He Is Alive

KEY VERSE: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” —Luke 24:7


ALMOST without warning, and contrary to the expectations of his disciples,. Jesus was put to death by his enemies. And what seemed even more bewildering to them was that he surrendered to his enemies, making no effort to free himself from the charges leveled against him. Naturally, while they still maintained a flickering hope, they felt that a dead Messiah could not fulfill the promises made concerning him. How could Jesus now set up a kingdom? How could he now be The Prince of Peace? How could he be any of the things, or do any of the things, which had been foretold? Jesus was dead!

The feelings of the disciples in connection with his death and resurrection were well described by Jesus in a statement he made to them in the upper room the night before he was crucified. He said: “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”—John 16:21,22

While Jesus had indicated clearly to his disciples that he expected to be put to death by his enemies, they were still not prepared for it. In the upper room they sensed the coming of tragedy, yet it was difficult for them to believe that their Lord and Master, the Messiah, would be cruelly wrested from them and crucified. But he was taken, and when the harrowing experiences of that day of death had ended and the body had been put away in the tomb, their fears and sorrow culminated in anguish and frustration.

The angels who met the women at the tomb reminded them of Jesus’ prophecy: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” The account states that the women remembered these words, and seemingly they were convinced, and they hastened to tell the eleven apostles and all the other disciples they could reach.

The disciples remembered Jesus’ statement about being raised the third day, but it was difficult for them to believe that this would really be true. The women who were at the tomb reported what the angel had said with joy; but to the disciples who received this report it seemed like an idle tale, “and they believed them not.”—Luke 2:1-11

To their understanding the Messiah was not to suffer and die. Instead, it was their thought that the prophets consistently spoke of the Messiah’s glory, and his power which was to overwhelm all opposition. It seemed to the disciples that Jesus, during his lifetime, had amply confirmed their viewpoint. How vividly they could recall his specific words when Peter asked: “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” (Matt. 19:27) His answer had been full of hope concerning the glory of the Messiah and his kingdom, “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

It had seemed certain that the long-promised Messiah was shortly to establish among men his kingdom without end. No doubt all were keenly aware of the prophecies which so clearly depicted his power and reign. As they observed Caesar’s legions, it had served to remind them of Micah’s glad promise, “He shall … rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nations shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Micah 4:3) But Rome, the strong nation, instead of being rebuked by the one claiming to be the Messiah, had put him to death.

Heartbroken and discouraged, the disciples sought in vain for an answer. We, who have known since our childhood of his resurrection, cannot fully comprehend the depth of despair that gripped the souls of Jesus’ disciples. It was a harsh and cruel experience for them to see him so brutally treated. But the sorrow lay even heavier because it seemed to end the brightest hope they had ever had for themselves and for the world. Indeed, how idle these words of the angel must have seemed at that moment. But great rejoicing lay ahead that very day.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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