Lukeby Mike Raiter
For 2,000 years, Christians have woken up on Easter morning joyful, exclaiming, “Christ is risen!” Yet, on that first Easter morning, the attitude of Jesus’ disciples could not have been more different. They woke up full of inconsolable sorrow (Luke 24:17; Mark 16:10).
Late on Friday, just before the Sabbath began, some of the women disciples prepare spices to anoint Jesus’ body (Luke 23:55–56). With Sabbath over, they can now make the journey, at dawn’s first light on Sunday morning, to pay their respects to Jesus’ dead body. The last thing on their mind is that the body would not be there.
From the moment they arrive, everything is confusing. The huge stone covering the grave has been moved. The body is gone. Angels appear. None of this is making any sense to them. Then God’s messengers speak: “Remember how he told you . . .” (v. 6). Seeing the empty tomb and hearing the word of God, they begin to understand.
The disciples are reluctant to believe the women’s testimony. In the first-century world, a woman’s testimony was given little credibility. The gospel writers would never have made up the fact that the first witnesses were women unless it was true, and they were utterly committed to faithfully recording the facts (see Luke 1:1–4).
Still, the heartbroken disciples dismiss the women’s testimony that Jesus has risen as nonsense. They know that there will be a general resurrection at the end of the age, but surely no one is going to rise before then. No one has ever heard of a Messiah who would be crucified and rise from the dead. Peter, though, demonstrates the first stirrings of faith in the risen Jesus (v. 12). He has begun his road to recovery and redemption.
The cross was the world answering “no” to Jesus’ claim to be the Saviour and Lord. The resurrection is God’s “yes” to this claim. The resurrection of Jesus is also our guarantee that like Him, we will rise from the dead and receive our immortal, imperishable bodies, and reign with Him forever (1 Corinthians 15:20, 42–44; 2 Timothy 2:12). God will bring us, His adopted children, to resurrection life just as surely as He did His Son, Jesus.
Jesus repeatedly told the disciples that He would die and rise again. Why, then, did they fail to understand and believe when these events occurred?
If someone were to ask you how you know that Jesus really rose from the dead, what would you say?