Jul 18, 2011, 1:29 PM
"This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." (Luke 24:44)
An empty tomb should be sufficient cause for surprise to anyone - under any circumstances - as it was for many over Jesus' tomb. Depending on whose side you were, whether you were just a passer-by or one who has heard of His miracles or just one of His close followers you would have classified this happening either as false rumour or you would probably have been shrouded in doubt (could this have been possible?) Consider the above one of two ways to go until you come face to face with the truth as an eyewitness. Such a stand will put an end to any doubt or speculation whatsoever.
Passers-by who saw Jesus hanging on the cross helpless, and were unable to fathom how this could have happened, made this remark. "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" (Matthew 27.40) The club of high priests mocked: "He saved others, but He can't save Himself. He's the king of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if He wants Him, for He said, 'I am the Son of God.' (Matthew 27:42-43) Imagine for a second how these people would have behaved upon hearing that the person whom they mocked while He was on the cross had risen from the dead. Somehow, it had to be made clear to them that Jesus was still Jesus, the Son of God and that death could not have held Him captive. For in their eyes, Jesus’ crucifixion constituted the final lap in His career. What a sad end for such a fine, noble and loving character, they must have thought.
The centurion who was at the foot of the cross when Jesus gave up His spirit had remarked, based on his experience: "Surely He was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:54) When news of Jesus' resurrection would have reached him, it would merely have been a confirmation of what he had seen and heard. Nothing would have astonished him per se. He had not mocked; he had ample evidence of God’s glory in the life of His Son. Jesus Himself had prayed: "Father the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.... Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." (John 17:1,5)
Doubt over whether Jesus had risen from the dead had caused some problem among some of Jesus' disciples. Thomas (called Didymus) in particular, had fallen into this category for very obvious reasons. Thomas had from a safe distance seen Jesus die as a criminal on the cross. That was the last he had seen of Him. In his mind, it was all over. Imagine someone coming to tell you, after you have been a witness to such an event, that the One whom you saw crucified and dead had risen from the dead. Thomas refused to believe Jesus had risen from the dead even after his colleagues had confirmed his resurrection. A week after Jesus' resurrection however, whilst all the disciples, including Thomas, were in the house Jesus appeared to them and went straight to Thomas and said: "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:27)
Many, like Thomas, have doubted and still doubt whether Jesus indeed rose from the dead. Rightly so! The reason is that some of us need tangible proofs before we can believe. Seeing is believing, we argue. Like Thomas we have said many a times; "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." (John 20:25) In matters relating to the spirit things, one's motto should be, 'believing is seeing.' When we believe everything becomes clear and vivid. Because of Thomas’ attitude to the truth of Jesus' resurrection, Jesus made this statement. "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
The Bible account talks of two other disciples who after Jesus' death deserted their posts as disciples. On their way to Emmaus they encountered Jesus. Some events in our lives hit us so hard that they not only succeed in dampening our resolve but also paralyse our spirits. It is like everything has come to standstill; that we have to start all over again. We tend to look back and with no hope in the horizon, we decide to call it quits. However bad things may look, never quit. Life begins at the other end of despair. Things would have to hit rock bottom before they will surface again. What we presume to be an end galvanises us for a new beginning. These two young men - disappointed that Jesus had not matched their expectations, when it dawned on them that Jesus was alive, made a comeback. They retraced their steps, back to the fold.
"Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen." (Mark 16:14)
Jesus reappeared to a group of disciples and they were 'startled and frightened’ because they thought he was a ghost.' He assured them: "Peace be with you! Why are you troubled and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." (Luke 24:27) you
"He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who are and drank with Him after He rose from the dead." (Acts 10:41)
Jesus, that name that is above all names, is greater than death. He confirmed this after he had conquered death through His resurrection. Because Jesus in whom we believe has manifested His power over death, we also will. Because He lives we shall live also.
The angel at the tomb site told the women – the first to have heard of Jesus' resurrection: "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" (Luke 24:6-7)
Jesus has given You a new hope because He lives!