Spring is in the air, so the saying goes. Somehow the subfreezing temperature doesn’t match the cliché during this first week of spring 2018. Yet I heard spring birds chirping early this morning and saw the perennials thrusting green through the crusted soil in the garden. This frenzy of seasonal renewal also signals another yearly celebration, the event called, Easter. The resurrection of Jesus is everything or it is nothing. One either has belief in Jesus’ new life or not. Paul the apostle said,
1 Corinthians 15:13-14 "For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless."
What reaction do you have to this history-making event? Maybe you’ve had a response like one of those who saw Him first.
Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala in the middle of her tears.
Luke 24:13 And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus appeared next to the other women, including the other Mary and they worshipped Him.
Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.
Jesus then appeared to Peter and he wondered.
Luke 24:12 However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.
Jesus appeared to Cleopas and his friend and their hearts burned.
Luke 24:32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
Jesus appeared then to Ten who received His peace.
Luke 24:36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.”
Jesus appeared then to Ten plus Thomas and he believed.
John 20:27 “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Has Jesus appeared in your faith? In your life?
John 20:30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
The Bible tells us that belief in the resurrection of Jesus makes faith spring from your life and flow from your words.
Romans10:9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
N.T. Wright captures this well in the last paragraph of his book, Simply Christian. "Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we settle for sentiment. BUT, new creation has already begun, the sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the broken world. It is time, in the power of the Spirit, to take up our proper role, our fully human role as agents and heralds and stewards of the new day that is dawning. That, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian, to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, which He has thrown open before us."