Easter and the Not So Unusual Resurrection Story

Much is made of the resurrection of Jesus, including the claim that it proves he is the son of god, and his return from the dead fulfills the messianic prophecy. It is, in fact, the sole purpose of the Easter season. But what is never discussed in relation to this resurrection is the total lack of uniqueness that it really exemplifies. Here are just a few other examples of resurrections that can be found in the old and new testaments.

Elijah resurrected the son of Zarephath’s widow
1 Kings 17:17-24 (KJV)
17 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.
18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.
20 And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?
21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.
22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.
24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.

Elisha resurrected the son of the great Shunammite woman
This interesting account is recorded in 2 Kings 4. The Shunammite woman had no children. For a woman to be barren in those days was a great source of shame. The word says that her husband was old, which would imply he was unable to produce seed. However, because the Shunammite woman was genuinely kind and generous to the prophet Elisha, he told her she would have a child in one year’s time. God healed her and her husband and she conceived and gave birth to a son.
Later on while working out in the fields something disastrous happens to her son (a head injury or possibly heat stroke) and he dies.  The Shunammite woman hastily went to the prophet Elisha, and she insisted he go to her son and raise him from the dead.
2 Kings 4:35 (KJV)
35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

A dead man comes back to life when he touches Elisha’s bones
Kings 13:21 (KJV)
21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
Even after he was dead, the anointing still remaining in Elisha’s bones raised someone from the dead. Earlier in 2 Kings 2:9, Elisha had boldly requested that he receive a double portion of Elijah’s anointing. However, after Elisha died it looked like it was too late for him to raise twice as many people from the dead as Elijah.
Who would have ever thought that touching Elisha’s bones could raise someone from the dead; certainly not the men that were burying him. Clearly the seeds of faith we sow in the brief time we are in this world continue to grow and accomplish things even after we are long gone.

Jesus resurrects the widow’s son at Nain
Luke 7:13-15 (KJV)
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.

Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead
Matthew 9:25 (KJV)
25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

See also Mark 5:42, and Luke 8:55

Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead
John 11:43-44 (KJV)
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Many saints resurrected at Jesus’ crucifixion
Matthew 27:52-53 (KJV)
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

If the resurrection of Jesus is such a unique situation that it proves he is the messiah, then why are other resurrections not so unique? In addition to these examples found in the bible, there are thousands of other stories down through the ages, including modern times, when someone assumed to be dead, arose and lived on afterwards. Resurrection stories need to be seen as what they are, stories and examples of folklore, or misidentified signs of death that never actually happened. And this all makes Easter merely a celebration of colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, and marshmallow Peeps, but not a celebration of a unique sign of god come to earth and resurrected for any discernible purpose.

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