St Francis Q&A

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Do you believe in the Resurrection?

The most fundamental question of Christianity is: "Did Jesus rise from the dead?" In fact, it is the THE question that separates Christians from non-Christians. Quite simply, anyone who answers 'yes' is saying that he is a Christian; anyone who says 'no' is saying that he is not. So, what does it mean to say that Jesus rose from the dead? What does it mean to believe in the Resurrection?

If I say that I believe that Jesus rose from the dead, then I believe that he has power over all things, even death. If I stop and think about what it means for a person to rise from the dead, it is mind-blowing! Jesus died a terrible and cruel death. He hung on a cross for at least three hours, and then died of suffocation. The death of Jesus of Nazareth is an indisputable, historical fact; even the most ardent atheist would admit that Jesus shed his flesh and blood on Mount Calvary.

His life had ended. "He breathed his last" (Lk 23:46). This is confirmed by all of the Gospel writers, as well as the reaction of the disciples: "(they) were mourning and in tears" (Mk 16:10). We can only imagine the tremendous sorrow and grief the disciples felt. Was Jesus not the Son of God? Not the Messiah? Was he a false prophet? Was he a liar and a blasphemer?

As they pondered these serious and somber questions for three days in their mourning, they received startling news from Mary Magdelene on the third day. "He has risen from the dead" (Mt 28:7). Those who went to see the empty tomb where Christ was buried were amazed at what they saw, and believed. He is risen!!

To believe in the Resurrection of Jesus is to believe that He is the Anointed One...He is the Christ. No one has risen from the dead before Him, and no one has done it after Him. He is the Resurrection (Jn 11:25). He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6). Everything he said is true, and he is God's only Son. He offers us his life, and all those who believe in Him and live the Gospel share in his Resurrection (life after death). Do you believe?

"If Christ has not been raised, your faith is pointless and you have not, after all, been released from your sins" (1 Cor 15:16, 17).


  • hey i was talking to one of my friends and she brought up a few interesting questions that i wasnt compleaty sure how to answer so i thought id bring it here. heres the question: Was Jesus the only person who could/can fulfill what needed to be done acording to scripture? and was he born with his skills (healing, bringing back from the dead, and all his knowlege) or did he learn them along the way? and since he was supose to be like the rest of us "human" then why couldnt it have ben anyone else, why did it have to be him? thats all tell me what you think!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:35 PM  

  • Seems to me, Jesus must have been born with His gifts since He is God. God chose and sent Him to the world as His only son. THat is pretty clear in scripture. He as God (incarnate) walking the earth as a person. The New Testament does say that Jesus is the only way for us to get to the Father. Also the old Testament has many prophets who foretold of a Messiah sent by God. Before Jesus, Jewish people sacrificed animals to "cover," their sins. Jesus - God 's Son- became the ultimate perfect sacrament when he died on the cross. So I am not sure that my comments are totally correct or answer the questions but that's what I have learned......

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:16 AM  

  • What are the Gnostic Gospels and why are there contraversies behind them?

    My second question is why are books like "The Lost Gospel of Judas" etc. are suddenly popping up?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:01 AM  

  • Anon, cool questions about the person of Christ. The answer to your specific questions is 'yes', but it's important to have a general understanding of who he is. The 2nd anon helps us with that: "He is God (incarnate) walking the earth as a person".

    Jesus is the Word of God. He has always existed; "in the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God" (Jn 1:1-3). He is the second person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God.

    "The Word became flesh and dwelled among us" (Jn 1:14). This line from John's Gospel describes the Incarnation, which is when Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is when God became man. Jesus, then, is fully God and fully man.

    "God wanted all fullness to be found in him and through him to reconcile all things to him" (Col 1:19-20). What St Paul means in his letter to the Colossians is that God the Father willed that all things would be restored in Christ. Christ is the head of all creation and the entire universe; "through him all things were made". And, as the OT prophets foretold, the Father has "reconciled the world to Himself" through the Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of his Son (all four events are seen as one act of our Salvation).

    It is a great and enriching exercise to go deeply into how Jesus fulfills the Scriptures. And, it should do what it is doing for you...lead you to the questions of who the person of Christ is. But, please remember, Christ's mission is larger than fulfilling the Scriptures. The Bible helps us to know and believe in Christ; as the Word of God, it's all about Christ.

    And so, as we come to ask the great questions you're asking, we ask who is this Jesus? Is he just a man whom God sent to save us? A man who became God? No, he is God who became man. His mission was entrusted to Him by the Father long before any part of Scripture was ever written. Scripture reveals Christ's mission of Redemption.

    Finally, your great questions about his skills is a little trickier to dive into. Remember, Jesus is one divine person with two natures (divine and human). So, yes, he was born with these gifts because of his divine nature. But, I would think that, in his human nature, he needed to develop and mature in order to use the gifts.

