“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith... But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” – 1 Corinthians 15:14, 20
Today’s Scripture Reading: John 20
Three days have passed since Jesus was placed in the grave. It’s Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene and some other women converge on the tomb. As they approach, they discover the giant stone that blocked the entrance, has been dislodged and set aside. Mary, in panic, runs to tell Peter and John: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 
Peter and John come running towards the tomb, along with Mary. When they arrive, they are in awe. The grave is wide open. The grave clothes are still there, together and intact. But the body is gone! They are dumbstruck for a bit. But they soon rouse out of their stupor and return to tell the others.
Mary remains, standing outside the tomb. As she stands there, sobbing, she notices two angels sitting inside the tomb, right where Jesus’ body had been. One asks her why she is crying. She explains; her Lord has been taken. Then Jesus appears behind her. He also asks why she is crying. He wonders who she is seeking. She thinks Jesus is the gardener. She asks if he’s the one who removed the body. At this, Jesus makes himself known to her. After a warm exchange, she excitedly rushes to tell the disciples.
That evening, the disciples are all gathered in one place, all but Thomas. They had the doors locked tight, because they feared the Jewish leaders might come after them. Soon, a familiar voice speaks right in their midst. “Peace be with you.” Jesus had appeared out of nowhere right in the middle of the room! Later in the week, he appears to Thomas. Throughout the week, other scripture tells us Jesus appears to many others, before ascending back to the Father.
The Apostle Paul tell us that among the “many others” that Jesus reveals himself to, following his resurrection, are five hundred people he appears to all at once ! Maybe one person was hallucinating. Possibly two. But five hundred people, all hallucinating at once, seeing the same thing at the same time? Paul, writing this many years after the death of Jesus, says most of the witnesses are still alive. In other words, if you don’t believe me, ask them!
The dead body of Jesus was never produced. He appears alive before hundreds of witnesses. He foretold that he would do this. His enemies try to prevent the resurrection from taking place. They try to avert even rumors of a resurrection. But his resurrection happens anyway. Jesus does rise from the dead and the news of it spreads everywhere. And the news still spreads to this day! And we respond in the only way that makes any sense. We believe him. We follow him. We give our best for him. We worship him.
- What does Jesus’ resurrection mean to you personally?
- How could your life really come to life, because Jesus really came to life?