Luke 24:1–12 (NLT) But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 3 So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. 5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” 8 Then they remembered that he had said this. 9 So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. 11 But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. 12 However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.
The greatest words that have ever been uttered for the benefit of humankind, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” Can you imagine the joy…no, the awe of those women who came to the tomb on that first Resurrection morning? Fear, dread, reverence, and wonder all mingled with irrepressible joy!
When they told the disciples, Peter ran to the grave. He was the first to actually enter the tomb, and looking in, he saw that Jesus was not there. He headed home “wondering what had happened.” He was hoping against hope. Jesus had said on numerous occasions that He would die and raise on the third day. Sunday was the third day, and His grave was empty. Could it be? Would they dare to believe? How could they get their head around a literal resurrection?
In one of my favorite movies, Risen, the Roman Tribune Clavius says,
“I have seen two things which cannot reconcile:
A man dead without question, and that same man alive again.”
Long ago I stopped feeling the need to provide proof for the resurrection of Jesus when it is the single greatest FACT of the ancient world. That He rose from the dead on the third day is historical truth. How you apply its meaning to your life is a whole different matter.
On Christmas Day 1863 in the middle of the great Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was in despair because of the darkness of evil in the world. It was like the continent was being ripped in two so that there was no longer any “peace on earth, goodwill to men.” Then he writes these incredible words,
And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Did you catch that? God is not dead, nor does He sleep! Because He lives, I know my Redeemer has crushed the power of sin and death under His heel! Because He lives, I can trust that my hope is secure. Because He lives, He is able once and forever to save those who come to God through Him. Because He lives, I know I will live even after my body dies. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow (as the hymn says). Because He lives, I can trust Him with my life, my family, and all that I have.
So What? Write a prayer thanking and praising the Lord because Jesus is alive!
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