Friday, April 22, 2011

Another Dimension to the Resurrection

By Stuart Scott

We are all familiar with the story of the resurrection… but there is a fascinating insight that is not widely spoken of, that will add a new dimension to your understanding.

The following verses describe the scene as Peter and John reached the sepulcher after being told a fantastic story by the returning women that the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead.

To Mary, the angel said:

"Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him" (Mark 16:6).

Speaking of Peter and John:

"So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher.
 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet he did not go in.
 Then came Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and saw the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed" (John 20:4-8).

I had always wondered a little about John's immediate belief that Jesus had risen from the dead upon simply seeing only a cloth and a folded napkin lying in the tomb where the body had lain. That is, until I heard Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith talk on the subject. (You can hear his teaching at the website dedicated to him and listen to the audio entitled Time and Creation)

Dr. Wilder-Smith brought up the point that the biblical account of the resurrection of Jesus exhibited an extra-dimensionality to His resurrected body in the following manner.

"And after this Joseph of Arimathaea… besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then they took the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury" (John 19:38-40).

1) Myrrh is a very fragrant gummy resin the Jews turned into a powder.
2) Aloes is a powder produced from the fragrant sandalwood tree.

The two-component compound when mixed would produce a very fragrant and sticky mixture that was used to counter the stench of a decaying body and in-case the body with wrappings, as was the manner of the Jews at the time. They would have washed the body of blood and dirt and packed this mixture around the body of Jesus. The sticky mixture would also act like a glue to coat the strips of linen they wrapped around the body and the cloth around his head. The myrrh and aloes mixture would then harden like concrete forming a shell or cocoon around the body and head of Jesus.

So when Jesus rose from the dead, His physical body not only came back to life; He was changed in a new way altogether. He not only moved and breathed as He had before; but He took on a whole new dimension as well; an eternal dimension that was not restricted by the restraints of mortal men. We don’t know all the particulars of that eternal dimension; but whatever it is, it transcends the boundaries of our physical existence and He just simply came right through the cloths without disturbing them, leaving an empty cocoon behind.

When Peter and John saw the empty shell of the body and head, yet intact and unbroken; they knew that something remarkable had happened; and went home wondering and amazed at the things that had been reported to them. Had Jesus indeed risen from the dead? It seemed the only possible explanation. In just a short while though, Jesus would confirm their wonder and amazement Himself.

Some Points To Ponder:

The Scriptures confirm that the extra-dimensionality of Jesus’ resurrected body was able to transcend the physical dimensions of space.

For instance the account of the two on the road to Emmaus; Jesus apparently disappeared right before their eyes (Luke 24:31). Jesus also appeared to the disciples in the upper room when the doors were closed. And it so startled them that they thought he was a ghost. Again, eight days latter, He appeared in the room where the disciples were, Thomas present, behind closed doors. He simply appeared in the room, and the walls or closed door did not prevent Him (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36; John 20:19; John 20:26).

Jesus simply passed through or over the walls and door like you would step over a two dimensional line on the ground. Because we live in three dimensions, a two-dimensional line cannot hold us; you just step over the line.

In the same way, though it appeared to the disciples that Jesus vanished in one place and appeared in another, in reality, He simply had the capabilities of a new dimension, one which not only included our three dimensions of space, but also transcended them.

Jesus, though He did not appear to be in the room when Thomas said that he would not believe unless he put his finger in the Lord's nail prints and his hand in his side, had in fact been there and observed every word he said. Afterward, when the Lord appeared again to Thomas as well, the Lord repeated his words and Thomas believed.

Now think of what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20. He said where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Jesus said that He was preparing a place for us (John 14:1-3); a body, if you will, like His.

Think of what Jesus said to Thomas when He appeared the second time.

"And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, 'Peace be unto you.' Then said he to Thomas, 'Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.' And Thomas answered and said unto him, 'My Lord and my God.'

"Jesus said to him, 'Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.'

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 
But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name" (John 20:26-31).

It wasn't just the physical dimensions of space and time that Jesus transcended; it was the boundaries of life and death as well. Jesus rose from the dead, and because He lives, we can have life for evermore.

"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Psalm 16:11).

"Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we know not where you are going; and how can we know the way?'
 Then Jesus said to him; 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:5-6).