“Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”- Matthew 28:5-7.
Imagine what the disciples were thinking after the crucifixion. If you could put yourself in their shoes, you would probably be feeling a combination of disappointment and confusion. They had given up everything to follow Jesus. He said He was the Messiah. But He was crucified, died and was buried. What now?
As Mary Magdalene and the other women approached Jesus’ tomb on the third day they experienced the surprise of their lives: He was gone. Then two angels appeared and asked “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead” (Luke 24:5-6) Moments later Mary sees the proof. Jesus appears to her and Jesus tells her to go tell the disciples what she has seen.
Later that day as the disciples are huddled together with doors locked because of fear of the Jews, Jesus appeared to them and said “Peace be with you.” I wonder what the disciple’s initial thoughts were, maybe “Have I been in this house too long?” But then Jesus shows them His hands and His side. Can you imagine? Being there with Jesus and seeing the holes in His hands where they had been pierced with nails three days earlier and the wound in His side.
Thomas wasn’t there that day so it was hard for him to believe what the other disciples were telling him. Thomas said he wouldn’t believe until he touched Jesus’ wounds. A week later, Jesus asked Thomas to put his finger in his wounds to be reassured his Savior was the real deal.
Do we believe that Jesus is the real deal? That He was crucified, died, was buried and then was raised to life after three days? Anyone who can predict his death, die, and then come back to life three days later and appear to multiple people who have written multiple accounts of the experience which have survived thousands of years seems like someone I can fully trust.
We celebrate Easter once a year, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we truly remembered the meaning of Easter each day? Jesus came to this earth in the form of a man, died for us, and three days later, conquered death and rose again. He has given us the opportunity to be forgiven for our sins and given the gift of eternal life. This is a gift, not because it is a right of ours, but because His grace washed away all our unworthiness and shortcomings. It is a true gift from the very same Creator who made us, and such a gift has a divine purpose.
- What can we do to remember Easter every day rather than once a year?