For most of us as children, Easter was all about getting a new dress and shoes, finding an Easter basket on Sunday morning with lots of chocolate and jelly beans and perhaps an Easter egg hunt after a tasty lunch of ham and potatoes.
But for the disciples that first Easter morning, they were brokenhearted, despondent and scared to death. Most of them were strong, able men. But since their Lord had been taken away to His death, they had scattered, hiding in fear that they too would be marched away and killed.
And then the third day came. And, much to their surprise Jesus was no longer dead in a sealed tomb. He literally stood among them! He ate with them, talked and spent time with them for weeks and then, as they all watched, He ascended into heaven.
They were told to go back into Jerusalem and wait for a helper that Jesus would send. And the helper, The Holy Spirit, came as promised and filled each man with such power that they left their fears behind and went out into the world to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How do I know the resurrection is real? Because something happened to these men. Something had changed these men from scared and trembling men to men who literally changed the world with the new message of hope and life and love. That something was Jesus conquering death. Saving us. And giving us a life full of Him here on earth as well as a life in heaven forever.
This Easter, I pray that your focus will be on the miracles that God did for you and me; He did away with death. He gave us power to live in this world among great difficulties. He gave us eternal life. And He promised that nothing – not even death – can separate us from God!
The disciples realized these truths and literally changed the world. We need to live as if we believe them too.
“And when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.
And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?
And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.
And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen: He is not here: behold, here is the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter.
…Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demon.,
She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. And when they heard that He was alive, and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.
And afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were at table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.” (Mark 16: 1-14)
“To these (disciples) He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which, He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’
And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’
He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.’
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them;
And they also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1: 3-11)
May you have a blessed Easter!