One of the most powerful proofs that Jesus really did rise from the dead was the way in which all of His disciples were transformed. They fearlessly proclaimed the truth of His resurrection and even faced death for their faith. Another convincing fact is that their enemies couldn’t ever disprove the resurrection of Jesus by going to Jerusalem and producing His dead body. Yet everyone knew where Joseph of Arimathea had put the body of Jesus in his family tomb, because Joseph was a respected member of the Jewish leadership, and it was no secret.
For followers of Jesus today it’s reassuring that no evidence can be produced to disprove that our Lord rose from the dead, and that to the contrary, a wealth of historical documents exist to prove this is an established fact. But more importantly we have an ongoing personal relationship with the living Lord Jesus as we talk to Him each day in prayer and worship, and He in return speaks to us in many different ways.
For those early disciples who’d lived with Jesus for three years, and then had to go through the horrendous trauma of seeing Him die on the cross, it was difficult at first to grasp that He was alive again. The women were the first to meet the risen Lord. They were not believed by the men. Luke tells it like this: ‘Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them’(Luke 24:10-11).
Cleopas, and his unnamed companion, met Jesus on the road and took him into their house to have a meal. Once they realised it was Jesus with them He disappeared. They couldn’t wait to tell the other disciples about it and rushed back to Jerusalem. ‘And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread’ (Luke 24:33-35).
It was during this meeting that Jesus Himself made an appearance, and they reacted with fear that He was a ghost. ‘But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marvelling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them’ (Luke 24:37-43).
What a blessing it is to hear the account from John about the apostle Thomas who wasn’t there at this meeting. When Jesus invited Thomas to touch His body for himself, Thomas was fully convinced that it was the Lord. ‘Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”’ (John 20:28-29).
Thomas needed to know for himself and not just rely on what other people told him. He needed his own personal experience of meeting with the Lord Jesus. And it’s the same today for all of us. Once we have understood the facts about Jesus and that He is the Saviour of the world, and that He died on the cross to take all the punishment due for our sins, we need to commit our life to Him and start speaking to Him in prayer. Then we will have the joy of a personal relationship with Him, knowing He hears us and answers our prayers. Jesus said we would be ‘blessed’ as we enter into trusting and believing in Him.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You died for my sins on the cross and that You invite me into close personal relationship with as Saviour and Lord. I put my trust in You and pray that I can be a bold witness for You in this world. Amen.
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