There’s a difference between knowing… and knowing. The disciples knew that Jesus was going to be raised up on the third day. He had told them so. He had explained it in so many words. But they just didn’t get it.
Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said. (Luke 18:31-34)
Don’t blame the disciples. You and I would probably have reacted the same way. Miracles are outside of our common experience and so they seem to always come as a surprise. Even for those disciples who had spent the last three years witnessing miracle after miracle – including seeing Jesus raise the dead (John 11, Mark 5:35-43) – His resurrection was unexpected.
So, the women went to the tomb early in the morning, fully expecting to find the body of Jesus. They brought spices to properly prepare the body for burial since it had been hurriedly laid in the tomb before the Sabbath. But He was not there!
Easter is about the victory. When Easter comes, we remember the suffering, we remember the crucifixion, but the story doesn’t end there. Without the resurrection, we would be left in despair. But Jesus lives! The resurrection is our hope and joy!
Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection. Not only to the twelve, but to hundreds of His followers, over a period of forty days. And those disciples went from knowing… to knowing. They saw Him. They touched Him. They experienced the miracle. And it changed their lives.
The resurrection of Jesus changed the world!
His resurrection was the confirmation of all that Jesus had taught. When the scribes and Pharisees had asked Jesus for a sign to confirm His teaching, He responded that the only sign He would give them was the sign of Jonah, referring to His death and resurrection.
But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matt. 12:39-40)
His resurrection made our salvation possible. In Christ, we are dead to our sins because of the cross, but we have new life in Him because of the resurrection. We believe not only that He died, but that He was raised to life and now sits at the right hand of the Heavenly Father. If Christ had not been raised, there would be no hope for us. But He was raised as the first fruits of the resurrection for all who believe in Him. The resurrection is our good news, the heart of our gospel. As Paul writes,
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. (1Cor. 15:3-8)
There has long been a tradition in the Church that Christians greet one another on Easter morning with the joyous greeting, “He is risen!” and are answered with, “He is risen indeed!”
He is risen!
From the Series: Easter