    In other words, his knowledge and healing power have always been there (eternal and infinite), but when he became man, it took time for him to develop the gifts as a man. To say that he is fully human is to say that he is like us in all ways but sin. In his human nature, he had to develop his divine gifts. "And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and with people" (Lk 2:52).

    By Blogger Fr Greg, at 11:55 AM  

  • Anon, thanks for your questions about the Gnostic gospels. I don't know if you read my April 21 post on the DaVinci Code and the Gospel of Judas, but check it out. It should also help understand why these types of books are being marketed so much now (money, anti-Christian sentiment, etc.).

    The following are some excerpts from a Catholic website (catholic If you want, you can check out the whole article. Just go to the site, and then type in "Gnostic Gospels" and you'll see an article with that name. Many thanks!
    The Gnostic “gospels” have grown enormously in popularity ever since the release of The Da Vinci Code. Elaine Pagels’s "The Gnostic Gospels" has fed this growing interest, fueled by misguided scholarship and a false view of history. Heralds of her book claim that gnosticism was one of “a variety of ‘Christianities’” and simply presented a different vision of Jesus that, conveniently, fits in with modern views of morality and “faith.” Poor scholarship has led people to believe that gnosticism is an alternative Christian belief system. Gnosticism was around long before Christ and used Christianity (or invented “Christians truths” of their own) to suit their peculiar philosophy. Below is a more accurate description of gnosticism.

    (---from "Catholic Answers")
    What is gnosticism?

    Gnosticism, which gets its name from the Greek word gnosis (“knowledge”) was a religious movement beginning, possibly, before the time of Christ and extending into the first few centuries of the Christian era. Gnostics viewed themselves as "those who know." Their heretical teachings varied from group to group and can’t be pinned down with specificity, but common gnostic beliefs included these:
    -Although Christ appeared to be human, His humanity was merely an illusion...
    -Christ appeared to die, but did not really die...
    -Christ was not truly God...
    -Matter is evil, so one can do anything one wants with one’s body, including killing it to release the soul from its imprisonment...
    -People are saved by acquiring secret knowledge (gnosis), which is imparted only to the initiated...

    It seems clear, though, that the Apostles themselves had to contend with a form of gnosticism (Col 2:8, 18; 1 Jn 4:1-3; Rv 2:6, 15). Paul said, "Avoid profane babbling and the absurdities of so-called knowledge [gnosis]. By professing it some people have deviated from the faith (1 Tm 6:20-21).

    While they may not view matter and thus the body as evil, contemporary dabblers in gnosticism often appreciate an absence of moral restrictions regarding the body, specifically regarding sexual matters...

    The particular “gospels” that Gnostics embrace are not really gospels at all in the sense that Christians understand them. Christ preached a Gospel of “good news,” while Gnostics view their knowledge as something to be kept hidden. As evidenced by the lives of the early Christians, the followers of Jesus were called to be a city on a hill and a lamp on a stand (cf. Mt 5:14-16), not a hidden cult for the intellectual elite. The Gnostic “gospels” were never “attested to” by Christians because they are decidedly anti-Christian. They were never seen as equals with the four Gospels in the canon of Scripture. However, some modern scholars argue that these gospels (written no earlier than the second century), such as the “Gospel of Thomas” and the “Gospel of Mary Magdalene” are legitimate historical and spiritual works that should be given the same, if not more, attention as the canonical Gospels, which were written by the actual disciples of Jesus...

    Why are these so-called “gospels” not accepted? They were not written by an Apostle (e.g., Matthew) or an apostolic man (e.g., Luke), in spite of the authors’ claims to be “Thomas,” and they have never been accepted as Scripture by the Church. The earliest mention of an “Infancy Gospel of Thomas” is between the fourth and sixth centuries. The “Gnostic Gospel” is an earlier text, perhaps dating to the mid-second century, but it has only been accepted and preserved by those outside the Church (i.e., in the Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of Gnostic texts). All of these so-called “Thomas Gospels” contain problems that cannot be reconciled with Church teaching or earlier historical accounts...

    As part of your comparison you may want to read the “gospels” themselves (easily accessible online). The simplest examination of Church history will show these texts have been condemned as heresy from the earliest centuries of Christianity. The “gospels” belong to gnosticism, not an “alternative church.” No Christian can take them seriously as historical narratives (which they were not intended to be) or as spiritual works. They are the products of a non-Christian philosophy and worldview, not disciples of Christ.

    -Catholic Exchange

    By Blogger Fr Greg, at 9:43 AM  

  • Thank you so much for your indepth answer to my question of the Gnostic Gospels.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:11 PM  

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