Christ is Risen!

There was an interesting article in the most recent issue of the Biblical Archeology Review (March/April 2019) titled Resurrecting Easter by John and Sarah Crossan. The article contained early depictions of the resurrection of Jesus and tried to maintain that the Eastern Church’s (Byzantine) emphasis on the universal impact of the resurrection was more in line with the New Testament understanding than the Western Church (Rome) and its emphasis on the individual resurrection of Jesus.

I’m not sure I agree with the either/or-ness of the authors’ conclusion. I tend to think the New Testament teaches both. But I really appreciated some of the early artistic expressions of the resurrection that were presented in the article and what can be learned from them about the faith of earlier believers.

An ivory panel from a casket dated 420-430 AD depicting 4 disciples surrounding The Risen Jesus, one of which is Thomas who is reaching his finger to touch Jesus. 
Another panel from the same casket detailing female disciples visiting the tomb and finding it empty with the guards like dead men.
A fresco (on left; the drawing on the right clarifies the damaged portions of the painting). The fresco is found in Rome’s Santa Maria Antiqua Church and is dated to 705-707 AD. Notice Jesus rising from the dead, stepping on the head of Hades (death personified), and pulling Adam and Eve from their grave while Hades is trying unsuccessfully to push Adam back down into the grave.

These expressions show that the Christian faith has always been built upon the foundation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and on the hope that because He lives, so shall we! These expressions also demonstrate that we are connected by the same hope to those who have gone before us, who are now asleep in Jesus.

Thus, whether our bodies are young or old, healthy or diseased, full of life or mouldering in the ground, we believe that death has been swallowed up in victory! And at the last trumpet’s blast, “we will be raised imperishable, and we will all be changed” (1 Cor 15:52)

Christ is Risen!

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

Христос воскрес!

المسيح قام! حقا قام! 

그리스도 부활하셨네! 참으로 부활하셨네!

¡Cristo resucitó!

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