It was Sunday morning, and the sun was just about to rise. The days before were brutal. You can imagine the disciples wanted to roll back under the covers and say, "Can't deal with today…go away," when they heard a knock on the door.
Who could it be? Didn't everyone know what they'd gone through this weekend? For a moment, fear may have gripped them as they wondered if it was Roman soldiers come to take them away for being with Jesus.
As they remembered Jesus' death, that overwhelming feeling of grief, sadness, agony, and horror swept over them again.
Once again, their thoughts were interrupted by someone knocking at the door. Frustrated, they went to open it and were relieved to see that it was just Mary. The story she told seemed unbelievable.
She'd been to the tomb, and angels told her that Jesus was alive?!?! How could this be?
Of course, Peter and John had to see for themselves. John took off racing like a madman and outran Peter. He arrived at the tomb first but wasn't sure he wanted to go inside. Peter had no doubts and went right in where they saw the linen cloths and the face cloth used to cover His head neatly folded just sitting there. (John 20:1-10)
After the disciples left, Mary continued to linger by the tomb. That's where the literal resurrected Jesus appeared to her. She actually saw Him, spoke to Him, and knew for sure that Jesus rose from the dead. He was alive!
Mary was the first of many to see Jesus in His resurrected body.
Later that day, Jesus appeared to the disciples. Because Thomas wasn't there with the disciples, Jesus can back later, especially for him. (John 20:19-31)
Luke 24:13-32 tells of Jesus meeting two men on the road to Emmaus while discussing His trial and crucifixion. He walked with them into town and revealed that He was Jesus resurrected.
Before He ascended into Heaven, more than 500 people saw Jesus in His resurrected form. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 says, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me." (ESV)
All of these men and women were eyewitnesses. They'd all seen Jesus crucified. They all watched Him die. More importantly, they all saw with their own eyes that death could not hold Him. They all gave first-hand accounts that "Jesus rose from the dead."
While the Roman government tried to make up stories saying, "His body was stolen," and the Jewish leaders spread lies saying it couldn't possibly be true, the founders of the early church couldn't stop spreading the good news: Jesus rose from the dead. He is alive! He was crucified, but He has risen!
They had seen Him with their own eyes and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt—Jesus conquered sin, death, and the grave.
He has risen!
Memory Verse: But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay”. (Matthew 28:5-6, ESV)
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