After the greatest act of love ever committed, Jesus lay dead in a donated tomb. His loyal companions and followers were stunned, sickened by what they had witnessed. But beyond the gory details of this death, they were hit with the uncomfortable thought that perhaps all they had known the past 3 ½ years was a lie, fake, delusional. This man Jesus they had trusted and loved was dead. He died like everyone else. There was no last minute fire from heaven to kill the Roman soldiers or the angry mob of his own brethren demanding his death. There was no angelic rescue team to pull him off that dreaded piece of wood. He was dead. For real. No one was coming to save them from the Roman rule. They would not be sitting on anyone’s right hand in the new government. They had seemingly been duped. Now what? Well, three days later, it was imperative that the risen Jesus convince them beyond a shadow of doubt that all he had promised was REAL and was happening. His followers needed to be 100% convinced and energized to tell the Good News at any cost to all who would listen. The man Jesus was gone forever, but the spirit Jesus would have life within himself, and power to restore all of mankind back to his Father. They needed to urgently tell that story to you and me. How did they go from feeling ultimate betrayal and grief to absolute certainty and joy?
Walking someone along a path of believing in something outside of their own circle of experience is hard enough. Jesus was risen from the dead. Just think about the import of that fact alone! His disciples had seen Jesus raise other people from the dead before – but it was he who had raised them and it was he who had always assured them about all of his miracles. Now Jesus was not only the one raised up to life, his nature was changed – he was different – he was spirit. How do you walk someone down the path of not only observing such unorthodox and never-before-seen changes, but accepting them so thoroughly that they would be willing to stake their very lives on them?
You do that in small steps, very small steps. Jesus’ resurrection was announced by an angel, and this dramatic presentation of an event that Jesus himself foretold certainly got their attention. He then needed to show himself – but how? Remember, his followers had just days ago been through the most traumatic experience of their lives as they were all witness to the cruel, inhumane treatment Jesus was subjected to. They watched in horror as he was brutally crucified, and some of them saw him die on that cross. They were now panicked, hiding and unsure. Jesus knew all of this so when he did show himself, he did it in such a way that he could ease them into a whole new level of faith. Jesus did it step-by-step.
Check out our April 17, 2017 podcast, “Jesus’ Resurrection – What Changed?” and walk with us through the thrilling and inspiring events that took place during the 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection. Listen to how he methodically, unmistakably and compassionately revealed himself. Surely this is a journey that you do not want to miss!
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