I’ve said it before and I guess I might as well say it again:
I don’t see how all of Jesus’ core people, his apostles and several others in or near the inner circle, would have carried on after his death unless he really rose from the dead.
I’d be pretty demoralized. Or I’d feel betrayed that he died when he professed to be God’s son. I’d certainly be scared shitless that I might be one of the next folks flogged and crucified if I kept Jesus’ cause alive. I’d certainly want to protect my family from harm, as well as my own skin.
And yet 11 men out his 12 carried on. All of his surviving apostles not only continued to preach what he told them to, but preached that he rose from the dead.
This is not sane behavior. And the idea that Jesus had 11 loyal-as-hell devoted people around him that were that crazy and people still followed him in droves makes no human sense. Human behavior hasn’t changed much in 2,000 years.
They carried on because their Lord lived. Despite being crucified and shoved into a tomb, he rose three days later. He walked among them for a while thereafter before rising into Heaven.
So in these last few minutes of Easter Sunday, that’s what I want to leave you with. The reminder that people don’t generally act against their self-interests and survival. Certainly not a group of 11 at the same time and for the remainder of their lives.
The Lord is risen. Jesus lives. And he sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
You’re right, Deke. The things the apostles did after Jesus’ “death” were crazy – from the outside looking in. And reading this, I thought of the things that trans women do, and the response many Christians have to us. Giving up our male privilege to live as women in a culture that holds femininity as weak, passive, and inferior, and that objectifies women as the sexual objects of men; giving up our families and careers, to live as the women we are despite the dangers of physical violence, poverty, and blatant, even legal discrimination, is crazy – from the outside.
I have the sense that the apostles would get it, but many Christians today are at the forefront of the violence, ridicule, and discrimination we face. (This is not directed at you, and Christians like you.) Whenever a company extends medical benefits to us, Christians call for a boycott. Whenever a legistator proposes anti-discrimination laws that would give us equal access to housing and employment, Christians rally the troops to oppose that law, often telling lies to build support. While they stop short of calling for our deaths, as they do in some Muslim countries, Christians continually take their place as the lead enemies against our efforts to just live our lives as who we are, free in a free society.
I could probably come up with some other adjectives, too, but I’d be preaching to the choir…
Thanks for the insights, Seda.
deacon, what choice to we have except to carry on when a loved one dies?
and if that loved one was wise, kind, insightful, why not spread the message?
tikkun olum-repair the world
rabbi tarfon: it is not your obligation to complete the task of creating a better world, but neither are you free to desist from it.
anyone, anything that helps us create a better world-that is the moshiach within us.
According to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, almost all of these apostles not only continued the message, but accepted horrible deaths because of the Gospel. The big difference between martyrs in other religions these days, and the Aposltes, is that the Apostles were actually there. They really did know for a fact what happened. No matter how much they loved their master, they would not have lied unto death about Him.
Tell an atheist to deny Christ or you’ll kill them, and they’ll happily do so because they know it’s bunk. These Apostles, and many many more after them did die because they knew it was not.
I hear you, and agree to some extent. But, of course, many times when a loved one dies, we don’t carry on what they did or stood for. Particularly if that loved one has proven to be a sham. That was more my point, that many, if not all, of the 11 apostles alive would have been people who felt wronged. Unless they hadn’t been wronged at all but were faced with a kind of truth they couldn’t refute.
But I totally agree with you that carrying on a legacy to make the world a better place is a noble goal.
And, of course, I realize you’re also coming at this from the perspective of Judaism, so of course you have a different take on Jesus than I would. 😉
Yeah, the apostles all pretty much paid the ultimate price for their ministries. I certainly hope that were I in a similar position, I’d have that commitment. Here’s hoping I never had to find out, though…