Resurrection | Synoptic Gospels

The following belongs to a series entitled “An Introductory Biblical Theology of Resurrection.” Read other posts belonging to this series here.

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Synoptic Gospels

By the time of the Gospels, the belief in the resurrection of the dead has become much more established.[1] During His ministry, Jesus recognizes and teaches about the resurrection (Mt 5:29; 8:11-12; 10:28; 22:23-32; 25:31-46; Mk 12:18-27; Lk 13:28-30; 14:14; 20:27-38) and even raises individuals from the dead (although presumably they would eventually die again; Mt 9:18-26; Mk 5:21-24, 35-43; Lk 7:11-14).

Several times Jesus predicts His death and subsequent resurrection after three days (Mt 16:21; 17:9, 22-23; 20:18-19; Mk 8:31; 9:9-10, 31; 10:32-34; Lk 9:22; 18:33; 24:6-8). He uses the historical experience of Jonah as an analogy for what will soon happen to him, calling His future resurrection “the sign of Jonah” (Mt 12:38-42; 16:4; Lk 11:29). Christ’s resurrection is the decisive, defining sign of His ministry and person. [2]

After His crucifixion, Jesus rises from the dead (Mt 28; Mk 16:1-8; Lk 24) along with many saints (Mt 27:52-53) who serve as a living manifestation of the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection—victory over death.[3] By nature of His resurrection, Christ receives all authority, most likely an allusion to the appointment of Jesus as the Son of God (cf. Ps 2:7; Acts 13:33; Rom 1:4) through whom God’s sovereign reign is now mediated (Daniel 7:13-14; Acts 2:36). Consequently, the disciples are to go to all nations (Mt 28:20) in order “that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him” (Dan 7:14).

Notes

[1] The Pharisees believe in a resurrection, while the Sadducees deny it (Acts 4:12; 23:8; cf. Mt 22:23, 29; Mk 12:18; Lk 20:27; Josephus Antiquities 18.1.4). See also Mt 14:2; Mk 6:14-16; Lk 9:7; Lk 16:27-31; Jn 11:23-24; Acts 24:15.

[2] G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, eds., Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 45.

[3] “Matthew is making the point that the resurrection of Jesus brought about the resurrection of his people. . . . The raising of the saints shows that death has been conquered.” (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew [Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992], 725).

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