After Jesus’ crucifixion and burial –
The disciples acted as if Jesus was dead and gone
This is what they believed, and you can tell what they really believed by their actions:
- The eleven were overcome by fear – John 20:19. In fact, they were huddled together behind locked doors for fear of the authorities. Jesus was dead, and they were afraid they might be next.
- The two disciples on the Emmaus road were despairing – Luke 24:21. They said, “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” But now, here Jesus is dead.
- The women (from our own text) had given up – Luke 24:1. They went to the tomb in order to treat Jesus’ body with spices and ointments they had prepared. It’s what you do when someone’s dead.
All of these believed that Jesus was dead and gone, and they acted accordingly.
But Jesus is alive!
Picking up again with our text, first the women found the tomb was empty – vs. 3-4. But, since this didn’t fit their belief “they were perplexed” – v. 4. And then they heard the message of the angels, who told the women two crucial things. And I want us to get this.
1. You need to remember what Jesus said. Luke 24:6-7 – “Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” He said he would rise from the dead
And even deeper than this, 2. You need to understand who Jesus is. Luke 24:5-6 – “Why do you seek the Living One among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” Jesus is the Living One. Why would he be found in a tomb? That’s not who Jesus is!
No, Jesus isn’t dead, as you think and as you are living. Rather –
Jesus lives, and they should live based on this truth
- So, the eleven don’t have to huddle in fear, they can go forth with courage and serve God boldly
- The two disciples on the Emmaus road can have hope for the salvation of God
- The women don’t have to give up and move on. They can press on in their service to Jesus
That’s the difference it makes to truly realize that Jesus is alive and to live like this is so. And as we know from the scriptures – Jesus’ disciples were transformed by this realization from despair to new life.
Well, you know what?
We often act as if Jesus is dead and gone
Oh, we say Jesus is alive. But just as with the disciples our actions (our attitudes and outlook) often betray a different belief. We act as if Jesus is unable to hear us, unable to respond to us, unable to help us; as if he’s as good as dead.
Like the disciples –
- We too are overcome by fear, hiding away under the weight of our struggles in life and serving God
- We too become despairing, thinking our situation is impossible
- We too give up in the face of our difficulties
But, sisters and brothers, the truth is that Jesus is alive!
We need to hear the twofold message of the angles, just as the women did 2,000 years ago. 1. We need to remember that what Jesus said happened. Jesus was raised. He told his disciples ahead of time and they witness to us of this truth.
- Peter said, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” – Acts 2:32
- Peter also said, “You killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” – Acts 3:15
- Again Peter said, “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things . . .” – Acts 5:30-32
- Peter preached, “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses” – Acts 10:39-41
- Paul preached, “And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took Jesus down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.” – Acts 13:29-31
- Paul said, Jesus “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead. . .” – Romans 1:4
- Paul wrote, “Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father” – Romans 6:4
- Paul delivered to his hearers that Jesus “was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (or Peter), then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:4-8
- Paul taught that “God raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named” – Ephesians 1:20-21
What Jesus said has indeed happened!!!
And even deeper than this, as the angels told the women, 2. We need to understand who Jesus is. He is “The Living One”; this is his very identity.
- Jesus said about himself, “I am the resurrection and the life” – John 11:25
- Jesus states “just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself” – John 5:26
- Jesus calls himself “the first and the last and the living One” – Revelation 1:17-18
- Jesus said, “I was dead, and see, I am alive forevermore; and I have the keys to death and Hades” – Revelation 1:18
- Jesus is called the “Author of life” in Acts 3:15
- “The word of life” in 1 John 1:11
- John 1:4 says, “what has come into being in him is life” (NRSV)
- Hebrews 7:16 says that Jesus had “the power of an indestructible life”
- And because of this as Acts 2:24 testifies, “it was impossible for Jesus to be held by the power of death.”
This is who Jesus is. Jesus is life! He cannot, not live! This is the very identity of Jesus. And we need to remember this.
Jesus lives, and we should live based on this truth
- So, we don’t need to be overwhelmed by our fears. We can have courage to move forward in life as we serve God.
- We don’t need to despair. We can have hope for the salvation of God in our lives.
- We don’t need to give up. We can press on when things get difficult
Why? Because Jesus is alive and he can hear us and respond to us and walk with us. So let’s live our lives based on this truth and move forward with boldness and faith in our lives and in our service to God.