Raised from the Dead

KEY VERSE: “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord.” —John 20:18

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 20:1-9, 11-16, 18

THIS excited announcement of Mary’s must have seemed too good to be true to Jesus’ disciples. Perhaps they may have thought, in her great sorrow and desire to have the Master back with them, she had become a little confused and only supposed the gardener she spoke with at the tomb was Jesus. Peter and John were able to confirm that the tomb was empty, but they themselves had not seen the angels, nor talked with the gardener. Luke in recording this incident, says, “But these words [of Mary’s] seemed to them an idle tale.”

But Mary did not have long to wait for her credibility to be restored. That very evening when all but one of the disciples were gathered together in a closed room for fear of the Jews, suddenly Jesus was miraculously in their midst in his old familiar form, and speaking with them. Many years later, the Apostle Peter, reflecting back on their elation at this confirmation of Jesus’ resurrection, wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? By his great mercy we have been begotten again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

When the Master was put to death their hopes had died with him, and fearing for their own lives, they were hiding in despair, not knowing what to do. Did they remember the words of Jesus who, not many days before, had told them this very situation would occur and was prophesied in the Scriptures? He had used the words of Zechariah, “Awake O sword against my shepherd, … smite the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” (Zech. 13:7; Matt. 26:31) But he also hastened to assure them that the scattering would not be for long. “After I am risen, again I will go before you into Galilee.”—Matt. 26:32

These thoughts must have flooded their minds, and their hearts leaped for joy as Jesus stood there alive in their midst. Even though he looked the same as always, they began to realize a great change had taken place. Through the unusual powers which he displayed, they could ascertain that he was no longer a man, but a mighty spirit being. How this fact must have altered their thinking. Now it would no longer seem necessary for the Lord to struggle with flesh and blood to achieve his purposes. The opposition of men and the hatred of his enemies would cease to stand in the way of the establishment of his kingdom on earth. Even the great power of Rome which had seen to his death, was no longer an obstacle. Had not Jesus said, all power in heaven and in earth would be given to him? Considering these things their sagging spirits began to give way to renewed hope, a hope that still lived because Jesus was alive.

Today, after nearly two thousand years, this hope remains alive, passed on by those early apostles for the benefit of Jesus’ followers throughout the entire Gospel Age. It is a hope rooted in the belief that his kingdom will be set up in power and great glory, and its assurance grounded in the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

Looking back we realize how carefully our Lord established sufficient verification of his renewed life. The Apostle Paul attaches much significance to these evidences when he enumerates them: “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. And he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that he was seen of about five hundred brethren at once. … After that he was seen of James, then all the apostles, and last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”—I Cor. 15:3-8

While Mary and the apostles and others saw the risen Lord in a materialized human form, Paul, who was later called to apostleship, was privileged to glimpse his person in a glorified appearance, thus confirming to us through this important teacher that not only was Jesus’ resurrection an established fact, but that he was endowed with heavenly glory as well.

Thus, through the eyes of veritable witnesses, we have assurance that Christ was raised from the dead, and we too can live in hope through him.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |