Last week our thoughts centered on the biblical record of the real physical death Jesus experienced, which set the stage for the miracle of His bodily resurrection. We continue this week with reflections related to the first Easter.
The message of a real resurrection was first voiced by angelic messengers stationed at the empty tomb, who announced it to the women who brought spices they had expected to place on the lifeless body of Jesus. After asking the women why they sought “the living among the dead,” the heavenly messengers declared, “He is not here but is risen!”
Then they called on the women to remember the words of Jesus uttered earlier while still in Galilee: “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). His promise had been miraculously fulfilled.
Testimony of life
After Mary Magdalene encountered the risen Christ, she sought out the disciples to tell them she had seen Him and that He had spoken to her (John 20:18). Thomas was not present to hear Mary’s testimony, but those disciples who did hear her relayed it to Thomas (John 20:24–25).
After their encounter with the risen Christ, the two Emmaus visitors retraced their steps to deliver to others the message of a real resurrection. That miracle became the topic of the message His followers began to proclaim. In time, the disciples became bearers of the message “in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
They were convinced that we all serve a risen Savior. That message began to spread and was heard by religious leaders, government officials and common people. But it was not a message only for that day. It has been and is the Church’s message throughout the ages and for all the world.
Message of hope
The Easter message has crossed centuries, spanned continents and crossed oceans resulting in the message reaching us and becoming our message to share with others. Those who have heard and believed now have a message of hope to be told to the nations.
The content of our message is concisely stated in 1 Corinthians 15:3–4: “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.”
Before we can share this message effectively, we must believe it wholeheartedly.
EDITOR’S NOTE – Jerry Batson is a retired Alabama Baptist pastor who also has served as associate dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and professor of several schools of religion during his career.