The Truth of Christ’s Resurrection

Author: Fr Mieczysław Piotrowski S.Chr.

Accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus that can be found in the Gospels and letters of St Paul mutually complement one another and are not contradictory. On the basis of these we have a credible relation of the truth of the Resurrection of Christ and His meetings with the apostles and disciples.

The truth we find on the Resurrection of Christ is clear and simple: Jesus died on the Cross in the most appalling suffering, was laid to rest in the grave and on the third day arose. After His resurrection, he made Himself known to many who became witness to the fact that He is alive.

Witnesses of the resurrection

The apostles and disciples of Jesus were at first witness to His cruel torture and death on the Cross. This was a shocking experience for them, which meant that they lost all hope. Before being laid into the grave, the body of Jesus was anointed and wrapped in a burial shroud. We know that about 30 kg of myrrh and aloe was used for this purpose (John 19:39-40). Next, the body of Jesus was wrapped like a cocoon and placed in a new tomb excavated into the cliff face (Matt. 27:60). The entrance to the grave of Jesus was then closed by a huge boulder (Mark 16:4) that possibly weighed around 2 tonnes. The entrance was then sealed with the imprimatur of the Roman authorities. In addition, on the request of the Jewish elders, Pilate sent a legion of soldiers to keep watch over the grave.

The extraordinary, supernatural Resurrection took place in the middle of the night and no one saw how this occurred. The huge boulder was removed to one side, the seal broken and the terrified soldiers ran. When the women came to the grave early in the morning on the first day of the week, they saw that the grave is empty. Terrified, they returned and informed all the apostles.

Peter and John immediately ran to the grave where they only saw the burial Shroud of Jesus. Apostle John, seeing that the burial clothing is intact but empty, already then believed in the Resurrection of Jesus. After many years he wrote: and he saw and believed (John 20:8).

The intact and at the same time flattened shape of burial clothing suggested a logical conclusion: no one had removed the body of Jesus, it must have therefore in a mysterious way permeated through the clothing it was wrapped in and this could only have taken place at the time of Resurrection. On the burial Shroud that is preserved to the present day, the Lord Jesus left the imprint of all of His body. This is a photographic negative where the reflection is three-dimensional and as scholars maintain, this occurred as a result of the radiation of massive energy from within. The blood clots on this Shroud are intact and therefore there are no signs of tearing the body from the cloth. The body therefore would have had to permeate through the Shroud that it was wrapped in.

The scientific research that was completed in December 2011, for five years conducted at the centre of nuclear research in Frascati near Rome, showed that contemporary science is unable to create such a reflection as the one on the Turin Shroud. Scientists calculated that the mysterious flash of energy that led to the creation of the image on the Shroud would have had to have close to 34, 000 billion watts power of vacuum ultraviolet radiation.

At the present state of knowledge and technical advances, we have devices that can produce radiation of only several billion watts of vacuum UV. At the time of Resurrection, Jesus also left a reflection of His face on the kerchief made out of byssus, which was placed in the grave on His head. This miraculous reflection of the face of Christ, which we wrote of in a previous issue (7, 2006), can be found in Manoppello.

Christ Arisen only made Himself known to His friends. He did not show Himself to His persecutors, who sentenced him to death, or the crowd that shouted, demanding Pilate crucify him. Jesus did not wish to humiliate anyone. He made Himself known so that people of goodwill learn that he is the same corporal Christ that after death was wrapped in cloth and laid to rest in the grave. In making His appearance Christ did not seek to sweep people’s minds, but simply appeal to the free will of every person who believes in the effect of His Resurrection, so as to receive the gift of His Merciful Love, which makes good all sins and that they break for all time with evil.

The encounter with Christ Arisen was something absolutely unexpected for His apostles and disciples. They were in shock when they saw him after Resurrection, but soon were convinced that this is the same Jesus who was crucified and laid to rest in the grave. When they spoke of Him, touched Him, broke bread with Him, when He came to them through closed doors, when He appeared and then disappeared, they then were certain that He is the very same master and teacher – but already in a body of glory, in a different dimension of the world we know, one He does not belong to the earthly world but lives a life not subject to human passing. The Resurrection confirms the truth of Jesus’ Godliness: When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he (John 8:28). The Resurrection of the Crucified therefore shows that He was truly I AM, the Son of God and God Himself (CCC 653). It was only in the company of the resurrected Christ that the apostles and disciples understood that he is God, the promised Messiah in whom all the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament are fulfilled. That is why with unusual strength and courage, despite appalling persecution, they spread the word of the joyous truth of Christ’s Resurrection. They taught that Jesus is the real God, who in His Passion, Death And Resurrection was responsible for our Salvation.

