Jesus' death, burial, resurrection, and ascension
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. 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!" — John 20:1-2
How difficult was it for the One who is Lord of the universe—who had a hand in creation itself, who is the very force of life that holds living things together—to wake up from the sleep of death and set aside the burial cloths draping his body?
As was always the case, Jesus' revelations of himself did not happen with television cameras focused on him. Not even a respectable crowd was gathered. An alarming word from young Mary Magdalene about Jesus' body being gone produced a panic and a footrace among two of Jesus' beloved disciples, Peter and John. One looked and merely saw the emptiness of the tomb; the other saw the connection between this moment and the mysterious words of Jesus—and he believed. Now things were really complicated and the disciples went home. So Jesus first appeared to a brokenhearted Mary who stayed at the tomb. Mary was the first to behold something the world had never seen before—a resurrected, transformed life.
Resurrection day for Jesus was simply the first installment of a resurrection of masses of people when this era of the history of the universe draws to a close. What God promises to those who belong to Jesus is not the loss of self into a nothingness bliss, but the resurrection and remaking of everything that is right and good in the world he created. And until then, he invites us to begin living transformed lives, continually shaped and changed by the hope of the redemption of all that God has made.
Jesus' Appearances after the Resurrection:
Luke and John both describe at length Jesus' post-Resurrection appearances to his followers. (Mark mentions these briefly as well.) Jesus' appearance before "doubting Thomas" and the other disciples (in John and in Luke) are well known and contain a number of little details. For instance, Jesus appeared "when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders"—a minor sentence, but one that communicates the terror and bewilderment that must have plagued the disciples in the immediate aftermath of Jesus' crucifixion. If you had been one of Jesus' disciples, what might you have done in this situation—reeling from the death of your teacher, fearing for your life, and wondering if everything you believed in was really true?
The Gospel of Luke also describes an encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. With tantalizing but confused rumors of the empty tomb still spreading, Jesus appears in disguise to a pair of his followers. After visiting with and teaching them for some time, Jesus reveals himself in a beautifully-described scene:
When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and begin to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?
The Gospel of John provides a few more memorable stories. First, Jesus (again, unrecognized at first) performs his last recorded miracle, overwhelming the disciples' fishing nets with a huge catch. Shortly thereafter is the moving story of Peter's reinstatement. Peter, who had denied knowing Jesus three times during his master's trial, is questioned by Jesus… three times. It is during this questioning that Jesus gives Peter the famous charge to "Feed my sheep."
Jesus Gives the Great Commission
Matthew and Mark both close with the "Great Commission," Jesus' instructions to his disciples to go out into the world and spread the good news of salvation: (Matthew 28:19-20); This passage has long been the basis of the Christian emphasis on sharing the Gospel with the world through evangelism and missionary work. Mark and Luke describe Jesus' departure from earth into heaven, "taken up into heaven" after speaking to his disciples a final time.
It's clear from the Gospel accounts that the story of Jesus reaches its culmination with the Resurrection. But the tidbits we do get about the post-Resurrection days not only satisfy some of our curiousity about how Jesus' Resurrection was received by his followers, but also give us the evangelistic direction that guides Christ-followers to this day.
Seven Last Sayings of Jesus: # 4
Matthew 27:46: "My God, My God, have you forsaken me?"
How Jesus felt as his loud cry broke the dreadful silence of that moment of destiny we cannot know. Never before had he stood alone, forsaken by God his Father. Yet, although he was forsaken he never ceased to be his Father's well-beloved Son, for he was carrying out his Father's will and purpose in becoming our atonement for sin. This Word from the Cross points us to the cost of the atonement made. Thank God, there's atonement for sin at the Cross by the Lord Jesus. It's something we must never lose sight of.
Day 3: QUESTIONS:
1). Who did Jesus appear to after his death and resurrection?
2). What happened to Jesus after he rose from the dead?
3). How many days did Jesus walk the earth after his resurrection?
4). Was the general resurrection taught in the Old Testament?
1). Jesus rose on the _____ day. (a) first (b) second (c) third
2). Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection beside which sea?
a. Red Sea
b. Sea of Joppa
c. Sea of Tiberias
d. Dead Sea
3). Which disciple said he would not believe Jesus had risen unless he could see the nail marks in his hands?
4). What did Peter and John see when they entered Jesus' tomb that caused them to believe?
a) that the tomb was empty
b) an angel
c) the grave clothes
d) a note written by Jesus
5). Jesus told the women who saw Him after His resurrection not to hold on to Him because:
a) He was ritually unclean, having just been dead
b) He had not yet ascended to His Father
c) He was in a hurry to visit the disciples
d) it was not proper