It’s Resurrection Sunday and people all over the Earth are thinking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Even those who claim disbelief see that message everywhere. The Jesus haters, Jesus rejectors and Jesus lovers alike contemplate, even if only momentarily, the great question: What if it’s true?
I don’t really know how people face each day without the hope of resurrection, hope that is found by faith in Jesus Christ. But I do know that the early disciples spent a few days without Jesus.
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. ~ Luke 24:1-2
Have you ever contemplated what that must have been like? As far as the Scripture reveals there isn’t even one person who expected the tomb to be empty. They all thought that Jesus was dead. Wouldn’t you have liked to be the person who believed so you could say “I told you so!” Other than that, all that’s left to do is bring spices to place on the dead body of the one you thought was the Messiah.
For a few days it was a world without Jesus. Can we really imagine? I expect for us brought-up-in-church folk it’s hard. But there are a lot of people today living in a world without Jesus. Some of them look like they’re having an awful lot of fun … living without moral restraint or pangs of conscience. Free from the disciplines of Christianity they appear to live the high life … the higher the better. But is life really better without Jesus? When we open up the newspaper or catch a glimpse of ‘reality TV’ I think we have the answer.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. ~Luke 24:3
It was then that angelic messengers reminded them of what they already knew, but seem to have forgotten.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. ~Luke 24:5b-8
Yes, Jesus had prepared them for the resurrection but it didn’t sink in….until later. The first messengers of the gospel ran back to the other disciples to report that the dead and buried Jesus has now risen!
Ultimately most of these disciples who spent a few days without Jesus were the first Christian martyrs. Hated for their message and their Messiah, many were killed. But the flame had been lit 50 days later at Pentecost when Jews from around the world heard the gospel message about Jesus and 3,000 were baptized in to Christ. The spreading flame, documented in the book of Acts, is the testimony that men and women believed this message so strongly that they were willing to be persecuted and killed without recanting their faith.
So Christians rejoice in the powerful hope represented in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The knowledge of life after death is empowering for our time here on earth which is sometimes flooded with pain, sorrow and struggle. Even more, it is the reality that we’re not just waiting to see Jesus someday, but He is alive and with us today. He is a God who is both transcendent (beyond us) and immanent (near us).
“Never forget that there are only two philosophies to rule your life: the one of the cross, which starts with the fast and ends with the feast. The other of Satan, which starts with the feast and ends with the headache.” ― Fulton J. Sheen
For those who are still spending your days without Jesus, I encourage you to spend some time with Him in the Gospels. As you see Him loving others, even to giving the ultimate sacrifice, I pray you will love Him.
Because He lives, there is hope. And we all need hope. Thanks for reading. JD