Jesus was crucified. The disciples were devastated. It looked like all hope was lost. Literally.
But then Jesus began to appear to his followers. Yesterday, we discussed Jesus’ first appearance after his resurrection — to Mary Magdalene, out of whom “he had cast seven demons.”
Next he appeared to other women, including Salome and Mary, the mother of James. Like the other Mary, they had gone to visit the tomb. But when they got there, they discovered it empty and had this rather shocking conversation with an angel:
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. Just as he said, he is not here — he has risen! Remember what he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.
The angel continued: “Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples and Peter: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly 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.”
(Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8)
At first, the women were too afraid to tell anyone what happened. When they eventually went to the disciples and delivered the news, “they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” (Luke 24:11) But it set off a foot race to the tomb between Peter and the “disciple Jesus loved”:
Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. But Peter went away wondering to himself what had happened. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
(Luke 24:9-12; John 20:3-10)
Let’s look at our 2 BIG Questions:
1. Who exactly is Jesus?
He is who he said he was all along: the long-awaited Son of Man prophesied by Daniel hundreds of years earlier:
I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal — it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.
(Daniel 7:13-14 NLT)
Just as he predicted, he was handed over to sinners and crucified but HE HAS RISEN!
2. What exactly does he want us to do?
Come running to him and BELIEVE. And then go running to others and tell ’em the good news!
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / Kubko)