The resurrection of the Lord

They did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. (John 20:9)

What a humble statement! Here is John, the beloved apostle, admit­ting that he hadn’t yet grasped the truth that Jesus would rise from the dead. And not only John but Peter and the other apostles doubted that possibility. Even Mary Magdalene, who saw the empty tomb, supposed that someone had stolen Jesus’ body (John 20:2).

Now, Jesus had told his apostles that this would happen (Matthew 16:21). They saw him raise other people from death (Luke 7:11-17; John 11:38-44). They believed in Jesus. They trusted him. They even confessed him as the Son of God. But as you might imagine, the idea of a resurrection is not the easiest thing to believe!

All that changed, however, when they found themselves face-to-face with the risen Lord. Actually seeing Jesus alive convinced them. It filled them with faith and gave them the boldness they needed to build the church.

So here we are celebrating Easter two thousand years later. Unlike the apostles, most of us have not seen Jesus. We have to trust in him based on the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, the proclamation of the church, and the teachings that we find in Scripture. But we do have one thing that the apostles didn’t have: the witness of their lives! We have the stories of how fully they devoted themselves to Jesus. We have the accounts of their sacrifices for the church, the persecutions they endured, and even the martyrdom that many of them suffered. Would they really go through all of this just to keep a “myth” alive? Not likely!

Today, as we celebrate Easter, let’s listen to the witness of the apostles. They met Jesus, and they found new boldness and courage to believe. Surely, if it happened for them, it can happen for us!

“All praise to you, Lord Jesus, for your resurrection! Help me to believe in you more each day.”

Acts 10:34,37-43; Psalm 118:1-2,16-17,22-23; Colossians 3:1-4