He Is Risen!
God in Heaven, help me to understand Christ’s resurrection from the dead—how pivotal it is to my redemption.
Read John 20:1–10
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Think about the uniqueness of this story. This is not a myth. It really happened, as is made clear in the way it is told.
Put yourself in the shoes of the disciples. Imagine their grief. On Friday, their beloved Lord and closest friend had died. Imagine their anger. He had been put to death by collusion between the Jewish authorities and the Romans (or, more accurately, by the chief priest and Pilate). Imagine their confusion. Imagine their disappointment. This was the end of their dreams of the kingdom they thought Jesus had come to establish. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.
Or was it? First, let’s consider Mary. John doesn’t say why she came to the grave. Maybe she brought spices. Maybe other women were with her. He doesn’t say. John tells us that she saw the stone rolled away and thought what anybody at that time would have thought: someone has stolen the body. But who? And why? Peter and the other disciple went inside and saw the grave clothes. The body had not been stolen, because nobody, friend or enemy, would have unwrapped the body and left the grave clothes neatly there, the headband folded up! What had happened?
There was only one possibility and the “other disciple” (8) grasped it and believed. He believed because of the evidence first. Only later, taught by the Holy Spirit, did the disciples understand how Old Testament Scriptures indicated that the Messiah would rise from the dead. “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him,” said Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:24–28, my translation of verse 27), quoting Psalm 16:8–11. Then they remembered the numerous occasions when Jesus himself had primed them for this event, saying that it was necessary for him to suffer, be rejected and then be raised from the dead (Luke 9:22). In other words, they did not first believe the Scriptures and then see what they were expecting. They saw the evidence first and then gradually pieced together its meaning.
Jesus told Martha that whoever lives and believes in him shall never die. Then he asked her an important question: “Do you believe this?” (John 11:26). For the resurrection of Jesus to profit us, we must fervently believe in it and personally embrace it, ready to declare this to one and all. Are you ready to do so?
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for dying for me and for being raised from the dead for my justification before God. I rejoice to stand before God accepted, rather than rejected.