As I write this it is Resurrection Eve, the day before Easter. It’s been a busy week and an even busier day. We’ve dyed and hunted eggs, baked Resurrection Rolls, shared time with family–all the usual activities Easter brings. But amidst the busyness and hurry-hurry of the day, my heart has been heavy and full.
I wonder what the disciples and followers of Jesus felt like on the very first Resurrection Eve?
Confused? Fearful? Doubtful ? Angry? Depressed? Foolish?
They had believed Jesus was who He said He was. They had left everything behind and followed Him when He called. They had trusted Him, given up their lives for Him. They watched as He healed blind men right before their eyes, as the lame stood and walked, the dead rose to life.
How could it be that He was dead?
How could Jesus have healed lepers, cast out demons, saved tax collectors and robbers but then couldn’t save Himself? Did they feel duped? Had it all been a dream? Did they wonder what they were thinking to have ever believed Jesus was really the Son of God?
How could Jesus give eternal life if He was dead?
I can’t help but think the disciples and family and followers of Jesus questioned Him on this day so long ago. Sometimes I think of people in Jesus’ day as being somehow super-human, not toying with the emotions and feelings that weigh me down today. But surely they had to! Jesus was gone, as far as they were concerned, and though He tried to prepare them, scripture gives no implication that they awaited Jesus’ resurrection. This is what they did instead…
- “[The women] went home and prepared spices and ointments to embalm Him…but by the time they finished it was the Sabbath, so they rested all that day as required by the Jewish law.” (Luke 23:56)
- Peter denied ever even knowing Jesus. (Luke 22:56-62)
- Judas hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3-5)
- They were sad and doubtful, even on the third day. (Luke 24:17-24)
What those Believers felt that day is what a lot of us still feel today.
Anger when God doesn’t come through for us when we think He should.
Disappointment when it seems Jesus isn’t living up to our expectations.
Foolishness for believing the Son of God could ever really love us.
Doubtful of His plan for our lives and His authority in the world.
Friend, if you’ve felt these things toward Jesus, you’re not alone.
Even John the Baptist doubted.
“He sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask him, ‘Are you really the Messiah? Or shall we keep on looking for him?'” ~Luke 7:19
Jesus said, “Blessed is the one who does not lose his faith in me.” ~Luke 7:23
The men and women who traveled with Jesus and saw with their own eyes the things He did, found it hard to believe at times.
“And [the disciples] were filled with awe and fear of Him and said to one another, ‘Who is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him?'” ~Luke 8:25
“Then, turning to the twelve disciples, He said quietly, ‘How privileged you are to see what you have seen. Many a prophet and king of old has longed for these days, to see and hear what you have seen and heard!‘” ~Luke 10:23-24
“We had thought He was the glorious Messiah and that He had come to rescue Israel.” ~Luke 24:21
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘You are such foolish, foolish people!‘” ~Luke 24:25
Vulnerable, desperate souls reached for Jesus, though it felt He was miles away.
“…A woman who wanted to be healed came up behind and touched Him…” ~Luke 8:43
“‘Daughter,” He said, ‘your faith has healed you. Go in peace.‘” ~Luke 8:48
“But the corrupt tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed…” ~Luke 18:13
“I tell you, this sinner…returned home forgiven!” ~Luke 18:14
Regardless of what you’ve experienced up to this point, Jesus is who He says He is. He is who God says He is (Luke 3:22). His deity and authority are not affected by our unbelief. He Is Life for He is the only One who can resurrect the dead, not just by raising others but by raising Himself. In all of history there is no religion that can boast such a claim. All the founders or prophets of the other world religions are dead men; Jesus is the only Living King.
Recently, I’ve run across a few intellectual disbelievers who simply cannot fathom what I believe. Here are common arguments proposed against Jesus’ resurrection and a bit of factual evidence against each.
- Jesus was unconscious and later revived.– Nope. A Roman soldier told Pilate Jesus was dead (Mark 15:44-45); the Roman soldiers didn’t break Jesus’ legs because He was dead and one even pierced his side with a spear (John 19:32-34); Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus wrapped Jesus’ body and placed it in the tomb (John 19:38-40).
- The women made a mistake and went to the wrong tomb.– Not hardly. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus saw Jesus placed in the tomb (Matt. 27:59-61, Mark 15:47, Luke 23:55); on Sunday morning, Peter and John also went to the same tomb (John 20:3-9).
- Unknown thieves stole Jesus’ body.– No way. The tomb was sealed and guarded by the Temple police and probably Roman soldiers, too (Matt. 27:65-66).
- The disciples stole Jesus’ body.– Not likely. The disciples were ready to die for their faith. Stealing Jesus’ body would have been admitting their faith was meaningless (Acts 12:2).
- The religious leaders stole Jesus’ body to secure it.– Seriously?! If the religious leaders had taken Jesus’ body, they would have produced it to stop the rumor of his resurrection (Matt. 27:62-64).
This evidence proves Jesus’ uniqueness in history and that He is God’s Son. No one else was able to predict his own resurrection and then accomplish it!
Jesus can not only resurrect Himself, He can also resurrect you. Your life. Your marriage. Your family. Your hopes. Your soul. He’s proven Himself faithful, even though there was a day when it all seemed a sham.
Oh friend, turn to Jesus.
Even if it seems foolish.
Even if your family or friends tell you it’s not real.
Even if your hope of True Love has been shattered.
Even if doubt seems to outweigh faith.
You Are Loved By God. You Are Worth Saving, Jesus Loves You That Much. The Father Has Promised To Accept Jesus’ Death On Your Behalf And Give You Life.
“Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:13
Believer, THIS is the HOPE we have in JESUS! THIS is THE GOOD NEWS WE GET TO SHARE!
“He has come back to life again!” ~Luke 24:6
No more sulking. No more disappointment. Jesus is ALIVE and there is JOY in that!
“Don’t be afraid! Though I am the First and Last, the Living One who died, who is now alive forevermore, who has the keys of hell and death–don’t be afraid!”
Share this hope with those around you and you, too, will witness the dead resurrected.
Happy Resurrection Day, Friends!