On the first day of the week after the Sabbath, at dawn, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, Joanna, Salome and others went to the tomb. They had prepared spices on Friday, preparation day, to anoint the body of Jesus for his burial.
On the way to the tomb they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
Suddenly, there was a violent earthquake. The rushed to the tomb just in time to see an angel of the Lord appear from heaven. The angel rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards posted to make sure no one stole Jesus’ body were so afraid that they shook and became like dead men.
Mary Magdalene left from there, running back to Peter and the other disciples. The other women approached the tomb and the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
The women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell the disciples. But before they got to them Jesus met them, “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
While all this was going on the guards went back into Jerusalem to report what had happened to the chief priests. The chief priests then met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole hi away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were told. This story circulated among the Jews for decades after it all happened.
Mary Magdalene, who had left before seeing the empty tomb and hearing the message of the angel, reached Peter and John and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
The other women arrived shortly after Mary Magdalene and told the disciples what they had seen and gave them the message from the angel and Jesus. The disciples did not believe them because their words seemed like nonsense to them. Peter then got up and ran to the tomb; John followed him but out ran Peter and reached the tomb first. John did not go in the tomb but saw the strips of linen lying there where Jesus’ body had been laid.
Peter went into the tomb and saw the strips of linen as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. It was folded up by itself and separate from the linen. John then followed Peter in and saw everything and they believed, but they still did not completely understand.
They came out of the tomb and went back to their homes. Mary Magdalene had followed them back to the tomb. As Peter and John left she stayed, mourning the death and now disappearance of Jesus, she looked into the tomb and saw two angels where Jesus’ body had been.
“Woman, why are you crying?” they asked her.
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” She then turned to leave and saw a man standing near her.
“Woman,” the man said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and will get him.”
“Mary,” he said to her. With this she recognized the man standing there was Jesus.
“Rabboni! Teacher!” she cried out and clung to him.
Jesus said, “Do not hold onto me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brother and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Mary ran back to the disciples with the news, “I have seen the Lord!” and told them what he said to her.
Jesus appears to the Disciples
That same day Jesus also appeared to two of the disciples while they were walking on the road to Emmaus, but they did not recognize him until he had disappeared from them.
That evening, some of the disciples were together. They were gathered together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Suddenly Jesus was among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
They were startled and frightened, the thought they were seeing a ghost. “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Jesus showed the disciples his hands and side and they were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Even though Jesus told them that and they felt him with their own hands they still did not believe it. It was surreal to them because of joy and amazement. Jesus then asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence proving that he was not a ghost, but there in the flesh. “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures because up until now they were not given full understanding. This is why they did not believe and understand when Jesus told them what would happen to him, that he would be handed over to be killed, but then he would rise again on the third day.
“Peace be with you!” Jesus said to them again, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” He then breathed on them, much the same way he breathed life into Adam, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. IF you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven’ if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Thomas, one of the twelve was not among them at that time and the disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it,” Thomas said in unbelief.
A week later the disciples were gather in the same place again, with the doors still locked. “Peace be with you!” Jesus said as he appeared among them once again.
Jesus then turned to Thomas and said, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe!”
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas said.
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” Jesus said.
Do you believe?
How many of us are like Thomas, that because we do not witness the events for ourselves we refuse to believe that they happened? Charles Colson said it best:
“I know that the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Everyone was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world – and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”
Look at the evidence given to us in the scriptures in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and also look at the accounts of those in the first few chapters of the book of Acts and how that drove them to continue on proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is so much more evidence of the hand of God working as he has promised and supporting all the Scriptures. Look into Creation Truth Foundation, Answers in Genesis and Is Genesis History. The evidence is out there, we just need to be looking for it and interpret it according to the scriptures.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1
The same God who created us, the universe and everything in it, humbled himself to live as we live. He is a God of understanding, mercy and grace. Let him be Lord of your life.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
And because of this “we are his house. Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus is the chief Cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20