Imagine how miserable those first disciples of Jesus must have felt after the terrible events of Good Friday. The words of those two on the road to Emmaus say what they all must have thought ‘we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to redeem Israel……..’ (Luke’s Gospel chapter 24 verse 21) But then, on the third day, the most wonderful thing happened and all was changed.
Something must have happened, to change these people
Peter had denied his Lord with a lie and was now a brokenhearted man. All the other disciples had run away and were now hiding together behind closed doors fearful of the worst. Yet within a few weeks they were out in the streets where Peter was boldly telling people about Jesus’s death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.
Thomas who said ‘unless I see the nail marks in his hands I will not believe it‘ (John 20 verse 25) eventually became a missionary in India where, tradition says, he became a martyr.
Saul of Tarsus who was seeking to destroy the Christians, had been re-named Paul the Apostle after his dramatic meeting with the Risen Jesus on the Damascus road.
In 300 years this message had spread everywhere and the Roman Empire, under Constantine, was converted to the Christian Faith.
Today churches throughout the world will be filled with millions of rejoicing Christians celebrating the events of Good Friday and Easter Day.
Something must have happened, and it had – Christ is Risen!
Churches will be filled this Easter, but it can also be a very private and personal occasion, as Mary Magdalene was to discover:
Thinking He was the Gardener
Mary had been saved from an immoral life to become a very special follower of Christ. In response, she had a most grateful heart of love for Jesus. But now, her dear Lord was gone and she was heart-broken. But she is soon to have the greatest surprise of her life.
She visited the garden tomb in which the body of her dear Lord had been laid to rest, but finding the tomb empty, as the other disciples had reported, she began to fear that the Lord’s body had been taken away. No doubt, because of her tears she thought she saw a man whom she assumed was the gardener. She spoke to him, hoping he would know where the body had been taken. But when the ‘Gardener’ spoke her name she recognised at once her Lord and Master, risen from the dead.
We note how the Lord waited first until the other women with Mary had left her alone at the tomb. If we really want ‘to know Christ’ we, too, will need to get alone, and seek him as Mary did. But how can this be since Jesus is no longer here on earth? Some years later the now older, and wiser Peter told us how in his first letter:
‘Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,..’
(First Letter of Peter, chapter 1 verse 8 )
Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just…
I got me flowers to straw thy way:
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.
The Sun arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.
Can there be any day but this,
Though many suns to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we miss:
There is but one, and that one ever.
From the poem ‘Easter’ by George Herbert (17th century)
For the believer, there is indeed, ‘no day like this’ (Easter Sunday). Christ (The Son) rose early, ready to meet his people with the assurance that one day, they too would rise with him– ‘and that for ever’
‘Jesus said .. “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”’
(John’s Gospel chapter 11 verses 25-26)
Thank you for following my blog. I much appreciate your company. I hope you will join me as I seek to follow the Risen Jesus. He is the most wonderful person, so worth knowing and following. You may find my previous post , ‘He wakens my ear‘ relevant here.
Wishing you a happy and joyous Easter.
Credit – Photo of Gethsemane:
By Chris Yunker from St. Louis, United States (Garden of Gethsemane) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons