Jesus’ Resurrection — The empty tomb, appearing to Mary, & ascending to heaven.
Have you ever found you had completely missed the point? I recall several times in my life where, with a sudden rush of emotion, I realized that I now recognized something truly life-changing for the very first time.
Imagine how the women felt, after 36 hours of anguished grieving over the execution of their leader and Lord, they left as early as they could to go and give His body the necessary burial treatments as a final act of love and care. They were clearly in no mood to celebrate or rejoice. But within minutes they saw the empty tomb, spoke with two angels, and recognized the life-upending fact that Jesus was alive. They were the first to know, and to their credit believed right away, remembering that was what Jesus had promised. Mary Magdalene becomes the first apostle of the resurrection: sent to tell others what she has witnessed and experienced. To their discredit, the men were less adaptable – refusing to believe the women at first.
This authenticity of the accounts makes them much more believable. The honesty and self-incrimination of the record!
We also have the record of Peter and John’s first sight of the tomb (in John’s gospel). This gives us an interesting insight into the process of coming to faith: John “looked in” to the tomb (a Greek phrase meaning he took a quick glance). John was a good boy and he knew he was not allowed inside a tomb. Peter was a little older and much more headstrong – he went in anyway and “noticed” the linen grave clothes (a different Greek phrase meaning he looked more closely) but it was John who was first to believe – and the Greek phrase “he saw and believed” would best be translated “he focused on the details and considered their meaning.”
This process of examination and consideration is how many people come to faith in Jesus. If you genuinely examine the details of the resurrection accounts and seek to understand the significance of them, it is the most logical and rational conclusion that Jesus is who He said He was – the Christ, the Messiah, God’s chosen Savior for humanity.
This is the approach taken by the writer to the Hebrews, who explains the rationality of believing in the resurrection and all that it implies.
Who will you invite to consider these things today?
Have a great day!
PS: If you would like to see a chronology of the events around the resurrection, compiled from the four gospels and other New Testament accounts, you can check out this listing or this more extensive article.