Matthew 27:52-53 did they look disfigured?


#1

27:52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

This was brought up to me by an Atheist, he couldn't possibly believe because of Matthew 27:52-53 as the event would have been noted by many people. I said the bodies were probably not disfigured with flesh hanging off, and bones but then he said "well Jesus's wounds remained, why didn't they?"

Even Lazarus would have had a "bad smell" when he was resurrected. So how could a bunch of zombies with bones and falling flesh be walking around without people taking some notice? Were they healed completely before leaving the tombs to go visit the holy city? This passage confuses me.


#2

I think you're over-analyzing the passage based on the Atheist's comments. Lazarus probably did have a bad smell when he resurrected - he had been dead for several days. However, when Jesus raised him to life again, he was just that - alive. Well. Breathing. Alive. The same applies to those who came from the tombs - I doubt God would have allowed zombies to go around because zombies imply that the creature is not living. These "holy people" - take note that it says "holy" - were resurrected and lived just like Lazarus would have. Alive and well. I don't think God would have let these holy people resurrect in such a horrid manner. Jesus, on the other hand, had his Precious Wounds remain as a testament to all humanity of what He did for us. He kept them because it was all part of the story of Salvation and if it werent for that ultimate sacrifice He did for us which gave Him those wounds, we would not be saved. Plus, comparing these people to the King of Kings is kind of drastic, wouldn't you think? Just my two cents, Im only 18 anyways :)


#3

My 2 cents,

They weren't disfigured so as that people would recognize them and not be afraid of them. But the reason Jesus' wounds remained is because they were needed for a purpose, part of which is to identify that it was indeed him and that he did actually die and come back to life, whereas the others had probably been dead for a number of years, so people knew they were dead. Jesus' wounds were also used for the purpose of removing Thomas' doubts. Jesus' wounds are still used today to indicate a holy person (though rare), by way of the stigmata.


#4

We should note that Christ could have healed the wounds of Crucifixion from His Body at will and thus it is not a waterproof argument to say that they remained. Rather there probably is a good reason He chose to keep them. St. Augustine says in the Catena Aurea that the wounds stay in order to serve as proofs against the enemies of Christ at Judgement. Naturally they can also be seen as marks of glory as by "his bruises we are healed." (Is. 53:5)

St. Augustine (Catena Aurea John 20:26-31):

He might, had He pleased, have wiped all spot and trace of wound from His glorified body; but He had reasons for retaining them. He showed them to Thomas, who would not believe except he saw and touched, and He will show them to His enemies, not to say, as He did to Thomas, Because you have seen, you have believed, but to convict them: Behold the Man whom you crucified, see the wounds which you inflicted, recognize the side which you pierced, that it was by you, and for you, that it was opened, and yet you cannot enter there.


#5

[quote="Glacies, post:4, topic:334093"]
We should note that Christ could have healed the wounds of Crucifixion from His Body at will and thus it is not a waterproof argument to say that they remained. Rather there probably is a good reason He chose to keep them. St. Augustine says in the Catena Aurea that the wounds stay in order to serve as proofs against the enemies of Christ at Judgement. Naturally they can also be seen as marks of glory as by "his bruises we are healed." (Is. 53:5)

St. Augustine (Catena Aurea John 20:26-31):

[/quote]

I do like your answer, that perhaps Jesus healed them and they entered "the holy city." Now, would people have known who these people were? What did they do after they entered Jerusalem?


#6

[quote="dronald, post:5, topic:334093"]
I do like your answer, that perhaps Jesus healed them and they entered "the holy city." Now, would people have known who these people were? What did they do after they entered Jerusalem?

[/quote]

As to literal interpretations, St. Jerome says "the holy city" could be either the heavenly or earthly Jerusalem, while the "appearing to many" emphasizes that now happened only a particular resurrection instead of the general one. According to St. Remigius their mission was to bear witness to the Resurrection of Christ and probably ascended to Heaven with Him. Spiritually, Origen makes many relevant points here as he teaches the events after the death of Christ resemble how God works His graces in us during our daily lives. We could also consider these to be effects of the Holy Mass, as especially through it the merits of the Cross are applied to people. For example he takes the graves to symbolize sinful souls who convert, become Saintly and start to testify for God, and the rocks renting being able to realize hidden meanings in the Old Testament Prophets. One may see alternative symbolisms as well, like the rocks meaning conversion as in Ezekiel 36:26, *"I will give you a new heart, and breathe a new spirit into you; I will take away from your breasts those hearts that are hard as stone, and give you human hearts instead." *

Catena Aurea St. Matthew 27:51-56
:

Jerome: As Lazarus rose from the dead, so also did many bodies of the Saints rise again to shew forth the Lord’s resurrection; yet notwithstanding that the graves were opened, they did not rise again before the Lord rose, that He might be the first-born of the resurrection from the dead.
“The holy city” in which they were seen after they had risen may be understood to mean either the heavenly Jerusalem, or this earthly, which once had been holy. For the city of Jerusalem was called Holy on account of the Temple and the Holy of Holies, and to distinguish it from other cities in which idols were worshipped.
When it is said, “And appeared unto many,” it is signified that this was not a general resurrection which all should see, but special, seen only by such as were worthy to see it.

Remig.: But some one will ask, what became of those who rose again when the Lord rose. We must believe that they rose again to be witnesses of the Lord’s resurrection. Some have said that they died again, and were turned to dust, as Lazarus and the rest whom the Lord raised. But we must by no means give credit to these men’s sayings, since if they were to die again, it would be greater torment to them, than if they had not risen again. We ought therefore to believe without hesitation that they who rose from the dead at the Lord’s resurrection, ascended also into heaven together with Him.

Origen: These same mighty works are still done every day; the veil of the temple is rent for the Saints, in order to reveal the things that are contained within. The earthquakes, that is, all flesh because of the new word and new things of the New Testament. The rocks are rent, i.e. the mystery of the Prophets, that we may see the spiritual mysteries bid in their depths. The graves are the bodies of sinful souls, that is, souls dead to God; but when by God’s grace these souls have been raised, their bodies which before were graves, become [p. 965] bodies of Saints, and appear to go out of themselves, and follow Him who rose again, and walk with Him in newness of life; and such as are worthy to have their conversation in heaven enter into the Holy City at divers times, and appear unto many who see their good works.


#7

[quote="dronald, post:1, topic:334093"]
27:52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
...
This was brought up to me by an Atheist, he couldn't possibly believe because of Matthew 27:52-53 as the event would have been noted by many people. I said the bodies were probably not disfigured with flesh hanging off, and bones but then he said "well Jesus's wounds remained, why didn't they?"

[/quote]

These people were resurrected with a glorified immortal body - a body that will never physically die again. Resurrected bodies do not rot or smell.

Even Lazarus would have had a "bad smell" when he was resurrected. So how could a bunch of zombies with bones and falling flesh be walking around without people taking some notice? Were they healed completely before leaving the tombs to go visit the holy city? This passage confuses me.

Lazarus was not raised with a glorified immortal body; he was raised with his mortal body and later had to undergo physical death again.


#8

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