THE RESURRECTION – SO WHAT?
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:20
The resurrection of Jesus is something most of us are familiar with. We celebrate His death and resurrection when we share in the Lord’s Table. Easter comes around every year and some of us even enjoy a long weekend to celebrate His death and resurrection.
But what did the resurrection mean to Jesus’ disciples? What did it mean to Mary Magdalene? She was an evil woman, probably a prostitute and full of evil spirits. One day Jesus met her, drove out the evil spirits and changed her life. She was so grateful that she followed Him, she loved Him, and she was heartbroken when He died. She wanted to take His body away just so that she could be near Him a little longer. When He met her at the tomb and called her name she was overjoyed. He was back and all she wanted to do was hold Him.
What about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus? They were devastated when Jesus died because they were expecting Him to deliver them from the Romans. Now their hopes were dashed and they were on their way home to what? When Jesus appeared to them, they didn’t recognise Him. He was the last person they expected to see. He showed them from Scripture how much bigger God’s plan was than just freedom from Rome. He came to free them from sin and death. That’s what His resurrection really meant.
The resurrection meant something different to Peter. He was burning with guilt and shame for denying Jesus. How could he ever live with himself after what he had done? Jesus knew Peter’s heart. He came to him and to the other disciples because they were also guilty for deserting Him. Instead of accusing them, He cooked breakfast and ate with them. Then he asked Peter one question, “Do you love me?” and Peter knew that he was forgiven and restored.
What about the Apostle Paul? Paul had been a Pharisee, a learned man, arrogant, self-righteous, powerful, and opposed to the gospel. He tried to wipe out the early church by persecuting the Christians. He thought he was helping God but when Jesus met him on the Damascus road, he knew that He was truly God. He had been crucified but He was alive. The resurrection changed everything for Paul. He became a bond-slave of Jesus and spent his life making Him known to the ends of the earth.
What does the resurrection mean to you? It is much more than an event in history. Perhaps it means that Jesus is alive and always near you. Do you need to know that, despite the mess in the world, Jesus is alive and His plan still on track? Perhaps you need forgiveness for your sin and peace in your heart. Do you need the reassurance that Jesus is really God? Jesus is alive!