He Is Risen! - The One Year Christian History

He Is Risen!

It’s the story of an empty tomb.

EARLY ON Sunday morning, April 5, A.D. 33, Mary Magdalene and several other women went to Jesus’ tomb. To their great surprise they found that the stone covering the entrance had been rolled aside. They entered the tomb, but there was no body, only the linen wrappings, with the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head folded up and lying to the side. They could not fathom what had happened to Jesus’ body.

Then suddenly two angels appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed down before them. The angels asked, “Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He has risen from the dead! Don’t you remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again the third day?”

Then they remembered that he had said this. So they rushed back to tell his disciples what had happened, but their story sounded so preposterous the disciples didn’t believe it. However, Peter and John ran to the tomb to see for themselves. They saw the empty linen graveclothes and went back, wondering what had happened (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18).

That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles out of Jerusalem. . . . Suddenly, Jesus himself came along and joined them. But they didn’t realize who he was because God kept them from recognizing him. [They told him how Jesus’ body was missing from his tomb.]

Then Jesus said to them, “You are such foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted by the prophets that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his time of glory?” Then Jesus quoted passages from Moses and all the prophets, explaining what all the Scriptures said about himself. Then suddenly . . . their eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus. And at that moment he disappeared! . . .

Within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem, where the eleven disciples and the other followers of Jesus were gathered.

When they arrived, they were greeted with the report, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter!” Then the two from Emmaus told their story. . . .

As they spoke, Jesus was suddenly standing there among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” But the whole group was terribly frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why do you doubt who I am? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do!” As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his feet. . . .

Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must all come true.” Then he opened their minds to understand these many Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.’ You are witnesses of all these things.” (Luke 24:13-48)

Reflection

Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead? If you don’t, how do you explain the growth of Christianity stemming from the disciples’ claim they had seen the risen Christ and their willingness to die for their convictions?

He was raised from the dead on the third day. . . . He was seen by Peter and then by the twelve apostles. After that, he was seen by more than five hundred of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive.

1 Corinthians 15:4-6

From the Book:

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The One Year Christian History
By E. Michael Rusten and Sharon O. Rusten
Tyndale
$7.99

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