Has Been Raised
St. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians in AD 53-54.
George Montague SM, in his superb commentary (First Corinthians, 2011), says Paul was motivated by developing factions in the Corinthian community and their falling back into pagan sexual practices (p.19-20).
It is helpful to know that at the beginning of the letter we have a preaching on the Cross, at the end of the letter we have a preaching on the Resurrection.
Yes, for ‘it is unlikely that Paul wrote any of his letters – they were oral both at their origin in dictation and at the point of delivery by a public reading’ (p.21).
Paul tells us two important truths about the resurrection of Jesus.
First, he says that Jesus ‘has been raised’ from the dead. Second, that Jesus ‘let himself be seen’ (1 Corinthians 15).
‘Has Been Raised’
Unlike the simple past tenses used for Jesus’ death and burial, ‘was raised’ is actually in the perfect tense, thus meaning ‘has been raised,’ indicating his permanent and ongoing presence with the Church (p.264).
In the Greek language, the perfect tense is used to speak about a past event exerting its influence now.
This is most important for our spiritual lives. The humiliation of Jesus and the death of Jesus is followed by his resurrection. This took place in time, but it is continuing to take place now.
We can and should expect that our humiliations and our deaths will be followed always by resurrection. All that is required is faith.
‘Let Himself Be Seen’
The resurrection appearances of Jesus are expressed in the passive tense.
We are used to hearing, ‘that Jesus appeared to Peter, to the Twelve, to the five hundred, to James and to Paul.’
But it is more correct to say, ‘that he let himself be seen by Peter, the Twelve…’
Most of the time, Jesus is invisible in his resurrected body. But if and when he so desires, he ‘let’s himself be seen.’ He becomes visible.
That might add a certain depth of meaning to our proclamation of the Nicene Creed.
It will certainly deepen our faith, for Jesus is with us always in his resurrected body – mostly invisible.
But if he so desires, he will ‘let himself be seen.’
He will indeed become visible – and to us!