Sep 30, 2020, 2:09 PM
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared, we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father, and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” (1 john 1:1-4)
The gloomy and heavy atmosphere that hovered over Jerusalem after that fateful Good Friday stretched into early Sunday morning uneventful. Some of the disciples had packed their bags and had called it a day. It was time to head back home after what had seemed a bad investment, a bad dream even. All seemed to have crumbled on their heads. Having served Jesus for three and a half good years they had nothing to show for it one would say. The One they believed had been the Messiah they had seen brutally tortured, beaten, maltreated, humiliated and crucified like a common criminal. Their whole world had collapsed on them.
A few among them had gone back to their old profession despondent and discouraged, ready to start a new life all over again. The Messiah in whom they had placed their hopes for a place in His kingdom they had seen crucified before their very eyes.
However that Sunday morning, the stone that sealed His tomb had been rolled away by the power of a God-provoked earthquake and the One who had said whilst He trod the earth that he would destroy the temple (of His body) and build it again in three days had risen from the dead. (Matthew 26:61) He had also prophesied that he would lay His life and take it up again. That was exactly what happened.
When therefore the news broke out the Pharisees planned a cover-up and were ready to offer bribes to seal the lips of the Roman guards. They went on further to falsify the truth that Jesus’ body had been stolen. (Matthew 28:11-15) What Peter and John saw in the tomb however was going to stun them. Peter “saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. The other disciple (John) went inside. He saw and believed.” (John 20:6-8)
If Jesus’ body had been stolen who would have had time for such detail as folding the head cloth? (Luke 24:12) Nobody! Thieves would not have had time to unwrap the body of Jesus like a Christmas gift. That minor detail of the head cloth had said it all. “It is finished!” Jesus had said on the cross for the victory He had won over sin and death. Henceforth Humanity will die no longer even though death was a definite end on this earth.
The disciples had been scattered after the crucifixion and had to be brought back to the fold. Our Lord Jesus went after every single one of them. It was important that not one of them should be lost. They had been prepared for this very vital purpose. Thomas had to see the print of the nail and confirm “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Two of them who were heading for Emmaus had to be told: “Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26)
To those who had returned to their old profession Jesus performed a miracle that filled their fishing nets after they had gone fishing a whole night and had caught nothing. Immediately John recognised in this act the Lord and exclaimed to his colleague Peter; “It is the Lord!” (John 21:7)
In the 1st Book to the Corinthians, chapter 15 verses 5 and 7, we read these words: “and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. And in verse 7, “then He appeared to James, then to all His disciples.”
Our Lord Jesus appeared to many to make the resurrection a reality. Peter, the head disciple, and James, the brother of Jesus, were nevertheless mentioned by name. Peter had denied ever knowing Jesus even to the point of swearing. He needed to be established. As head disciple he had to believe beyond any doubt that His Lord had risen from the dead, to be able to proclaim it. A lot depended on him. No wonder he was able to stand before the political leaders of the day – the Sanhedrin and state: ”Know this then, you and all the people of Israel : It is in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.” (Acts 4:10)