Saturday, March 22, 2008

What Did Jesus Teach After the Resurrection? (Part II)

In the last post, I summarized Jesus' post-resurrection teaching. Jesus taught about:
  • his death and resurrection
  • the church
  • his return

The NT authors left us only a few significant summary statements about each of these topics, although Acts suggests that Jesus taught on more than one occasion over the 40 days after the resurrection. He did not teach constantly, however, as the limited list of resurrection appearances (1 Cor 15) suggests. We do know that he talked for a few hours on at least one occasion (Lk 24).

However, it is not unusual for the NT authors to summarize Jesus' teachings. Jesus' entire early preaching ministry is summed up with a single sentence, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the good news" (Mk 1:16). Even the Sermon on the Mount is probably a summary of a much longer sermon. It can be read aloud in less than twenty minutes, yet we know that Jesus routinely taught all day (Mk 6:34-35). The gospel writers were comfortable giving accurate summaries of Jesus' teachings. It is reasonable to guess that Jesus did not say anything else of great significance beyond what is recorded in the NT, or one of the eyewitnesses would have recorded it.

As you celebrate Easter, meditate on what Jesus thought was most important before he ascended: his death and resurrection, the meaning of the church, and Jesus' return. These three themes also dominate our celebration of the Lord's Supper: as one body, we share in the cup and the bread (1 Cor 10:16-17) and we "proclaim the Lord's death until he returns" (1 Cor 11:26).

The picture above is from a Chinese Bible of the 1800s; it portrays Jesus' appearance to the disciples in the locked room.

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