Faith and Deliberate Hiddenness of the Evidence for Resurrection

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Subsequent to resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day — the first of many spiritual sabbaths to come (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1)— Jesus only would reveal Himself to those who, prior to His crucifixion, already believed in Him.

Rightly, some people wonder, if Jesus did indeed resurrect, why exactly did He not appear to His enemies — the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Romans; after all, that would be indisputable proof, both of His claims, and of His resurrection.

An important principle that undergirds relationship with Jesus Christ is the demand for faith. By it’s very nature, Faith demands evidence, reasons over evidence, then acts on evidence. Faith, however, does not demand facts, for facts are not the same as evidence. In truth, facts nullify demand for faith.

If you doubt that evidence and facts are not identical, consider the following illustration.

Using laws of mathematics, physics, astronomy etc., in the 1960s, the United States of America planned a mission to land men on the moon. There was good evidence that it could be done — all of the formal theory added up. There was reasoning over the evidence — application of all of the formal theory to building of the space craft had yielded exactly what was expected.

But did the USA know for a fact that the mission would be successful? Absolutely Not!!! Failure of the Challenger Mission in 1986 is a case in point.

So then, the mission to the Moon was premised on faith that was based on evidence, and that had reasoned over the evidence for arrival at reasonability of an attempt at landing men on the moon.

With respect to His disciples, all of the disciples of Jesus followed Him on basis of faith, that is, prior to a realization of who exactly He was, which is, The Messiah, that is, the one anointed by God to bring salvation from sin to man.

How do we know that all of His disciples followed Him initially by faith? Well, because, initially, they followed Him, only because they trusted the witness of John the Baptist. Once John the Baptist declared that Jesus is ‘the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world’, prior to arrival of any evidence for the assertion, the disciples began to follow Christ. While He would eventually have to ask the disciples to abandon all, and follow Him (Matthew 4:19), this was possible only because they already had, on basis of testimony of John the Baptist, begun to follow Him.

The Evidence that the disciples did not really have a deep understanding of who Jesus was when, initially they began to follow Him (words in brackets to follow mine in spirit of an amplified reading of Christian Scriptures)?

On the morrow, again, John was standing, and two of his disciples, and having looked on Jesus walking, he saith, “Lo, the Lamb of God;” and the two disciples heard him speaking, and they followed Jesus (John 1:35–37).

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard from John (the Baptist), and followed him; this one doth first find his own brother Simon, and saith to him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is being interpreted, ‘The Anointed’ (John 1:40–41).

And having come near, they awoke Him, saying, ‘Master, master, we perish,’ and He, having arisen, rebuked the wind and the raging of the water, and they ceased, and there came a calm, and He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ and they being afraid did wonder, saying unto one another, “Who, then, is this, that even the winds He doth command, and the water, and they obey Him (Luke 8:24–25)?”

Now then to the question of Deliberate Hiddenness of Jesus after the Resurrection. Well, if Jesus appears to Pharisees, Sadducees, and Romans, He would be presenting not evidence, but fact, that is, the fact that He has resurrected.

In presence of presentation of facts, if those people were to believe, they would not believe on basis of faith that reasons over evidence, rather, they would believe because they see a fact. But belief that is rooted in fact is a contradiction, for belief implies an acting on evidence that cannot be shown to be factual. We have then that the words ‘belief’, or ‘faith’ cannot be associated with facts.

When, subsequent to His resurrection, Jesus appeared to those who already had, prior to His crucifixion, believed in Him, He was solidifying faith that already existed, not providing a fact in which to believe. Where there already is faith, every additional piece of evidence serves, not for transformation of faith into fact, but for bolstering of faith. When Jesus asked His disciples to poke their fingers into the holes in His hands, He was assuring them He was the same person who had taught them for three years plus, the same person who had been crucified on the cross.

The evidence that the relationship between Jesus and the disciples continued on basis of faith? The disciples would have to trust Jesus, wait in Jerusalem for an unspecified amount of time, until they received the baptism of The Holy Spirit, baptism that eventually arrived on the day of Pentecost. The Scriptural Evidence?

And lo, I do send the promise of my Father upon you, but ye — abide ye in the city of Jerusalem till ye be clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49).

We arrive then at crux of the reason as to why, subsequent to His resurrection, Jesus did not appear to His detractors. The evidence comes from the parable of the dead rich man in Luke 16:19–31. My focus here is on verses 27 through 31.

And he (the dead rich man) said, “I pray thee, then, father, that thou mayest send him to the house of my father, for I have five brothers, so that he may thoroughly testify to them, that they also may not come to this place of torment.” Abraham saith to him, “They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them;” and he said, “No, father Abraham, but if any one from the dead may go unto them, they will reform.” And he said to him, “If Moses and the prophets they do not hear, neither if one may rise out of the dead will they be persuaded.”

If Jesus appeared to Pharisees, Sadducees, and Romans, still they would be unable to arrive at faith. In the impossibility of arrival at faith, appearance to them becomes nothing more than an act of Self Aggrandizement. Given Jesus and The Father do not practice vainglory, there was nothing to be gained from a post resurrection appearance to Pharisees, Sadducees, and Romans.

The Clinching Evidence?

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him — Hebrews 11:6.

Written by

Educator and Researcher, Believer in Spirituality, Life is serious business, but we all are pilgrims so I write about important stuff with empathy and ethos

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