
(M.A.T & MDiv)
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”
-2 Timothy 3:16
It has been stated by some well intending apologists and preachers that we “believe the Bible, because we believe in the resurrection of Jesus. We don’t believe the resurrection because we believe the Bible”. It is argued that because Jesus rose from the dead, this vindicated his claims to divinity and therefore, everything he taught has authority and claim over mankind. But is this line of reasoning correct?
What is the resurrection of Jesus apart from its scriptural context? Does the historical fact of the resurrection speak for itself as to its meaning? Or is the inspired Word of God required to imbue meaning to the resurrection? It seems as though the latter is the case. The resurrection apart from God’s divine commentary, i.e., the scriptures is nothing more than an unusual event, namely, the rising from the dead of a Jewish man. The reality is that individual facts do not speak without a surrounding wider worldview context. The God-breathed scriptures give meaning to the resurrection of Jesus. A man rising from the dead does not prove that the man is Divine, or the Son of God. A man rising from the dead does not prove that the individual is the promised messiah or God incarnate. Indeed, these truths are provided by God’s commentary, namely, His revealed Word.
The Old Testament provided the theological framework with which to understand who the messiah was to be and do. Jesus taught the Old Testament and provided the proper interpretation of it in contradistinction to the many misunderstandings held by his contemporaries. Indeed, the Apostle Paul did the same when he reasoned in the synagogues: “As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbaths, he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ” (Acts 17:2, 3).
Thus, the historical event of the resurrection cannot be separated from the divine context provided in God’s revelation. Without the scriptural context, we are left with an anomalous historical event of a man amazingly rising from the dead; yet, the event is without meaning. Let us consider this Easter, as we reflect upon the resurrection of Christ, that his death and resurrection means something great and wonderful to us because God has found it expedient to explain it beforehand in the Old Testament, and has provided a robust and vibrant commentary on it in the New Testament.