Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why are Christians not taught this?

50Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to
the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

52And the
graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the
holy city, and appeared unto many.

Earlier today I happened upon a blog that mentioned Mathew 27, verses 52 and 53, and the controversy in the evangelical Christian community about whether what the verses say actually happened (or were more symbolic words). I went to look up the verses. Whoa! What's this? I might have heard something about the tombs breaking open when Christ died on the cross, but 3 days later (when Christ arose) the people in those tombs also rose from the dead and went into Jerusalem where they appeared o many?!

I've read my Bible. I grew up in church. I've heard the story of Christ's death and resurrection thousands of times. If you go and read Matthew 27, and you are someone who grew up in the church, you will recognize almost every part of the story. The crown of thorns; the vinegar they gave him to drink; the mocking; the earthquake upon his death; the temple curtain ripping in half from top to bottom; the resurrection, etc.. WHY is the resurrection of these other believers not a regular part of the story we all learn as children? WHY has it been left out?

Is it that this is TOO far out there? Maybe our Christian leaders are afraid that including this part of the story in the oral retelling will freak people out? Is this part considered unimportant? Is it boring? What's the deal?

I don't have any answers to this one. I'm all questions this time. I'm sure that this part of the story isn't news to anybody who has carefully studied scripture. My question is, why is it not included in the ORAL retelling--the kind we hear from the pulpit, or shared in children's books or movies?

What are your thoughts?




The Last Crusade 10:36 PM  

Crazy! I'm sure I've read this before. I've heard whole sermons on the veil being torn. But I'm positive that this part was NEVER mentioned! (My dad is a preacher. We went to church Sun morning, night, Wed night & Tues night for teens.) That's alot of church to have never heard that part!

Jess 10:38 PM  

I've struggled with this one because I teach kids... I just challenge them to go read the story. It's similar to how we avoid the part where David cuts off Goliaths head:) For me it depends on the audience and if sharing parts like these will take away from or add to the main focus.. Jesus. :) My thoughts...

exmish 11:07 PM  

Funny you would mention this: our last two lessons in Relief Society (women's class) have talked about the Second Coming of Christ, and we specifically discussed how the "first resurrection" (i.e. resurrection of the righteous) is already in progress because of those verses you mention. :)

See, if you'd just driven all the way from Tulsa to IL for my lesson, you'd have heard!! :D

Mary Ellyn 7:32 AM  

Good question Anita!

I belong to a denomination that follows the historic church calendar and use the historic lectionary. I'm pretty that most American Evangelical churches, Pentecostal and those who claim they are non-denominational don't have use a lectionary. That means we have assigned readings for every Sunday from the Old Testament, the Epistles and the Gospel (Matt, Mark, Luke, John). Pastors don't pick what they want to do. This reading appears during Holy Week. If you google you will find Lutheran pastors who preach on this text.

I wonder if pastors are preaching what they think the people want to hear and it's got to relevant and exciting? Seems like there are plenty of series of messages that span weeks in a lot of churches. They could have field day with this one and do a Michael Jackson Thriller type thing. :(

Last Sunday was the end of the Church Year and this Sunday is the beginning of a new Church Year (Advent).

Are we zombie obsessed in this country and that is the only image that would come to mind?

If people are questioning if this happened, then that leaves me wondering what else are they questioning? Adam and Eve, creation as God tells it in Genesis, the flood, Jonah, Daniel in the fiery furnace, etc, etc, etc.

I think there is too much personal interpretation by people of what they think God says in Scripture. There is an advantage for a pastor who studied Biblical languages and can go back to the original languages as he prepares a sermon.

We think we have to understand everything and the supernatural is not allowed in certain situation -- a little cherry picking going on.

Mary Ellyn 8:02 AM  

I can't type accurately on Thanksgiving morning -- I was up at 5am to feed breakfast to my runners who are in downtown Detroit at the Turkey Trot 5K and I have a full turkey dinner underway.

So please excuse the sloppy typing in my previous post.

waitingarms 11:41 PM  

I think we put too much emphasis on topical preaching rather than expository (verse by verse) preaching. I guess church is getting too consumer driven - there are not too many expository preachers whose churches are mega churches. I guess most pastors end up preaching what "sells". That and the fact that most Christians don't read the bible on their own and leave all their bible reading to a five minute reading on Sunday during service! When I decided to read through the bible, I was amazed at all the details I had missed.

A. Gillispie 9:18 PM  

Thanks for all of your comments on this. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds this odd. It makes me sad that--for whatever reason--the evangelical church leaves out this part of the story in the "normal" retelling of the death and ressurection of Christ.

Mama D.'s Dozen 9:24 PM  

I'm going to have to look this up. But ... I was in a Bible study once where we discovered that some translations had actually left a few verses out of the gospels. Seriously. I am going to look these verses up in several translations to see what I find. You've got me curious.

I was a Preacher's Kid ... have gone to church my whole life ... which is a very long time. :) I do not believe I have EVER heard preaching on this.

I'll let you know what I find.