A Jew on the Resurrection  

Posted by Joe Rawls in ,

Pinchas Lapide (1922-1997) was, among other things, an Orthodox rabbi, the Israeli consul in Milan, and a lecturer at Bar Ilan University. He also believed in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. To be sure, he did not think Jesus was divine or that he was the Messiah anticipated by the Jewish people. But he was convinced that God raised Jesus from the dead so that his followers would be galvanized into preaching Jesus' message throughout the world. In this way Jewish ethical monotheism would transcend the ethnic boundaries of the Jewish community.

Lapide expresses his ideas in The Resurrection of Jesus: a Jewish Perspective (Augsburg 1983). The excerpts below are on pp 85-93.

Did the cause of Jesus really end in failure?

Did the cross definitively refute any hope for the kingdom of God?

That must not be the case! That dare not happen! Many a heart must have cried out like this. For here more was at stake than the death of a proclaimer of salvation whose radiant confidence had infected a group of believers. They were not just concerned about consolation or the end of their own distress, but about God himself and the meaning of their life...

Jesus must rise in order that the God of Israel could continue to live as their heavenly Father in their hearts; in order that their lives would not become God-less and without meaning.

This categorical must was not the illusory wishful thinking of a deceptive flight from the world which conjures up for itself a mirage, but it was based on the Jewish insight that the God who is willing to love and to suffer with human beings cannot be a cruel despotic God like the idols of the Greeks and Romans. The Jewish God does not dwell high in the heavens in order to impose his will imperially on his subjects, but is a loving Father God who permits retort...

The categorical must of the resurrection which can be considered a part of the saving plan of God, therefore, was applicable only and alone to the small group of disciples of Jesus whose life it was able to change so that they became the founders of the church...

A few hours..before sunrise of the "third day" after Good Friday, that undefinable Easter experience took place which we cannot explain further, which as such is never described in the New Testament, but which has carried its effect into the whole world, phrased either as Jesus' "being raised" or "rising" from the dead.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 17, 2009 at Friday, April 17, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Post a Comment