Those who encountered Christ Arisen were to such a degree sure of the fact of His Resurrection that almost all in defence of this truth did not hesitate to die a martyr’s death. Eleven apostles gave their life to spread this truth. They died a martyr’s death through crucifixion: Peter, Andrew, Jacob son of Alphaeus, Philip, Simon and Bartholomew. Matthew and Jacob, son of Zebedeus were cut down by the sword. Thomas was killed by a spear, Jude Thaddaeus was struck down and Jacob, the cousin of Jesus, was stoned to death. Only the apostle John died a natural death in exile.

This is an incredible phenomenon in the history of mankind: despite continual gory persecutions, Christianity spread with such a hitherto unknown force amongst all sections of society that in 313 AD it became the officially recognised religion by the Roman authorities.

What does the Resurrection of Jesus hold for us?

Through His Resurrection, Jesus showed that He is not only the prophesied Messiah in centuries past and awaited for by Jews, but also a true God, Son of God “who for us, people, and our Salvation came from heaven and thanks to the Holy Soul, from the Blessed Virgin Mary, was made corporal and became a person.” As a real God and a real person, he absolved all of mankind of all its sins and sufferings. In His Passion, Death and Resurrection he conquered all evil and gave real meaning to human life, suffering and death.

Thanks to Christ’s Resurrection human life on earth paves the way to heaven when a person completely entrusts themselves to Christ and completely breaks with all sin. Christ Arisen before every person opens the prospect of eternal life, taking part in the nature of God Himself, and therefore offers a completely new future. St Peter wrote: by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).

At the time of Resurrection of the human nature of Jesus, His real human body and human soul therefore, once was divided in death were made now one, and the human nature in Jesus entered an entirely new, immortal dimension of existence. Witnesses who met the Risen Christ, realised that this is a totally new form that is entirely beyond them. Resurrection therefore is not the raising of the physical person as was the case with Lazarus (John 11:1-44), the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:25-43) and the youth from Naim (Luke 7:11-17).

The life of Lazarus and others raised through Jesus at some point, some day definitely finished in their passing. Life after Resurrection, however, lasts for an eternity. After Resurrection Jesus has a real body, one of: flesh and bones (Luke 24:36-43) – though it is a body glorious, one not subject to the law of passing. Christ Arisen in His corporal glory is beyond time and space, is not subject to the limitations of the material, is all-present and open for all as the one and only source of Divine Mercy and eternal life. Christ Resurrected opens before every person a wondrous future, bestowing upon everyone the possibility to take part in His Resurrection, in His final victory over Satan, sin and death as writes St Paul: But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor. 15:20). The Resurrection of Christ is therefore an event that touches every person, for it opens before all the very possibility of gaining forgiveness for their sins, life eternal and Resurrection. Jesus makes as one the belief in our Resurrection with that of His person: I am the Resurrection and the life (John 11:25).

It is Jesus who is the one that on the last day raises those who shall believe in Him (John 5:24-25; 6:40) and who shall take part of His flesh and drink His blood (John 6:54) (CCC 994).

If you believe, you shall be saved

The Resurrection of Christ is fact and thanks to this, the community of the Church came to be; a fundament out of which it grows and on which the construct of all Christian faith is built. Jesus Christ Resurrected, and is with us: and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Matt. 28:20).

It is Christ Arisen who creates the community of the Catholic Church, for he Himself is: And he has put all things under His feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is His body, the fullness of him who fills all in all (Eph. 1:22-23). The Catholic Church therefore is the greatest treasure for all mankind. The Church is Christ and we are all sinners who he, Christ Arisen, liberates from the shackles of sin and makes us holy – ready for love and for heaven: because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom. 10:9).

Everyone who believes in Christ and entrusts himself to Him shall experience that very might of His Resurrection in their life. They shall experience the miracle of forgiveness of all their sins and receive the gift of eternal life in the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. They shall become anew in Christ: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).

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