Easter mystery: A very public crucifixion, followed by a decidedly low-profile resurrection. Why so?


by Doug Lawrence

The constant Tradition of the Catholic Church, along with the Gospels … make it absolutely clear that Jesus did in fact, rise again (bodily) from the dead … by his own power.

But what never seems to have been sufficiently explained is … after such a public, humiliating, crucifixion and death … why wasn’t any other living soul permitted to observe/witness the resurrection … and why … even after the risen Christ physically appeared, and for 40 days, fully interacted with the apostles (and eventually, some 500 other witnesses) did Jesus decide to forego publicly confronting any of the men who had tortured and killed him?

Here’s a few possible explanations. Feel free to submit your own:

Explanation #1: Hebrews 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.
Simple enough!

Explanation #2: Jesus came to destroy Satan’s power, to make possible the forgiveness of sins, and to open the gates of Heaven. That accomplished, his mission called for nothing more, so he left all the rest … supported by his Church and fortified by his grace … up to us.

Explanation #3: Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. He came to destroy Satan’s evil dominion of eternal slavery, sin, and death, and he couldn’t have cared less about getting even with the particular group of Jewish and Roman minions who put him to death.

Explanation #4 (my favorite): Jesus did confront the one primarily responsible for his death … and for the death of every other human being who ever lived. That person was Satan, the devil.

Satan … who held the power of death over every sinner, had no power at all over the sinless Jesus. Yet Jesus was put to death, just like nearly every “ordinary” prophet who ever came before him.

That was a big mistake … one for which Satan was subsequently judged … and which cost him everything he had earlier gained from Adam’s fall … including dominion over the whole earth .. and most … but not all … of the power he officially wielded, over men.

The soon to be crucified Jesus confirmed that Satan had already been judged:

John 16:7-11  But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go. For if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin and of justice and of judgment. Of sin: because they believed not in me. And of justice: because I go to the Father: and you shall see me no longer. And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged.

Jesus … the “abused” party … was subsequently awarded total restoration and truly extraordinary “damages”, including (but not limited to) bodily resurrection, divine appointment as the new leader of all mankind (the New Adam), and all power in Heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth.

He was also awarded “us”. Now “we” belong to Christ, and “our” eternal destiny is in his hands. Yet, through him, with him, in him … in the unity of the Holy Spirit … we still remain free.

Explanation #5: Jesus simply took a “longer” view of things. In Matthew 24, Jesus predicts the future destruction of Jerusalem, and he also alludes to other similar types of destruction, to come.

A generation later, just as Jesus predicted, Jerusalem, along with the Temple, was indeed destroyed by the Romans. About 400 years later … after it had been converted to Christianity … the Roman Empire met a similar end … while the Catholic Church remained … picking up the broken fragments of civilization, and eventually rebuilding it, in the image of Heaven.

The greatest institutions of western society attest to this fact, along with some of the finest religious art ever conceived, and some of the most extraordinarily beautiful churches ever constructed, for the glory of God.

Judaism never recovered. The original, centralized, system of laws and priest-directed, sacrificial worship never returned. In its place was a scattered, irregular form of various Talmudic practices … based solely on the religious opinions of certain rabbis and sages. For more on this, see 2nd Timothy, Chapter 3.

The Romans too, are not likely to ever resume their conquests. To this day, Italy, as a nation, has been unable to successfully reconcile any new, aggressive, warlike impulses it might develop, with its apparent manifest destiny as a confirmed, Catholic country.

In short, however he managed to bring it about, Jesus not only accomplished all that he came to do … he also managed to turn “swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4) in some very unusual and unexpected ways.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church remains, both as the “Pillar and Ground of the Truth” (1st Timothy3:15) and the world’s oldest, continuous government, of any kind.

Explanation #6: Jesus did arrange for people to witness both the crucifixion AND the resurrection, through the institution of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist.

In fact, through their participation in the sacred liturgy, every Catholic of every generation has personally seen Jesus … both in death … and in his resurrected glory … made present for us on the holy altar, at Mass.

For almost two thousand years, that amazing event has been happening all around the world, in virtually every country on earth, every day of every year, every hour of every day. (See Malachi 1:11.)

Finally, if none of the above seems to make sense to you, try this:

Isaiah 55:1-13  All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which doth not satisfy you? Hearken diligently to me, and eat that which is good, and your soul shall be delighted in fatness. Incline your ear and come to me: hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the faithful mercies of David. Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, for a leader and a master to the Gentiles.

Behold thou shalt call a nation, which thou knewest not: and the nations that knew not thee shall run to thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found: call upon him, while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God: for he is bountiful to forgive.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts. And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return no more thither, but soak the earth, and water it, and make it to spring, and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it.

For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall sing praise before you, and all the trees of the country shall clap their hands. Instead of the shrub, shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the nettle, shall come up the myrtle tree: and the Lord shall be named for an everlasting sign, that shall not be taken away.

It’s clear. God knows exactly what he is doing, and he will most certainly bring about precisely what he wills, and all that he promises … in his own wonderful way.

Such are the advantages of having unlimited power, omniscience, absolute mastery over time and space, and of course, inestimable love.

1 Comment

  1. Why did Christ after His Resurrection only appear to His Apostles and Disciples and not to all those responsible for His torturous death.

    To confirm to His followers that He was who He said He was, and to strengthen them for all the opposition that they would face in establishing His New Church.

    To appear to all those responsible for His death, would require Him to appear to all of us Sinners. We must resort to Faith, as He admonished Thomas “Faith without seeing”

    A point to ponder: Why did Christ have to die to redeem us, when God could have just spoke “You are Redeemed into The Family of God” and we would have been once again members of His Family.

    I feel that one of the main reasons Christ came to Earth was to try in the best way comprehensible to our limited reasoning capability, that God Loved His human creation, far beyond our capability to fully understand. And that He hungered for our striving to know and love Him back to the best of our restricted earthly human ability.

    There is no greater expression of human love and charity than to freely give up our life so that another may live. So we as humans should be able to at least appreciates that God has at minimum at least that much Love for us. And the life He offers us all, is not a better life here on earth but rather an eternal life with Him in a setting we are incapable of even comprehending.


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