From Kay Meyer's column in the St. Louis Metro Voice newspaper from 1994 to 2013.
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome, Joanne, and the other women (Luke 24:10) quietly walked through the darkness just before sunrise, toward the grave site where Jesus’ body had been laid on Friday. They carried the spices (Mark 16:1) which they were to use in preparation for His burial.
These women had witnessed His suffering and death. They had heard the centurion’s words at His death, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
They had been there (Matt. 27:55-61) when a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Joseph himself had taken the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own tomb. He himself had rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb.
The next day, the chief priests and the Pharisees had gathered together with Pilate, and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, “After three days I am to rise again. Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how and they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.”
Arriving at the tomb, the women saw the stone had been rolled away and that the grave was empty. Two angels appeared to them and said, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, He has risen! Go and tell his disciples and Peter.”
As the first witnesses of the resurrection, the women ran (Matt. 28:9, 17) to tell the disciples Jesus was alive. As they ran they probably recalled His words, “After three days I will rise again.” He had also said, “Destroy this temple (speaking of His body) and in three days I will build another.”
At first, the disciples refused to believe the women (Luke 24:11). After all, they had also watched him die. They’d seen the soldier pierce His side with a spear. They’d seen the blood and water that poured out (John 19:34). They’d seen His dead body taken down from the cross! How could He now be alive? It is impossible!
Then Peter and John arose and raced toward the tomb to check it out themselves. They saw the linen He had been wrapped in and the empty tomb.
Jesus appeared to many individuals over the 40 days he was on earth after the resurrection (Acts 1:3). He appeared to Mary Magdalene in the Garden (Mark 16:1) and His disciples. He talked with the two men traveling to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-33). He appeared to Thomas who had not been with the disciples the first time Jesu appeared to them. Thomas said, “Unless I can touch the scars in his hand and his side, I will not believe! (Luke 24:36)” Jesus di not abandon Thomas in disbelief, but appeared to him and offered his hands and side for inspection. He said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach her your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing. Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
At first, some thought they were seeing a ghost (Luke 24:37), but Christ clarified this by saying, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself. Touch me and see, a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of boiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
He appeared a third time (John 21:1-19) to his disciples by the Sea of Tiberius. There He asked Peter to “feed my lambs and sheep.” He also appeared to over 500 brethren at once (1 Cor. 15:6).
During these 40 days after the resurrection He explained to the disciples what the Scriptures said about Him. He opened the disciples’ minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45). He said, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
Later Jesus told his disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The great commission was not only for the early disciples, but also for you and me. Are you witnessing to the resurrection? Remember the Lord said, “I will make you fishers of men.” If you find it difficult to share your faith, ask the Lord to help you. He will.
Do you realize that many who profess to be Christians do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ? What about you? Do you believe that He was raised bodily? Paul states, “If Christ is not raised, our faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15:12-58).”
Let’s proclaim the resurrection of Christ! Yes, Jesus lived a perfect life, suffered, and died for our sins. Don’t end the story with His death on the cross. It is not the end of the story. The good news is that Jesus arose from the dead! He has risen! He has risen indeed! Alleluia!
by Kay L. Meyer