John’s account of the greatest moment in history:
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going towards the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Jesus and Thomas
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The Purpose of This Book
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20: 1-10, 19-31 ESV)
I wonder if you’ve ever asked this question; why did the resurrection have to happen? From a salvation perspective, the consequences of our sins were dealt with at the cross and with Jesus death. So why is it we read John’s assertion in verse 9, “they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead”? He must rise from the dead…why?
Again, I must appeal to much smarter minds than mine when looking for an answer to this question. Here are three points raised by Bruce Milne in his book Know The Truth (an excellent book, which I would comment to you!):
It fulfils his priestly work. Christ’s priestly mediation consisted in going to the cross to bear God’s penal judgement and holy wrath in order to bring us righteousness, reconciliation with God and freedom from sin’s power. In the resurrection God the Father in effect pronounced his divine ‘Amen’ on the priestly work of his Son.
It manifests his kingly work. In the cross Jesus confronted the age-long enemies of our sorry race: sin, death and the powers of darkness. His resurrection proclaims his victory over all three.
It embodies the promise of his future reign. When the disciples met the risen Jesus they were quite literally gazing on the end of the world: God’s final triumph in the creation of a righteous new heaven and earth…The risen Jesus is the ‘first-fruits’ of the coming harvest of the dead at his return in glory.
This is why Jesus rose from the dead. Of course, there are those who object, and I do not wish to get into this argument now (all I will say is this: having examined all the possibilities myself, the only logical conclusion I can draw from the events of Easter is that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead! For example: all those who wanted to destroy Christianity had to do was to show his dead body to the world, and that would have been it…but they could not. Why? Because there was no body to show!).
What I do wish to note is this: the poor disciples doubted until they saw the risen Jesus before them. They believe because they have seen. Look at what Jesus says in response to this: blessed are those who believe yet have not seen! What an amazing promise for Christians today, who love the risen Lord Jesus and follow His ways, yet haven’t seen him in the sense that the disciples saw Him.
That does not mean, however, that Christian faith is blind, or based on a lack of tangible or logical evidence (as some would have us believe!). Why did John write his account? So that we might believe! Why do we have the whole of Scripture? So that we might believe!
Again, I don’t have the space to go into the details of this but, having spent years acquainting myself with the Bible and it’s contents, I can give my personal assurance that it is robust, stands up to scrutiny, is wonderfully logical and is a solid foundation for faith in the reality of the risen Lord Jesus Christ!
All world religions have wonderfully ornate tombs which hold their religious figures, but not Christianity. We don’t need a tomb for Jesus, because He is not dead. He is the risen Lord, and this is the Truth I believe and proclaim. He is my Lord and my King!
Good Friday: The King is Dead
Easter Sunday: Long Live the King!!
The King is risen, and His rule is for eternity…but more on that tomorrow, for the last in our series of reflections for Easter 2013!