Friday, April 29, 2011

The "Rising" of Jesus (Easter, Day 6)

As I said yesterday, there seem to be three different ways of saying what happened on Easter morning: (1) Jesus was raised, (2) Jesus has/is risen, and (3) Jesus is alive.

Let's talk about the second one today, keeping in mind that Jesus was raised by God the Father, and that we will have more to say later about Jesus being alive.

(2) Jesus has/is risen.

Jesus not only was raised by God the Father but also arises. He himself rose from the grave, and so he is risen. Talk of Jesus' risenness is especially prominent the Gospels, where angels and apostles declare, "He is risen." Here's some quick thoughts:

First of all, I find it interesting that the rising of Jesus can be found both in the past and present tense. Jesus rose and Jesus is risen. It also appears in the perfect tense: he has risen. This combines both senses, i.e., he arose (past event) with the result that he is risen (present state).

I think this is important, because Easter is not just a past event but also a present reality. The Resurrection is both historical and personal; it happened and it is. Unlike Lazarus, who was raised only to die again, Jesus arose and is risen. Resurrection does not just something that happened to him resulting in a temporary condition. It is now his eternal identity: Jesus is the risen one. As Jesus himself puts it, "I am the resurrection and the life."

Now it must be said that Jesus's rising is not a different thing altogether from the raising of Jesus. To raise and to rise are two verbs whose content is nearly identical. The only difference is that the former is a transitive verb while the latter is intransitive. You can't just say "x raises" without a y who is being raised. But you can say "y rises" and have a complete sentence.

So, the raising and rising of Jesus are two different ways of speaking of one and the same event, i.e., the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It think this helps us get at the question raised by the previous post. In what sense was Jesus the acting subject of his resurrection? When we think of resurrection as a singular moment, then we must think of God the Father acting upon the Son. Yet Easter is not just a singular moment, but a movement with a purpose and result, i.e., that Jesus is risen. So the Father initiates the resurrection, but he does not act without his Son (for they are one!). The Son also rises. As the Father raised him, he arose. And he is risen as the one who the Father raised.

Any thoughts?
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2 comments:

pamod negi said...

I liked it so much and very interesting, too! Thanks for sharing the experience.
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counter strike online said...

These days Easter is not anymore about tradition but again about buying stuff that no one needs